SEVEN thousand miles away, on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, lies the land where the Saviour lived when he was on the earth; and we call it Syria, or Palestine, or the Holy Land. It is a rough, hilly country, with no roads such as we have in America, but rocky paths, and long, sandy beaches.

Over these stony roads, and through the heavy sand, toil the shepherds, caring for their sheep. Sometimes one man will have a hundred sheep, with only his dog to help him; and you would think it would be hard to keep them in order; but they have grown up together, and these sheep have followed their shepherd ever since they were little lambs, and know his voice so well that they will come at his call. He has names for them all, and some of them have such a love for him that they keep close beside him all the time.

Several years ago, while riding over a long beach not far from the old Bible city of Sidon, I saw two flocks of sheep coming from opposite directions. They met, and all stopped to rest, lying down on the sand, while the two flocks were mingled together, SO that they seemed but one. The shepherds talked together for a while, and then one of them arose and began to call his sheep, apparently by name; for one after another jumped up as he called them, and soon they were ready to start. The shepherd went before, and his sheep followed; but not one of the other flock had stirred. Do you remember the verse, "And the sheep follow him, for they know his voice; and a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers"?

When they come to a river that must be forded, the shepherd goes into the water, and they follow even there, never doubting their safety when he leads the way. If any of them are sick or wounded, he lays them over his shoulder, and carries them across one by one. Every shepherd wears a loose jacket, open in front and belted tightly at the waist. It is like a bag, and in that he places his lambs, sometimes two or three, and takes them over the rough places and through the deep waters.

Once, in a dark, windy night, high up on Mount Lebanon, I heard a strange sound. I listened, and heard it again, till it grew fainter and fainter in the distance; and some one said, "That is a shepherd hunting for a lost sheep. He will not go home till he has found it, and brought it safely to the fold."

Then these words came to my mind: "How think ye? If a man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in Heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."