Invitation to the Waters

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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 of the water of life freely.” REVELATION XXII: 17.

Divine truth is a sacred stream from heaven. It flows from the Lord as a fountain. It is a river of life to the angels. ” There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.” — Ps. xlvi. 4. When represented to the view of the heavenly inhabitants, it appears as a grand flowing stream. ” I saw,” the apostle John says ” a river of the water of life, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” — Rev. xxii. 1. And, truly, such a stream it is. The soul has spiritual appetites corresponding to those of the body. It thirsts after truth as the water of life. The divine mercy has provided, in the Word, for this thirst to be supplied. “As the hart thirsteth for the water-brooks, so thirsteth my soul after thee, my God.”

It is interesting to notice, that in Eden, the paradise of old, divine truth is represented as a fountain, having four streams. Its water, though rising from one source, the wisdom of God, is received by man in four ways; by wisdom, by intelligence, by reason, and by science: these are the four streams from Paradise. So, in the New Jerusalem, the paradise regained, there is the river of the water of life, and the tree of life, in the midst of the street of the city, and on both sides of the river (Rev. xxii. 2). In the golden age men delighted to receive divine wisdom from heaven. That wisdom, which became the spirit of the Holy Word, was to them a river of refreshing, sparkling, purifying, and delightful truth. To the New Church the spirit of the Word would be exhibited through the knowledge of correspondences revived, and, as the prophet said, “With joy they would draw water from the wells of salvation.” — Isa. xii. 3. This wisdom is seen to underlie the whole Word, from allegorical narratives in Genesis, through the Israelitish history, in which the spiritual sense exists, though the record is naturally true, and onward, through the prophets, the Gospels, and the Revelation; under the letter are the divine thoughts, which are as much higher than human thoughts as heaven is higher than the earth, like the Psalmist, each Christian may say, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters.”

It is to the blessed waters of Divine Truth we are continually invited, in the Word itself. ” 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.”—Isa. Iv. 1. “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” — John iv. 14. Water corresponds to truth in every respect. Water is delightful to the eye. It is like liquid silver. When thrown up into the sunbeams by a fountain, it sparkles like diamonds. And what is more delightful to the mental eye than truth? When the inner meaning of any proposition, or passage from the Divine Word is seen, it is beautiful, like silver to the eye; and when its relation to the Lord is also seen, it sparkles like richest gems. Without water there is no growth in vegetation; without truth there is no growth in ideas; the mind is a barren waste. Without water the functions of the body would not proceed. There would be no digestion, no assimilation, no secretion. Nay, the body itself is composed three-fourths of water. So is it with the operations of the soul. Without truth there is no digestion of the mental food which is presented to us daily in every way. What is passing before our eyes gives no true information and support to the mind, we cannot digest it, and its real import and meaning are unperceived. So, also, every good which we receive, unless it be accompanied with truth, is either turned to its opposite, or accepted very weakly, and soon lost again. The mind itself, is only healthy, only strong, as it is built up of truths. When the soul is without truths it is feeble, not firm; it is weak, not strong. The wicked easily hoodwink and lead astray those who are ill- informed and unreflecting. The blind lead the blind, and both fall into the ditch. How manifest it is, both from the urgent exhortations of the Word, to come to the light, to search the Scriptures, to reason with God, to understand the Word ; and also from the noble faculties with which the Creator has endowed man, that is most important for him to be well-instructed in the truth. Without the truth, he is imposed upon by the designing of every shade; without the truth, he is the victim of superstition and error; he fears where he ought to trust and love; without the truth, he cannot enjoy the glorious world he inhabits ; without the truth, the glorious things of the future world are hidden from his hopes and his faith. Without the truth, the work of regeneration can proceed but feebly; he knows but little of the parities to obtain which he should aim: but little of the means of defense against subtle evils, and Divine Providence will not permit him to be tried by dangers under which he would link. Without the truth, the Word is in a great part a sealed book; a feast of fat things, a river of delights, but of which the soul is unable to partake: without the truth the Lord, our best friend, is looked upon with tremulous fear, with dark and boding awe, not as He really is, our Father, our ever-present Helper, our ever faithful Friend and Saviour. In fact, truth is the soul’s daily food; ” Man lives not by bread alone, but by every word which proceedeth from the mouth of God.”To debar the soul from learning and understanding the truth, is to debar it from becoming a man; it is to keep it, at best, in weak and sickly childhood, and often in states but little above the beasts which perish. Being in the LOVE OF TRUTH is to be in the way of all progress not being in the LOVE OF TRUTH is to be in the way of those that perish.

The apostle speaks of those who are carried away with a strong delusion: “With all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish ; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” — 2 Thess. ii. 10. He who is in the love of the truth will be ever progressive, ever enjoying, ever delighting in the Word, the world which now is, and looking forward in trustful love to that which is to come. To him nature will unlock her stores; science will be a never-ending source of improvement and pleasure; literature will reveal her charms; the arts will disclose their beauties; and spiritual wisdom will enable him to say. My Father made them all.

On this account, therefore. Heaven and the Church, the Spirit and the Bride, are represented as saying. Come; that is to say, Come and drink of the water of life freely. Truth is not only regarded as the water, but the water of life. Waters of life are truths of love, or in other words, truths flowing from and dictated by a spirit of love. All truths which flow from the Lord, and even from angels, are truths of love. From love they come, and by love they can be appreciated. All the great truths revealed to the New Jerusalem are truths of love, and to these men are invited by the Spirit and the Bride.

The Bride is the church on earth, the Spirit the Church in heaven. Both of these say, Come. The earnest desire of both is a yearning that men should receive the truths, now fully revealed in the New Jerusalem, and be saved and happy.

There is in the Word a tendency to group masses under single forms. No doubt this arises from a principle which prevails throughout the universe, namely, that each thing, however small, tends to repeat itself on a larger scale. An individual has everything in him which exists in society; he is, therefore, a society on a small scale : a society is a man on a large scale. Israel, though consisting of millions of persons, is yet very often addressed as an individual. So the prostituted church, though consisting of vast numbers, and enduring for ages, is represented by the woman seated upon many waters. And, though the infernals are many, Mark v. 9, yet they are represented as the Devil and Satan. The church, though consisting of all the good and the true, who accept the great principles of the New Jerusalem, yet are all regarded together as the Bride, the Lamb’s wife. They are so considered, especially from the love they bear to the Lord Jesus Christ. The church is regarded as a female, because love is the chief feature in the female character, and love is the chief feature in the church. When the church is chiefly in the love of knowing and understanding the truth, then the church is a virgin; when she loves to practise the truth, she is a bride and wife. In the sight of the Lord she is as one beautiful and devoted woman. The apostle said, ” I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” — 2 Cor. ii. 2. When the church has entered into heartfelt communion with the Lord, and loves His truths and His commandments, then is she the spouse of the Lord. And, as His bride, she is represented as saying, ”Come.” Every member of the true church desires to see all men instructed, all initiated into the truth. They point to the waters, and say, ” Come.” Only the friends of error discountenance enquiry. They who have evil ends or false systems, which will not bear investigation, urge contentedness with ignorance, and are averse to active research. But they who have and do the truth, come to the light, and call upon others to come. They know its blessings, and desire others to know them. Come, they say, come, and “take of the water of life freely.”

As the Bride is the Lord’s Church on earth, represented as one, although consisting of many individuals, because all are actuated by one feeling, so the Spirit describes the Church in heaven, here, and elsewhere, signified by one angel, although consisting of innumerable individiuals, because all the blessed ones in heaven are in the Lord’s sight as one. ” The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them” — Ps. xxxiv. 7. This is written in the singular number, doubtless, because all in heaven are actuated by one hallowed love for goodness, and for its Divine Source.

Each has his especial excellence, his especial talent and use. Each is an atom in the Grand Man, each society is an organ, but all together make one grand spirit or angel, and this Spirit says, “Come.” Come to the light, come to the river of waters, come to the holy wisdom, which will delight, refresh, and purify your soul. The angelic world co-operates with the church upon earthy at all times, in the advancement of goodness and truth. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation?” — Heb. i. 14. They commence their ministrations in our earliest days. Our Lord said of the little ones, “Their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” — Matt, xviii. 10. They continue their blessed ministrations through life. “He hath given His angels charge concerning us, to keep us in all our ways.” — Ps. xci. 10. Their grand aim is to bring us to the truth. They suggest heavenly thoughts, they cheer us, they encourage us in our heavenward struggle. They drop a balm into our cup when it is bitter; if our souls are imprisoned they become its companions in the bonds, and when we have escaped they rejoice over us. If we decline they mourn, and when we turn again to our Heavenly Father they are delighted. “There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.” — Luke xv. 10. They, therefore, intensely desire that men should receive the new outpouring of divine truth, which constitutes the Lord’s Second Advent. When the Lord descended, at His First Advent, the multitude of the heavenly host sang “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth goodwill towards men;” and now, a second time, the Lord proclaims still higher truth ; again the angels say, ” Come, take of the water of life freely.”

And, here, let us for a moment ponder upon the beautiful and encouraging idea that is presented by the assurance, that the whole heavenly world, as one angel, says ” Come.” They know well the importance of the disclosures made to the New Jerusalem. They know them to be waters of life. The truths which show us the Lord as really a God of Love; that bring before before us His Divine Love and Wisdom as forming the spheres of heaven and its blessed societies; that disclose to us the inward spirit of His Word, everywhere like a spiritual stream, affording us the living water which satisfies our inner thirst; the truths which give us the knowledge of ourselves, and of all our changes in the regenerate life; the truths which show us the sure results of all good principles, which will build us up into angelic forms of celestial and spiritual beauty, these are the waters of life. These are the principles upon which heaven and earth are ruled, and all life flows into the universe. The angels know it, and they say, Come. Come and partake of what affords us so much delight. Come and learn how we are led by the Lamb to the fountains of living waters. Come and see how you are conducted along the paths of life, until you enter into His presence, ” where is fulness of joy, even life for evermore.”

The text next says, “Let him that heareth say, Come.” And something similar to this is often said in the Gospel, and in other parts of this book. The Lord frequently added to His parables, “He that hath an ear, let him hear;” and at the end of each Epistle to the seven churches it is written, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” It has been well remarked, that the ear is the way to the heart, the eye to the intellect. Of course, all the senses have to do with the whole man, indirectly, but each has an especial office, besides its indirect one. Hearing and tasting have directly to do service to the will; sight and smell to the understanding; and touch is the universal sense, which, like the ruling love, is present in them all, and in the whole body. Hearing spiritually, is giving heed that we may obey. He who from affection hearkens, is disposed to do. And thus he is in the condition of those of whom the Lord speaks, when He says, “that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! then would thy peace have been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.” —Isa. xlviii. 18. When we have hearkened to and done the truths we have already learned, we are disposed to come for more. And, indeed, without this working into our lives, as far as we have had opportunity, what we already have received, it is not good for us to have more. To keep truth without doing it, is to be like those Israelites who kept manna without eating it, they found it produced worms and noxiousness. “If ye know these things, happy are ye, if ye do them.” “Let him that heareth say. Come.” They who obey the truth will find the blessing of obedience, the order, the satisfaction, the peace which it brings. He who has obtained from, the Lord the power, and enjoyed the blessedness of keeping the Lord’s commandments, will have experienced that freedom from spiritual bondage, from anxiety, and from the dread of death, that he will, in effect, say with the Psalmist, “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul.”— Ps. lxvi. 16. His cup will run over. He who heareth will say, and he is exhorted to say, “Come.” Such is the effect of all genuine heartfelt reception of the truth. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” The happiness of being the friends of the Most High, who said, ” Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you;” the happiness of feeling ourselves conquerors of those evils which once so easily beset us; the happiness of entering more fully into the truths which before we only externally understood, for they who keep the commandments enter in through the gates into the city, all this makes him who hears, join his voice to those of the Spirit and the bride, and gladly say to all the world, ” Come.” Come and receive the freedom which I enjoy; come and live in the atmosphere which is so delightful to me; come and enjoy the sacred things of heaven here on earth, and thus prepare to enjoy them hereafter. Come and accept the bounty so fully and freely offered by Infinite Mercy. ” Come, bid let him that is athirst come.”

The Lord has created man without the possession of any truth, but with the capability of advancing in truth for ever. The brute has naturally all the instinctive knowledge that it needs, and in this seems more perfect at birth than man. But man, though possessing no knowledge, has an affection for truth, which continually prompts him to its acquisition. This constitutes the first great distinction between him and the brute. He desires to know. When, in his early days, he scrutinizes everything, seeks for information daily, inquires from father and from mother respecting all he sees, this is a thirst which springs from his inner nature, and is an intimation of the upward tendency of his soul. And, so too when he becomes a man, and has accumulated vast stores of information, there is a constant desire to search deeper, to see more into the heart and hidden meaning and law of things, and this comes from the same interior thirst. All improvement is connected with this. A man who smothers this holy impulse, either from inordinate desire for material wealth, or from having his mind arrested, by the assertion that the universe is all a mystery; that religion is especially a mass of mysteries not to be inquired into, suffers a fearful wrong. Such a mind becomes dull, stolid, stupid, more beast-like than man-like. False religions have much to answer for in this respect. They will not bear examination, and therefore forbid inquiry. If this only prevented the soul from immersing itself into numerous fallacies, no great harm would be done; but, alas! it often arrests progress altogether and degrades the rising man into the semblance of the dull ox. It deters and deadens progress, and leaves the mind inert, unless when startled by superstition. Stagnant water becomes heavy mud impure; only the living moving stream preserves purity, and maintains health. How different are the invitations of the Word, from the warning and threats of a blind theology ! “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” — Isa. i. 18.

The Lord desires us to reason with Him. He gave us this godlike faculty that we might use it, and by using it become continually more like Himself. It is the man who does not reason who remains attached to his prejudices and false persuasions; the man who reasons from the love of truth is a man of progress, who goes on a career of ever-increasing brightness unto the perfect day. Truths not understood are no defense and no blessing. Those who do not understand and do not thirst to understand, are they who are described by the Lord as receiving the seed by the wayside. “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.” —Matt. xiii. 19. Only that which is understood and loved remains. We may see this even in the lessons of a child. What is learnt but not understood is soon forgotten ; but what is so opened that the mind clearly understands it, is fixed for ever. To deaden the inquiring spirit is to darken the soul, and rob it of its highest enjoyment ; on the other hand, to stimulate the thirsting for intelligence, this affection for the truth, is to rouse man’s noblest aspirations. He only is a man who seeketh the truth, and exercises judgment (Jer. v. 1 ). The mind, which is content with the dogma of another, with the dictate of a person, a creed, or a book which he cannot understand, is far from the glorious standard of a man. His immortal thirst never can bo satisfied. God has infinite blessings in store for him, but he never asks for them. He stumbles on in darkness when he might enjoy the light. He is not a merchantman seeking goodly pearls, and so he never finds them. How beautiful are the invitations of the Lord to draw us to the light and the love of true religion. ” taste, and see that the Lord is good ; blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” — Ps. xxxiv. 8. “He satisfieth the thirsty soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” (Ps. cvii. 9.) “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Nothing else can fill the soul but truth and goodness. Earthly wealth yields but a short satisfaction, earthly applause a still shorter one. Earthly power and dignity entail more trouble than pleasure; but the blessings of love and wisdom endure for ever, and for ever go on with increasing delight. So let every man be athirst for divine instruction; and let him that is athirst come to the river of the water of life, “revealed in the

New Jerusalem. The Word, in its spiritual sense, is of unbounded extent. The knowledge of the eternal world supplies immense instruction, each doctrine to the enquiring mind opens out into an infinity of applications. The doctrine of the Lord especially is a fountain of living waters. “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood, and cried, saying. If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.”— -John vii. 37. Inquiry then from a mind ardent for the love of truth, may here find unbounded exercise and unbounded satisfaction. There are no contradictions to deter, no alarming discrepancies, nor disgreements with other truths, rational or scientific, nothing out of harmony with the laws of mind, or with historical research. All her doctrines will be found to be in harmony with all other truths, and with themselves. Let him that is athirst then come, and he will find a never ending enjoyment.

We would here remark, that the invitation is first given to him that heareth, to say “Come;” and afterwards it is said, “Let him that is athirst come.” And even this order is not without its significance. The grand prerequisite for a healthy thirst after truth, is an obedience to that which we already know. He, however, who obeys, will assuredly thirst for more heavenly instruction, and then he may safely indulge it. The Word gives no encouragement to the search for truth, merely to gratify curiosity, or merely for the purpose of dispute or display but for use. But when use is the object, when we desire to teach ourselves that we may benefit others, when we delight to know and understand more, that we may more deeply adore, more profoundly love, and more diligently serve the Lord, then may we indulge the sacred thirst for heavenly information. This is the reason why it is first said, ”Let him that heareth say, Come;” and then follows, “Let him that is athirst come.” And, lastly, we read, “Whosoever will, let him come, and take of the water of life freely.”

This recognition of the will, as the essential requisite for coming to receive heavenly gifts must not be overlooked. The Lord compels none to come; with Him it is always, whosoever will. The will is the man himself, all other faculties are accessories. If the will is not free, the man is a slave, however the fetters may be of gold. To give the will free play, to form the rest of the mind after the fashion it desires, man has been created in a world of coverings. All things are covered to him, and he is covered. He need not disclose himself to others unless by choice. The Lord will not force his freedom, and other powers cannot. They may arrest His action, but not his will. The more He is prevented from carrying out a course He loves, the more He wills it. Freewill, which is the essential of all manhood and all goodness, is secured by infinite power, and preserved by infinite love. For its preservation evil is permitted, unless man had the power to realize evil when he wills it, he could never know its awful and abominable character, and freely be led to shun it. It has been thought by some that free-will was lost in Paradise when man fell. They admit he exercised it in the choice he made of the wrong course then, but suppose it was lost for ever. Yet, who does not feel that he has it yet. The same mercy which gave it at first, continued it in spite of sin. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Death came from self, but life came from the Lord, and man was conscious of both, and could choose either. Cain evidently had it when the Lord said to him: “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at thy door.”— Gen. iv. 7.

The Israelites had it undoubtedly when the Lord said: “See I have set before thee this day, life and good, and death and evil.” — Deut. xxx. 15. And again : ” I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing : therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” — Ver. 19. The Saviour testifies that it was a perverse use of the will which had defeated his desire to prepare the disobedient for heaven. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee ; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not.” — Luke xiii. 34. Indeed, without freewill, there would be no virtue, and could be no delight. Whatever good act a person may do, if he do it from compulsion, it is not good to him. Heaven itself would not be delightful to one who was forced into it. And sin would be no sin if man did it only because he could not help it. It is freedom that makes goodness belong to the man who loves and does it, and to whom therefore it can be imputed, and the evil done in freedom is also that which alone can be imputed to the wicked. Or in Scriptural language: “The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him”— Eze. xviii. 20. Recognising this great principle, the Lord will not, earth cannot, and hell must not impede or destroy this most essential of all faculties, the freedom of the will. “Whosoeyer will, let him come and take of the water of life freely.” There must be no compulsion in relation to this holy water of Divine truth, there must be no persecution in the era of the New Dispensation. Whosoever will may come, but whosoever does not will must be suffered to remain in ignorance, or opposition. All descriptions of men however are invited to come. ” Whosoever will, let him come.”

The clergyman is invited to come, and learn those truths which will make his sacred office a delight, so that he can lead his lambs and his sheep to pure streams and fat pastures. The difficulties which to him have been painful mysteries, are here all solved, so that he may teach with delight, opening the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and finding them full of wisdom. The Lord Jesus, the one Divine Shepherd, will instruct the under-shepherds, and they will lead their flock along ways which are ways of pleasantness, and paths which are paths of peace. The Word which he loves will be opened to him with new beauty, force, and light. The shades which have dimmed its sacred lustre will be removed, and he will ndeed see that it is perfect, converting the soul.

The philosopher is invited to come. To him it is a painful thing to find that the truths taught him by nature, that grand book of divine wisdom displayed before the senses, is ever contradicted by a theology which professes to have come direct from the Almighty. But let him come to the living truths of the New Jerusalem. Let him behold the Divine Man, the embodiment of infinite love and wisdom, the centre, and originator, and supporter of all law, and he will then learn how it is that the universe at large, and in every part corresponds to a man. Man is its type, because God is a Divine Man, and man below is God’s most perfect image. He will find that the Scripture did not harmonize with true philosophy, only, when the letter that killeth was followed, instead of the spirit that giveth life. He will discover with grateful delight that he need not deny, either the revelation from the Most High which brings a celestial philosophy to view, founded upon God is one and God is love, nor that philosophy which discerns harmony, order and law, ever everywhere in nature ; and makes of earth, except where perverted by evil, a grand symbol of heaven.

The merchant is invited. ” Religion is no longer a monopoly of a few; it is the delightful and and consolatory companion of every man, and every act is to become an act of religion. To work from true principles is to worship. Not piety alone, but piety with practice makes true religion. The love of use is the grand characteristic of heaven itself, and the love of use will fill the merchant’s occupation with the spirit of heaven. The merchant has for his grand use to knit mankind together by mutual benefits ; to form ties which link nations and peoples in amity and goodwill; to stimulate improvement, to advance civilization; instead of mutual plunder to substitute mutual gain; to shew to distant nations how good the universal Father is to all His people in affording them plenty and to spare; to spread a knowledge of the arts, the literature, and the Bible of enlightened men, and thus through the arteries of commerce to pour the rich blood of brotherly love, laden with ten thousand blessings. “Let him come to the river of life, and take of its water freely.”

The manufacturer is invited. His great operations are great blessings, when he remembers that the work-people around him are children of the same heavenly Father with himself, and now living a life which will terminate in heaven or hell. To lead them in justice and enlightenment is then a great work. To be an example to them of right, of patience, and of vigilance. To promote education amongst them, and to discountenance vice; to diffuse habits of order, diligence, and virtue amongst them; to inculcate upon each that we are inhabitants of two worlds, and to live ourselves in the consciousness of being so, and manifest it by a thorough regard for right; to delight in manifesting in the texture of life the golden and silver threads of love and wisdom from the Lord, these are the spiritual duties which will sanctify the lives of the princes of trade, and when the spirit is languid from walking on the dusty road of life, let them come to the waters, and they will find streams of consolation, elevation, and blessing. Let them come, and take of the water of life freely.

The operative too is invited. There is a rich store for him. He has the grand faculties which constitute a man, as fully as any other class. To do his daily work from a spirit of justice and judgment is to live for heaven, and the rich stores of heavenly wisdom which are at hand for him, will be a full compensation for the lack of many things which are prized by the wealthy as contributing to the adornment of life, but add very little to its substantial bliss. They who possess heavenly wealth and and interior splendours will in the other life possess the corresponding external, full of glory and of beauty. But the angels think little of outward things there, except as the shadows of internal blessings of goodness and truth. The true workman in the upright performance of the uses of his employment is of far higher value, and preparing for a far happier life in eternity than the poor-souled trifler who has no generous sympathies with his kind, no wish to arrive at brilliant thoughts, no desire to promote the active uses of the world; but because his personal wants are provided for, by the accumulations of his fathers, is content to live a useless idler, and die simply to end a life without result, and appear in the eternal world miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Let the nobler workman lift up his head, and feel that he is promoting God’s will in enriching the earth and cultivating his mind. Let him with love to the Lord and charity to all mankind, diligently perform his labours, making his work genuine and good; thus doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with his God, and as he walks, “Let him take of the water of life freely.”

Those Christians are invited who, like the good Dr. Watts, pray for more light respecting the Holy Trinity, and other important subjects on which they feel perplexity and shade. In these living waters they are all cleared away. The Trinity, raised above the idea of separate persons, shines forth in strict harmony with the divine unity, and the all-comprehending Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. The atonement He effected is seen to be Infinite Love, God in Christ, reconciling man to Himself. All the painful obstacles to an enlightened faith are removed, and while we are thoroughly and lovingly spiritual, we are also able to be thoroughly rational and thoroughly scientific. All that is within us, all enlightened and filled with the hallowed spirit of true religion, may bless His holy name ; who forgiveth all our iniquities ; who healeth all our diseases; who redeemeth our life from destruction; who crowneth us with loving-kindness and tender mercies. Come then, ye humble souls who desire only to know the Lord more, that you may serve Him better, “Come, and drink of the water of life freely.”

Those non- Christians are invited who have deemed it a duty to stand off from what seemed to them irrational, and contrary to the teachings of science, who yet yearn for a light to comfort them in the troubles of life, and to illuminate the world beyond the grave. Here such a light is given. A new city clear as crystal has descended firom God for the souls of men. All its teachings are the profoundest reason, the truest science. Be earnest in the love of the truth, and patient in its investigation. Sit no loner in the valley of the shadow of death. Come to the light of life. You will see the Divine laws unfolded from heaven, revealing the operations of unbounded love and wisdom, so promoting what is good, and overruling what is evil, that you will be able to say from your inmost souls, “He hath done all things well.” The Word which has appeared to you contradictory, or in its letter beneath the majesty of the All-wise, when opened in its spirit you will confess to be divinely beautiful. The stone is taken from the well’s mouth, and the flocks of the Great Shepherd may drink; come and satisfy your inward thirst; come, and give the angelic appetite within you the deepest, fullest satisfaction; ” Come, and take of the water of life freely.” Let every one of us say, “Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord has arisen upon thee.”

No hindrance exists; there are no favourites to the exclusion of others in the sight of Him, whose mercy endureth for ever. He has opened eternity to give you this everlasting light. Infinite love says, Come; heaven and the Church say, Come. Every good mind that has already heard, says. Come. ” Let him then that is athirst come, and take of the water of life freely.”

The disclosures of Divine Wisdom in the New Jerusalem are infinite. They constitute an unbounded treasure for all. They are the discovery of a new universe, and a richer one. They bring us acquainted with a new heaven and a new earth. They are mines inexhaustible, from which we may dig gems of ever richer beauty. They brighten this life while they prepare us for the better one. They give us stores of consolation when we droop. They assure us of the friendship of unutterable love. They say, incessantly, when we are faint and fear we are forsaken, “Can a mother forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb ? Yea, she may forget, but I will not forget thee.” — Isa. xlix. 15. The manifestation of infinite love by the descent of the Lord, and all His acts of redemption, unfold the tenderness of our Saviour to us, so that we have an evidence of His care, beyond doubt, and beyond dispute. He who descended from heaven to earth for us, will descend to every need we have. He who died for us, and rose again to life for us, will never forsake us. He has provided for our every want. He has described in His Word our temptations and our defenses, our trials and our means of triumph ; the states through which we shall have to pass, and their sublime terminations; and when we have walked the valley He suffers us, at times, to ascend the mountain and see the glorious land before, like Moses, from the heights of the Pisgsah. Let us, the, go fto the living streams, and drink of their glorious waters freely. Heaven and the Church invite us. Rejoicing that the night of ages has passed, that a new morning has dawned upon the world; glorifying the Lord, that a new and glorious city, glittering with pearls of truth, and gold of love, has spiritually descended from the Lord, whose light His glory is, and in which the Word, as a river of wisdom, flows with ineffable brightness, like liquid silver, they give the earnest invitation to mankind, Come. Every one who has experienced the blessedness of walking in its light is invited to echo the angelic welcome, and say. Come. Every one, high and low, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, in every station and in every condition of life, who is athirst may come. Only one thing is needed, that the comer shall desire [will] to take of the water of life. Unless this ruling principle of the soul is engaged, no saving effect is produced, no angelic mind is formed, but if he will, “let him take of the water of life freely.”

It is given FREEDOM. The Lord’s mercies are given from the bounty of free and infinite love. They are all free, as the rays of the sun, which shine on the evil and the good. They are free as the rain, which descends upon the just and the unjust; as the air, that is the common breathing element for all. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all his works. Creation is given freely. It is the free outpouring of infinite benevolence. The sun shines, and pours the rich streams of His heat and light throughout his system freely. The moon and stars cheer and beautify the night freely. The grasses, flowers, and fruits are all poured, by the Divine hand, from plenty’s copious horn freely. All the faculties we possess of mind and body, which open to us two worlds full of unending profit and delight, are imparted freely. What have we that we have not received? Redemption and salvation too are free gifts. They flow from love and pity. God bought us with a price, the price of all He did and suffered, and we have nothing to pay. We are freely forgiven, freely saved, and freely prepared for heaven. All our blessings in the regenerate life are given freely; but they must be accepted freely, and all freedom is from love. Let us, then, constantly pray and practise, that we have more will for heavenly things. The Lord gives a renewed will as we keep His commandments. If we have but a feeble desire, still let us obey, and that desire will increase, so we shall find our love growing with practice, will become full and so strong that we shall “mount up with wings like eagles, we shall run and not be weary, we shall walk and not faint.” Let not the Divine mercy say of us as He did of the Jews of old, “Ye will NOT come unto Me, that ye may have life.” But, on the contrary, let our wills co-operate with the Divine Will, which gives freely. Let us receive freely, and we shall learn that He has come not to take our joy away from us, but that His joy may be in us, and our joy may be full, “Whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely.”

Author: JONATHAN BAYLEY –From The Divine Word Opened (1887)