"This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this is the place of repose"—

"Whoever comes to me I will never drive away." John 6:37

An invitation to every burdened Israelite—every way-worn pilgrim of the wilderness, to come for shelter under the branches of the Heavenly Palm!

How these and such like gracious words which proceeded out of the mouth of Jesus, must have told on the wondering multitudes He addressed, those who never heard kind sayings before—who were led to imagine that it was learned scribes, or devout Pharisees, or austere Sadducees, or elaborate-robed priests, who alone had any hope of salvation! Can we marvel that "the common people heard Him gladly," when He lifted them up from the dust of degradation; when He proclaimed boldly—"I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." I came not to call you rich—you learned—you who pride yourselves on your religious formalism and self-righteous austerities—but you broken-hearted penitents, weeping prodigals, despairing Magdalenes—you the most erring wanderers from the fold, who are really and earnestly seeking to return. "If ANY man thirsts, let him come unto Me and drink." "If ANY man enter in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture."

Reader! say not, 'This invitation cannot be for me. I cannot take my place under the gracious palm-shade, just as I am, with the memory of countless transgressions.' Yes! it is just because you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, that He invites you to come. Come, just as you are. Christ does not require any previous qualifications. It is because you are weary He asks you to partake of the shelter. It is because of your poverty that He so importunately exclaims—"Behold, I have set before you an open door."

When, in a season of scarcity and poverty, thousands thrown out of employment are forced to avail themselves of bread doled out to stop the rage of hunger, they are not heard to say, 'We must have proper clothing first. We must first cover these children's bleeding, frost-bitten feet, before we can venture to appear before the distributors of a city's or a nation's bounty.' No; if they did so, it would invalidate their plea—it would send them home again to a cupboard, and hearth, and wardrobe, as empty as they left it. It is because they appear in tattered rags, and because hunger has written its appeal on their emaciated faces and in the hollow eyes of the hapless children at their side, that the door opens for relief.

There is no desert wanderer, haggard and footsore, who may not come to that grove of "exceeding great and precious promises." God has made provision not for the strong only, but for the weak, the tempted, the sorrowful, the suffering. The feeblest bird may make a perch of these branches. The anointing oil of blessing poured on the head of the true Aaron, flows down to the very skirts of His garments, so that the least and lowliest are made partakers of His covenant grace.

It is well for us, however, to remember that there is but one Redeemer; and "neither is there salvation in any other." A few days previous to the Elim encampment, there was but one way for the Hebrew host through the Red Sea from the pursuing hosts of Pharaoh. There was but one way for evading the destroying angel—by the sprinkling of blood on the doorposts of their dwellings. There was but one way, in a subsequent age, for Rahab escaping the general destruction of Jericho—by hanging out from her window the scarlet thread. There was but one way—by washing in the river of Jordan—that the proud Syrian captain of a yet later day, could have his leprosy healed.

The Hebrews, on that memorable night of the death of the firstborn, might have built up Egyptian pyramid on pyramid to keep out the messenger of wrath. It would have been of no avail. Or the army of a million, passing through the sea, might have piled its coral rocks to make an avenue through the waters. The wild waves would have laughed them to scorn and made them the plaything of its tide! Naaman might have made a toilsome pilgrimage to every river of Asia—from Abana and Pharpar, to the Euphrates and the Indus—but all would have been to no purpose. Nothing but 'the waters of Israel' would prove efficacious in curing his malady.

Let us make sure of a personal interest in the one great Salvation. That Almighty Redeemer remains, to this hour, immutable—all-sufficient—faithful among the faithless—changeless among the changeable. Bernard beautifully sang in the words of his familiar hymn—

"Jesus, Thou joy of loving hearts!
Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men!
From the best bliss that earth imparts,
We turn unfilled to Thee again."

Yes! you who are weary, sick at heart it may be of the world which has deceived you—bubble after bubble bursting in your hands; that gracious Savior, with outstretched arms, is waiting to welcome you back. With the hoarded love of eternity in His heart, He is ever repeating the "faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance" which heads this meditation—"whoever comes to me I will never drive away!"

"With a heart full of anxious request,
Which my Father in heaven bestowed,
I wandered, alone and distressed,
In search of a quiet abode.
Astray and distracted, I cried
Lord, where would You have me to be?
And the voice of the Lamb that had died
Said, 'Come, My beloved, to ME!'

"I went—for He mightily wins
Weary souls to His peaceful retreat,
And He gave me forgiveness of sins,
And songs that I love to repeat;
Made pure by the blood that He shed,
My heart in His presence was free,
I was hungry and thirsty—He fed;
I was sick, and He comforted me.

"He gave me the blessing complete,
The hope that is with me today;
And a quiet abode at His feet,
That shall not be taken away."

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"

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