Tag Archives: The Good Shepherd

“He shall carry you safely home” by J.C. Ryle

“Let all the world know that the Lord Christ is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. As a father pitieth his children, so He pitieth them that fear Him.

As one whom his mother comforteth, so will He comfort His people. (James 5:11; Matt. 12:20; Ps. 103:13; Isa. 66:13.)

He cares for the lambs of His flock as well as for the old sheep.

He cares for the sick and feeble ones of His fold as well as for the strong. It is written that He will carry them in His bosom, rather than let one of them be lost. (Isaiah 40:11.)

He cares for the least member of His body, as well as for the greatest.

He cares for the babes of His family as well as the grown up men.

He cares for the tenderest little plants in His garden as well as for the cedar of Lebanon. All are in His book of life, and all are under His charge. All are given to Him in an everlasting covenant, and He has undertaken, in spite of all weaknesses, to bring every one safe home.

Only let a sinner lay hold on Christ by faith, and then, however feeble, Christ’s word is pledged to him, ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.’ He may correct him occasionally in love.

He may gently reprove him at times. But He will never, never give him up. The devil shall never pluck him from Christ’s hand.

Let all the world know that the Lord Jesus will not cast away His believing people because of short-comings and infirmities. The husband does not put away his wife because he finds failings in her.

The mother does not forsake her infant because it is weak, feeble, and ignorant. And the Lord Christ does not cast off poor sinners who have committed their souls into His hands because He sees in them blemishes and imperfections.

Oh! no! It is His glory to pass over the faults of His people, and heal their backslidings,—to make much of their weak graces, and to pardon their many faults.

Who is there now among the readers of this paper that feels desires after salvation, but is afraid to become decided, lest by-and-by he should fall away? Consider, I beseech you, the tenderness and patience of the Lord Jesus, and be afraid no more.

Fear not to take up the cross, and come out boldly from the world. That same Lord and Saviour who bore with the disciples is ready and willing to bear with you.

If you stumble, He will raise you.

If you err, He will gently bring you back.

If you faint, He will revive you.

He will not lead you out of Egypt, and then suffer you to perish in the wilderness. He will conduct you safe into the promised land.

Only commit yourself to His guidance, and then, my soul for yours, He shall carry you safely home. Only hear Christ’s voice, and follow Him, and you shall never perish.”

–J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 299–300.

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“Like a good shepherd” by J.C. Ryle

“Like a good shepherd, Christ knows all His believing people. Their names, their families, their dwelling-places, their circumstances, their private history, their experience, their trials,—with all these things Jesus is perfectly acquainted.

There is not a thing about the least and lowest of them with which He is not familiar. The children of this world may not know Christians, and may count their lives folly; but the Good Shepherd knows them thoroughly, and, wonderful to say, though He knows them, does not despise them.

Like a Good Shepherd, Christ cares tenderly for all His believing people. He provides for all their wants in the wilderness of this world, and leads them by the right way to a city of habitation.

He bears patiently with their many weaknesses and infirmities, and does not cast them off because they are wayward, erring, sick, footsore, or lame.

He guards and protects them against all their enemies, as Jacob did the flock of Laban; and of those that the Father has given Him He will be found at last to have lost none.

Like a Good Shepherd, Christ lays down His life for the sheep. He did it once for all, when He was crucified for them. When He saw that nothing could deliver them from hell and the devil, but His blood, He willingly made His soul an offering for their sins.

The merit of that death He is now presenting before the Father’s throne. The sheep are saved for evermore, because the Good Shepherd died for them. This is indeed a love that passeth knowledge!

‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.'” (John 15:13)

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1878), 2:189–190. Ryle is commenting on John 10:10-18.

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“He will not break the bruised reed” by J.C. Ryle

“Let all the world know that the Lord Christ is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. As a father pitieth his children, so He pitieth them that fear Him.

As one whom his mother comforteth, so will He comfort His people. (James 5:11; Matt. 12:20; Ps. 103:13; Isa. 66:13.)

He cares for the lambs of His flock as well as for the old sheep.

He cares for the sick and feeble ones of His fold as well as for the strong. It is written that He will carry them in His bosom, rather than let one of them be lost. (Isaiah 40:11.)

He cares for the least member of His body, as well as for the greatest.

He cares for the babes of His family as well as the grown up men.

He cares for the tenderest little plants in His garden as well as for the cedar of Lebanon. All are in His book of life, and all are under His charge. All are given to Him in an everlasting covenant, and He has undertaken, in spite of all weaknesses, to bring every one safe home.

Only let a sinner lay hold on Christ by faith, and then, however feeble, Christ’s word is pledged to him, ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.’ He may correct him occasionally in love.

He may gently reprove him at times. But He will never, never give him up. The devil shall never pluck him from Christ’s hand.

Let all the world know that the Lord Jesus will not cast away His believing people because of short-comings and infirmities. The husband does not put away his wife because he finds failings in her.

The mother does not forsake her infant because it is weak, feeble, and ignorant. And the Lord Christ does not cast off poor sinners who have committed their souls into His hands because He sees in them blemishes and imperfections.

Oh! no! It is His glory to pass over the faults of His people, and heal their backslidings,—to make much of their weak graces, and to pardon their many faults.

Who is there now among the readers of this paper that feels desires after salvation, but is afraid to become decided, lest by-and-by he should fall away? Consider, I beseech you, the tenderness and patience of the Lord Jesus, and be afraid no more.

Fear not to take up the cross, and come out boldly from the world. That same Lord and Saviour who bore with the disciples is ready and willing to bear with you.

If you stumble, He will raise you.

If you err, He will gently bring you back.

If you faint, He will revive you.

He will not lead you out of Egypt, and then suffer you to perish in the wilderness. He will conduct you safe into the promised land.

Only commit yourself to His guidance, and then, my soul for yours, He shall carry you safe home. Only hear Christ’s voice, and follow Him, and you shall never perish.”

–J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 299–300.

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“Our guide and our God” by John Newton

“The Redeemer of sinners must be mighty. He must be all-sufficient to bless, and almighty to protect, those who come unto Him for safety and life. Such a one is our Shepherd.

This is He of whom we, through grace, are enabled to say, we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. We are His by every tie and right: He made us, He redeemed us, He reclaimed us from the hand of our enemies.

And we are His by our own voluntary surrender of ourselves; for though we once slighted, despised, and opposed Him, He made us willing in the day of His power.

He knocked at the door of our hearts; but we (at least I) barred and fastened it against Him as much and as long as possible: but when He revealed His love, we could stand out no longer.

Like sheep, we are weak, destitute, defenceless, prone to wander, unable to return, and always surrounded with wolves; but all is made up in the fullness, ability, wisdom, compassion, care, and faithfulness of our great Shepherd.

He guides, protects, feeds, heals, and restores, and will be our guide and our God even until death. Then He will meet us, receive us, and present us unto Himself, and we shall be near Him, and like Him, and with Him forever.”

–John Newton, “Letter XVI – November 5, 1774” in The Works of the John Newton Volume 1 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 494-495.

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“The God of love my sherpherd is” by George Herbert

The God of love my shepherd is,
And He that doth me feed:
While He is mine, and I am His,
What can I want or need?

He leads me to the tender grass,
Where I both feed and rest;
Then to the streams that gently pass;
In both I have the best.

Or if I stray, He doth convert
And bring my mind in frame:
And all this not for my desert,
But for His holy name.

Yea, in death’s shady black abode
Well may I walk, not fear:
For Thou art with me; and Thy rod
To guide, Thy staff to bear.

Nay, Thou dost make me sit and dine,
Ev’n in my enemies sight:
My head with oil, my cup with wine
Runs over day and night.

Surely Thy sweet and wondrous love
Shall measure all my days;
And as it never shall remove,
So neither shall my praise.

–George Herbert, from “The 23rd Psalm” in Herbert: Poems (Everyman Library) (New York: Knopf, 2004), 226.

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“Our good Shepherd” by Charles Spurgeon

“He shall gather the lambs with his arm.” —Isaiah 40:11

“Our good Shepherd has in His flock a variety of experiences, some are strong in the Lord, and others are weak in faith, but He is impartial in His care for all His sheep, and the weakest lamb is as dear to Him as the most advanced of the flock.

Lambs are wont to lag behind, prone to wander, and apt to grow weary, but from all the danger of these infirmities the Shepherd protects them with His arm of power. He finds new-born souls, like young lambs, ready to perish—He nourishes them till life becomes vigorous; He finds weak minds ready to faint and die—He consoles them and renews their strength.

All the little ones He gathers, for it is not the will of our heavenly Father that one of them should perish. What a quick eye He must have to see them all! What a tender heart to care for them all! What a far-reaching and potent arm, to gather them all!

In His lifetime on earth He was a great gatherer of the weaker sort, and now that He dwells in heaven, His loving heart yearns towards the meek and contrite, the timid and feeble, the fearful and fainting here below.

How gently did He gather me to Himself, to His truth, to His blood, to His love, to His church! With what effectual grace did He compel me to come to Himself! Since my conversion, how frequently has He restored me from my wanderings, and once again folded me within the circle of His everlasting arm!

The best of all is, that He does it all himself personally, not delegating the task of love, but condescending Himself to rescue and preserve His most unworthy servant. How shall I love Him enough or serve Him worthily? I would fain make His name great unto the ends of the earth, but what can my feebleness do for Him?

Great Shepherd, add to Thy mercies this one other, a heart to love Thee more truly as I ought.”

–Charles Spurgeon, “October 17 – Evening” in Morning and Evening (Geanies House, Fearn, Scotland, UK: Christian Focus, 1994),  609.

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“Tell Him all your sorrows” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“My dear friend,

I fear I may not be able to see you for a little time, and therefore think of sending you a few lines to minister a little of the peace and grace of the Lord Jesus to you. I hear that you are worse in health than when I saw you; still I have no doubt you can say, ‘It is well,’ ‘He doeth all things well.’

You remember Jacob said, when they wanted to take Benjamin away from him, ‘All these things are against me,’ (Gen. 42:36). But in a little while he saw that ‘all these things were working together for good to him.’ In a little while all his lost children were restored to him, and he and his seed preserved from famine.

So will it be with you. If at any time unbelief steals over your heart—if you lose sight of Jesus, our Passover sacrificed for us—if you forget the hand of the all-tender gracious Father of Jesus and of your soul—you will be crying out, ‘All these things are against me.’

But ah! How soon you will find that everything in your history, except sin, has been for you. Every wave of trouble has been wafting you to the sunny shores of a sinless eternity. Only believe. Give unlimited credit to our God.

Think on Jesus when your mind wanders in search of peace; think where He came from—from the bosom of His Father. He was from the beginning. He is the life—the life of all that truly live. He is that eternal life which was with the Father. Let the beams of the divinity of Jesus shine in upon your soul.

Think how He was manifested—God manifest in the flesh—to be a Surety for sinners. Made sin for us, although He knew no sin,—made a curse for us. Oh, if I could declare Him unto you, you might have fellowship with apostles, and with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things will we write unto you, that your joy may be full.

Other joys do not fill the heart. But to know the Lord Jesus as our Surety, satisfies the soul; it brings the soul unto rest under the eye of our pardoning God. I met the other day with a thought which has filled my heart often since. It is intended to explain that wonderful verse, John 14:18, ‘I will not leave you orphans—I will come to you.’

Jesus, at the right hand of the Father, is yet present with all His younger brethren and sisters in this vale of weeping. His human nature is at the right hand of God upon the throne—a lamb as it had been slain. But His divine nature is unlimited, fills all worlds, and is present in every dwelling of every disciple in this world.

His divine nature thus brings in continual information to His human heart of everything that is going on in the heart and history of His people; so that His human heart beats towards us just as if He were sitting by our side. Hence He cried to Saul, ‘Why persecutest thou Me?’

Dear friend, do you feel that Jesus is your Surety and Elder Brother? Then remember that, by reason of His real divinity, He is now by your bedside, afflicted in all your afflictions, touched with a feeling of your infirmities, and able to save you to the utter most. He is as really beside you as He was beside Mary when she sat at His feet.

Tell Him all your sorrows, all your doubts and anxieties. He has a willing ear. Oh, what a friend is Jesus, the sinner’s friend! What an open ear He has for all the wants, doubts, difficulties of His people! He has an especial care for His sick, weakly, and dying disciples.

You know how it is with a kind mother, even though a worldly person. In a time of danger she clasps her children to her breast. In a time of health she may often let them wander out of her sight, but in hours of sickness she will watch beside their bed. Much more will Jesus watch over you.

I trust you feel real desire after complete holiness. This is the truest mark of being born again. It is a mark that He has made us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. So may you be made meet for glory. The farmer does not cut down his corn till it is ripe. So does the Lord Jesus: He first ripens the soul, then gathers it into his barn.

It is far better to be with Christ than to be in Christ. For you to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Nevertheless, I trust God will keep you a little longer for our sake, that you may pray for us, and encourage us to work on in the service of Jesus till our change come.

I began this letter about two weeks ago, and now send it away to you. I was called very suddenly to Edinburgh, and then sent to the north, and am just returned again, so that I did not get it sent away. I will try and see you this week, if it be the will of God. However, you must not be disappointed if I am prevented.

I pray for you, that according as your day is, so your strength may be. Keep your eye upon Jesus and the unsearchable riches that are in Him; and may the gentle Comforter fill your soul, and give you a sweet foretaste of the glory that is to follow.

May He leave His deep eternal impress upon your soul, not healing you and going away, but abiding within you, keeping the image of Christ in your heart, ever fresh and full,—Christ in you the hope of glory. The Comforter is able to fill you with calmness in the stormiest hour.

May He fill your whole soul and transform you into a child of light. Goodbye till we meet, if it be the Lord’s will. If not in this world, at least before the throne, casting our crowns at His feet.

Ever yours in the gospel,

Robert Murray M’Cheyne”

–Robert Murray M’Cheyne, “To Miss A. S. L.: August 16, 1840,” in Robert Murray M’Cheyne and Andrew A. Bonar, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne (Edinburgh; London: Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier, 1894), 245-247.

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