Psalm 23:2
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
Beside the Still WatersC. Beard, B. A.Psalm 23:2
Good PasturageO. Sedgwick, B. D.Psalm 23:2
Green PasturesH. Wellwood Moncreiff, D. D.Psalm 23:2
Pastures that Please as Well as FeedSir Richard Baker.Psalm 23:2
Repose in LifeW. C. E. Newbolt, M. A.Psalm 23:2
Spiritual RestF. B. Meyer, B. A.Psalm 23:2
Still WatersW. M. Statham.Psalm 23:2
Still WatersP. W. Darnton, . B. A.Psalm 23:2
Still WatersSir Richard Baker.Psalm 23:2
The Green PasturesJames Stuart.Psalm 23:2
The Green Pastures and Still Waters Where the Flock are FedJ. R. Macduff, D. D.Psalm 23:2
The Guardian Care of GodGeorge Bainton.Psalm 23:2
The Oases of LifeG. Edward Young.Psalm 23:2
God's Providential CareC. Short Psalm 23:1-4
A Deep Consciousness of GodAlexander Field.Psalm 23:1-6
A Psalm of Personal Trust in GodA. Maclaren, D. D.Psalm 23:1-6
A Trustful ConfidenceJ. Jennings.Psalm 23:1-6
Choice Properties of SheepO. Sedgwick, B. D.Psalm 23:1-6
Confidence in the ShepherdAnon.Psalm 23:1-6
David's Confidence in the Prospect of the FutureC. Bradley, M. A.Psalm 23:1-6
Exegesis of the PsalmT. H. Rich, D. D.Psalm 23:1-6
JehovahO. Sedgwick, B. D.Psalm 23:1-6
Jesus as My ShepherdPsalm 23:1-6
Personal Relationship with GodJames Stuart.Psalm 23:1-6
Religious Conceptions Coloured by Secular VocationCharles H. Parkhurst, D. D.Psalm 23:1-6
Serenity of SoulPhillips Brooks, D. D.Psalm 23:1-6
Sufficiency in GodG. S. Reaney.Psalm 23:1-6
The Chiefest Shepherd to be YoursO. Sedgwick, B. D.Psalm 23:1-6
The Divine ShepherdT. De Wilt Talmage.Psalm 23:1-6
The Divine Supply of Human WantO. Sedgwick, B. D.Psalm 23:1-6
The God of the World as Seen by the GoodHomilistPsalm 23:1-6
The Good ShepherdW. Forsyth Psalm 23:1-6
The Good Shepherd and His FlockC. Clemance Psalm 23:1-6
The Life of FaithJ. O. Keen, D. D.Psalm 23:1-6
The Lord a ShepherdJohn Hill.Psalm 23:1-6
The Lord Our ShepherdE. H. Hopkins.Psalm 23:1-6
The Lord Our ShepherdT. Campbell Finlayson.Psalm 23:1-6
The Pasture GateMarvin R. Vincent, D. D.Psalm 23:1-6
The Power of ReflectionW. Forsyth Psalm 23:1-6
The Properties of a Good ShepherdO. Sedgwick, B. D.Psalm 23:1-6
The Psalm of FaithTalbot W. Chambers, D. D.Psalm 23:1-6
The Shepherd Figure for JesusF. B. Meyer, B. A.Psalm 23:1-6
The Shepherd GodL. A. Banks, D. D.Psalm 23:1-6
The Shepherd King of IsraelA. Maclaren, D. D.Psalm 23:1-6
The Shepherd King of MenGeorge Bainton.Psalm 23:1-6
The Song of the FlockJ. R. Macduff, D. D.Psalm 23:1-6
What the Lord is to the BelieverArthur T. Pierson D. D.Psalm 23:1-6

This is one of the sweetest of all the psalms. That it was written by him who was raised from having care of a flock to be the king on Israel's throne, there is no reason for doubting, spite of all that destructive critics may say. No amount of Hebrew scholarship can possibly let any one into the deep meaning of this psalm. No attainments in English literature will ever initiate any student into the mysteries of a mother's love, and no attainments in Oriental learning will help any one to learn the secret of the Lord which is here disclosed. There is nothing to equal it in the sacred books of the East; for none but the Hebrews have ever had such a disclosure of God as that in which the writer of this psalm rejoices. Every clause in this psalm is suggestive enough to be the basis of a separate discourse; but in accordance with our plan in this section of the 'Pulpit Commentary,' we deal with it as a unity, indicating the wealth of material for perpetual use therein contained. We have presented to us - Four aspects of the Shepherd-care of God.

I. GOD'S SHEPHERD-CARE DISCLOSED IN REVELATION. For the Scripture doctrine of God's relation to his people as their Shepherd, the student may with advantage study and compare the following: Psalm 74:1; Psalm 77:20; Psalm 79:13; Psalm 80:1; Psalm 95:7; Psalm 100:3; Psalm 119:176; Isaiah 40:11; Isaiah 53:6; Jeremiah 31:10; Jeremiah 23:1-3; Ezekiel 34; Micah 7:14; Zechariah 11:16; Zechariah 13:7; Matthew 10:6; Matthew 15:24; Matthew 18:12; Luke 15:4-6; John 10:1-16, 26-29; John 21:16; Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; 1 Peter 5:4. These passages summarize Bible teaching on this theme for us. We may set it forth under the following heads:

1. God is related to men as their Shepherd. A purely absolute Being out of relation does not exist. To whatever God has made he stands in the relation of Maker. And when he has made man in his own image, after his likeness, he stands to such a one in a relation corresponding thereto; and of the many names he bears to express that relation, few more tenderly illustrate his watchful care than this word "shepherd."

2. This relation is manifested in Jesus Christ. (John 10:1-16.) He claims to be emphatically "the good Shepherd." The apostle speaks of him as "the Shepherd and Bishop of... souls."

3. As the Shepherd, Jesus came to seek and save the lost. His mission on earth was emphatically for this. He regards men as his wealth, in which he rejoices; and if they ace not under his loving care he misses them - he is conscious of something lacking (Luke 15:4-6).

4. He has risen and ascendent up on high as the great Shepherd of the sheep (Hebrews 13:20).

5. He now appoints under-shepherds to care for the flock. (Acts 20:28.)

6. As the chief Shepherd, he will again appear. Then he will gather in and gather home all the flock (1 Peter 5:4).

7. Only as he gathers men to himself as their Shepherd, do they find safety and rest. (1 Peter 2:25.) Till then they are homeless wanderers, perpetually in danger of stumbling "over the dark mountains."

8. When men return to him they find all they need in his Shepherd-care. (Psalm 23.)

9. This Shepherd-care is for each as well as for all. Each one may say, "He loved me, and gave himself up for me;" "The Lord is my Shepherd." Let us not forget to note the Shepherd's individualizing care.

II. GOD'S SHEPHERD-CARE EXERCISED IN ACT. The points of detail are set forth in this psalm with exquisite tenderness and beauty,

1. Repose. "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." In such a restless age as this, there is no thought which a believer has greater need to appropriate than this (see Mark 6:31). As physically we must find time for sleep, however severe the pressure of work, so spiritually we must find time for repose. And God's gracious arrangements are planned with a view to this. "He maketh me," etc. The good Shepherd says, "I will give you rest." When he gets back the wandering sheep he lays it on his own shoulders (Greek, see Luke 15:5). The Master never expects his servants to be always on the stretch. He tells them to "rest awhile;" and if they are heedless of this kind monition, he will himself call them out of the rush into the hush of life. It would be well if some Christians thought more of rest in Christ; their work would be richer in quality even if less in quantity.

2. Refreshment. "Still waters;" literally, "waters of rest," or refreshment. The believer has no craving thirst: he can ever drink of the living stream, and therewith be refreshed (see John 4:10; Revelation 7:17). Dropping the figure, the truth here conveyed is that there shall be a constant supply of the grace of Christ, and of the Spirit of Christ (cf. John 7:37-39).

3. Restoration. (Ver. 3.) This may either mean renewing the strength when worn down, or bringing back after wandering. We need not omit either thought, though the latter seems principally intended.

4. Leadership. (Ver. 3.) "Paths of righteousness," i.e. straight paths. This follows on the restoration. Having recalled him from "by-paths," the good Shepherd will lead him in the right way. The sheep can wander wide easily enough, but if they are to be kept in the right way that can be only through the Shepherd's care. God guides by

(1) his Word;

(2) his providence;

(3) his Spirit.

Sometimes, indeed, the way may be dark, even as death itself; still it is the right way (Psalm 107:7; Ezra 8:21-23).

5. A living presence. "Thou art with me' (ver. 4). This means, "Thou art continually with me," not merely with me in the darkness, but with me always. The sunshine of the living presence of a Guide, Help, Friend, Saviour, is always on the believer's path; and if the mingling of unbelief with faith did not dim the eyesight, he would always rejoice in it.

6. Discipline. (Ver. 4.) The rod and staff are special emblems of the Shepherd's care in tending and ruling the flock. The Shepherd chides us when we rove, and uses sometimes sharp measures ere he recalls us. And this comforts us! Even so. The disciplinary dealings of our God are among our greatest mercies.

7. Ample provision. (Ver. 5.) The riches of God's love and life are the provisions on which we feed, and on which souls can grow and thrive; and these supplies are ministered to the soul through the invisible channels of God's grace, even while enemies prowl around. Yea, we are entertained as guests st the Father's board. The anointing oil is the token of the right royal welcome which the Host delights to give! So rich, so abundant, are the mercies and joys which are vouchsafed, that our "cup runneth over"!


1. Here is appropriation. "My Shepherd" (see John 10:11, 27, 28).

2. Here is satisfaction. "I shall not want."

3. Here is loyalty. The psalmist not only consents to but delights in this Divine care, and has no wish but to follow where the Shepherd leads.

4. Here is joy. This thought is (perhaps Intently, but really) in the expression, "Thou art with me." The presence of God is life's exceeding joy.

5. Here is fearlessness. "I will fear no evil." Not even the darkest shade can make him fear, for God is with him there.

6. Here is recognition of the infinite grace of the Shepherd. (Ver. 3.) "For his Name's sake." Not for our sakes, but for his own; having undertaken to be the Shepherd, he will for his own glory's sake do all that a shepherd's care demands.

IV. THE SHEPHERD-CARE OF GOD IS CELEBRATED IN SONG. The song has a threefold significance.

1. It is a song of gratitude. "Goodness and mercy" mark every feature of the Divine treatment, and they will, to life's end.

2. It is a song of hope. The psalmist looks forward, without a moment's fear of the Shepherd ever leaving him (ver. 6).

3. It is a song and vow of consecration. "I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." To what extent David thought of a future state when he wrote these words, we cannot say. Yet his meaning is to some extent clear. The house of God was the place where God made his home and manifested himself to his people (see Psalm 132:13-16). And the writer says, "Where God makes his home, there shall be mine. He and I will never part company" (see Psalm 61:4; Psalm 48:14; Psalm 73:24-26). It was not the house of God, but the God of the house, that was to be David's home - and the home of all the saints - for ever and for ever! There is a picture by Sir Noel Paten, which is a marvellous illustration of this psalm. It is entitled, 'The Valley of the Shadow of Death.' It is worthy of prolonged study. In the foreground is a dismal and dark valley, through which a blasting wind has swept, laying low alike the warrior and the king; the helmet of the one and the crown of the other lie useless on the ground. In the centre of the picture is the Lord Jesus, with a halo of glory over his head, a crown of thorns around his brow, and in one hand a shepherd's staff. On the left is a young maiden, whose face bears traces of the terror she has felt in coming through the valley, and yet of radiant hope as she now sees the good Shepherd there. She grasps his hand; he holds hers; his feet stand on a gravestone, beneath which lie the remains of the fallen; but where the Shepherd sets his feet, the tombstone is luminous with the words, "Death is swallowed up in victory!" The very sight of that glorious picture weaned one from the vanities of the world, and drew her to Jesus; and in the case of "an old disciple" it completely abolished the fear of death! May we all, by faith, catch a glimpse of our Shepherd, and every fear will vanish quite away! - C.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
The image, so clear and beautiful in itself, is singularly forcible and suggestive in relation to our inner life. Is not the background of the picture true to the facts which we everywhere witness around us, and the needs and aspirations we have felt within us? How much there is in life to remind us of the long tracts of desert sand, the fierce and scorching rays of the sun, the lassitude and ennui of worn-out and wearied hearts. Without attempting to push the details of the imagery to excess, we may assert that the green pastures and still waters find their counterpart in the truths and doctrines of Scripture, in the ordinances of the Gospel, and the means of grace established for our sustenance and growth. For permanent comfort and strength we are dependent upon the revelations of the Divine Word. God Himself is the source of our satisfaction and peace. When our hearts, "ceasing from self," can stay themselves upon Him, and find in their obedience to His will the great purpose, and in their consciousness of His approval the great reward, of their life; when, moreover, we can look forward to complete assimilation to, and eternal fellowship with, Him in heaven, — it is only then that we can realise the expressive image of the text, and "lie down in green pastures, and beside the still waters." To these resting places God leads us, even on earth.

(James Stuart.)

These sentences do not describe the regular and uninterrupted experience of those who follow the Great Shepherd. They are by no means always reclining in green pastures, nor being conducted by the restful waters. Moreover, life after such a pattern would be entirely unsatisfactory and insufficient. Green pastures and still waters would prove an unspeakable curse if life contained nothing else for us. How soon we should grow weak and indolent and useless. The text refers to the occasional privilege rather than to the common experience of the sheep of His flock. David was passing through a time of sorrow, want, and wandering. And if the way of your life often seems to lie through the desert, you need not lose heart and hope. Following God's guidance, you will not be denied needful refreshment and rest. God will bring you to the oasis where the quiet waters lie, and the grass is fresh and green. He will discover to you some peaceful hour, some shady nook, some prepared table, where the soul may be refreshed and renewed. It would be easy to enlarge upon the many privileged occasions which, in our wilderness life, answer to "green pastures and still waters." Everything that brings relief from the ordinary pressure of daily life and revives the drooping spirits may be so regarded. Music, friendship, and religious privileges are as still waters. And it is hardly possible to overestimate the worth of a wisely spent summer holiday. As far as in us lies, and especially in opportunities afforded by the summer holiday, let us search out the green pastures and the still waters, and "reap the harvest of a quiet eye."

(G. Edward Young.)

Three things are needed ere sheep or human spirits can rest.

I. A CONSCIOUSNESS OF SAFETY. Who can rest so long as eternal destinies lie uncertainly in the balance? Against this our Shepherd Jesus has provided. He has Himself met the great adversary of our souls, and has forever broken his power.

II. SUFFICIENCY OF FOOD. A hungry sheep will not lie down. The shepherd who can provide it with plenty of good pasturage will soon bring the most restless animal to lie contentedly. We can never rest so long as the hunger of the spirit is unappeased and its thirst unslaked. There is no answer to the unrest of the inward man until the voice of Jesus is heard saying, "He that cometh to Me shall never hunger." The Word of God may be compared to green pastures. There are many spiritual realities corresponding to the waters of rest.

III. OBEDIENCE TO THE SHEPHERD'S LEAD. The tenderest shepherd cannot bring the flock to rest unless they follow him. This test of following the Shepherd's lead is most important. It is by no means wonderful that we lose our rest when we run hither and thither, following the devices and desires of our own hearts. We substitute our plans for His. We do not look up often enough to see which way He is going, and what He would have us do. Ann so our rest is broken. We must follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

I. MAN'S WANT OF GREEN PASTURES. In this hustling world it is difficult to enjoy a pleasant repose. The hard-working servant of the community, whether it be by hands or by brain that he chiefly performs his part, is apt not only to feel a strong necessity for rest, but to pant and sigh for a more retired and soothing kind of rest than his position often permits him to attain.


III. THE EXPERIENCE OF GREEN PASTURES. It is one thing to behold the picture of a rich and fertile pastureland; it is another thing to be in actual contact with richness and fertility in the locality of our dwelling place. The Psalmist refers, not to one pasture only, but to pastures. The field of enjoyment to which Jesus introduces the once wandering soul is extensive. The provision of the field is various. When brought to be at peace with God, through the blood of the Cross, the soul is set in a large place. The power, the wisdom, and the goodness of the Almighty have prepared innumerable sources of pleasure for His intelligent creatures. The treasures furnished by Divine loving kindness are inexhaustible.

IV. THE EXPECTATION OF GREEN PASTURES IN GREATER AND MORE ABUNDANT MEASURE. Experience of past love is the strongest foundation for the anticipation of future love. He that maketh me to lie down in green pastures is the very One from whose power I may hereafter expect a provision of green pastures in larger varieties and in greater richness.

(H. Wellwood Moncreiff, D. D.)

I. DIVINE PROVISION FOR NEEDED REST. The picture presented is that of happy satisfaction and calm delight. Even for timid sheep all sense of danger is gone, and the whole aspect of the flock speaks of peace, quiet, repose. It tells of a soul in harmony with God, passion hushed, discord in the unruly will, and the struggle of sinful desire destroyed.

II. DIVINE PROVISION FOR APPROPRIATE SUSTENANCE. "Pastures of grass, and waters of quietness." Supply not only sufficient, but suitable for the needs of the flock. It answers to the Gospel — the good tidings of God and from God, a proclamation of what God is, and how God feels towards us. Says George Eliot, — "The first condition of human goodness is something to love, the second, something to reverence." In the character of our Lord Jesus Christ we have that which inspires both love and reverence.

III. DIVINE PROVISION FOR RENEWAL OF STRENGTH. Few creatures are more helpless than sheep. The thought of God as physician to His flock brings Him into most intimate and close relationship.

IV. DIVINE PROVISION FOR ACTIVE SERVICE. He will lead, and it will always be in righteousness. No guarantee for character like that of God's leadings. Character is not predestinated. It is won by achievement, and it will be won if we follow where God leads. "For His name's sake" — that is the secret of all His kindness, and it is the secret of our consecration.

(George Bainton.)

Here we have the ample supply of grace afforded to the believer in the new covenant, to meet all his spiritual wants.

I. THE IDEA OF REST AND SECURITY. "Lie down." The pasture is indicative of perfect repose. The life of man is a constant striving after rest and satisfaction. True rest can be found in God alone.

II. THE IDEA OF ABUNDANT PROVISION. It is not one piece of pasture ground that is spoken of, but pastures. There is no scant supply. And what diversity there is in God's spiritual provision for His people! Grace for all times and every time "Still waters." These words convey, under another figure and symbol, a description of the same calm and hallowed repose, secured to the believer, which the Psalmist had in his mind in the preceding clause. This is an inland river, a quiet, gentle stream. Here, too, as in the former figure, we have the abundance of God's mercies set forth; not only varied pastures, but varied waters. We have streams of peace, of purity, of pardon, of sanctification, — all exceeding great and precious. Conclude with the reflection suggested by both clauses, that religion is happiness.

(J. R. Macduff, D. D.)

Not only He hath green pastures to lead me into, which shows His ability, but He leads me into them, which shows His goodness. He leads me not into pastures that are withered and dry, that would distaste me before I taste them; but He leads me into green pastures, as well to please my eye with the verdure as my stomach with the herbage, and inviting me, as it were, to eat, by setting out the meat in the best colour. A meat though never so good, yet if it look not handsomely, it dulls the appetite; but when besides the goodness it hath also a good look, this gives the appetite another edge, and makes a joy before enjoying. But yet the goodness is not altogether in the greenness. Alas, green is but a colour, and colours are but deceitful things: they might be green leaves, or they might be green flags or rushes; and what good were to me in such a greenness? No, my soul, the goodness is in being green pastures, for now they perform as much as they promise; and as in being green they were a comfort to me as soon as I saw them, so in being green pastures they are a refreshing to me now as soon as I taste them.

(Sir Richard Baker.)

1. Here is fulness (pastures and waters). Pastures alone are not enough for sheep, but they must have waters too.

2. Here is goodness. Though there be pastures, yet if they be not wholesome, the sheep are not fed, but destroyed by them. Not mere pastures, but green pastures; not mere waters, but still waters are provided here for David.

3. Here is well-pleasedness.


II. THAT AS GOD PROVIDES A FULL ESTATE, SO THE BEST ESTATE FOR HIS FLOCK OR PEOPLE. Pastures which are green, and waters which are still. To omit many things there is a threefold estate of God's people:

(1)Their spiritual estate;

(2)their glorious estate;

(3)their temporal estate.That the condition of the godly is much better than the men of this world do judge it. Godliness is no parched wilderness, no barren heath, nor like the mountains of Gilboa: it hath the greenest pastures, and the stillest waters.

(O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

I. Here is a promise, then, to the weary, of REPOSE. Thank God this is not an age of idleness. Can we equally say, thank God this is not an age of repose? It is almost the prevailing stamp which defines the character of the present day — its restlessness. Call it, if you will, impatience; call it hurry. Certainly, whatever is the opposite to repose. It is just the same wherever we look. Politics, religion, social movements, are all whirled along, catching up in their gusty flight whatever is on the surface, whatever is light and movable, one scheme sweeping on the dust of another, as if men had imbibed the creed which proclaims, "Whatever is, is wrong, and therefore the opposite to the present system, whatever is, is right." How much there is around us and about us to think of, if only we would be still! The world is eloquent with parables on every side; the walls of our daily environment are hung with pictures. The sower as he sows is also preaching; the lilies as they grow, the ravens as they fly, — all are our teachers. How much there is to observe, as naturalists alone will tell us, to our shame, if we are only patient and ready to watch! And, besides the pastures of our daily experience, there are the deep cool pastures of good books, with a ready supply for our need; above all, there is the Holy Spirit, ever shedding His freshening dew on the daily events of our common life. What can we expect, if we never meditate, if we never think, if we never read; if there is no repose and no green pasture, but only such hurried nibbling of roadside verbiage and well-worn platitudes as lie along the dusty track of our daily routine? If the pastures of God are green because they are fresh, they are also green because they are sheltered. Around them is the protecting hedge of God's Law. God's service is the service of perfect freedom, where to admit any taint of sinfulness is to admit weariness and distastefulness. Let us try, then, and gain some repose in the midst of this weary restlessness. Repose, if possible, in our methods; for God works slowly, and to work together with Him means to work slowly also. Let us gain repose in our daily spiritual life. Restlessness is at the bottom of many hasty actions, which end in flying in the face of God's good providence for us. The restlessness of unsettled belief, the restlessness of no belief, are the punishments which await the neglect of spiritual repose. These green pastures are no luxury of religion; they are a necessity of life. Each day must have its Nazareth of devotion, as life has its own Nazareth of subjection in childhood.

II. Another note which rings out clearly in this verse, is PEACE. "He maketh me to lie down...He leadeth me." How sadly the soul needs peace — peace in His felt presence! The world is sown with trouble, but still "He maketh me to lie down...He leadeth me." Panting and affrighted, and doubtful of ourselves, He makes us lie down, He feeds us, He leads us on, where the temptation at one time had seemed likely to kill us. Peace rises out of their furious onslaught, or their petty annoyance. And yet how often little troubles seem to have power to vex and irritate us, even more than great ones! — such things as distraction, interruption, accident, disappointment; so many barriers put in our path to deflect us into duty, so many obstacles to provoke our peevish ill-will. Let us cheerfully recognise that, if the Good Shepherd is leading us, there is no such thing as accident. Trifles may very easily interfere with our peace of mind; but they may also be God's messengers to teach us to cast away all appearance of grumbling and fretfulness, and if an obstacle arise in our ministry, to recognise that it is of the Holy Ghost.

III. And yet there is a third note which swells up in the triple harmony of this verse; and that is, COMFORT. "In the multitude of the sorrows that I had in my heart: Thy comforts have refreshed my soul." "The waters of quietness" have become in one version of the Psalm, which is very dear to us, "the waters of comfort."

(W. C. E. Newbolt, M. A.)

He leadeth me beside the still waters.
I. STILL WATERS ARE DISTASTEFUL TO THE WORLDLY SPIRIT. Men of the world seek for novelty and excitement, but their pleasures dry up like a summer brook. The edge of appetite gets dulled, and he succeeds best who can give fresh keenness to the world's appetite. Still waters? No! These to worldly hearts would be misery. We can, however, often see behind all these brilliances of earth. Within, there is an aching, dying soul.

II. STILL WATERS MAKE US HEAR THE VOICE OF OUR SAVIOUR. Sometimes silence itself is rest.

III. STILL WATERS ARE NOT STAGNANT WATERS. They are deep, pure, living, flowing. The waters are living waters. True of the Bible.

IV. STILL WATERS ARE IN THE KEEPING OF CHRIST. The Shepherd has beforehand surveyed the mountains and the plains. What road are we to take when there seems no path? Amid the broken debris of rocks the Shepherd leads the way.

V. STILL WATERS ARE WITH US ALL THE JOURNEY THROUGH. "Beside" them. The path and the waters go together. We may miss some joys, they are temporary — suited to certain tastes and eras in our life. The curtain has fallen over them. Can that photograph represent your childhood? Can you ever live again as once you did? As the rivers from their simple fountain — along their broadening course — flow into the sea, so these other "waters" lead on to the great ocean of immortality. Listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd. Human hearts hungry for the sacrament of truth hear Him. By the still waters of meditation and Scripture and prayer, we make silence in our hearts for Him.

(W. M. Statham.)

God's chosen ways of working in the physical world are not wholly of the sudden and violent sort. Storm and earthquake and flood have undoubtedly played their part; but God seems to work, by preference, slowly and in silence. The same is true in the moral world. It is indeed difficult to overestimate the force of a great soul. It is well to remember that not all dislocating and disturbing spirits put forth any true claim to greatness. One indeed speaks what the many feel; but his word is with power because of the dumb aspirations stirring in many breasts, and a universal emotion which has not yet found expression. And this is even more the case with regard to moral operations of a quieter and less signal, though hardly less important kind; forces which do not so suddenly change the world, as keep it sweet and pure, and perhaps, in the course of ages, urge it a little nearer the throne of God. A father's integrity; a mother's sweet goodness; the quiet air of a happy home; a domestic courage and patience, at which you have looked very closely, and whose every line and lineament you know; some ancestral saintliness, which is a household tradition, and no more, but which has never withered in the fierce light of public estimate, — these things have inspired and nourished your nobler part. They are the refreshing dew and the fertilising rain, the restful night, and the kindling day of God's moral world. We insist too much on our own estimate of small and great in the moral world, forgetting that any single fact or individual life is but one link in an endless chain of causes and consequences, of which we ought to know the whole before we can rightly estimate a part. No mistake can be greater than to suppose that all the world's best work is done by the eloquent tongue and the busy hand. God Himself provides a diversity of work for His own purposes; but God tempers His weapons in His own way.

(C. Beard, B. A.)

You have, I daresay, often seen a stream rising up on the mountain side, amid rocks and ferns and twisted roots, and the short, sweet herbage of the hill. With many a playful plunge and headlong leap it finds its way to the valley, and as it pursues its course passes through various scenes. So flows our life. Now in sunshine, now in shadow, now torn by strife and doubt, and now reposing by the quiet waters of rest. The variety adds to our moral healthfulness and vigour. Few lives have been more varied than that of David. The extremity of danger and even the dread of death he knew, as well as the heights of success and the intoxicating sweets of power. In firm faith upon a Divine and unchanging love he had found the quietness and assurance of which he speaks. There are times when rest seems the one thing we most long for. As when —

I. IN THE CONFLICT OF DOUBT. Faith is difficult in our day. There are two ways in which a man may seek rest — one by thorough examination of the ground of his faith; the other by trusting those feelings which carry us beyond reason; to faith which sees and hears God where reason cannot.

II. UNDER CONVICTION OF SIN. This is a dread experience. But it would be good for many to know it who now lead a smooth and easy life, sailing merrily over sunny seas. There is much in the Bible to awaken such conviction of sin — the Divine wrath, the severity of Christ. It is when we see Christ as Saviour, we have rest.

III. IN SUFFERING AND LOSS. But rest in God is possible. And this happy condition of mind is to be cultivated by meditation, worship, prayer, and communion with God.

(P. W. Darnton, . B. A.)

And now see the great goodness of this Shepherd, and what just cause there is to depend upon His providence; for He lets not His sheep want, but He leads them "beside still waters"; not waters that roar and make a noise enough to fright a fearful sheep, but waters still and quiet, that though they drink but little, yet they may drink that little without fear.

(Sir Richard Baker.)

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