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Pastoral Counsels.

I.

THE LORD OUR SHEPHERD.

PSALM xxiii.

The Psalm just read ought to be most precious to every believer, but more especially so to the sick, as setting forth so beautifully the loving-kindness and tender mercies of the Most High. It should cheer and refresh you to feel that although you are here shut out from the healthful air of day, and are prevented from taking pleasure in former occupations and pursuits, and though wearisome days and nights may be appointed you, yet He who, for His own wise ends, has permitted this sickness, is the Good Shepherd of His chosen people. Try now to think the less of your present pain, while our thoughts 2

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revert awhile to the Lord our Shepherd. How pleasantly does the prophet Isaiah exhibit both the tenderness of God and the perfect safety of His trusting people in those prophetic words that have reference to the then coming Saviour !—“He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.And what are the comforting words of the Lord Jesus Himself, “I am the Good Shepherd : the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep ?the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine.” “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold and One Shepherd.And elsewhere, again, the love of this Good Shepherd and the safety of His flock are shown in the words, “None shall pluck them out of My hand.”

And now turn to the Psalm we are studying. It brings us very pleasantly into the midst of quiet pastoral scenes. It seems to set before us fresh green meadows, fertilizing streams, and sheep grazing peacefully together-scenes of nature such as we shall pray presently you may be permitted to visit again-if it be God's will. But now, instead of keeping before your mind those sheep, substitute for them the souls of sincere believers in the Lord

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