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of the holy communion service, where the priest says to the people, “ Lift up your hearts ;" and the people reply, “ We lift them up unto the Lord." As much as to say,
“ We know what you are; you are only a poor dying man like ourselves, who when you have delivered your message will be laid low in the grave; but our eyes are up to the Lord. May there be the sound of your Master's feet behind you. We know you will be a blessing: we look rot to you, but to the God that sent you.” That is the exact point to which we would bring you; to which we desire to bring you.
Now, then, look to the text. “ And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will let him take the water of life freely." The text divides itself into three parts: the first, what is said by the Spirit: secondly, what ought to be said by him that heareth, and by him that is athirst: and, thirdly, what may be said to all: “ Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
We are first to consider, WHAT IS SAID BY THE SPIRIT AND THB BRIDB, OR THE CHURCH. “ The Spirit and the bride say, Come.” There is another spirit; a spirit of a very opposite character, who never yet invited man to come to Christ, or to take salvation. If I might so speak, I would say, that it is the master effort, the great business of the very existence of Satan, to prevent men from coming to Christ, and receiving spiritual blessings. This is, then, a spirit that never whispered in your hearts, “ Come unto Christ; come and receive of the water of life."
But there is the Holy Spirit; the Spirit of the living God; the Holy Ghost; Me Comforter; the Sanctifier: and he says “ Come." Remember who he is; equal with the Father and the Son. Do not slight the invitation ; you may repent
do : thousands have repented, and will repent for ever, that they slighted it. “ The Spirit saith, Come.” The Holy Ghost knows how much some of you need to come: for our great sin, let me tell you, and our great misery with some of us our great sin, and our great misery, and our great folly—has been this—we have kept away. And what are we the better? Some of us have tried to hew out to ourselves cisterns; but they have been broken cisterns; they could hold no water. Some of you have sought-you know you have-your happiness in earthly good; in wealth, or in pleasure, or in what this world had to bestow. And yet you dare not think of your grave; you dare not think of another world. No; you feel, that whatever be your present state, it is not a sound state, it is not a safe state, and ought not to be a happy state, and is not a happy state. To you the Spirit says
“ Come." every one that thirsteth"--you know what comes next; would to God you had a heart to listen to it—“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread ? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." Let me tell you, my dear people, that the soul of man, though sullied and dishonoured, as Dr. Young beautifully expresses it, is
There is enough in the soul of man, even in its wreck, even in its ruin, to tell us what a noble thing it is, what a mighty thing it is, what a vast and glorious thing it is. Yes, if it had not been such, the Son of God would never have wasted his blood in redeeming it.
The Spirit then says "Come:" and in your hearts some of you feel your want and misery. Some of you are ready to say, "I am cast out of the sight of thine eyes; I deserve to be cast out." The Holy Spirit says, "Come, come, come:" and in his name we reiterate the request and the invitation.
But further, the Church—that is, the bride-says "Come." And if the Spirit says "Come," the Church has no right to say any thing else. It is the great business of the Church to echo the voice of its Lord. What mean the varied opportunities in this Christian and Protestant land? Four times this day, blessed be God! have our church bells gone, to call the people to come and worship; to call the people to come and drink the living waters. Yes, the Church, the bride, says, "Come." Is it only to-day? No; you shall hear those bells to-morrow morning, soon after six o'clock: and if the young, and healthy, and strong, choose to turn in their beds, and go fast asleep, instead of coming and worshipping, let them do it; but remember, the church bell says, "Come, come, come, and welcome, to the streams of salvation." And then at noon-day, that we may suit those who are invalids, or those who cannot get out at any other part of the day, the church again shall sound her bell, and call you to prayers and a sermon. Yes, and while we live, and while God gives us health and strength, and while we can lift our hands or open our lips, we will say, "Come;" we will invite you to come. And we shall think ourselves happy if, in our dying moments, we can but call out to those around us, while we commend our soul to our Saviour, if we can call upon our people to come to that Saviour.
The bride, the Church, says, " Come." And why? dear the soul of man is to the Lord who bought it. Lord, in the closest and dearest bond, she yet cries sisters scattered up and down in this wide world: and her duty, she echoes the voice of the Spirit; Come," the Church takes up the word, and says welcome."
Because she knows how Joined, as she is, to her for her brothers and her and, true to her character and when the Spirit says "Come" too; "Come and
So much for what the Spirit and the bride do say. Let us now, in the second place, consider WHAT THOSE WHO HEAR, AND THOSE WHO ARE ATHIRST, ARE DIRECTED TO SAY. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come." “Him that heareth." Depend upon it, as soon as a man sets out in good earnest for heaven himself, he wishes to take other people along with him and I should have a very poor opinion of the religion of that man who would be quite contented to go to heaven a solitary individual, and see no one in the blessed path before him, and see no one in the blessed path following close upon
bis heels; but quite contented to go to heaven the only one of his race. Such an one I should greatly fear was deceiving himself: for I find all the holy prophets wanted to take all they possibly could along with them. The Old Testament prophets, you remember, were the Old Testament preachers; and what a fine race of preachers they were ! How nobly did Isaiah preach! How nobly did Jeremiah preach; how nobly did Daniel preach. And the substance of all their preaching was this—that the people should come to the Lord. And under the New Testament dispensation it is the same thing; for though the way to heaven be a narrow one, it is not so narrow but that two, and more than two, may walk to heaven together; though it be so narrow, there is room in it, blessed be God, for you and for me.
Now, then, as we hear, and attend to what we hear, and hearken to what we hear, and obey what we hear, at the same time we are to call to others. Now, then, I have many here to-night of those who have recently been confirmed. Blessed be God, concerning many such I have every reason to believe, and had every reason to believe, that they were in good earnest about their souls, and were seeking the Lord, and had obeyed the voice, “ Come." But it is not enough that you come yourselves ; I must have the word sounded in your ears, “ Let him that heareth say, Come.” You have a friend, perhaps ; tell him to come: a brother, who has not come; tell him to come: a sister who has not come ; ask her to come : a father, perhaps, who is growing old, but who has not taken the first step in coming to Christ; ask hiin to come: or a mother; ask her to come. If we acted in this way, common sense must tell you what would be the result—that is, what would be the result if God gave the blessing. Why the result must be this : if the Lord blessed us we should double the number of our conversions every year. And what then? Why then we should be forced to have the sacrament every Sunday ; for we could not enlarge any more; we could not have our rail larger. We should have such a throng of communicants that we should be forced to have the sacrament every Lord's day. And though it might be labour to your clergy, I would to God that time
That used to be the Church of England way: our Church makes this provision for her members, that if any competent number of persons were to signify a wish to their minister to receive the Lord's Supper every Sabbath day, we could not, by the laws of our Church, refuse it you. O when shall that day come, dear hearers, when every member of our Church shall be sounding out the word to somebody else, “ Come?" “ Let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come."
Are you obeying this voice? Remember how short the time may be that you may have to use it. Some persons intend, very religiously and piously, when they are on their death-beds, 0 then they will say much, they think, to surviving friends, and surrounding relatives. And how do you know that you will have your senses then to do it? The dear Christian man, whom I mentioned to you as having been so suddenly removed from us last week, and whom I visited when he was in a state of insensibility, could not, if he had had many relatives and friends who were worldly, have spoken a word to them ; they must have come to see him die; they could not come to hear him pray or talk. Choose, then, your opportunities while you have them : take care that they are not lost. And you who hear the Gospel, who receive it, believe it, and obey it; as
you go to heaven yourselves, open wide your arms to others, and say, "Come along with us, for we will do you good: for we are going to a place concerning which the Lord hath said unto us that he will give it to us."
I turn, in the last place, to notice THE INVITATION ITSELF.
First specially, then universally. First, specially: "Let him that is athirst come." And then universally: "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
There is a strange perversion in human nature, which continues even in those who are partially religious; and I know of nothing in which that perversity shews itself more clearly than in this-that every discovery which the Holy Ghost makes unto us of the corruption of our hearts, of the depravity of our nature, of the power of indwelling sin, and of the need of a greater, deeper, and a mightier work of the Holy Ghost on our hearts, in order to our obtaining full salvation-these very discoveries, in some cases, drive people into a state of despondency. The Christian says, Alas, alas! I am so full of infirmity. I am so continually overtaken by sin. The evil which I would not do, that which I hate, alas!, that I still do: and the good which I would do, that, alas! I often neglect to do." And was not this the case with the blessed Apostle Paul himself? and is not this the case with every real and devoted Christian, more or less? What I mean is, if you long for spiritual blessings, then it is your own fault if you do not obtain them; for the text says, "Let him that is athirst come."
Now some of you have to-day been longing after a Pentecostal blessing; have none of you received it? Then I have been mistaken. I could not help hoping, whilst we were commemorating the death of our Saviour, while we were inviting the aid, and presence, and grace of the Holy Spirit, I could not help hoping that some of you were receiving it. And I will hope, till I am convinced to the contrary; and it is not a little that shall or can convince me to the contrary. Why? Because I know the promise: "Where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them." Because I know the promise: "If ye then being evil know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give the Spirit to them that ask him?" And I cannot help hoping and believing, that no one in this church has been asking and not receiving; been knocking at the door of mercies, and found it shut, and not open to him: for I know who said, "Every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
Cultivate spiritual desires: "He will fulfil the desires of them that fear him." Some of you are young beginners: you have only just set out. The shield is quite new upon your arm; it has never been battled yet: the sword has never yet been turned against the foe. But through grace you have buckled on the shield; and through grace you have taken the sword in your hand. Now, then, go forth, and the Lord of Hosts go with you. We would say to you, as Saul did to David, when with a sling and a stone he went to meet the Philistine, "Go, and the Lord be with you." May you live to fight many a noble battle for your Lord, when death shall have taken our shield from our arm, and our sword out of our hand:
"For children's children ever find
We long to see religion. co spreading in your different families, that piety may appear to go down from generation to generation; and this furnish the highest call for thanksgiving and prayer
But suppose the case, that there should be any not included in any of the foregoing invitations. Suppose the case of any poor burdened spirit, who may be ready to say, "Ah, Sir, you have said nothing to me." Wait a moment, and see what the text will say. Or there may be some soul, feeling such a sense of weakness and misery, that it is ready to think, "I have never been specially invited." But look at the text; "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Does this look-I am going to use a strong expression, and one that I would not often use-I ask, Does this look as if God Almighty wished to damn any one of you? Does it not look as if he were ready to save you all? Then, in God's name, what is to prevent your being all saved? And what a glorious thing it would be, if one could hope and believe, that the greater part of the present audience were actually in a state of salvation!
O, my brethren, we know full well, and from time to time we declare unto you, the doctrine of the divine sovereignty; that it is "not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but God that sheweth mercy ;" and that "by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. not of works, lest any man should boast." And at times some may be ready to say, "How is it that one time you speak of man's moral agency, and at another time of God's sovereignty: how do you reconcile them?" Why we do not attempt to do it. As a fine writer, now gone to heaven, once remarked, "They are two things, as plainly and clearly set down in the Bible as any other doctrine of the Bible. We see not where they meet: but we believe, that far above, out of our sight, they form a beautiful arch, to the glory and praise of the great Architect of the world and of the Church." We understand not how to reconcile these two; but we preach them both; and this night we say unto you, in the name of him that sent us, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."