Wearied, torn, and half expiring
The poor sheep has gone astray; and having
once left the fold, it is pretty sure to have
gotten into some strange place or other. It has
fallen down a rock; or has rolled into a ditch;
or is hidden beneath a bush; or has crept into
a cave; or is lying in some deep, distant ravine,
where none but an experienced eye and hand
can find it out.
Just so with the Lord's lost sheep. They get
into strange places. They . . .
fall off rocks,
slip into holes,
hide among the bushes, and
sometimes creep off to die in caverns.
When the sheep has gone astray, the shepherd
goes after it to find it. Here he sees a footprint;
there a little lock of wool torn off by the thorns.
Every nook he searches; into every corner he looks;
until at last he finds the poor sheep wearied, torn,
and half expiring, with scarcely strength enough to
groan forth its misery. The shepherd does not beat
it home, nor thrust the goad into its back; but he
gently takes it up, lays it upon his shoulder, and
brings it home rejoicing.