The next remarkable thing is, “sheep in the midst of wolves,” because according to the order of nature, such a thing is never seen, but on the other hand, it has been reckoned a great calamity that in some lands wolves are too often seen in the midst of sheep. The wolf leaps into the midst of a flock and rends and tears on every side. It matters not how many the sheep may be, for one wolf is more than a match for a thousand sheep. But lo! here you see sheep sent forth among the wolves, as if they were the attacking party and were bent upon putting down their terrible enemies. It is a novel sight, such as nature can never show, but grace is full of marvels.
Equally extraordinary is the singular mixture, never yet seen by human eye amongst beasts and birds—a mixture of the serpent with the dove in one person. What a strange blending. Creatures which are capable of cross-breeding must have some sort of kinship, but here is a reptile of the dust united with a bird of the air, “Be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Grace knows how to pick the good out of the evil, the jewel out of the oyster shell, the diamond from the dunghill, the wisdom from the serpent, and by a divine chemistry it leaves the good which it takes out of the foul place as good as though it had never been there. Grace knows how to blend the most gentle with the most subtle, to take away from prudence the base element which makes it into cunning and by mingling innocence with it, produce a sacred prudence most valuable for all walks of life.
With these three wonders lying upon the very surface of the text, we shall enter into a fuller consideration of it with great expectations, but if we do so, we shall be disappointed if we expect to learn anything very extraordinary unless we are prepared to practice what we learn. I may truly say of this text, he that does its bidding shall understand its doctrine. He who follows its precept shall best know its meaning. May the Spirit of all grace work in us according to His divine power and perfect in us the will of the Lord.