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2. Who are meant by the sheep?
The humble, holy and obedient disciples of Christ. 3. Who are meant by the false shepherds?
The Scribes and Pharisees, and all teachers who oppose Christ and act from improper motives and worldly gain; but they are hirelings, and care not for the flock.
4. How do the sheep regard the true shepherd?
They hear his voice; and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out; and when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him; for they know his voice. (verses 3, 4.)
5. How do the sheep regard false shepherds?
A stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers. (verse 5.)
6. Does Christ say that he is also like the door of the fold?
I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture. (verse 9.)
7. What blessings did Christ say that he came to bestow on his sheep?
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (verse 10.)
*Leadeth them out from the fold.
It was the custom in eastern countries for the shepherd to go at the head of his sheep, and they followed him from pasture to pasture.
8. How did Christ declare himself to be the good shepherd?
I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (verse 11.)
9. Do the shepherd and the sheep know and love each other?
Yes: Christ says, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine." (verse 14.)
10. How did Christ refer to the flock which he had among the Gentiles?
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. (verse 16.)
11. How did Christ say that he voluntarily laid down his life for his sheep?
No man taketh it from me; but I lay it down of myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. (verse 18.)
12. How did Christ afterwards further refer the Jews to this parable?
Ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. (26 to 30 verses.)
13. Give a sketch of the character of Christ as a good shepherd.
He enters in the right way "by the door;" he knows and calls his own sheep by name; he goes before and leads them out into his pastures; he gathers them into one fold; he lays down his life for the sheep; he gives unto them eternal life, and they
shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of his hand.
14. Give a sketch of the character of Christ's sheep.
They hear the Shepherd's voice; they know him; they follow him, and not strangers; they are saved by him; they feed in his pastures; they are faithful and persevering; they are for ever safe in their Shepherd's hand.
THE LABOURERS IN THE VINEYARD.
Mat. xx. 1 to 16.
"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
And he went out about the third hour, (9 in the morning,) and saw others standing idle in the marketplace.
And said unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, I will give you. And they went their way.
Again he went out about the sixth (12 o'clock) and ninth hour, (3 in the afternoon) and did likewise.
And about the eleventh hour (5 in the afternoon) he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
So when even (or 6 o'clock) was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
And when they had received it, they murmured against the good man of the house,
Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst thou not agree with me for a penny?
Take that thine is, and go thy way: and I will give unto this last even as unto thee.
Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil because I am good?
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen."
1. Who is meant by the householder? The Lord Jesus Christ.
2. What is meant by the vineyard? The church of Christ.
3. Who are meant by the labourers?
Those who are called by Christ, and placed in his church to labour for him.
4. What is meant by the different hours?
The different times at which the Jews and Gentiles, or different individuals, are called into the church of God to become labourers for him.
5. What is the amount of the "penny" here mentioned?
About fourteen cents-the common rate of wages in ancient times, and more than is now paid in some eastern countries.
6. Who are meant by the first labourers?
The Jews, who were first placed in the church of God, and who therefore despised the Gentiles, and murmured against the goodness of God towards sinners of the Gentiles.
7. What improvement did Christ make of the parable of the labourers in the vineyard?
The last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. (verse 16.)
8. What lessons may we learn from the parable of the labourers?
That it is our duty to labour for God. That God has a right to bestow his favours as he pleases; that we should not be envious of others, but should rejoice in every addition to the church of Christ; that we should strive earnestly to improve our superior privileges; that the day of life is short, and that we should keep its end habitually in view.