Ho, everyone 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. Let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved. Thou art invited, O my soul, to a royal banquet; put on thy best apparel then, for the King that bids thee will take great notice of thy dress. It is the marriage supper of the great King; let me, then, get on the wedding garment, that I may go out to meet the Bridegroom of my soul. Take care that thou appear like a guest, lest the Lord of the feast should look upon thee as an intruder. But come, all things are ready. Surely thou dost not stand doubtful whether thou shalt go or not, nor make excuses to put it off till another time Art thou sure if thou hast rejected this solemn invitation, and refused thy company to the great Master of the feast, who does now so passionately desire it,—art thou sure to be accepted another time? May not these delays provoke the slighted King to cry out in His anger that thou which wert in vain bidden, shalt not taste of His supper? liaise up thy faculties, therefore, O my soul, and consider the many obligations that thou art under of hastening to the banquet of thy Lord. Think but upon the condescension of the Almighty. He stoops to solicit my presence, and even entreats me to be there; shall I, then, insolently reject these submissions of the Deity, and despise the goodness of my Creator? But as the condescensions of thy Saviour, O my soul, in calling thee to the feast, so the benefits of it to thyself do oblige thee to accept this call, and hasten to the entertainment with an excess of joy. Here is that which conveys grace to the soul, and nourishes my faith and all other virtues to that degree as to make me a new creature, and fit me for the real presence of the Lord in His eternal kingdom. Here is that which ratifies the promises of God, applies the merits of my Redeemer’s death to my soul, and, in a word, seals the pardon of my sins. Here is that which will make me, in a manner, the receptacle of my God, for He will come unto me, and make His abode with me; so that I shall enjoy Him here below, and in some measure anticipate His glorious presence, which is in heaven the delight of angels. Reflect again upon the honor, O my soul, that is conferred upon thee. Why this great honor, O my Lord, to me, the most wretched of all that are called to Thy heavenly table? Was it not enough for Thee to come down from Thy glorious seat above, and die upon the Cross for me, but must Thou also provide this heavenly banquet for Thy servant, and oblige him to sit down in Thy presence, and feed upon the bread of life? O my soul, how I am obliged, in gratitude to my Saviour’s love upon the cross, to be frequent in the commemoration of it! He there trod the wine-press of the wicked world’s misery, and, in the bitter anguish of His departing soul, cried out that God had forsaken Him. The disgrace as well as the torments of His cruel death, together with His willingness to endure all this for my redemption, are such instances of love, even in this invitation, too, as call for the highest expression of gratitude and a thankful acceptance of the proffer.
Thine was the bitter price, Ours is the free gift given; Thine was the blood of sacrifice, Ours is the wine of heaven I For Thee the burning thirst, The shame, the mortal strife. The broken heart, the side transpierced; To us, the Bread of Life I GRANT me, blessed Lord, not only to receive that Sacrament in the outward elements, but in the virtue and power thereof; not bread and wine alone, but the Body and Blood of my Jesus, to the remission of all my sins and to all the other benefits of His death and passion for me; through the same Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.