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of temporal happiness and comfort, the sentiment is true; it is a sentiment not merely implied, but directly stated in many passages of Holy Writ, and therefore as true and certain as the word of the Living God :-“Godliness," as the apostle has deduced, “is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come.”_" O taste and see that the Lord is good! blessed is the man that trusteth in him." “0, fear the Lord, ye his saints, for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions may lack and suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing."_“For the Lord is a sun and a shield, he will give them grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”—“Seek first,” our Lord himself hath said, “the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all things shall be added unto you." True it is, that even the members of Christ's redeemed and holy flock may oftentimes be seen in circumstances of extremest outward destitution and necessity. St Paul has told us that he was involved, in the course of his Christian career, weariness and painfulness,-in watchings often,in hunger and thirst,-in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” And many are they

66 of whom the world was not worthy," who have “wandered in deserts, and on mountains,-in dens and caves of the earth; they wandered about in sheep

6 in

skins and in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented.” But our answer to every objection that may be urged against the universal applicability to the children of God of the sentiment here expressed by the holy Psalmist from these cases, and such as these, is short and obvious that no man has a right to call the comforts and conveniences which may appear to have been lacking in these instances necessary to the individual's real happiness,--that, on the other hand, we have the authority of God's infallible Word for believing that in the instances in question not only were they not necessary, but their possession would have been actually injurious to the real welfare of his chosen. The promise is, that "no good thing will the Lord withhold from those that walk uprightly,” -and the declaration of the Psalmist is to be understood with precisely the same limitation, as if thus expressed, “ I shall want no good thing.” Nor is it the least precious part of the assurance which Christians may repose in their great Shepherd's care, that when they themselves would “ madly refuse the genuine good, and grasp the specious ill,"—wiser than they, their Guardian-God, will refuse them the luscious poison, and not deny them the salutary pain,—that he will not spare even the knife or the cautery when such stern applications are needful to check the spreading disease, and that he will afford them the opportunities of exercising resignation and submission, patience and fortitude, and self-denial, when the exercise of graces such as these is fitted to be more for their real, their final felicity, than the enjoyment of mere worldly advantages and worldly

success.

What the great Shepherd has undertaken to supply, are not our wishes, but our wants. And this being understood, the words of the text will not, I am sure, be counted inappropriate to his own case by any believing man, however profound may be his worldly destitution, however urgent his temporal necessities. Be the depth of his indigence what it may ;-strip him of all the comforts,-nay, of many things that one would call the necessaries of life,- let him not have where to-night to lay his head, nor wherewithal to provide to-morrow's meal,--and still he may,—still he ought to feel that he is not forgotten by his heavenly Shepherd,—that to him the blessed exhortation, in all its force and tenderness, applies, “Be content with such things as thou hast, for he hath said, I will never leave thee, I will never forsake thee;" —and that for his admonition, the emphatic words of the apostle are recorded, when he describes himself as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” In regard to those blessings, on the other hand, which chiefly a nature such as man’s requires in order to his genuine happiness,—those spiritual wants which are to be satisfied only by spiritual blessings,-in reference to these the Christian knows that his great Shepherd

has made the most overflowing provision,--that in the ample exhibition which his Word contains of celestial truth fitted, when believed and cordially embraced, to satisfy all the wants and all the cravings of the awakened soul for heavenly good,-in the free and unrestricted offer of his Holy Spirit, to make that truth impressive and operative on the heart,God, as the Shepherd of his people, has performed all a shepherd's part in providing for the supply of their spiritual necessities,—so that they have only to embrace that Word with believing hearts,—they have only to seek that Spirit by the appointed means,—and in all vicissitudes of condition in which they can be placed, they shall feel themselves provided with pardon for their guilt,-sanctification for their depravity,—strength for their weakness,instruction for their ignorance,-wisdom for their folly,—direction in their perplexities,-comfort amidst their sorrows,-guidance in life,-peace in death, and hope for immortality. So that, in reference alike to temporal and to spiritual good, the condition of every genuine child of God is such that he may with confidence adopt the joyful exclamation of the Psalmist, “ Jehovah is my Shepherd, I shall not want."

But while the Psalmist, in the first verse, thus strikingly expresses the confidence which he derived from his relation to the Almighty as his ShepherdGod for the future, he proceeds in the second verse to describe the experience which he had of his exuberant beneficence as such in the present,_" He maketh me to lie down in green pastures,- he leadeth me beside the still waters."

The image is presented to our fancy of a flock placed amidst scenes of such exuberant fertility, that every several sheep, couchant amidst the flowery verdure, may feed at ease, having no need to wander far abroad in search of a scanty sustenance from the bleak herbage of the mountains, but even where it has lain down, cropping the rich and springing pasture, so that no sense of insufficiency remains. Meanwhile, that neither appetite of thirst nor hunger may lack its due refreshment, the liquid lapse of meandering rills is seen streaking here and there the emerald verdure,-no rushing roaring torrents, nor liable in sudden and destructive inundation to ravage the fruitful plains, and sweep away the straggling flocks,-but with soft and noiseless foot pursuing their gentle pilgrimage, and kissing the sweet flowers that unendangered bend their delicate stalks over the margin of the waters. It is the same luxuriant and lovely scene which, with greater fulness, but not with greater vividness and beauty, the Prophet has described when, as the mouth of Israel's Shepherd, he declares of those who have been scattered far abroad in the dark and cloudy day, “ as sheep having no shepherd,”—“ I will bring them again to their own land, and feed them

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