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second temple now ? where is this building in which a display of the divine goodness was to fill it with glory? in which the divine glory was to be greater than the former? It is not possible to understand that the words of the prophet can apply to any circumstance at this age of the world, because the second temple, in which this superior glory was to appear, was laid in ashes by the Roman army eighteen hundred years since.'
Our limits forbid the consideration of the great changes signified by shaking all nations. Such language is prophetic of the revolutions that will take place in the moral and political world. All systems of morals inconsistent with divine truth will be removed. All governments not founded in righteousness will be destroyed. Indeed, the gospel is designed to renovate our world. Before the light of truth, darkness will fee apace. The reign of Christ is strikingly presented by the Psalmist :-He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass, as showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. ‘Yea, all kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve him.' 'His name shall endure forever; his name shall be continued as long as the sun;
and men shall be blessed in him; all nations shall call him blessed.' Amen and Amen.
XXIV. DOOR OF THE SHEEP.
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, 1 am the door of the sheep.'
John x. 7.
Jesus, during his ministry, frequently employed parabolic language, both because such a mode of communication was popular in his time, and because best adapted to the human mind generally. To us, however, there is a degree of obscurity in this mode, resulting from our ignorance of the customs to which he alluded, and from which he borrowed his imagery. The student of the Bible, therefore, finds it necessary to study the manners and usages of the people among whom our Lord spent his earthly pilgrimage. As the history of the peculiarities and employments of that people become better known, more light will be thrown on the truths communicated and the parables employed.
The Jews sometimes kept the sheep of several persons in enclosures. These folds had a door, under the care of a porter.
When the true owner came, the door was opened to him, and as his 'sheep knew his voice,' they 'followed him. If a thief came, he would 'climb up some other way. If a stranger came, they would 'flee from him, for they knew not the voice of strangers.' In John v. 2, allusion is made to the sheep-market,' which, perhaps, was the place where sheep, when brought to Jerusalem, were
enclosed for safety. Benson says, 'When Jesus was in Jerusalem, near the temple, where sheep were penned up, or kept in folds, to be sold for sacrifices, he spake many things parabolically of the sheep, the true and good shepherd, and the door of the sheepfold; and discovered that he spake of the sheepfolds which were to be hired in the market-place, by speaking of such folds as a thief could not enter by the door, nor the shepherd himself open, but a porter opened the door.'*
By turning back to chapter ix. 40, it will be seen that our Lord evidently spake the parable to the Pharisees.
But what are we to understand by the door? Interpreters have been very fanciful on this point, and perhaps we may not be so happy as to present the true meaning. The word is somewhat frequent in the Scriptures, and is used in a variety of forms. Besides the common signification, it means the sinner's heart:-'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.'t It is used in reference to the season granted by Jehovah to the Jews for receiving the gospel. I We read of the 'door of faith,'|| and 'door of utterance.’s The word is used in reference to secret devotions - When thou prayest, enter into thy
* Life of Christ, p. 438. With him Sir Isaac Newton agrees. For a more full description of the Jewish mode of taking care of their sheep, see "Notes and Mustrations of the Parables,' by Rev. T. Whittemore, particularly the parables of the Lost Sheep,' and 'the Shepherd and his Flock.'
+ Rev. iii. 20. See Parable of the Marriage Supper, Matt. xxv. 41 Acts xiv. 27. § Col. iv. 3.
closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret.'*
By the door in the motto we are to understand that Jesus is the medium of salvation to a lost world. Much the same is meant here as in the titles, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.' We are to enter by him, or through his doctrine, into the enjoyment of the spiritual blessings promised by the gospel. Hence he says, 'I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.' If we attempt to enter through any other door than Christ Jesus, we shall find no pasture, and if we climb up some other way, we are thieves and robbers.' A solemn thought is here presented to the ministers of Christ. All who enter the sacred minis try must come in through him as the door, otherwise they will be unfaithful to the sacred cause. few we believe have entered the right door. The most part have come in from other motives than to serve the cause of truth. Some have entered through the door of ambition, some through that of popularity, others from a love of ease, and many from a desire for wealth. Some, who pretend to have entered, find no pasture for themselves, or if they do, they find none for others. Such persons have entered the wrong door, or been climbing up some other way.' They have put on the appearance of the true shepherd,' and they have made the flocks desolate.' They have not 'fed the flock of God.' But the Chief Shepherd will appear.' The door is open, and ultimately Gentile and Jew will enter, to the praise and glory of God,
* Matt. vi. 6.
In conclusion, to show the views some people have of 'the door,' we subjoin a lively sketch of a conversation held between Rev. John Murray and a Mr. Tennant, whose conduct sufficiently shows that he had entered any other door than that of Christ Jesus. While Mr. Murray was visiting some of his friends, he was thus accosted :-'I want to know, sir, by what authority you presume to preach in this place ?' 'Pray, sir, by what authority do you thus presume to question me?' 'I am, sir, placed here by Almighty God, to look after the affairs of his church and people; and I have a right to insist on knowing who and what you are.' 'Well, sir, if you be placed here as the vicegerent of heaven, you should take care how you conduct; you have a great charge, and your responsibility is proportioned to its magnitude. But, sir, I am not assuming; I have no design upon your people; I am like a person in the time of harvest, who steps into the field, and binds up some sheaves, making no demand upon the proprietor of the grounds. I have never attempted to scatter your sheep; I have not even plucked a lock of their wool. I do not wish to govern-I only aim at being a help.' 'I do not like you a bit the better for all this stuff. I insist on knowing whether you came in at the door?' 'I wish to know, sir, what door you mean?' 'I mean the door of the church; all who come not in at that door are thieves and robbers.' 'But, sir, I would know what church you mean. The pope declares there is no true church save the one of which he is the head. The Episcopal bishop affirms there is no true church but that of which the king is the head. Do you, sir, mean