John 10:16
I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them in as well, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock and one shepherd.
Sermons
'Other Sheep'Alexander MaclarenJohn 10:16
The Sheep of the Other FoldJ.R. Thomson John 10:16
The Unity of the FlockJ.R. Thomson John 10:16
The purposes which animated our Savior's heart, in undertaking labors so severe, and in enduring sufferings so keen, were no doubt always clearly before his own mental vision. But, to judge by the records, it was only occasionally that an intimation of some of these purposes was afforded by his language. St. John records some saying§ of our Lord, mostly uttered towards the close of his ministry, from which we learn that he contemplated results as certain to flow from his work on earth, far beyond what even his nearest and most sympathetic friends were at that period able to anticipate. In this discourse Jesus appears to have been conscious of the growing hostility of his powerful enemies at Jerusalem. Did he seek a consolation for the pain thus inflicted upon him by prominent representatives of his own nation, in cherishing expectations of the vast and far-reaching results which he, as the spiritual Shepherd of humanity, should in future ages attain, by his affection for his sheep, and by his self-sacrificing devotion to their welfare?

I. THE GLORIOUS AND INSPIRING VIEW WHICH JESUS TOOK OF HIS OWN OFFICE AND WORK AMONGST MEN. He was regarded in Palestine, both by friends and foes, as a Jewish Rabbi. But this was not the view he was accustomed to take of himself. He did his daily work for those amongst whom he lived; but he was aware that there was a vaster sphere of service which was truly his. He was the Shepherd, not of Israel only, but of mankind. The majesty of his position and office did not break in upon him either gradually or suddenly. He brought with him to earth the consciousness of a Divine election and commission. And in such passages as this we have a revelation of his mind; and we feel that no mere human teacher or leader could have assumed such a relation towards the vast multitudes here contemplated, but distant in space, remote in time, and seemingly estranged in sympathies.

II. THE LIBERAL, AND COMPREHENSIVE REPRESENTATION WHICH JESUS GAVE OF HUMANITY AS HIS FLOCK. The fold of Israel was very select and very exclusive. The Hebrews were wont to regard the less favored nations with indifference and even contempt. Narrowness was almost the "note" of the Jewish temper. Yet the Old Testament contained no justification for such bigotry. In the Psalms and in the prophets we meet with representations of the purposes of God towards humanity at large, which are startling in their magnificent liberality and comprehensiveness. God's salvation, we are told, shall extend to the ends of the earth; all nations shall sing the praises of the Lord. Accordingly, when we read our Savior's language in this passage, and find him claiming as his own other sheep not of the Hebrew fold, we feel that such language is a verification of his claim to fulfill the Jewish prophecies, to supersede the Jewish prophets, to realize the substance of the Jewish types and shadows. The Samaritans had long ago come to the conclusion that Jesus was the Savior of the world! Jesus now openly declared that the Gentiles were, in the counsels of God, members of his spiritual flock and household. And he was about to assert the mysterious power of his cross, by assuring the Jews that he should thence draw all men unto himself.

III. THE SUBLIME FORECAST WHICH JESUS COMMUNICATED CONCERNING THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD. Observe the several steps.

1. Gentiles are the possession of the Divine Shepherd, and the purchase of his redeeming love and sacrifice. Far away there are sheep which he has, for which he lays down his life, equally with those nearest to him the objects of his interest, love, and care.

2. The time shall come when the Gentiles shall realize their privileges, shall be led by him, and shall hear his voice. Then the Redeemer shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied.

3. The ultimate purpose of Divine grace shall be fulfilled, when the unity of the ransomed shall be complete, when there shall be "one flock," and when the Savior shall be acknowledged as the Sovereign, when there shall be "one Shepherd." - T.







I am the Good Shepherd.
Christ is "the Good Shepherd." He is this because —

I. He OWNS the sheep. He is the Proprietor of the flock. They are His —

1. By the gift of the Father. "Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me."

2. By creative ties. "His own" — sheep which are His even before they are called.

3. By purchase. "The Good Shepherd giveth" as a deposit, layeth down as a pledge, "His life for the sheep" (Hebrews 13:20). The blood He shed was not in His own defence, but for the sake of those whom He came to rescue.

II. He KNOWS His sheep.

1. By their faces. An ancient and convenient custom among shepherds is to put a mark upon their sheep, an ear-mark, as they call it; and by the mark they know them in years to come. Jesus Christ, too, puts a mark on His sheep, not on the ear, but on the forehead (Revelation 14:1).

2. By their names. He knows His followers, not as men and women only, but as Peter and Andrew, Mary and Martha. The saints have queer names in the Epistles. I cannot remember them, but Jesus does. He calls the stars by name too, but then the stars are very big things. The wonder is that He calls the tiny sheep by name, scattered as they are. "What's in a name?" A great deal, especially in a Christian name, given at the font, and accepted by Christ.

3. Their circumstances (Revelation 2:13). The Good Shepherd knows where you live — the town, the street, the house (Acts 9:11; Acts 10:5, 6).

4. By a thorough apprehension of their character. In the fourth and fifth verses "know" signifies outside acquaintance — that Christ and man have come within the same circle. But in the fourteenth verse it means a clear discerning insight into the springs of life and the motives of action.

III. He FEEDS His sheep (ver. 9).

1. "They go in" first to the fold. Rest after wandering. "He leadeth me beside the still waters" (services of God's House: perusal of the Bible).

2. They "go out" to graze. "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures" (marg. "in pastures of tender grass"). The Bible pasture is green pasture. Every truth as fresh as if it were spoken but yesterday. Not only is the grass green, but there is plenty of it (ver. 10).

IV. He LEADS the sheep (ver. 3).

1. He leads the sheep. Exceedingly simple and helpless is a sheep gone astray. And when the Bible speaks of sinners it compares them to erring sheep (Isaiah 53:6).

2. He leads them gently (ver. 4). He is not behind them, searing them with the lashes of the law, but in front of them, drawing them with the cords of His love, and adapting His steps to theirs.

3. He leads them safely along "the paths of righteousness for His name's sake." This is, to me, one of the most cogent reasons for believing in His Divinity, that He was able to stamp His feet so deeply on the rock of history, that their prints have not yet been erased. The weight of Godhead was in His steps, the emphasis of the Infinite in His tread.

4. Not only does He lead us through life, but He goes before us through death (Psalm 23:4). Not a single sheep will be wanting, they shall all be safely folded by Divine love (ver. 16).

(J. C. Jones, D. D.)

This is one of those Divine sayings in which there is so much of truth and love, that we seem able to do little more than to record it and ponder on it, to express it by symbols, and to draw from it a multitude of peaceful and heavenly thoughts. It was the symbol under which, in times of persecution, His presence was shadowed forth. It was sculptured on the walls of sepulchres and catacombs; it was painted in upper chambers and in oratories; it was traced upon their sacred books; it was graven on the vessels of the altar. The image of the Good Shepherd has expressed, as in a parable, all their deepest affections, fondest musings, most docile obedience, most devoted trust. It is a title in which all other titles meet, in the light of which they blend and lose themselves. Priest, Prophet, King, Saviour, and Guide, are all summed up in this more than royal, paternal, saving name. It recalls in one word all the mercies and lovingkindness of God to His people of old, when "the Shepherd of Israel" made His own people "to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock." It recites, as it were, all the prophecies and types of the Divine care which were then yet to be revealed to His elect: it revives the visions of Isaiah and Ezekiel (Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:12-27; Ezekiel 37:24; Isaiah 49:9, 10). And, moreover, by this title He appropriates to Himself the fulfilment of His own most deep and touching parable of the lost sheep. There is no thought or emotion of pity, compassion, gentleness, patience, and love which is not here expressed. It is the peculiar consolation of the weak, or of them that are out of the way; of the lost and wandering; of the whole flock of God here scattered abroad "in the midst of this naughty world." And though it be an office taken on earth, and in the time of our infirmity, it is a name which He will never lay aside. Even in the heavenly glory it still is among His titles. He is even there "the chief Shepherd," "that great Shepherd of the sheep"; and in the state of bliss shall still guide His flock: though more fully to express the unity of His nature with theirs, and His own spotless sacrifice in their behalf, He is called "the Lamb" (Revelation 7:17). Let us then consider awhile the surpassing and peculiar goodness of the One True Shepherd. And this He has revealed to the world in His voluntary death. There was never any other but He who came down from heaven that He might lay down "His life for the sheep." This is the one perpetual token of His great love to all mankind — a token ever fresh, quickened with life, full of power to persuade the hearts of His people to Himself. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends"; and therefore the death of the good Shepherd is the subject of all the Church's testimony. Again, His surpassing goodness is shown in the provision He has made of all things necessary for the salvation of His flock in this state of mortality and sin. For this He has provided, first, in the external foundation and visible perpetuity of His Church. He has secured it by the commission to baptize all nations, by the universal preaching of His apostles, by shedding abroad the Holy Ghost, by the revelation of all truth, by the universal tradition of the faith in all the world. And, secondly, His love and care are shown, not only in the external and visible provision which He thus made beforehand for the perpetual wants of His flock, but in the continual and internal providence wherewith He still watches over it. The whole history of His Church from the beginning — the ages of persecution, and "times of refreshing"; the great conflicts of faith with falsehood, and of the saints with the seed of the serpent; the whole career of His Church amid the kingdoms of the earth and changes of the world, are a perpetual revelation of His love and power.

(Archdeacon Manning.)

Boston Homilies.
He is the Good Shepherd in the sense of real or genuine. He is the Shepherd from the very centre of His being. Every instinct of His nature, every feeling of His heart, every thought of His brain, every touch of His hand are those of the true Shepherd, whose constant purpose is to guide and feed and save the flock, and for that purpose He counts no toil too severe, no suffering too intense, no sacrifice too costly. He has thoroughly identified Himself with the sheep, and whatever adds to their well-being He gladly does and bears. He is the Good Shepherd in contrast with the hireling, whose care is selfish and whose aim is wages. Jesus here gives us a distinction that applies in the most direct way to every phase of life. Interests of all kinds are intrusted with paid workers. Some of these are good shepherds, putting the very best of their lives into their toil; some are hirelings, faithful only so long as fidelity is easy, safe, and profitable. The railroad engineer who sees imminent danger and remains at his post, hoping to save precious lives entrusted to his care, is the good shepherd. The need today in the State, the bank, the factory, the store, the kitchen, is for good shepherds. The presence of hirelings brings disaster to every cause. The Good Shepherd guides His sheep by going before them. Those who follow where Jesus led are safe. He was at times in a very whirlwind of human beings who were wrought to the highest pitch by diverse passions, but His feet never made a misstep, His face never turned in the wrong direction. His lips spoke the right word, His hands wrought the most helpful work always. Jesus said, "I know My sheep, and am known of Mine." "I lay down My life for the sheep." These were the proofs that He was the true Shepherd. He certainly knew what was in man. He saw the treachery working in the heart of Judas. He saw in Peter's self-trusting, impulsive nature the flame that soon burnt itself out to leave only the ashes of his boasted faith and devotion. But further than this, He saw the repentant Peter converted into the brave hero. He looked into the very soul of Zaccheus in the sycamore tree and taw in him a stedfast purpose of righteousness. He knew that back of the cleanly appearance of the Pharisees there was moral leprosy. On the briefest acquaintance with Nathanael He spoke of him as one "in whom there was no guile." The young man who came to Him with eager inquiries for eternal life was before Him as an open book — a man with a kindly heart, but too weak to brave danger and privation and sacrifice. There was no martyr stuff in him. Sin blunts the faculties. The most exalted natures have the keenest insight. Jesus, the Perfect One, knew instantly the false and the true.

(Boston Homilies.)

These words are equivalent to —

I. I am A Shepherd. I stand in a peculiar relation to a peculiar people, who are My sheep.

II. I am a GOOD Shepherd. I possess the appropriate qualifications and perform the appropriate duties of the character I sustain.

III. I am THE Shepherd — the one Shepherd — not like him of ver. 2, one of the shepherds, but the great, chief, proprietor Shepherd, whose own the sheep are — the Shepherd of shepherds as well as of sheep.

IV. I am THE GOOD Shepherd. I possess in the most perfect degree all the qualifications that are requisite for the discharge of the numerous, varied, and difficult duties of this most exalted office.

V. I am THAT GOOD Shepherd, i.e., the Divine Guardian foreshadowed in prophecy (Ezekiel 34:11-24), and answering in every respect to the type. Christ is all this —

1. As He secures for His peculiar people all the blessings they require.

2. As He secures these advantages to them at the greatest conceivable expense to Himself.

3. As there subsists the most endearing mutual acquaintance and intercourse between Him and His people.

4. As He cares for the happiness, so He secures the salvation of all.

(J. Brown, D. D.)

The truth here is Christ's exceeding love and care for the Church. He would show that He sustained towards it a relationship beyond parallel. Not a king, however wise his rule; not a parent, however fond his care; not a friend, however great his service, for all these are kindnesses of beings of the same nature only. They suggest nothing of that condescension by which a Being of the highest order could embrace one reduced to the condition of fallen man. Hence Christ selected as the type of our lost race the most helpless of animals, and compares Himself to one of the kindest of guardians. Let us consider some of His pastoral offices in which His love is set forth.

I. HE PROVIDES FOR THEIR SPIRITUAL WANTS. This would be the first thing looked for according to the predictions (Psalm 23).

1. Pasture for the flock — enough for all; variety for each.

2. Wisdom to guide.

3. Watchfulness to tend.

4. Constraint to rule.

5. Diligence to seek out.

6. Power to restore.

II. HE PRESERVES THEM FROM FOES AND DANGERS (ver. 12). It is our lot to be sent forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. If our soul escapes at all it is because the snare is broken by our Deliverer. That which enables the Good Shepherd to effect our deliverance is His profound and comprehensive knowledge (ver. 14). These perils are foreseen and provided for. How many tempted ones have derived comfort from the thought that when Satan has desired to have them, he has prayed, etc. Hence the encouragement, "Fear not little flock." "He that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps."

III. HE IS DILIGENT IN RECOVERING THOSE WHO STRAY (Ezekiel 34; Isaiah 53:1). In relation to the whole human family Christ came to seek and save the lost. The whole history of the Church has been the gathering in of outcasts. He is found of them that sought Him not; and under backslidings after conversion, will He go after us again. He may leave us to eat the bitter fruits of our ways for a time, and make us contrast the misery of the wilderness with the blessedness of the fold. He, who of all the saints of God lived nearest to Him, and yet wandered furthest, said, "He restoreth my soul."

IV. HE HAS SPECIAL CARE OF THE YOUNG, whether young in years or in grace (Isaiah 40). An untended lamb is the very type of helplessness and folly. The temptations are many which beset the flock in early life from the example of companions, worldly pleasures, buoyant spirits, etc.; but for these and every spiritual danger the Good Shepherd provides. Still, there are special dangers which account for this pastoral care. The very warmth and freshness of their religious feelings render them more liable to fall. Hence the first duty enjoined on restored Peter was "Feed My lambs."

V. HE IS WITH THE FLOCK TO THE END. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," etc.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

I. THE PASTORAL CHARACTER CLAIMED BY CHRIST.

1. We shall learn nothing from the text unless we enter humbly and affectionately into its spirit. We must dismiss all Western ideas. Here the connection between shepherd and sheep is simply one of pecuniary interest; but beneath the burning skies and clear starry nights of Palestine there grows up between the man and the dumb creatures he protects, often at the peril of his life, a kind of friendship. For this is after all the true school in which love is taught; dangers and hardships mutually shared, alone in those vast solitudes the shepherd and the sheep feel a life in common. The vast interval between the man and the brute disappears, and the single point of union is felt strongly — the love of the protector, and the love of the grateful life. Those to whom Christ spoke felt all this and more. He appealed to associations which had been familiar from childhood, and unless we try, by realizing such scenes, to feel what they felt by association, these words will only be dry and lifeless.

2. To the name shepherd Christ adds the significant word "Good" — not in the sense of benevolent, but true born, genuine, just as wine of a noble quality is good compared with the cheaper sort; and a soldier who is one in heart and not by mere profession, or for pay. This expression distinguishes the Good Shepherd from —(1) The robbers who may guard the sheep simply for their flesh and fleece: they have not a true shepherd's heart any more than a pirate has the true sailor's heart. There were many such marauders in Palestine. David protected Nabal's flock from them. Many such nominal shepherds had Israel in by-gone years: rulers whose rule had been but kingcraft: teachers whose instruction had been but priestcraft. Government, teachership are sublime pastoral callings; but when the work is even well done for the sake of party, or place, or honour, or consistency, it is the spirit of the robber.(2) The hirelings, who are tested by danger. A man is a hireling who does his duty for pay. He may do it in his way faithfully. The paid shepherd will not desert the sheep for a shower or a cold night. But he is not paid to risk his life against the lion or bear, and so the sheep are left to their fate. So a man may be a hired priest, or a paid demagogue, a great champion of rights paid by applause; and while popularity lasts he will be a reformer — deserting the people when danger comes. The cause of the sheep is not his.

3. Exactly the reverse is the Good Shepherd. The cause of man was His, and His only pay the cross. He might have escaped it all, and been an honoured leader by prudent time service. But this would have been the desertion of God's cause and man's.

II. THE PROOFS WHICH SUBSTANTIATE THE CLAIM.

1. I know My sheep as the Father knoweth Me, and not simply by omniscience. There is a certain mysterious tact of sympathy and antipathy by which we discover the like and unlike of ourselves in others' character. A man may hide his opinions, but not his character. There is a something in an impure heart which purity detects afar off. The truer we become, the more unerringly we know the ring of truth. Therefore Christ knows His sheep by the mystic power, always finest in the best natures, by which like detects what is like and unlike itself; and how unerringly did He read men — the enthusiastic populace, Nathanael, the rich ruler, Zacchaeus, Judas, the Pharisees! It was as if His bosom was some mysterious mirror, on which all that came near Him left a sullied or unsullied surface, detecting themselves by every breath. This Divine power must be distinguished from that cunning sagacity which men call knowingness. The worldly wise have maxims and rules; but the finer shades of character escape. Eternal judgment is nothing more than the carrying out of these words, "I know My sheep"; for their obverse is "I never knew you."

2. Christ's sheep know Him, not by some lengthened investigation, whether the shepherds dress be the identical dress, the crozier genuine — but instinctively. Truth is like light; risible in itself, not distinguished by the shadow it casts.

3. Pastoral fidelity, "I lay down My life." Here is the doctrine of vicarious sacrifice. Unitarians say He died as a martyr in attestation of His truths; but we cannot explain away the "for." This sacrificing love is paralleled by the love of the Father to the Son. Therefore that sacrifice is but a mirror of the heart of God.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

We have here —

I. THE COMPLETE CHARACTER. There is more in Jesus than you can pack away in shepherd or any other emblem. But note —

1. He sets Himself forth as a shepherd: not such as is employed in England to look after sheep a few months till they are slaughtered. The Eastern shepherd is —(1) The owner or his son. His wealth consists in sheep. He has seldom much of a house, or much land. Ask him "How much are you worth?" He answers, "So many sheep." We are Christ's wealth, "the riches of the glory of His inheritance" is in the saints. The Lord's portion is His people. For their sakes He gave not only Ethiopia and Seba, but Himself.(2) The Caretaker. Christ is never off duty. He has constant care for His people day and night. He knows and prescribes for their every complaint.(3) The Provider. There is not one in the flock who knows about the selecting of pasturage. For time and eternity, body and soul, Christ supplies all our need.(4) The Leader.(5) The Defender.

2. Christ completely fills this character.(1) He is the Good Shepherd — neither thief nor hireling. What He does is con amore.(2) He is the Good Shepherd. Of others we can only say a shepherd. All the rest are shadows: He is the substance.

3. Christ rejoices in this character. He repeats it so many times here that it almost reads like the refrain of a song. And if He is so pleased to be our Shepherd, we should be pleased to be His sheep, and avail ourselves of all the privileges wrapped up in the name.

II. THE COMPLETE KNOWLEDGE.

1. Christ's knowledge of His own, "As the Father," etc. Do you know how much the Father knows the Son who is His glory, other self, yea, one with Him? Just so intimately does the Good Shepherd know His sheep.

(1)Their number.

(2)Their persons — age, character, hairs, constitution; and never mistakes one for another

(3)Trials.

(4)Sins.

(5)This ought to be a great comfort, inasmuch as it is not cold, intellectual knowledge, but that of love. He knows you —

(a)By acquaintance.

(b)By communion.

(c)Sympathy. "Though He were a Son yet learned He," etc.

2. Our knowledge of the Lord, "as I know the rather." This is —

(1)By delight.

(2)By union.

(3)By love.

III. THE COMPLETE SACRIFICE. These words are repeated in different forms four times (vers. 11, 15, 17, 13), and mean that —

1. He was always doing so. All the life He had He was constantly laying out for the sheep.

2. It was actively performed. He did not die merely.

3. It was voluntary.

4. It was for the sheep.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. HIS QUALIFICATIONS TO MEET THE NEED OF THE SHEEP.

1. His knowledge of all the wants of the sheep is perfect.

2. His wisdom to provide is infinite.

3. His power enables Him to carry out all His will.

4. His kindness endures through all their waywardness.

5. His faithfulness will never forsake them.

6. His undying interest forgets and omits nothing for their good.

II. HIS ACTIVE WORK FOR THE SHEEP.

1. He rescues them from the great robber.

2. Brings them into His own fold.

3. Provides them with all the nourishment needed.

4. Given them refreshing repose amid the cares and toils of life.

5. Guards them from all danger.

6. Guides them in all perplexity.

7. Heals all their diseases.

8. Reclaims them from all their wanderings.

9. Folds them at last in heaven.

(W. H. Van Doren, D. D.)

Family Churchman.
I. FORESAW THAT HE SHOULD DIE FOR THE SHEEP. The termination of the Saviour's life was not accidental nor unforeseen. Many were the intimations He gave of it, which disproves the notion that His death was the disappointment of His hopes.

II. SPONTANEOUSLY UNDERTOOK TO DIE FOR THE SHEEP. He might have saved Himself; He made no attempt at escape; He prayed for no legion of angels to rescue Him; He told Pilate that there was a limitation of his power in regard to his apparently helpless captive; He committed His spirit into His Father's hands.

III. DIED IN THE STEAD OF THE SHEEP. A shepherd while defending his sheep sometimes falls a victim to his faithfulness. So Christ died a vicarious death, the just for the unjust, which exempted the sinner from the doom deserved. Not that there was a commercial equivalent, as when a debt is paid; but a moral equivalent accepted by a righteous and gracious God.

IV. DIED ON BEHALF OF THE SHEEP. It was not for His own but our advantage. By His sacrifice we are redeemed from the curse of the law and the power of sin, and have secured for us eternal life. Application:

1. Adore and bless the love which animated the Good Shepherd.

2. Live as those who have been bought with a price, and have returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of souls.

(Family Churchman.)

In this statement we notice the following characteristics of this sacrifice which the Good Shepherd makes for His sheep.

1. It was deliberate. "For this purpose He came into the world."

2. It was voluntary. "No man taketh My life. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again."

3. It is vicarious. Not for them in defence, but for them vicariously. He died for them as a substitute, "bearing their own sins in His own body."

4. It was an accepted sacrifice. "Therefore doth the Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I may take it again" (John 10:17).

(G. F. Pentecost, D. D.)

I. THE FLOCK. Were we to take a walk some spring morning among the Yorkshire hills or on the downs of Sussex or Bedfordshire, we should see thousands of sheep belonging to different flocks and masters. Christ has members of His flock not only in Sussex, etc., but in Africa, India, etc.; yes, all the world over. This flock —

1. Is an exceedingly large one. If you were to go on counting for a whole year you could not count them all. The patriarchs had large flocks, so have many English farmers, but not altogether one so large. Some say all who are baptized, or take the Lord's Supper, or belong to this or that Church, are the Lord's sheep. But many of these are wicked, and so cannot be Christ's, while some where there are no churches and sacrament are Christ's because they love and obey Him. Ever since Abel died men have been gathered in, and thousands are joining the upper fold every day, and still millions are left behind.

2. While it is so large it is increasing very rapidly. Other flocks are to decrease. Every new convert is an addition, and what numbers are sometimes converted in a day (Acts 2)! Missionaries tell us of whole tribes casting away their idols, etc. It ought to increase more than it does when we consider the agencies at work Bibles, tracts, churches, schools, ministers, teachers, Christian fathers and mothers.

3. Christ's sheep are very much alike.(1) In their actions. Just as we can tell wolves from sheep, so we can tell who are Christ's and who are not. When we see a man roar like a lion, or greedy like a wolf, we know he is not of Christ's fold.(2) In their colour. "If I wash thee not thou hast no part with Me."(3) In their disposition. "If any man have not the spirit of Christ," etc.(4) In the treatment they require. None can do without the Shepherd's care.

4. They bear His mark. What strange marks farmers sometimes put upon their sheep — circles, crosses, initials. Some of Christ's sheep have got His mark in greater boldness, but the porter can detect it however faint. If a king were to attempt to enter without it he would be turned away, while a prodigal with it would be welcomed.(1) This mark is not being an Episcopalian, Independent, etc. We may have the Church's mark and not Christ's.(2) It is likeness to Christ, and we cannot be like Him without being born again. Some try to imitate this mark and affix Morality, Liberality, Good resolution, Fasting, etc.

5. This is a loving flock. Members of the same family, school, place of worship, ought to be kind and gentle, but Christ's flock is the most loving in the world. By this the world knows Christ's disciples.

II. THE SHEPHERD.

1. He is awake and watchful. A good many people are awake but not watchful. Sometimes lambs are worried by strange dogs when the shepherd was asleep, and sometimes stray into danger when he is awake but inattentive. But nothing escapes Christ's sleepless vigilance. "He that keepeth Israel," etc.

2. He is patient. A shepherd cannot have too much patience: much as he may have it will be sorely tried. In all trials Christ's patience never left Him; and were it to leave Him now how many would be expelled the fold!

3. He is strong. Look at what He has done in Nature. "All power is given unto Me." All ministers, teachers, and angels combined would be unable to provide for or protect His flock. Then His stock of provisions never diminishes, and every sheep is fed according to its need.

4. He goes after every sheep or lamb that goes astray. How strange that any should desert such a fold; stranger still that those who stray should refuse to return.

(J. Goodacre.)

The shepherd who can always go to bed regularly at night, and who is able to say, "I do not have much trouble with my flock," is not the man to be envied. He coolly says, "a few lambs died last winter; we must expect that kind of thing. It is true that some sheep died of starvation; but if the meadows failed, I could not help that." That is the kind of shepherd who deserves to be eaten by the next wolf; but the man who is able to say with Jacob, "By night the frost devoured me, and by day the heat," is the true shepherd. He is most irregular as to his rest; the only thing regular about him is his labour and his disappointment, and yet faith makes him a happy man. When you grow very weak as a pastor, and your charge utterly overcomes you, do not repine at such weakness, for then you will be at your full strength; but when you are strong as a pastor, and say, "I think that to be a minister is an easy matter," you may depend upon it that you are weak.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. WHAT THE GOOD SHEPHERD DOES FOR HIS SHEEP?

1. He protects them. Sheep are exposed to many dangers, from which they are not able to protect themselves. When David was a shepherd, he tells us of a lion and a bear, that each came and stole away a lamb from his flock; and how he went after the wild beasts, and slew them, and saved his lambs. And this is just what Jesus, the Good Shepherd, does for His sheep. He protects them from Satan, their great enemy. And in the same way He protects them from all their enemies, and from every danger. A Christian mother who lived in the city of New York, in very humble circumstances, had only one child, a little boy about seven years old, whom she had taught to know and love the Saviour. One day, when this good mother was going quietly on with her work at home, she was startled by a loud knock at the door of her humble dwelling. On opening the door she received this alarming message: "Hurry away to the police station; your little boy has been run over." She was terribly frightened, and, hastening as fast as she could to the station house, on arriving there she found her little boy surrounded by strangers. The doctor had been sent for, but had not yet arrived. She was told that the wheels of a large carriage had gone over his foot, but, on examining it carefully, she was surprised to find no real injury about the foot. "Why, Willie darling, how was it possible for the wheel of the carriage to have gone over your foot, and not have crushed it?" The child looked tenderly up into his mother's face, and said — "Mamma, dear, I guess God must have put it in a hollow place." This shows what faith that little boy had in the protection which Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has promised to exercise over His sheep. He always has "a hollow place" to put them in when danger is near.

2. He provides for them. This is something which the sheep cannot do for themselves, and unless the shepherd does it for them they must perish.

II. WHAT THE GOOD SHEPHERD EXPECTS HIS SHEEP TO DO FOR HIM?

1. To hear His voice. "My sheep hear my voice," He says.

2. To follow Him. The sheep set us an example here, not only in hearing the shepherd, but in obeying him.

(R. Newton, D. D.)

Weekly Pulpit.
(Children's sermon).

I. THE FIGURE OF SHEEP SUITS US. We call them silly sheep.

1. They cannot guide their own way. As wild beasts can.

2. They cannot keep or defend themselves. Frightened at danger.

3. They quickly follow bad examples. Running after wilful one.

4. They are surrounded by unknown dangers. How much mother knows, and teacher knows, that we do not.

II. THE FIGURE OF SHEPHERD SUITS CHRIST. A most blessed thing that we have someone to care for us.

1. Shepherd must be strong. To defend, carry, etc.

2. Shepherd must be wise. To guide to food and water.

3. Shepherd must be watchful. To see foes.

4. Shepherd must be loving and gentle. To tend in weakness.

III. WHEN WE SPEAK OF JESUS, WE WANT TO CALL HIM THE GOOD SHEPHERD. Especially because He was willing to die in defending us, Jesus. The old and familiar tale of Eric, who threw Himself to the wolves to save his master. Or, case of shepherd who died fighting three robbers.

IV. WHEN CHRIST SPEAKS OF US, HE WOULD LIKE TO CALL US GOOD SHEEP. What is it to be good, so that Christ can think us good? A great difference in sheep. The good sheep know the Shepherd's voice. They follow, they keep close, they obey.

(Weekly Pulpit.)

He that is an hireling.
I. MERCENARY. He tends the flock simply for wages as Jacob did (Genesis 29:15, 13), though not with the love that Jacob showed (Genesis 31:33). An emblem of the Pharisees and Jewish rulers generally who served God in a purely legal spirit, and shepherded the flock with an eye to the merit they might acquire, or the recompense they should receive; of those who in Christ's day thrust themselves into the priest's office for a morsel of bread (1 Samuel 2:36); of all who enter the ministry for filthy lucre's sake (Titus 1:11).

II. SELFISH. He pursues his calling with an eye to his own interest and comfort — a type of Ezekiel's shepherds (Ezekiel 34:2-3), and of so-called Christian pastors who use their official position solely to secure worldly emolument, social preferment, or temporal renown (1 Timothy 3:3, 3).

III. NEGLIGENT. Chiefly occupied with thoughts of his own happiness, he not only leaves the sheep to cater for themselves (Ezekiel 34:4; Zechariah 11:16, 17), but fleeing at the first approach of danger, permits the helpless creatures to be ravaged and scattered. Once more a representative of the corrupt hierarchy that presided over Israel, and of such nominally Christian teachers who, neglecting the highest interests of their people, leave them to fall a prey to the principalities and powers of evil.

(T. Whitelaw D. D.)

Monday Club Sermons.
Paton records that at a time of great danger on Tanna he tried to prevail on one of the native teachers from Aneityum to remain at the mission house. The man insisted on returning to his post, and with this unanswerable defence of his conduct: "Missi, when I see them thirsting for my blood, I just see myself when the missionary first came to my island. I desired to murder him as they now desire to kill me. Had he stayed away for such danger, I would have remained a heathen; but he came, and continued coming to teach us, till by the grace of God I was changed to what I am. Now the same God that changed me can change these poor Tannese to love and serve Him. I can not stay away from them." On mission ground the term "pastor" is restored to its original meaning, "shepherd," with good reason. Hannington's message to the ruler who compassed his death was: "Tell the king that I die for Buganda. I have bought this road with my life."

(Monday Club Sermons.)

It is not the bare receiving hire which denominates a man a hireling, but the loving hire; his loving the hire more than the work; the working for the sake of the hire. He is an hireling who would not work were it not for the hire; to whom this is the great (if not only) motive of working. O God! if a man who works only for hire is such a wretch, a mere thief and a robber, what is he who continually takes the hire, and yet does not work at all?

(J. Wesley.)

The Wolf.
1. His attacks are deadly.

2. His surprises are crafty.

3. His hatred of Christ is implacable.

4. His hunger to devour is insatiable.

5. He attacks under darkness.

6. He scatters the flock by tempting them to luxury, avarice, and sensuality. Filling their minds with pride, envy, anger, deceit.

(W. H. Van Doren, D. D.)

I....know My sheep and am known of Mine.
I. CHRIST'S KNOWLEDGE OF HIS PEOPLE.

1. The faithful and experienced Eastern shepherd knows every one of his sheep. So does Christ. He knows —

1. Their persons; not only the numbers of His flock. We are as well known to Him as the stars (Isaiah 40), and as our children are to us.

2. Their condition and circumstances — but general and peculiar — our sins that He may pardon them; our diseases that He may heal them; our wants that He may supply them; our fears that He may quiet them; our burdens that He may give us strength to bear them; our prayers that He may grant them, our graces that we may delight in them; our services that He may reward them.

2. We trace this knowledge to —

(1)His great love. It is clear that the shepherd who loves his sheep best will know them best.

(2)His intimacy. He dwells with them.

(3)His omniscience.

II. CHRIST'S PEOPLE'S KNOWLEDGE OF HIM is —

1. Peculiar. Their fellow men do not possess it or understand it.

2. Acquired. It is not natural to us. Nature does not teach it. The young sheep knows its mother by instinct, but not its shepherd. All real knowledge of Christ is the effect of a special manifestation of Him to the soul.

3. Experimental chiefly. Some knowledge we get of Him from faith in God's testimony concerning Him, but our chief spring is this: when we have hungered, He has fed us; when we have not known our way, He has guided us; where we have fallen into danger, He has extricated us.

4. Practical. The soul that possesses it becomes willing and obedient.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

What is the knowledge by which Christ's true sheep are known? There are many kinds of knowledge, of which only one can be the true. There is a knowledge which even fallen angels have of Him (Luke 4:33, 34, 41; Matthew 3:29). This is a knowledge of the spiritual intelligence, which may be possessed in energetic wickedness, and with direct resistance of the will against the will of Christ. Again, there is also a knowledge which all the regenerate possess. The preaching of the Church, the reading of Holy Scriptures, the commemoration of fasts and festivals, the tradition of popular Christianity, and all the knowledge which from childhood we unconsciously imbibe, give us a general knowledge of the evangelical facts and of the history of our Lord. This cannot be the knowledge of which He here speaks. It must be something of a deeper kind, something more living and personal. It is plainly, therefore, such a knowledge as He has of us. It is that mutual consciousness of which we speak when we say that we know any person as our friend. We do not mean that we know him by name; for many strangers we know by name; many whom we have never seen, or further care to know: neither do we mean only that we know all about him, that is to say, who he is, and whence, of what lineage, or from what land, or what has been his history, his acts and words, and the like; for in this way we may be said to know many who do not know us, and with whom we have nothing to do. When we say we know anyone as our friend, we mean that we know not only who he is, but what, or as we say, his character, — that he is true, affectionate, gentle, forgiving, liberal, patient, self-denying; and still more, that he has been, and is, all this to ourselves; that we have made trial of him, and have cause to know this character as a reality, of which we have, as it were, tasted, by often meeting with him, seeing him at all times, under all circumstances and in all changes, familiarly conversing with him, doing service to him, ourselves receiving from him in turn tokens of love and goodness. This is the knowledge of friendship and of love. It is something living and personal, arising out of the whole of our inward nature, and filling all our powers and affections. And such is the knowledge the true sheep have of the Good Shepherd. Let us, then, consider in what way we may attain this knowledge.

1. It must be by following Him. "My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me." By living such a life as He lived. Likeness to Him is the power of knowing Him. Nay, rather it is knowledge itself: there is no other. It is by likeness that we know, and by sympathy that we learn.

2. There are peculiar faculties of the heart which must be awakened, if we would know Him as He knows us. There can be no true obedience without the discipline of habitual devotion — in prayer, meditation, sacramental communion.

3. This true knowledge of Him is not a transitory state of feeling. Out of obedience and devotion arises an habitual faith, which makes Him, though unseen, yet perceptibly a part of all our life.

(Archdeacon Manning.)

You will notice the difference between the Old and the New translation here. The new translation makes the meaning of our Saviour's words much clearer. He says, "I am the Good Shepherd; and there is an understanding between Me and My sheep, as there is an understanding between My Father and Me." For people to understand one another, there must be something in common. The Pharisees could not understand our Lord. They had nothing in common with Him. As He said to them, "Ye are from beneath; I am from above; ye are of this world; I am not of this world." No, they could not understand Him; any more than a man without an ear for music can understand music, or a dull prosy mind can understand poetry, or a person who always acts from self-interested motives can understand another who has more thought for others than for himself. But Christ's disciples could understand Him: not perfectly, often very imperfectly; still they had that which made them capable of understanding Him to some extent, and of being trained to understand Him more fully in time; as one who loves music can enjoy and to some extent understand a great musician, one who is not altogether selfish can appreciate the nobility of self-sacrifice for the good of others. Some of Christ's disciples had made sacrifices for Him, though small compared with what He had made for them. There were those among His little flock who had left all they had on earth to follow Him, and this, and the faith which led them to it, had made them able to know and understand Him who had left all He had in heaven for their sake.

(J. E. Vernon, M. A.)

Edmund Andrews was a thoughtless, cruel boy. One day he was passing by Burlton's farm, and saw Wilkinson, the old shepherd, busy with his pitch kettle and iron, marking the sheep with the letters "J.B.," for John Burlton. "So you are putting your master's mark upon the sheep, are you?" said he. "Yes, Master Edmund; but God, the Almighty Maker, has put His mark upon them before." "What do you mean?" asked Edmund. "I mean that our Heavenly Father, in His wisdom and goodness, has put marks upon the creatures He has made, and such marks as none but He could put upon them. He gave wings to the cockchafer, spots to the butterfly, feathers to the bird, a sparkling eye to the frog and toad, a swift foot to the dog, and a soft furry skin to the cat. These marks are His marks, and show that the creatures belong to Him; and woe be to those that abuse them!" "That's an odd thought," said Edmund, as he turned away. "It may be an odd thought," said the shepherd, "but odd things lead us to glorify God, and to act kindly to His creatures. The more we have, Master Edmund, the better."

Suppose one of the sheep in a fold were to go to the shepherd, and say, "I think I'm your sheep, because you get six pounds of wool off me;" and another should say, "And I think I'm your sheep, because you get four pounds of wool from me;" and a third, "I hope I am your sheep, but I don't know, for you only get three pounds of wool from me; and sometimes it is but two." Finally, suppose one poor scraggy fellow comes who don't know whether he is a sheep or a goat, and makes his complaint; the shepherd would say, "I know who are the best sheep, and who are the worst. I wish you could all give me ten pounds of wool; but whether you give me ten pounds or one, you are all mine. I bought you, and paid for you, and you are all in my fold, and you every one belong to me." It is not how much a sheep brings his owner which proves him his. The proof that the sheep belongs to the shepherd is, that the shepherd bought him and takes care of him.

(H. W. Beecher.)

The most fearful attributes of the Godhead turn to the sweetest comfort of a believer. His justice, to the natural man so awful, requires Him to forgive those whom He has punished in our Substitute. His power so tremendous when turned against us is assuring in the same proportion, when it is for us. So with omniscience, a terror to the wrongdoer, but a comfort to the penitent believer.

I. CHRIST KNOWS WHO ARE HIS SHEEP. Leave it then to Him to pronounce who are so. We seldom make a greater mistake then when we attempt to trespass on this province of Deity. "I know," almost as much as to say, "You do not." And there are times when it will be best not to form the judgment respecting ourselves. Leave it thus. "He knows whether I am His; and if not, that I wish to be, and therefore will make me. If I am, He will keep me."

II. HE KNOWS THEM AS A WHOLE. As all one, gathered out of the same desert, washed in the same fountain, etc. In this collectiveness He expects concert of action, sympathy, unity among His people. We are accustomed to regard ourselves as separate individuals, families, churches. Hence our narrowness, selfishness.

III. HE KNOWS THEM AS INDIVIDUALS. Each stands out known and loved as if He cared for none else. He knows —

1. You, and not merely about you.

2. How long you have been in the fold, and expects accordingly.

3. Your natural temperament, what you can and cannot bear, how much exposure, liberty, etc. What kind of pasture you require.

4. Your future, and is always working up to it.

IV. HE KNOWS HIMSELF IN THEM AND THEREFORE HIS FATHER'S MIND ABOUT THEM.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

I lay down My life for the sheep
At the time of the gold fever in California, a man went from England to the diggings. By and by he sent money for his wife and child to follow him. They arrived safely in New York, and there took a passage in one of the beautiful Pacific steamers. A few days after sailing, the terrible cry of "Fire! fire!" rang through the ship. Everything that the captain and sailors could do was done, but it was of no use; the fire rapidly gained ground. As there was a powder magazine on board, the captain knew that the moment the flames reached it the vessel would be blown up; so he gave the word to lower the life boats. These were got out, but there was not room for all; so the strong pushed in and left the weak to their fate. As the last boat was moving off, a mother and her boy were on the deck and she pleaded to be taken. The sailors agreed to take one but not both. What did the mother do? Did she jump in herself? No! Kissing her boy and handing him over the side of the ship, she said "If you live to see your father, tell him I died to save you." That was great love, yet it is but a faint type of what Christ has done for us.

(J. L. Nye.)

Damon, being condemned to death by Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, obtained liberty to visit his wife and children, leaving his friend, Pythias, as a pledge for his return. At the appointed time Damon failed in appearing, and the tyrant had the curiosity to visit Pythias in prison. "What a fool you were," said he, "to rely on Damon's promise! How could you imagine that he would sacrifice his life for you or for any man?" "My lord," said Pythias, with a firm voice and noble aspect, "I would suffer a thousand deaths rather than my friend should fail in any article of honour. He cannot fail. I am as confident of his virtue as I am of my own existence. But I beseech the gods to preserve his life. Oppose him ye winds! Disappoint his eagerness, and suffer him not to arrive till my death has saved a life of much greater consequence than mine, necessary to his lovely wife, to his little innocents, to his friends, to his country! Oh! let me not die the cruelest of deaths in that of Damon!" Dionysius was confounded and awed with the magnanimity of these sentiments. He wished to speak: he hesitated, he looked down, and retired in silence. Pythias was brought forth, and with an air of satisfaction walked to the place of execution. He ascended the scaffold and addressed the people. "My prayers are hoard; the gods are propitious; the winds have been contrary. Damon could not conquer impossibilities: he will be here tomorrow, and my blood shall ransom that of my friend." As he pronounced these words, a buzz arose; a distant voice was heard; the crowd caught the words, and "Stop, stop, executioner!" was repeated by every person. A man came at full speed. In the same instant he was off his horse, on the scaffold, and in the arms of Pythias. "You are safe!" he cried, "you are safe, my friend! The gods be praised, you are safe!" Pale and half speechless in the arms of Damon, Pythias replied in broken accents, "Fatal haste! cruel impatience! What envious powers have wrought impossibilities against your friend? But I will not be wholly disappointed. Since I cannot die to save you, I will die to accompany you!" Dionysius heard and beheld with astonishment. His eyes were opened, his heart was touched, and he could no longer resist the power of pity. He descended from his throne and ascended the scaffold. "Live, live, ye incomparable pair! Ye have demonstrated the existence of virtue, and consequently of a God who rewards it. Live happy, live revered; and as you have invited me by your example, form me by your precepts to participate worthily in a friendship so divine."

Other sheep I have which are not of this fold.
The grace of God is no man's little property, fenced off all for ourselves. It is not a king's park, at which we look through a barred gateway. It is a Father's orchard with bars to let down and gates to swing open. There are Christians who keep a severe guard over the Church, when God would have all come and take the richest and ripest of the fruit. Then, again, we have those who get up statistics and say so many Methodists, Presbyterians, etc., there, that is the number of Christians. Christ comes and says "No! you have not counted rightly, other sheep have I which are not of these folds."

I. The heavenly Shepherd will find many of His sheep, among those who are NON-CHURCH GOERS. I do not think that the Church gains when you take sheep from one fold and puts them into another. It is the lost sheep on the mountains we want to bring back.

II. The heavenly Shepherd will find many of His sheep among those who are now REJECTORS OF CHRISTIANITY. I do not know bow you came to reject Christianity: but I want you, before you finally discard it, to give it a fair trial. You want what it alone can give — if it does not give that to you then you may reject it. But it will. Take not the word of a clergyman, who may be speaking professionally, but that of laymen who have never preached — Milton, Wilbcrforce, Newton, Boyle, Locke, Morse.

III. The heavenly Shepherd will get many of His sheep among THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN FLUNG OF EVIL HABIT. The way Christian people give up the prodigal is outrageous. They talk as though the grace of God were a chain of forty or fifty links, and, when they had been run out, there was nothing to touch a man's iniquity. But there is only one class about whom we may be despondent: those who have been hearing the gospel for twenty, thirty, forty years, and who are gospel hardened.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

I. OUR LORD HAD A PEOPLE UNDER THE WORST CIRCUMSTANCES. "This fold" was not the Jews, but His handful of disciples.

1. Doubtless these times are exceedingly dangerous, and some brethren never allow me to forget it, for they play well on the minor key. But I heard it thirty years ago, and the times have been bad ever since, and always will be. This is better, perhaps, than living in a fool's paradise; but certainly the days of Christ were terrible days in the point of —(1) Utter ungodliness. A few godly ones watched for the coming of Christ, but the great mass were altogether gone out of the way.(2) Will worship; the commandments of men were taught for the doctrines of God.(3) Fierce opposition, as seen in the treatment Christ received. Yet He had a chosen company, and however guilty our age may be in these points, there is an election of grace still.

2. This company was a fold. Afterwards they were to be called a flock; but as yet one glance was sufficient to embrace them all.(1) They were distinct from the world "Ye are not of the world," etc.(2) In that fold they Were protected from ill-weathers, and from the wolf and the thief.(3) Even there were goats — "One of you is a devil."(4) They were being strengthened for future following of the Great Shepherd.

3. When Jesus had thus shut them in He would not allow them to be exclusive, but opens wide the door of the sheepfold and cries, "Other sheep I have." Thus He checks a common tendency to be forgetful of outsiders. Seeing that He has those who would be found by Him through His faithful people, let us rouse ourselves to the holy enterprise,

4. Never despair. The Lord is with us. We may be poor, but we are Christ's, and that makes us precious. There were three men who had to carry on a college when funds were running short. One complained that they had no helpers and could not hope to succeed. "Why," said another, "we are a thousand." "How is that?" "I am a cipher, and you and our brother; so we have three noughts to begin with. But Christ is ONE. Put Him down before the ciphers, and we have a thousand directly."

II. OUR LORD HAS OTHER SHEEP NOT YET KNOWN TO US. "I have," not "shall have." The apostles never dreamed of His having sheep in Britain or Rome. Their most liberal notion was that the scattered seed of Abraham might be gathered.

1. Who are these sheep?(1) Christ's chosen — "Ye have not chosen Me," etc.(2) Those whom the Father had given Him.(3) Those for whom He laid down His life that they might be the redeemed of the Lord, Ye are not your own, etc.(4) Those on whose behalf He had entered into suretyship engagements even as Jacob under took the flock of Laban that he should lose none.

2. What was their state? People without a shepherd — lost, wandering, ready to be devoured by the wolf. Bad as the world is today it must have been far worse in the vile Roman world.

3. This thought gave Christ great encouragement when confronting their adversaries, and should be a great comfort to God's people now. "I have much people in this city." This is our authority for seeking the lost sheep in whoever's preserves they may be.

III. OUR LORD MUST LEAD THOSE OTHER SHEEP, not "bring"; Christ must be at their head, and they must follow.

1. It is Christ who has to do this, even as He has done it hitherto, "also." As Jesus has done it for us He must do it for others.

2. He "must" do it. Subjects are usually bound by a "must"; this "must" binds the sovereign. Who can resist it? Clear out all enemies!

3. How He must do it? "They shall hear my voice." Christ is going to save people still by the gospel, and we must not look for other means. "Go ye into all the world."

IV. OUR LORD GUARANTEES THE UNITY OF HIS CHURCH. "One flock."

1. We hear a great deal about the unity of the Church. We are to have the Roman, Greek, and Anglican all one. God has chosen people in each, but their union would be a dire mischief.

2. This has been carried out as a matter of fact. There never was but one Shepherd and never will be but one flock. All the visible Churches contain parts of it.

3. As a matter of experience this is carried out in believers. A spiritually minded man is at one with all spiritually minded men. Set a Calvinist and an Arminian at prayer: let the Spirit work on Baptist and Paedo-Baptist. What Protestant but loves Bernard?

4. The external Church is needful, but it is not the one and indivisible Church of Christ.

5. This Church is known by its obedience to Christ.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THIS FOLD: the seed of Israel. By His personal ministry our Lord founded the kingdom in Israel and some of the seed of Abraham were gathered in.

II. OTHER SHEEP NOT OF THIS FOLD. Here the expansive love of Jesus breaks forth. He began at Jerusalem, but the longings of His heart go forth to the end of the earth.

III. I HAVE. Mark the all encompassing sovereignty of His love. They were His in the covenant from the beginning. At a time when they were neither born nor born again He counts them His.

IV. THEM ALSO. There is no respect of persons. No poor slave will be left out because he is black; no servant pushed aside to make way for his master; no rich or powerful man is kept out at the cry of the envious mob. If any were kept back the Lord would say, "them also; gather up the fragments," etc. What a cheering word l It embraces the prodigal, the dying thief, Saul of Tarsus.

V. I BRING. He sends none forward to make or find their own way. "In all their afflictions He is afflicted." They shall not traverse the valley of the shadow alone. None shall stand at the Judgment to make the best of his own case. "I am the Way." He brings them through the regeneration into the fold on earth. It often takes much bringing; but all power is given to the Captain of our salvation. The drunkard, miser, etc., are made willing in the day of His power. And that same bringing power shall rend the gates of death.

VI. I MUST. He commands the winds and the sea and they obey; who then can command Him? His own yearning love.

(W. Arnot, D. D.)

We have a right to go anywhere to seek after our Master's sheep. If they are my Master's sheep who shall stop me over hill and dale inquiring, "Have you seen my Master's sheep." If any say, "You do intrude in this land," let the answer be, "We are after our Master's sheep which have strayed here." You have a search warrant from the King of king's, and, therefore, you have a right to enter and search after your Lord's stolen property. If men belonged to the devil we would not rob the enemy himself; but they do not belong to him.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Them also I must bring. — They must be brought —

1. To realize the visions of ancient prophecy.

2. To accomplish the promise of the Father (Psalm 2:3).

3. To secure the object, and to recompense the suffering and the toil of the Redeemer's mediatorial undertaking.

4. To answer the prayers, fulfil the expectations, and crown the prayers which He has animated and inspired.

(T. Raffles, LL. D.)

One fold and one shepherd.

I. CHRIST'S PROPERTY IN HIS SHEEP.

1. How acquired.(1) By donation. "Thine they were and Thou gavest them Me." "Ask of Me," etc.(2) By purchase, "Ye are bought with a price."(3) By the sanctification of the Spirit; after which He gives them back to the Father to be glorified.

2. There are but three possessions to which the word property really belongs.(1) The sinner's possession of his own sins.(2) The believer's possession of his own Saviour.(3) Christ's possession of His own people.

3. Possession is an endearing thing. If you possess a thing you love it; and that feeling is a faint copy of the mind of Christ.

4. Concerning this possession, Christ declares that He holds it not only over those He was then addressing, but over others separated from them — perhaps other worlds, certainly Gentiles, of whose admission Jews were jealous.

5. Note, then, that Christ said this of those who were then unconverted. Paul (Acts 13) was almost driven from Corinth by opposition, but was stopped by "I have much people in this city;" and yet, with the exception of two or three persons, all were locked in unbelief. But it was not so eighteen months after. What a joy to the Christian worker to be able to think that any man may be among Christ's "other sheep!"

II. CHRIST'S ENGAGEMENT FOR HIS SHEEP. "Them also I must bring."

1. The imperative obligation. God permits Himself to be ruled by His own covenant.

2. This certified engagement is this: "They shall hear My voice."

(1)When a soul just awakened hears "Thou art the man."

(2)When the stricken conscience hears "Go in peace," etc.

(3)When the soul, better knowing now Christ's accents, hears "It is I; be not afraid."

(4)When the heart, better ordered, always hears and says, "Speak Lord," etc.

(5)When the ear shall drink in "Come ye blessed," etc.

3. Your corresponding duty to this pledge is to hear — obey. This is happiness here and glory by and by.

III. CHRIST'S INTENTION WITH HIS SHEEP. "One fold," etc.

1. This will be literally fulfilled in heaven.

2. It is spiritually fulfilled herein —

(1)Unity of condition.

(2)Unity of Spirit.

(3)Unity of action.

(4)Unity of headship — "One Shepherd."

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

I. WHAT THINGS ARE TO BE DONE FOR THE COMPLETION OF THIS END? I observe —

1. The views of mankind concerning religious subjects are to be extensively changed.

2. A mighty change, also, must be wrought in the disposition of man.

3. The change will not be less in the conduct of men.

II. IN WHAT MANNER ARE THESE THINGS TO BE DONE? I answer, they are to be accomplished not by miracles, but by means.

III. BY WHOM ARE THESE THINGS TO BE DONE? Solitary efforts will here be fruitless; divided efforts will be equally fruitless; clashing efforts will destroy each other. Learn —

1. The work to which you are summoned is the work of God.

2. The present is the proper time for this glorious undertaking.

3. The necessity of this work irresistibly demands every practicable effort. "The whole world," says St. John, speaking of his own time, "lieth in wickedness" (1 John 5:19). Lieth — for such is the indication of the original — as a man slain lies weltering in his blood.

4. The day in which these blessings are to be ushered in has arrived. The day in which the mighty work will be seen in its full completion is at hand. We must labour, that those who come after us may enter into our labours.

(T. Dwight, D. D.)

An old Scottish Methodist, who had clung vehemently to one of two small sects on opposite sides of the street, said, when dying: "The street I am now travelling in has nae sides, and if power were now given me I would preach purity of life mair and purity of doctrine less. Since I was laid by here I have had whisperings of the still small voice telling me that the wranglings of faith will ne'er be heard in the kingdom I am nearing; and, as love cements all differences, I'll perhaps find the place roomier than I thought in times past."

(Dean Stanley.)

When seven men imprisoned in a Pennsylvania coal mine were rescued after five days' imprisonment they were asked if they hoped to escape. "We prayed for it," was the reply; "we prayed together. Some were Protestants and some Catholics, but when death is as close as that you only think of God."

I distinguish the unity of comprehensiveness from the unity of mere singularity. The word one, as oneness, is an ambiguous word. There is a oneness belonging to the army as well as to every soldier in the army. The army is one, and that is the oneness of unity; the soldier is one, and that is the oneness of the unit. There is difference between the oneness of a body and the oneness of a member of that body. The body is many, and a unity of manifold comprehensiveness. An arm or a member of a body is one, but that is the unity of singularity.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

Therefore doth My Father love Me.
Observe what Christ says —

I. OF LAYING DOWN HIS LIFE.

1. No mere man could have said this. Power over life is God's prerogative. To none but the Son has He "given to have life in Himself"; and power "to take it again" is manifestly not ours. But we must not separate this claim from His obedience. Christ knows no power but to do the Father's will.

2. Much of our metaphysics is here silenced. Is obedience free if we are not also free to disobey? The truest liberty is voluntary restraint. The freedom of obedience is learned as we love to obey. The fullest consciousness of power is that of power to do God's will.

3. Christ's assertion of power is intended to illustrate His obedience. "I lay down My life of Myself." He could have withdrawn Himself from the people, or by yielding to their prejudices have won them. He could have awed them, as He did the soldiers, by His majestic presence. He had power over men's consciences, as was seen in the case of the Pharisees who brought the woman taken in adultery, and in the case of Pilate. The concealed aid of heaven was at His bidding. But more than all this was the strength of His submission. He speaks of His power to show how full was His obedience.

4. We have here an awful revelation of the powerlessness of sin. The Jews were simply tolerated, ignorant of the power that restrained itself. So with all sinners. But Christ was thus patient that when they had done their worst He might be their Saviour.

5. The chief truth here is the fulness of Christ's obedience. The consciousness that we might escape would be to us a motive for disobedience. We are kept submissive by weakness. He speaks not of power to avoid the sacrifice but to make it.

II. OF THY FATHER'S LOVE.

1. We see the reason of this partly in Christ's obedience. Here is the oneness of the Father and the Son; the Son rejoices to obey; the Father commits His whole counsel to the Son that He may accomplish it.

2. The commandment was that Christ should lay down His life for the sheep. The Father's love for the Son is not one in which all others are shut out. We read that God did not "rest" in Creation till He had made man in His own image. His love is so bountiful that it forms objects on which to lavish itself. Here we have something more surprising — the pity for lost man which is in the Father, and that pity finding response in the Son. Well was it said that "God is love."

3. Christ tells us why the Father loves Him.(1) That we may know the men who are dearest to God — not as with us the learned, wealthy, powerful, but the obedient and loving.(2) That we may understand Christ's life and death. Neither Jews nor disciples could understand the Man of Sorrows. Hence the double proclamation, "This is My beloved Son." How many a reason has been given why Christ must die! But how poor all reasons beside the simple one that He loved us.(3) In order that we may know God. The object of our affection reveals our. selves. If the man of force be our hero, we show ourselves worshippers of power; if a good man, we prize goodness. Christ is dear to the Father because He loves us. What a witness to the love of God.

III. OF THE ISSUE OF LAYING DOWN HIS LIFE. Christ is to reap the reward of His sacrifice, and we of the travail of His soul.

1. This alone renders His sacrifice lawful or possible, and distinguishes between sublimity of sacrifice, and scornful waste of self. The Father's commandment is not that the Son should perish. The life which is yielded up for the ends of love is restored in the triumph of love.

2. This illustrates the true character of trust in God — the assurance that He is righteous to vindicate fidelity and loving to reward it.

3. It is not love for men which is indifferent about sharing with them the joy of their restoration — this makes any sacrifice an affront. Christ anticipates the joy of leading many sons to glory.

4. Heaven would lose its value if Christ perished to secure it for us. We should feel that our salvation had been too dearly purchased, and the bitter sorrow that He was absent whose joy it would have been to meet His redeemed.

5. To labour in hope of reward is not always selfish. We need the triumph to vindicate the suffering.

6. We learn how to sustain ourselves in Christian struggle and endurance. "If we suffer with Him," etc. The sacrifice and resurrection of Christ is a rebuke to all despondency.

(A. Mackennal, D. D.)

The assertions of Christ as to His relation to God are very different from those of Old Testament saints. Not once did they call God Father — this Jesus always does; and the Father acquiesces. "This is My beloved Son." Here Christ seems to found His Father's love on something He is about to accomplish on earth. But a stranger having rescued a child from drowning and restored it to its parent might say, "Therefore doth the Father love me." And so some infer that Christ was related to God only in virtue of His obedience to death. Not so. God is love; but love cannot exist without an object, and this object must be co-existent with the eternal affection. So Christ is the eternal object of an eternal love, and the text only states an additional reason for that love. A king has a beloved son and a revolted province. The latter he could crush, but prefers to accept a voluntary mission of the former to win the rebels by privation, forbearance, and kindness. This succeeds. The king expresses his satisfaction, and the son says, "Therefore doth my father love me." The idea of the text is similar. What were the elements in Christ's death which drew forth the love of Christ?

I. PERFECT SPONTANEITY IN THE OBEDIENCE HE RENDERED. Not that His sufferings or death were in themselves well pleasing to the merciful Father. All men die, and by Divine appointment; but God does not love them for this, else the wicked would be loved as well as the righteous. It was the Divine principle that prompted it — obedience. It was not snatched from Him, nor did He yield it in idle passivity; He laid it down of His active free will, and so revealed the Father's will, developed the plan of redemption, and is therefore the object of God's intensest love.

II. FAITH. There would have been no merit in His death had He sacrificed Himself without assurance of resurrection. It might have been from despair. Nor could it have taken place without this assurance. The extinction of such a one could not be permitted in the government of a righteous God. Knowing that He was sinless, He must have known that death, the wages of sin, had no power over Him. Hence He never spoke of His death apart from His resurrection. The taking up was as much in the Divine plan as the laying down. He was confident of the successful issue, and God loved Him because of this. Conclusion:

1. If God finds a new reason for loving His Son in the moral qualities He displayed, He will love us if we strive to live as Christ lived. Wherever He sees men obedient and self-sacrificing He will love them.

2. We should do our duty in spite of con. sequences, or rather with regard to the remoter consequences. Lay down our lives that we may take them again. "Whosoever loseth his life for My sake shall find it."

(T. James, M. A.)

What heat is in nature that love is in the human realm. It tends to quicken and expand and beautify those on whom it lights; it assists men to be better and stronger and more gracious than they would otherwise be. Under its influence, souls are enabled to bud and blossom more freely; and let none of us be ashamed of needing it, and leaning on it for succour.

(S. A. Tipple.)

I. THE GREAT WORK IN WHICH THE SON IS ENGAGED — the salvation of His sheep —

1. From danger, the curse of the law, eternal death.

2. To obedience, holiness, blessedness, heaven.

II. THE APPOINTMENT OF THE SON TO THIS GREAT WORK BY THE FATHER. "This commandment." This principle holds a high place in the Bible. Christ was predicted as the "servant" and "sent" of God; gladly accepts this subordination; and His apostles teach the same doctrine.

III. THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE SON FOR HIS GREAT WORK.

1. To atone for guilt He must be and was free from guilt.

2. To save man He must be and was man, and yet more than man. As man He had a life to lay down; but He had no power as man to lay it down of Himself; this was Divine.

3. This Divine-human life had sufficient merit to expiate the sin of the world.

4. But redemption could not have been consummated without its resumption; and so He had "power to take it again."

IV. THE SON'S ACCOMPLISHMENT OF HIS GREAT WORK. His offering has been effectual for the purpose for which it was presented. "There remaineth no more sacrifice for sin." Millions are now through His expiation "the spirits of just men made perfect," and millions are preparing for that blessed state.

V. THE COMPLACENCY MANIFESTED BY THE FATHER TO THE SON IN AND FOR THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF HIS GREAT WORK. (Philippians 2:9-11).

(J. Brown, D. D.)

The people were listening with sneers and anger to Christ's asservations of the union between Himself and God, and contemplating a step which would expose their emptiness. When put out of the way, His presumptuous claims would be shattered. He read this thought, and answered it calmly, with the inward consciousness that that event would only culminate His voluntary self-sacrifice, and render Him the special object of the Father's love. Such is frequently the blindness and defeat of bad men. It is poor business trying to hurt a saint. You can never be certain that your hardest blows will not ensure him more abundant consolation.

I. CHRIST COMFORTING HIMSELF —

1. With the reflection that someone loves Him. We find Him constantly doing this. "I am not alone," etc.; pausing in the midst of hostility, etc., to get soothing and inspiration. He could not get on without it any more than we can. Let none of us weakly and selfishly long for this, nor stoically determine to be above it; but value it as an impulse for work.

2. With His felt possession of power. His adversaries regarded Him as their victim. He muses, "they are mistaken; instead of being dragged helplessly, I shall march in might to die." We need not shrink from the thought that Jesus found solace in the consciousness of His superiority to what He looked: that while He seemed weak, He was sublimely strong. It is both natural and legitimate, when we are being estimated falsely, to feel the excellence or the gift that is not perceived. We may need this in encountering disparagement, to preserve our self-possession and keep ourselves from fainting. There are others, however, who can never have this consolation. Their reputation is the best thing they have; they are meaner than the social estimate of them.

II. THE GROUNDS OF THIS COMFORT.

1. The Father loved Christ because He lay down His life in order to take it again. The beauty of self-sacrifice lies not in the act, but in its animating purpose. There is no necessary virtue in denying yourself. Sacrifices are often made out of mere weakness, regard for the usages of society, self-indulgence, even to spite others, and in disregard of the right and the claims of other people. Christ laid down His life in order to take it again. This explanation is at first sight disappointing. What was there to charm the heart of God in surrender for the purpose of recovery? But this recovery was meant to be a great source and fountain of good, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. It is noble to sacrifice self with a view to acquiring more capacity for service.

2. The secret of Christ's power was not that He had a right to elect to die, which we have not, but that He felt Himself able to make the sacrifice required of Him. He did not need to be dragged or urged into it, but was able to make it freely. What happens there then is in the sense of the power to respond at once to the call of a difficult, trying duty. But He was certain not only that He could bear the Cross, but that He should reap to the full the anticipated fruit of it. What more blessed than this — the assurance of power to do what is wholly true, and an assurance of gaining the object?

3. What was the secret of it all? "This commandment," etc. What God calls one to, one will have strength to accomplish, and it will assuredly yield its due fruit. In other things you may break down or be disappointed — never in this.

(S. A. Tipple.)

I lay down My life
Types, like shadows, are one-sided things. Hence in the shadowy worship of Judaism Christ was brokenly seen in a variety of disconnected images. The sacrificial lamb was a picture of Him who is the first of sufferers and the only sin bearer; but the dumb brute, led in unresisting ignorance to the altar, not otherwise than it might have been to the shambles, was no picture of the perfect willingness with which He devoted His life to God. For the type of that we must go to the white-robed priest. There was need for a double shadow. But in the one real sacrifice the two are one. Jesus is priest and victim. There are certain steps we must take in comprehending Christ's self-sacrificing will as expressed in the text.

I. It was CONSTANT. The strength of one's will to suffer is tested by its deliberate formation and persistent endurance.

1. Our Saviour's resolution was no impulse born of excited feeling, liable to fail before calmer thought; nor a necessity for which He was gradually prepared, and at last shut up to through circumstances; but a habitual purpose, steadily kept in view from the first, till it grew almost to a passion. "How am I straitened," etc.

2. Many men are heroic only by impulse; give time, and the bravery yields to "prudence." Men have ignorantly taken the first step towards martyrdom; but, having taken it, have felt bound to go forward. But when the mind can form so terrible a purpose, and calmly hold it on for years, in the face of unromantic neglect and mockery, the purpose must have its roots deep. Such will was never in any except Christ. Precious life, which carried its own death in its bosom, like a bunch of sweet flowers, filling all its days with fragrance.

II. It was ACTIVELY FREE.

1. While resignation was the habitual attitude of His soul, there was more than resignation. We underestimate His priestly act, by thinking more of His willingness than of His will to suffer. "I lay down My life" means that, with ardent desire and fixed resolution, He is, at His own choice, giving away His own Spiritual Person, including that which is the most personal thing of all — His will. And this active exposure to penalty accompanied Him through every stage. His was both the right and strength at every stage to free His soul; but He chose to go on deeper into the darkness till all was over. This came out very plainly when Peter put before Him the alternative; when, His time being come, He set Himself to go to Jerusalem, when He said to Judas, "What thou doest," etc.; when, on His arrest, He spoke about the legion of angels; yes, and when the torment reached Him, "Let Him now come down from the cross."

2. Now, it is harder to will a disagreeable lot than to consent to bear it when it is laid upon us. Many a man has piety to submit to unavoidable evil, or even to rest in it as wise, who would yet be unequal to make it a choice. Most men, therefore, aim at nothing higher than passive acquiescence in suffering; but it is nobler to seal God's afflictive will with our own, and will not to have it otherwise. It is a further advance still to enter voluntarily into affliction for righteousness sake. Yet even the martyr's choice of death before sin is less absolute and free than that of Christ.

III. It was CROSSED BY HINDRANCES FROM THE WEAKNESS OF THE FLESH AND IT OVERCAME THEM. As you walk by the side of a deep, swift-running river, you know not how strong the current is till you reach the rapids, where its flow is broken. So on reading the smooth, constant story of Jesus' life, there is little to tell us with what power He was advancing to His agony. Near the end came one or two places where this was seen (chap. John 12:27-29). That was a short struggle. His will to die soon overcame the momentary perplexity, and the voice from heaven was needed not by Him, but for the bystanders. This, however, was only a foretaste of the greater strife in the garden — the weak flesh against the willing spirit; yet in the end it is divinely upborne to bear the unimaginable suffering for the world's guilt. In that hour He sacrificed Himself — laid down His life. With what relief do we read, "It is enough, the hour has come," etc.

(J. O. Dykes, D. D.)

I have power to take it again.
I. WAS HIS OWN ACT. Nowhere is the majesty of our Lord's Divine Person more manifest than here.

1. He had power to lay His life down. Could we use His words? There is much in life we can control, but not our way of leaving it.(1) So far from laying it down, we yield it up. It is wrung from us by disease, violence, or accident. No men of this century have wielded more power than the two Napoleons; they little meant to die — the first at St. Helena, the third at Chislehurst. Bishop Wilberforce never entered a railway carriage without reflecting that he might never leave it alive. He was a fearless horseman, but he met his death when riding at a walking pace.(2) But cannot a man lay down his life at pleasure? And did not the Stoics commend it? As a matter of physical possibility, we can; but what about its morality? It is at once cowardice and murder.(3) A good man may find it his duty to accept death at the hands of others. Patriots and martyrs have had moral power to lay down their lives; but they could not control the circumstances which made death a duty.(4) Our Lord's act differs from that of the suicide in its moral elevation (ver. 11), and from that of the martyr in His command of the situation. As the Lord of Life, He speaks of His human life as His creature.

2. He had power to take it again.(1) Here His majesty is more apparent, for He speaks of a control over His life which no mere man can possibly have. When soul and body are sundered, there is no force in the soul such as can reconstitute the body. In the Biblical cases of resurrection, the power came from without.(2) Here barbarism and civilization are on a level. Science has done wonders in bringing the various forces of nature under control; but no scientist cherishes the hope of undoing the work of death, or of keeping it indefinitely at bay.(3) When Christ claims to take His life again, He stands in relation to His life, which is only intelligible if we believe Him to be the Son of God.

II. WAS HIS ACT AND THE FATHER'S CONJOINTLY?

1. He is repeatedly said to have been raised by the Father. This was Peter's language (Acts 2:24; Acts 3:15; Acts 4:10; Acts 5:30; Acts 10:40), and Paul's (Acts 13:30-37; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Timothy 2:3; Romans 4:24-25; Romans 6:4; Romans 3:11, etc., etc.).

2. On the ether hand, our Lord speaks of it as an act distinctly His own (Mark 10:34; Luke 13:33; John 2:19, and text).

3. There is no contradiction here. The resurrection does not cease to be Christ's act because it is the Father's. When God acts through mere men, He makes them His instruments; but the power which effected the resurrection is as old as the eternal generation of the Son (chap. John 5:26).

4. There is a moment when imagination, under the conduct of faith, endeavours, but in vain, to realize when the human soul of our Lord, surrounded by myriads of angels, on His return from the ancient dead, came to the grave of Joseph and claimed the body that had hung upon the cross.

III. SUGGESTS THE FOLLOWING CONSIDERATIONS.

1. What Christianity truly means. Not mere loyalty to the precepts of a dead teacher, or admiration of a striking character who lived eighteen hundred years ago. It is something more than literary taste or a department of moral archaeology. It is devotion to a living Christ. If it were a false religion, literary men might endeavour to reconstruct the history of its earliest age. This is what has been done with the great teachers of antiquity, and with Christ. But there is this difference. What Socrates, etc., were is all that we can know of them now. They cannot help us or speak to us. But in the fulness of that power which He asserted at His resurrection, Christ still rules and holds communion with every believer. A living Christianity means a living Christ.

2. What is the foundation of our confidence in the future of Christianity? Based as it is on a Christ who raised Himself from the dead, it cannot pass away.(1) Mankind has lavished admiration on great teachers; but they have died and been forgotten. Their age proclaimed the dust of their writings gold; a succeeding age scarcely opens their folios. Why are we certain that this fate does not await Christ? Because men's loyalty rests not on His words mainly, but in His Person. Christ is Christianity. And why is it that, in thus clinging to His Person, Christian faith is so sure of the future? Because she has before her not a Christ who was conquered by death.(2) Had it been otherwise Christianity might have perished more than once; by the wickedness of the Roman Court in the tenth century; by the hordes of Islam in the first flush of their conquests, or by the great Turkish sultans of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; by the accumulated weight of corruption which invited the Reformation; by the Babel which the Reformation produced; by the relation of the Church to corrupt governments: by the dishonest enterprises of unbelieving theologians. Men said the Church was killed under Decius and Diocletian, after the French Revolution. But each collapse is followed by a revival, because Christ willed to rise.

3. What is our hope for the departed? Because Christ lives, they live also; because He rose, they shall rise.

(Canon Liddon.)

These are the strongest words that human lips have uttered, I think; the strongest, because they give us a glimpse of what elsewhere we cannot find in man or his history — the complete mastery and control of life. Where is the man who comes to life as the workman comes to his clay or marble, and shapes out his idea precisely as he first has thought and designed it, and leaves it fulfilled without that obedient material having demanded any change in the work? How little of such mastery you and I have. Your very purpose in life, of which you speak so proudly, have you not got it by living? And when you had conceived it, when you had said "I will," "That is my purpose," did life flow liquidly and obediently into your mould, and stay there, and harden in it lastingly? Who has just the life he planned? And when you begin to see your purpose, or something like it, coming on:, of life, what control have you over it and its continuance? You have time to say, "Yes, that is the shape of my wish, of my plan," and you or it are hurried away. But even suppose that a man cares not whether his purpose be lasting, if for a moment he reaches the place at which he had aimed; if he stands there where he had struggled through life to be; if he has made life carry him there — is he not master and victor? May he not say, as the soldier who dies in victory, "I die happy"? The hands that stiffen at that moment, are they not, after all, a conqueror's? Oh! but think if the mastery of life does not include something else. It is not only to carry one's own purpose for a moment; it is to do it in such a way as to show that you are not indebted to life's favour for it; that it is not a gift to you; that you will take it at your own time, as one who is completely, unanxiously master; that you will not be hurried by the thought, "Now life is offering me my prize; if not now, never"; but can quietly choose the time of acquisition when it is best, and then reach out the hand to take it. But stop again. Mastery of human life — is it not something vastly more than all of this? Is it not to be above counting it indispensable, to use it only as one help in the working out of the great purpose; to lay it down, and yet win the aim by other help; to lay it down as a workman puts down a tool and takes it again? But who of us is so boldly independent as that? Who can work out his human purpose without the help of human life? But I must go yet one great step farther in this description of what it is to be a master of human life. It is this: Suppose you were independent of this human life, yet you are not master of it if it can with. draw itself and you have no power to keep or resume it. If, after showing your ability to do without it, it were able to keep away from you, if you had no power to take it again, you would not be its master. That is the complete mastery of human life, not only to work out your purpose independently of it, but to really resume it, to take it again when it has been laid down...I find, in the midst of all this history of man and his life — believing himself master, and yet never so in reality — one life which has no such feature, which could never have been troubled by the thought of fate. There is One among all human existences which bears all the marks of the mastership of life, which claims from all the title of Lord and Master. First of all, Christ comes to human life with His own purpose fully formed and self-originated. He brought a Divine purpose to earth. Then see how absolutely, without change, that purpose of Christ's is carried out. Not a feature is altered; not a circumstance is varied, nor any addition made. It is accomplished just according to the heavenly purpose. Life has no power to change it in the smallest particular. But this royal purpose, will not human life override it, and outgrow it, and destroy it, or gather it into itself and its own purpose, like the little rift that your hand makes in the water of the strong river? Will it remain as it was planned? How those words, "the everlasting gospel," answer our question! What is there but the word of God, which endures forever? Oh! what is there today in the world which remains unchanged but the salvation of Christ? But did life give to Him the fulfilment of His purpose, as it does to its favourites, granting the prize to Him in its own time as its favour? I do not know anything more quietly grand about Jesus' life than the way in which He chooses the very time when it all shall be done. "My time is not yet come;" "I lay down My life of Myself"; "I must work today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected," He says, conscious of controlling the time completely. But how His Mastership grows upon us! Still let me go on to show you how His great purpose is independent of human life. Life is not indispensable to it as to our purpose. He can fulfil His purpose in loss of life, and by loss of life. "I lay down My life of Myself. This commandment have I received of My Father." The Divine purpose is not lost, but won, by passing into death. "I, if I be lifted up, shall draw all men unto Me." How little is human life necessary to His purpose, who died that we might live! How little dependent on this human existence is that love of God which came from heaven, which has heaven's life, which is greater than death, which survives the loss of earthly life! There is but one more addition. "I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." Here is the highest and last sign of the Master. Can you not see how the river of life flows from the throne of God and the Lamb, where Christ, the ascended God-man, sits, who has taken human life again? Christ would take us all into His great purpose. Follow your own human purposes alone, and then, indeed, life is your master. But become our Lord's follower, have a share in His purpose, have a real part and place in the salvation of Christ, and then you, too, have a superiority to life, a mastery of life. Then you, too, are living for an aim which life did not give you; an aim which life cannot modify or destroy; an aim which will be fulfilled in its own chosen time of heavenly happiness; an aim that can survive death and the loss of human life; an aim which, in a resurrection, will be able by its power to resume life as its obedient servant.

(Fred. Brooks.)

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