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not hereby justified : but he that judgeth me is the Lord.”
Therefore " let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak :"5 slow to speak in his own favour, as if truth could only dwell with himself: and slower still to speak in condemnation of others : but let him be swift to hear, for he has much to learn, and it may be much to unlearn. Such is the child-like spirit, with which the kingdom of heaven must be received: the spirit which Eli displayed, when he, the aged priest, the judge of Israel, required the infant Samuel to hide nothing from him of all the things which the Lord had said unto him. 6 " What is the thing that the Lord hath said unto thee? I pray thee, hide it not from me.” Whoever has a due sense (a due sense, indeed, no one has — but whoever has an enlightened sense) of the value of the soul, will feel that when so much is at stake, nothing must be slighted or neglected, which can relate to its welfare. The eyes of many have been opened to danger which they had long despised, even on this side the grave. It is melancholy to reflect, that at the day of judgment, the eyes of many more may be opened, which had been wilfully closed here : the eyes of those who had said, we see ;—therefore their sin remaineth.
* 1 Cor. iv. 3, 4. 5 James i. 19. 6 1 Sam. iii. 17.
JESUS DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS THE DOOR OF
John X. 1–10.
1. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3. To him the porter openeth ; and the sheep hear his voice : and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
4. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
5. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
The last chapter described the manner in which the Pharisees treated the blind man, when they cast him out of the synagogue because he took the part of Jesus, who had given him sight. Yet the Pharisees were leaders of the people,—their instructors : they professed to guide and feed the sheep: whom they would they admitted, and whom they would they excluded from the fold. This may have led to the parable which we are
now to consider. The Lord speaks of the people as of sheep that are folded. And he speaks of the fold, as having a door of entrance. And he describes himself as that door, through which whoever has a real claim to lead or guide the sheep must enter in. He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
John the Baptist, for instance, had entered by the appointed door. He had directed the people to Jesus, as possessed of power which he himself had not, as entitled to honour which he could not claim : as the predicted “ Lamb of God, who should take away the sin of the world.” The Pharisees, on the contrary, used all their authority to disparage Jesus. They refused his testimony, denied his miracles, contradicted his doctrine, and agreed that if any should confess that he was the Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
Hence he lays down a rule by which the shepherd of the sheep may be at all times known. He that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep : he that, like St. Paul, “ desires to know nothing among them save Jesus Christ, and him crucified ;” as the only “name under heaven given among men, whereby we may be saved.” This is to enter in by the door. And to such the porter openeth. Their way is prepared by the Spirit of God, who disposes many hearts to listen to their teaching : the sheep hear the voice of such a shepherd, and are led by him : he goeth before them in
the way that they should choose, and they follow him :-they are followers of him, as he is of Christ: they know his voice, for it is that to which they are accustomed : but they know not the voice of strangers, who use another tone, or speak a different language.
Such is the agreeable contemplation presented to us by the parable. It is an interesting sight to observe a flock of sheep going quietly on their way: not driven by violence, or harassed by noise; but slowly moving onwards, with their shepherd before them, carrying perhaps a lamb in his bosom, or gently leading those that are with young. From time to time they linger awhile, and graze by the way side : but still he is leading them forward, and they are making progress towards the spot where he intends them to , remain. And this sight, pleasing in itself, becomes still more so when it is compared with the minister of the gospel, to whom is committed the charge of Christ's sheep in this sinful world. He calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. Are any missing ? any needing his peculiar care ? He answers the prophet's description, (Ezek. xxxiv. 16,) and “ seeks that which was lost, and brings again that which was driven away, and binds up that which was broken, and strengthens that which was sick.” And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them. He directs and leads, but does not drive them : he goes before them in whatsoever things are true, and honest, and just, and pure, and lovely, and of good report : “ by
pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God.”. And thus he conducts them “ through the wilderness like a flock,” proceeding onwards to a safe retreat, to a never-failing pasture, to an undisturbed fold ; into which “ the chief shepherd” is already entered, and is watching to preserve his sheep, now scattered in this world of trial, and waiting to receive them into a world of safety and of joy. There they shall “ neither hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor the sun smite them.”2 For through all eternity “the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters :" and the shepherd and the sheep shall rejoice together.
6. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
7. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
8. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers : but the sheep did not hear them.
9. I am the door : by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Here our Lord represents himself still more clearly as the door of the sheep : the only entrance, by which either the sheep or the shepherds can enter into the heavenly fold. All who were used 1 2 Cor. vi. 6.
2 Is. xlix. 10.