On the Invitations of the Gospel
Revelation 22:17
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will…

I. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN THIS INVITATION? And what is comprehended in coming to Him? Simply obeying His word! Even now the chief of sinners is invited to return to God, with the promise of free forgiveness, and the prospect of everlasting felicity held out to him.

II. Such is the invitation before us. Is it, in what it requires us to do, aught else than WHAT OUR OWN CONSCIENCES HAVE OFTEN AND AGAIN URGED US TO DO? Has the still small voice within us never told us that while we are at a distance from God, we never can be happy? But we have also to remember that the calls to return to God, which have been addressed to us through the instrumentality of conscience, were in reality the dictates of that Spirit of all grace and goodness, who is represented in the text as inviting us to a Saviour. Though we cannot explain His operations, nor distinguish them usually from what we call those of our own minds, yet we know that the Spirit of God suggests and excites to all good, that it is He who restrains us from utter reprobation. But we have also to observe, that the invitations of the Spirit are addressed to us in the written word of God; and oh, how frequently are the entreaties, the warnings, and the calls of that word read, without the slightest remembrance that it actually is the Word of God to the reader! Surely it is not a question to be dismissed without concern, whether your Maker has called on you to return to His service and favour, and you are exposed to the fearful penalty of shutting your ears to His call, and despising His reproof. The Bride saith, "Come!" The Church of Christ is meant by this expression. That Church consists not only of those Christians who are now on earth, but of those also who have gone before us, on the path Which leads to God, and now live in His presence in heaven. We are not only, through the mercy of the Almighty, called on to consider the things which belong to our peace, through the instrumentality of Christian institutions around us, but we should also remember that they too call upon us, who now enjoy the reward of their toils and have entered on their rest, to follow in their footsteps and emulate their example. The affections of nature add their entreaty to the command of Divine authority; and every holy example of departed saints, in the record of your own memory, or in that of Scripture, as well as all the invitations addressed to you through the instituted means of grace, form but, as it were, the united voice of the Church in heaven and the Church on earth — "Come!" Come to participate in the privileges of those who were the truly honourable of the earth, and to an eternal reunion with the great and good, in unmingled happiness and perfection. One observation on the words, "Let him that heareth say, Come" — him who has already heard and obeyed the call. We are bound, as far as in us lies, to make known the gospel of our hopes to others, and endeavour to induce them to believe and obey; and, may we not add, that this should be felt by Christians as the impulse of affection, not merely as the obligation of duty. "Let him that heareth say, Come." Opportunities, both public and private, are abundant, for this joint exercise of Christian love and Christian obedience. And are there not abundant motives to it? It is to be a fellow-worker with Christ. It is to be an honoured means in God's hand of accomplishing greater good than lies within the attainment of earthly power or wisdom.

III. WHO ARE THEY TO WHOM THE INVITATION IS SO ESPECIALLY ADDRESSED, under the descriptions, "Him that is athirst," and "Whosoever will"? The metaphor employed in our text directs us intelligibly in pointing out the first of the classes referred to. Let him that is athirst take of the water of life freely. That is, him who thirsts for that water! Come to Christ, and take of the water of life freely; intrust yourself unreservedly into His hands, and to His disposal, as your Teacher, your Master, and your Saviour; and while you do this you will experience that the more your knowledge of Him increases, the more your peace and your hope will increase also. It is, in truth, the inquirer's unwillingness to submit himself to Christ in all his offices, which usually stands in the way of his own peace. We believe there are exceptions, but not so numerous as to disprove the general assertion. A sense of sin leads us to distrust the Redeemer, or a love of some sin renders us indisposed to renounce it. To meet these obstacles the gospel is, on the one hand, abundant in its assurances that none ever did or shall trust in God in vain; and, on the other, most peremptory in its demands that all sin shall be renounced in coming unto Christ. "And whosoever will!" Whosoever is sincerely desirous to partake in the benefits of salvation, whether his feelings are characterized or not by the excitement of those just referred to, let him too come! The description is just made more general in these words for the purpose of displaying more forcibly and persuasively the Divine goodwill towards all; nor can we conceive a limitation to the comprehensiveness of this description, which would authorise us in refusing to any the hopes and invitations of the gospel.

(John Park.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" He who hears, let him say, "Come!" He who is thirsty, let him come. He who desires, let him take the water of life freely.

Let Him that Heareth Say, Come
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