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complaining bears ample witness to its own rience of almost all the relations of life, as insufficiency. Listen as we will (except from warrior, exile, king, he could think of no those with whom Christ left his peace) we metaphor by which he could more fitly cannot bear a note of perfect happiness; or, express the care and protection of his God. if we do, it is the voice of some dreamer, who But this office of the shepherd, which wakes up soon and finds out the deception. David here ascribes to God, He elsewhere
Now, let us turn from this spectacle to takes unto himself. Our Lord instructed the that presented in this psalm. If there be any prophet thus to foretell his coming : “He in the wide world who, above all others, shall feed his flock like a shepherd, he shall should claim our attention, it is one who has gather the lambs with his arm, and shall found that for which we are seeking, who gently lead those that are with young.” And, enjoys the happiness we but desire. It may when in the fulness of time he came, be fully be that he will tell us his secret, and lead us assumed the office unto himself, and thus to the wells from which he bath drawn living spake: “I am the good Shepherd. The water, and drinking thereof thirsts no more. good Shepherd layeth down his life for the Here there is one who lacketh nothing : sheep. I am the good Shepherd; and I he lieth down in green pastures and beside know my sheep, and am known of mine. the waters of comfort ; and what is more, And other sheep I have, which are not of this far more, be enjoys that feeling of security fold: them also must I bring; and there shall which is denied to oihers : he fears no evil : be one fold under one Shepherd.” the valley of the shadow of death hath lost Afterwards, when he was about to ascend for him its terrors ; and the cup of his happi- up on high, he committed his people to his ness is full. Let us listen to such a one, apostles' charge, and these were the words of my brethren: let us ask him of the secret | bis commission : “ Feed my sheep: feed my spring of his happiness. Why can he lack lambs.” Thus has the apostolic been ever nothing? Why does he fear no evil? We, the pastoral office, and bishops the overseers it may be, lack many things, and look timidly of Christ's flock. to the future, not knowing the evils to come, But more than this. He who laid down nor daring to measure our strength with themhis life for the sheep still calls himself their It is but one word in which he answers : Shepherd, and instructs the apostles to pro** The Lord is my Shepherd; therefore I lack claim him by this title to his saints: “ The nothing."
Lord Jesus, the chief Shepherd of the sheep :" David, who wrote this psalm, was himself “that chief Shepherd,” who, when he shall a sheplierd once; and, therefore, whilst it appear, shall bestow the crowns of glory that was most natural for him to choose this meta- shall not fade away. phor to express the care and protection of So that all through the scripture, in prophet, God for him, he knew all that was implied in evangelist, apostle, this figure of the shepherd it, all the tenderness of the shepherd, all the seems that by which the Holy Spirit delights weakness of the flock. As one of those few to represent the care of Christ for his people. sheep whom he had tended in the wilderness, Every member of the church of Christ has such in the fold of God was he: himself thus full warrant to adopt the words of the had delivered his flock from the paw of the psalmist, and to utter as his own this hymn lion and of the bear-be had risked his life of joy and confidence : “ The Lord is my in their defence : even so would the Lord Shepherd; therefore I shall lack nothing. protect the sheep of his pasture. It was in He maketh me to lie down in green pasture, watching his flocks by night (according 10 and leadeth me forth beside the still waters.' the custom of that country) that he had What pasture, brethren? Surely no other learned to look upon the starry heavens as than the pasture of his church, where by the they declared the glory of God, and listened ministration of his blessed word and holy whilst one night certified another : even so sacraments he feeds their souls with angels' he that keepeth Israel would neither slumber food. What water is that which flows in nor sleep. "It is, indeed, very interesting to these still streams of comfort? The waters carry back our thoughts to the days and of their baptism, wherein he first bathed their nights which the youthful David spent on the torn and defiled fleeces, and made the sins banks of Jordan, tending there his sheep that were as scarlet to become as wool; and alone, and to trace in his psalms the recol. every channel, too, through which flow the lections of his youth; but especially is it so streams of his purifying grace; in every here, because it assurés us that he knew all private prayer, in every public ordinance, the care of the shepherd, all the need of the wherein descend the refreshing dews of his flock, all the calm security of the fold; and, pardoning and cleansing grace. He leads knowing all this, though he had had expe them forth beside the waters of comfort. “He converteth my soul: he leadeth me forth into flock-that he, their Shepherd, has lived the paths of righteousness.” That was his among them, borne their sorrows, been acpardoning, this his strengthening grace. There quainted with their griefs. As man he knows he recalled the wanderer: here he directs his all their wants : as God he can relieve them steps, and keeps him in the way of his com- infinitely. mandments. “For his name's sake:" not for You see, then, where true peace and comtheir merits, but for his promise ; not for plete serenity can alone be found—in the fold their deserving, but for his honour, he leads of Christ. You cannot see the limits of that them in the way of pleasantness, and guides fold: you cannot tell of a certainty who they their footsteps in the paths of peace." All are that belong to it; for as yet the goats and we like sheep have gone astray, and turned the sheep are mingled, until the day when every one to his evil way;" but the good the Son of man shall appear, and separate Shepherd hath gone into the wilderness to them by an everlasting decree. To whom, seek' the lost; weary and affrighted he hath then, is this peace and security offered ? brought back the wanderers, and hath opened It is offered, at least, to all here; for upon a fountain wherein to wash away their sin and all here the Lord Jesus, the chief Shepherd, their uncleanness. By his rod and by his staff has set his mark, signing them with the sign he guideth them, and leadeth them by his of the cross, and calling them by his name, a word, that their footsteps slip not. In the Christian name. He is the door: by him valley of the shadow of death they fear no may all enter in, and find pasture. evil, for he still is with them; and, though But there is an especial point to which I there be many which trouble them, many would now draw your attention; desiring to who would tempt them into the wilderness, speak plainly, so as to be understood by all. It many who would scare them from the fold; is quite clear that the fold of Christ is open to though the devil, like a roaring lion, wan- the youngest as to the aged; that there is no dereth about seeking whom he may devour, child who may not in his strength be led into yet in the presence of their enemies he hath the paths of righteousness, and drink freely prepared for them a table, and filled a cup of of the waters of comfort. Turn, again, to blessing; he hath anointed their head with that beautiful promise of the Lord's care for oil, the chosen emblem of his spiritual com- his people: “He shall feed his flock like a fort. All the days of their life does his loving shepherd: he shall gather the lambs in his kindness and mercy follow them; yet with life arms.” By innumerable acts of tenderness
, it does not forsake them : they will dwell in when he was on earth, he showed his eare for his house for ever, for therein are many man- his little ones. He took them up in his arms, sions, and a place of his goodness prepared he blessed them, he set them in the midst of for them.
his disciples as the pattern subjects of bis Thus, verse by verse, may we Christians kingdom, he ordained praise from out of use the words of David, rejoice like him in their mouths, and by their weakness set at the care of an almighty Protector, the tender- nought the strong things of the world. And ness of a Shepherd who laid down his life yet there does widely prevail a most mis. for the sheep.
chievous, a most unhappy notion, that mature And here I would make one observation. life is especially the time for serving God. You must have remarked a certain corre- For serving man it is indeed so, because thea spondence in the terms applied to our Lord. it is the result, the produce which gives He is the Priest ; he, too, the Sacrifice: he value; but it is not so with God, who has is the Teacher, yet is himself the Word : he ordained praise from out of the mouths of is the Shepherd; yet is he too the Lamb, the babes and sucklings, and shall receive honour chosen Lamb of God. And this is, indeed, from the lisp of an infant as great as from the what we shall expect. How became Christ homage of a king or the confession of a the Shepherd of the flock ?-how but by philosopher. Mature life is indeed the time becoming one of their number, coming into for rendering to God the service of maturity; the lone wilderness, being led as a lamb to there is, indeed, such a thing as a Christian the slaughter, and as a sheep before the man; but there is, beside, such a thing as a shearers is dumb, so opening not his mouth? Christian youth, as a Christian boy, a Chris. Remember this: he is “the Lamb of God, tian child, aye, a Christian babe. And the that taketh away the sins of the world.” It surest and the safest way (nay, the only sure was as one of the flock that he was smitten; and safe way upon which we may calculate and as the Lamb he sitteth on the throne, and beforehand) to become the Christian man, is receiveth honour and praise and adoration to be the Christian youth, the Christian boy, from the hosts of heaven. This may well go the Christian child, the Christian babe. This to complete the happiness and security of his is the very purpose of God, the method of his
institution of a Christian church, that men of the flock, those whom he carries in his might be born into the fold of Christ, and arms. brought up by Christian parents in the law of But this is an important view of the Chris. Christ. Does this seem self-evident? as a tian life. I doubt not it is a true one ; as true thing, confessed, needing, no proof? From as that wretched notion of giving to God the this place it may; but it is strangely at va- worn-out remnant of an ill-spent life is loathriance with the maxims and the practice of some and hateful in his sight. There are mankind : “Let him bave bis run”; “He solemn consequences which must be drawn will sober down by-and-bye”; “Boys will from it-solemn thoughts for parents, chilbe boys”; and “Young men will be young dren, god-parents, and teachers; for young, men. "And so, in very truth, they are; for old; for each, for all. I may have other laying up stores of wretchedness and self- opportunities to enforce them : meanwhile, reproach for their declining years, and build- let this summary suffice. ing up obstructions against their return unto There is not one so young but that he may the way of peace.
belong to that fold of which the Lord Jesus Is there any conceivable reason why a man Christ is the good Shepherd; not one upon should become better simply because he be- whom he has not set his mark, and claimed comes older? The passage of time is, in itself, you for his own-opened for you the streams only a pledge that he will become worse. of comfort, and filled for you the cup of grace, But can you tell at what moment a child is You may walk in the ways of pleasantness, first possessed of a will? Can you mark the and plant your footsteps in the paths of peace. instant at which reason dawns? or where But there is not one, younger or elder, in any duty and responsibility first commence ? age or station or circumstance whatever, if Can you draw a distinct and decided line, only reason has begun to dawn and a will and say that on this side duty is, and on that sprung up within him, but has his proper is not-on this side responsibility, on that service to render. You are not at liberty to none?
serve God now, or to delay your service as I believe that there is a simple faith, which you will. You may not stray into the wila very young child may hold; a simple ser- derness, presuming upon the forbearance of vice, which a very young child may render. your heavenly Shepherd that he will seek Very early he may learn that the great God you yet again and save you. It is the wisdom, made him; and soon may be be taught that nay, rather it is the folly, of the world: it is the Lord Jesus redeemed him. How much the ruin of souls : it is the snare of him who is meant by creation, how much more by re- lieth in waiting for the sheep. My brethren, demption, he goes on through life to learn, young, old, let us eaeh remember our calling, and never learns entirely on this side thé its duties. Let us live to-day the Christian grave. If a complete intelligence be neces- life of to-day, that, by the leading of the good sary to a religious faith, how could a man Shepherd, we may live unto the advancement believe at all in this world ? for, without a of to-morrow, pressing onwards towards perdoubt, the greatest knowledge which he can fection. For, this if we do, he will now and reach below, of things divine, be he the ablest throughout our life lead us onward in the of the sons of men, shall seem but utter dark- paths of righteousness. He will be with us ness when the eternal day shall dawn, and in the valley of the shadow of death ; and, the full light of heaven break upon his soul. purifying us into the likeness of his own perAs the understanding ripens, the objects of section (1 John iii. 1), he will take us to faith do indeed grow more distinct; but this dwell with him in his house for ever. Amen. does not hinder but that the child may be. lieve with a faith, O how much more trustful than many a full-grown man! It is the same
THE CANON LAW. in the matter of obedience : as years increase, duties and responsibilities increase; but no one can say when they begin, or how early a child with distinction 15, Gratian enters on a conmay serve its God. But, though you cannot sideration of the councils of the church. In the tell when a child first gains a will and power first canon we find it said: “Among other councils of choice, or when duties begin, this thing of we acknowledge four venerable synods which a sad certainty we know that then Satan comprise principally the whole faith, like the four by temptation works immediately, and nature gospels, or the four rivers of paradise.” The four by its corruption aids him. Blessed, then, Ephesus, and Chalcedon
; and it is added : “These
are then enumerated, of Nice, Constantinople, be God, who is before all with his grace, are the four chief synods, most fully proclaiming who bids us bring our little ones to him in the doctrine of faith.”. baptism, enrol them there among the lambs The second canon is from Gregory the Great,
to the following effect: “As the four books of be mentioned the “Itinerary of the apostle the holy gospel, so I confess that I receive and Peter," ascribed to St. Clement, the "Acts” of reverence the four councils ; viz., that of Nice, in St. Andrew, St. Philip, St. Peter, &c.; the which the perverse doctrine of Arius is destroyed; “Gospel" by St. Thomas, St. Barnabas, &c. that also of Constantinople, in which the error of “The book which is called, The Shepherd," "the Eunomius and Macedonius is condemned ; the book called the Acts of Tecla and the apostle first too of Ephesus, in which the impiety of Nes. Paul,” “the book of the Canons of the Apostles," torius is judged; and that of Chalcedon, in which “ the works of Tertullian,” “the epistle of Jesus the wickedness of Eutyches and Dioscorus is to king Agbarus," &c., &c.—these and all like reprobated : these with entire devotion I embrace, them are, with their authors and the followers and with most perfect approval I keep; because of their authors, condemned for ever under the inin them, as in a squared stone, the structure ot dissoluble bond of anathema.” the holy faith rises, and there is established a rule The canon ends with the assignment of certain of every one's life and conduct. I equally vene- portions of scripture to the various parts of the rate the fifth synod also, in which the epistle, said ecclesiastical year as lessons, together with approto be of Ibas, is condemned, being full of error; in priate homilies. which Theodorus, separating the person of the Mediator between God and man into two sub. stances, is proved to have fallen into faithless NOTES ON RELIGION IN FRANCE. impiety; and in which also the writings of
BY THE AUTHOR OF “BRITTANY AND TIL Theodoret, in which the faith of blessed Cyril is
BIBLE". censured, are refuted as being produced with insane audacity. All persons whom the aforesaid Since I last wrote, religious liberty in France has venerated councils reject I reject: those whom they been still further restrained. Protestantism is respect I embrace; because, since they have been chilled and discouraged : difficulties are raised to established by general consent, be destroys him- its exercise : its professors are excluded from the self, and not them, who presumes either to loose honours of the state, and viewed coldly by the those whom they bind, or to bind those whom authorities : in a word, without being openly perthey loose." The next canou is a remarkable one, It is
secuted, it is everywhere stified and opposed as ascribed to pope Gelasius in a council of seventy
much as possible. It is the practice of the habishops held at Rome; but its credit appears to tainly not: nothing so cruel; but continual bark
mane ratcatcher repeated. No lives taken-cerrest only on the more than doubtful authority of ing of dogs and tinkling of ferret-bells, stopping Isidorus Mercator. We find here an authorization holes everywhere, suspicious morsels laid in of the first four general councils : “ And, if there curious places, and perpetual watching, under are any other councils bitherto held by the
the animals are starved of holy fathers besides the authority of these four, them we decree and command to be kept and frightened to death, or break their hearts, and disreceived." Then follows a list of works which appear from the scene. the catholic church sanctions and receives. Among ligious intention, but with the object of con
Nor is this done with a generally infidel or irrethe names of authors recited are those of Cyprian; ciliating and exalting Romanism. Not long ago Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzum, Basil, John Chrysostom, Theophilus of Alexandria, Cyril of
a deputation of protestants waited on Louis Alexandria, Hilary of Poictiers, Ambrose, Augus- Napoleon to state their position, and ask for its tine, Jerome, Prosper, Leo; and generally, it is amelioration. All was cold as marble-no coradded, the treatises of all the orthodox fathers, dial accueil, so superfluously given to deputations who neither have deviated in anything from in general by the prince-president, as if to show agreement with the holy Roman church, nor have how civil he can be when he likes, but a stern, varied from the declaration of its faith, but have silent reception. It was intimated' in diplomatic by the grace of God been participant in its com
terms that the protestants were not distinguished munion to the last day of their life-these we
by obedience to the laws, &c., and generally that decree to be read.” - Also,” it follows, "the they were at liberty to retire, which they did, decretal epistles, which the most blessed popes at gaining little by their motion. More recently a different times have given from the city of Rome, I high functionary, in talking with the president ea for the counsel of different fathers, are with the subject of religious tolerance, received the signireverence to be received.” There are also enu
ficant answer, “ Entendez vous bien, je suis de la merated, as equally sanctioned, “the acts of the religion du pape,” in which the speaker expressed holy martyrs,". "the lives of Paul, Antonius, the very truth without intending it, as in reality Hilarion, and other hermits, which the most blessed he is neither catholic Gallican nor Roman, but Jerome wrote,” “the acts of St. Sylvester, papist-a follower of the pope in his temporal bishop of the apostolic see,” the writings of the character, a political catholic, and nothing more. finding of the cross of our Lord,” and “of the
As far as we may judge from appearances, everyhead of St. John the Baptist.” A qualified praise thing points to the re-establishment of Romanism is given to Ruffinus and also to Origen, of whom as the state religion. The priestly influence is it is said that "those works are authorized for great still; and, to a man like Louis Napoleon, reading which the most blessed Jerome does not every influence is important. It is not as if he refuse ; but all the rest, with their author, we
was a member of an ancient dynasty. Then tra. declare are to be rejected.” There is afterwards dition, old connexions, and party ties would a long list of works and authors pronounced combine to uphold him; but now, a demiapocryphal and condemned. Among them may
* See Nos. 907 and 910.
usurper, just lifted into a tottering throne, sur- none of them. He used them as tools, just so far rounded by bitter, though temporarily weak oppo- as he pleased, but no further; and when it suited Dents, by nature selfish and intriguing, he natu- him he placed the pope under a forced contriburally seeks all aids to consolidate his power. And tion of a million and a-balf, imprisoned him in what aid so powerful as that of the old religion of St. Angelo, ravaged Rome of her finest pictures the country? True that, practically, France is and statues, laughed at his bull of excommuniinfidel; but still, as Bacon remarks, " men reason cation, and finally made him come to Paris to from theory and experience, but act from custom”; grace his coronation. No state church or religious and so the people would submit without opposition, despotism for him. One tyrant he thought and perhaps even receive with readiness the decree enough at a time; and that should be himwhich again reinstated the Roman-catholic reli- self. Accordingly, he granted toleration widely gion as the religion of the state. The president to all sects, even to the Jews; allowed all equally loves and worships the principle of centralization to practise their religion ; and paid all the minisas the means of carrying out his other great prin-. ters, catholic, protestant, and Jewish, alike; and ciple of order, which, being interpreted, means the doubtless would have done so with a Turkish spider's web, and himself in the centre of it; and mufti, had they possessed a congregation. All the Roman-catholic church offers every help to him this makes a great difficulty for his nephew. to carry out this idea.
"Twixt his uncle's ghost and the pope he has no The other day, in speaking on this subject, sinecure; for pull together they will not; and this he said : “We must have order and unity is my only hope for protestantism in France. It everywhere, all departments united, but sub- is a sad thing to see religious liberty hanging by ordinate as circles within circles, but directed such a rotten thread; but it is not the first appliultimately by one head.” Paris at this moment is cation of the proverb that, when “rogues fall out, a visible example of this. Telegraphic wires con- honest men may come by their own." nect the great departmental towns with the But I will give you an instance of the political government offices in Paris; and thus the govern- justice granted to protestantism. In a country ment is informed in a moment of all that passes like France, containing some thirty millions of 80in the country. Similar wires connect the same called catholics, and some three millions of prooffices with the president's own cabinet ; and thus testants, with inhabitants fond of amusement and he is enabled to direct every movement; and full of gaiety, and with sufficient love of literature those who know the facts say tha the aeria to relish wit and sarcasm, without troubling themmessages run in a perpetual stream. Never was selves to go into the depths of controversy, it is to a dictatorship more strictly carried out in any be expected that the majority endeavour to keep country; and, if Louis XIV. was entitled to say, down the minority, and that in the war of the pen, “L'etat, c'est moi,” much more truly may Louis which must naturally arise, the attacks and Napoleon say, "Moi, je suis l'etat.”' With these charges must be frequent and fierce. A wise viets, we may imagine how useful would be the government would foresee this, and would give a support of the catholic religion. The perfection fair field to all, bounding it only by the equal line and subordination of its hierarchy, the gorgeous- of the law, and placing that line so far from the ness and splendour of its pageantry, its diligent centre as to allow room for healthy exertion. But inculcation of passive obedience, its aptitude for not so is the matter treated in France. There exercising political power, its influence on the Roman-catholics may write what they please conscience in the confessional, its ramifications against protestantism ; but let not protestants through all grades and classes of society, all com- presume to touch Roman-catholicism. In the bine to point it out as a most powerful buttress to state balance to call a Romish priest's character in a government unscrupulous of means and desti- question weighs 500 francs, while you may extute of moral strength. Compared with such haust the catalogue of abuse upon a protestant for qualifications plain protestantism offers nothing at nothing. This has been proved repeatedly; and, all in its black gown and white surplice. It is too in consequence, the grossest libels on protestants stiff-necked, and carries itself too erect, is perhaps and protestantism, sanctioned by the approbation poor withal, and has an unpleasant trick of speak- of bishops and archbishops, circulate freely, while ing its mind without fear or favour , and plain protestants are often forbidden to write at all. I Martin and John must therefore stand aside, and have myself seen charges of adultery, fornication, give place to their betters. All things point to theft, lying, and drunkenness openly made against the re-establishment of Romanism as the state re- protestant clergy in general, in a pamphlet publigion ; and meanwhile the ecclesiastics are exert- lished under episcopal sanction, and sold openly ing all their power on the side of the government and without fear, while I have also seen a mere The pope sends letters to his “beloved son Louis”; 1 quotation of history reflecting against the papacy, the jesuits are in full life and activity; priests by a protestant, punished by fine and imprisoneverywhere look rampant and speak loudly: all ment. The latter happened in the case of the things announce the wedding. The only hope I celebrated M. Roussel, an excellent preacher and see at present is in the shade and memory of writer, the publishers of whose tract, “ The popes Napoleon the Great. It is well known that Louis painted by themselves,” were sentenced to a year's Napoleon follows, with an almost religious exac- prison and 500 francs fine. But, worse than this, titude, the traces of his celebrated uncle; and it in a recent instance the authorities refused peris amusing to see the stumbles he makes in trying mission to protestants to publish a monthly periwith his shorter limbs to step the long strides of odical, although there was nothing controversial his namesake. Now, Napoleon the Great bated in it-nothing, in fact, but very simple matter of a the priests with a perfect hatred; and would have general nature. Now this is infamous--the pro