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and day.” If thou fearest God will not continue thus to thee, apply, “I will water it every moment;" not one moment, but he will be adding and nourishing ;“bread shall be given him, and his waters shall be sure.”
When thou art banished from God's ordinances,
and desirest to return.
“The ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads :* they shall obtain joy and gladness; and sorrow and sighing shall fee away.a
“And I will bring you to Zion. If any of thine be driven out to the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee.c
“Behold I, even I, will both search my sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock, in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and deliver them ont of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day: And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries; and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel, by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them
a Isa. xxxv. 10. b Jer. iii. 14.
c Deut. xxx. 4.
* Perpetual gladness shall crown their heads.
in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there they shall lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away; and bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick.”a
If thou mournest for God's ordinances, apply, “Thou shalt not only return to Zion, but return with joy, and sorrow shall fly away.". If thou art but one amongst many which desire it, and fearest thou shalt be left among them, apply, “I will take you one of a city, and two of a tribe.” Though thou art but one of a city that returneth to the Lord, he will bring thee to Zion from all the rest.
If thou art far removed from all means, and that the Lord hath done it for thy sin, apply, " Though thou wert cast into the outmost part of heaven, thence will the Lord gather thee, and from thence will he take thee; he will deliver them from all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day, and will feed them in good pastures, and will bring them to rest."
a Ezek. xxxiv. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. b Jor. üi. 14.
When thou art banished from God's house. “I will be unto them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd : he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his
and shall gently lead those that are with young."
In thy banishment, at those hours when thy soul was wont to be refreshed in the sanctuary of God on the sabbath, and at other times when thou findest thyself to stand in need either of de: fence or nourishment, apply, “I will be a sanctuary unto you. He shall feed his flock as a shepherd.”
If in this time thou feelest thyself very weak, apply, “He shall gather his lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom; and guide them with young :” they cannot miscarry that are shut up in the bosom of God; nor fear, who are guided by him. Therefore though we be ever so weak in ourselves, yet here is our comfort,safe in our God. O happy people, saved by the Lord !
When wicked shepherds are over us.
“ Thus saith the Lord God, behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my
a Ezek. xi. 16. b Isa. xl. 11.
flock at their hands and cause them to cease • from feeding the flock. Neither shall the shep
herds feed themselves any more ; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad : therefore will Í save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will cause the wild beasts to cease out of the land.ra
When the shepherds feed themselves, and are ready to devour us, apply, “ The shepherds shall not feed themselves any more; I will deliver my sheep from their mouths, they shall no more devour them."
When, through their greatness and our weakness, they push us so with their horns, that we are scattered, both shepherd from people, and one from another, apply, “ I will help my sheep, and they shall no more be spoiled; I will cause the wild beasts to cease out of the land.”
When, through wicked shepherds, thou art come to
“I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away; and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick.b Though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of af
a Ezek. xxxiv. 10, 21, 22, 23. b Ezek. xxxiv. 16.
fliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more ; but thine eyes shall see thy teachers."
When through evil shepherds thou art come to such an estate, as thou feelest thyself to have lost God and goodness, and art driven away from all things that might help thee, apply, “I will seek that which was lost, I will bring again that which was driven away."
When thou art even broken with misery and grown very weak, apply, “I will bind up that which was broken, and strengthen that which was weak.”
When thy teachers, who should help thee in this estate, are forced to fly and hide themselves, for the fear of the wicked shepherds, apply, “Thy teachers shall not be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers,"
When thou settest thyself to fast.
“ If thou fast in secret, thy Father which seeth in secret will reward thee openly.b
“Draw nigh unto God, and he will draw nigh unto you. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
a lsa. xx. 20. b Matt. vi. 18. c James iv. 8, 10.