A Great Supper, what it cost, what it is, who are the welcome guests and, who are engaged in bringing them to supper?

We want to talk with you a little about the wonderful parables of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is one of them. Jesus said, "A certain man made a great supper and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them. I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper." (Luke 14:16-24.) This great supper is a picture of God's great salvation. When you are invited to supper by a friend, do you expect that you will have to pay for it? Or will you be expected to provide it? Or take any part of it to your friend's house? Of course not. Would you not simply have to sit down and receive it? Just so. You would merely be a guest. All would have to be done by someone else before you could receive it. A great deal would have to be done before the servant could say all things are now ready: the supper is on the table. This is the peculiarity of the Gospel. Not so when man was under law. Then the law made known the righteous demands of God. That was more like the landlord coming to your house for the rent, when you can't pay it; can't pay it when you would. This great supper is not like that. All is provided, all is given.

Why don't you like to think about God? Don't you think He demands something from you, something that you find you have not to give? Yes, you do. You think you have to become good, holy, righteous, religious. God demands all this from you, and you cannot give it Him. Is not that what you think? Have you not often tried to bring all this to God, and still you find you fail to do it. And yet you think if you do not bring something to God, according to the demands of His law, you never can be saved. The Lord Jesus will show you in this picture that you are quite mistaken, that this is not God's present plan at all. God provides and gives everything. He does not expect you to bring, but to receive, just as you would at your friend's great supper. Do you see that this great supper is in direct contrast with the demands of the law? The law says thou shalt love God. This supper shows how God has loved you.

What is a great supper? If half-a-dozen men were invited to a supper that cost one shilling, that would not be called a great supper, would it? A supper is great according to what it costs. What would you think, if a nobleman sold all he had, and made a great supper for the poor? That would be a supper to talk about. A great supper indeed. If a supper is great according to what it costs: and if God is the provider of this great supper: this great salvation: let us then inquire

What it Cost

It is not now God in law demanding: but God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son. Have you read of Him in the prophet Isaiah? "I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of host." (Isaiah 6:1-3.) This is Jesus Jehovah! "These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory, and spake of Him." (John 12:41.) "Unto the Son, he saith, Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever." "Thou, Lord, in the beginning, hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thine hands." (Heb. 1.) "For by Him were all things created." "And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist." (Col. 1:15-17.) He became flesh and dwelt amongst us. Born of a poor maid of Nazareth; in a stable: laid in a manger. Oh! read His wondrous life of sorrow, of sympathy, of divine love to sinners. And now turn back and see Him in the glory, too bright for highest creature gaze: see seraphim veil their faces, and cry Holy, holy, holy! Now turn to another scene. See Him in dark Gethsemane — His soul exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. See Him sweating as it were great drops of blood! No human heart to sympathize. His loved disciples asleep! At that moment one of His disciples and the chief priests of His nation were planning to betray Him and put Him to death. He says, "When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me." (Ps. 142:3.) Oh, see the Creator of the universe become lowly man, and giving Himself into the hands of wicked men. See Him bound; see Him led to Caiaphas; see Him delivered to Pilate. "Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged Him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe." Ah, they mocked Him; they spit upon Him. But see Him thrown down. See His hands and His feet nailed to the accursed tree. See Him hanging by those painful wounds! "He was wounded for our transgressions: bruised for our iniquities." His soul was made an offering for sin. And now the heavens grew dark. Made sin for us, He was forsaken of God. Oh, listen to that cry! "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?" Hearken again: "It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost." This was the price of the great supper: the great salvation of God. This is what it cost. He must be lifted up on the cross, the sacrifice for sins. He must die or remain alone, and never have a guest at the supper. He must die: and rise again from amongst the dead, or all things could never be ready. There is no other supper for poor lost sinners. How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?

How long have you despised this great supper? It is said in Matthew, "They made light of it." Have you made light of it? So here in Luke they all made a polite excuse. The piece of ground — the oxen — the wife. Oh, is it so with you, your business, your work, your family: all right in themselves; but can you pay attention to these things, and neglect, nay refuse, the great supper; the great salvation?

in this section we have been occupied with what it cost; in our next we hope to see what it is. The greatest feast ever made on earth just dwindles down to nothing compared to this. Of every feast that man, guilty man, can make, it is like Belshazzar's feast, there is the writing of a man's hand on the wall. But of this supper it is written, "He that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst."

No other supper could ever pretend to this. At all the feasts on earth man eats and hungers again. But this great supper is everlasting. "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 4:14)

Once made partakers of God's great salvation we cannot desire another: there is no other. It was first spread in the midst of the city, even Jerusalem. There it was made light of, despised, and rejected. Free to accept it, all rejected. They would not believe the free grace of God.

Have you tried the pleasures of this world? Do they ever satisfy? How can they, when death and judgment come after them? They only leave an aching void. The pleasures of sin deceive for a moment: this supper satisfies for ever. When we examine the supper in our next section, we shall find every need of the sinner met once and for ever. Let us remember we have nothing to do for it, nothing to give for it, nothing to bring to it; all is of God. All is done long ago. All things are ready. When the servant says supper is on the table, what have we to do but to sit down and receive it? The cost of this great salvation was the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ. The cost, His precious blood. "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16.)

What it is!

We have seen in the former section that this beautiful parable of the great supper shows us that God is not demanding from man, on the principle of law, but giving, providing, in free grace. "A certain man made a great supper." Thus He provided everything, the guests brought nothing. What a new truth this was as to God and salvation, to men under the administration of the law, which did not give, but demanded. Then we found this supper was great because it cost the greatest price in the universe: the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. The agony, the atoning suffering, of the cross, forsaken of God: that was the price of the supper. The price of the great salvation was His precious blood.

Nothing could be more striking than this picture. When you are invited to supper, and all things are ready, you have only to sit down and receive the rich provisions. And mark, this picture admits of no uncertainty. A person must know whether he receives his friend's supper or refuses it. We now propose to examine what this great supper is. Let us continue the figure of the supper. Here then is a great supper spread out, all ready, warranted to meet the needs of every poor sinner brought to it, not only for a moment, but to satisfy for ever.

Pray, what is your need? Do you say deep indeed is my need. I am a guilty sinner. Death and judgment is before me, and I cannot escape; and I cannot undo what I have done; and I know very well in my sins I cannot enter heaven. Sit down here; this is what meets your case at the very head of the table, God speaks to you, "Be it known," — yes, all is certainty at the supper — "that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins." Yes, "To Him give all the prophets witness that, through His name, whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins." (Acts 13:38; 10:43.) This is a wonderful part of the great supper. Immediate forgiveness of sins. And mark this is not through our feelings or doings; but through Jesus. And this is not only immediate forgiveness, but perfect and everlasting forgiveness. "And their sins and iniquities I will remember no more." Oh! do you believe God? This is the very first taste of blessedness at the great supper. "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered." Yes, the moment you sit down in the light of that great supper — for there is no darkness there — then you immediately know that "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." Sins can no more be reckoned to any at that great supper. They have been borne by Jesus, their Substitute; and can never be imputed to them.

Then all there are justified from all things? This is the very next thing on the table. "And all that believe are justified from all things." Why, this was the very thing that Jesus, after He had died for our sins, was raised from the dead for. "He was raised again for our justification." Just as the creditor puts the stamp on the bill that has been paid, for full evidence of settlement, so God has raised up Jesus our Lord from among the dead, to be the everlasting receipt — the full evidence of settlement — for that debt paid in His precious blood. Perfect and infinite sacrifice: perfect and everlasting justification, must give perfect and everlasting peace with God. And so all at the supper enjoy this? If they believe God they do. "Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." This is the happy position of all at the great supper. "Being justified." That is always so. Always we have perfect peace with God. It must be so, the supper is always the same, always through Jesus Christ our Lord. The justification could not be more complete. It was God who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead for our justification. Who shall lay anything to the charge of those at the great supper. "It is God that justifieth; who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again from the dead." Oh, reader, do you believe God? Have you sat down at the supper?

Now we will look a little further, and see what God hath made and provided at this great supper. Christ Jesus, still meeting our needs, "Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness; and sanctification, and redemption." Just as you could look at the various dishes on your friend's table, all provided for you: not brought by you. So here, at the great supper; God's great salvation. Do you say, I am so ignorant, I greatly need wisdom. Sit down and contemplate Christ Jesus made unto you wisdom. The philosopher may study the stones and the stars, but at this supper, you know Him who made them all, from everlasting to everlasting.

Do you say before I can be quite sure I am saved at the great supper: must I not be righteous in all my ways before God and man? Can God possibly justify me before that is the case? Fatal mistake if you have to bring righteousness to the supper: at that supper you can never be: for you are guilty, and fail at every point. Was not this the fatal mistake of the Jews? Is it not the fatal mistake of the ritualists? They are vainly trying by works to bring that to the supper which God has made Christ Jesus to be to every one that sits at the great supper. But says another, must I not attain to higher christian life, must I not bring holiness to God? Here is the same mistake again: that is exactly what you find at the great supper, not what you bring. Christ Jesus made unto us sanctification. Well, says another, I need redemption, how may I be sure that I have got it? That again is exactly what all have at the great supper. Yes, God has provided all. Jesus Christ: infinite wisdom: everlasting righteousness. "By one offering He has perfected for ever all that are sanctified." Eternal redemption. The great mistake we make is in supposing we have to bring some of these, instead of sitting down, in perfect peace, and finding all we need, and all ours for evermore. If we are still on the ground of God's righteous demands from us, we are lost, for if He deals with us in righteousness He must condemn us. The blood of propitiation for our sins has been shed. God in His righteousness has raised the believer's substitute from the dead. God thus proclaims forgiveness of sins to us, and all that believe God are justified. They sit at the great supper in perfect peace with God. Christ is their wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. And they hunger no more. They need no other righteousness before God; no other sanctification; no other redemption.

But what is there in this great supper to provide for righteousness before men? Just everything. Being justified by faith before God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost dwells in them, and thus walking in the Spirit, practical righteousness is fulfilled in them.

Here comes one with trembling desire to sit in perfect peace at the great supper. Well, Jesus says, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God; believe also in me." Pray, what do you ask for at the supper? Is this what you long to know? When all the sorrows and storms of this sad life are past, I want to be quite sure of a home above. Oh, if you will sit down, and just take what is set before you, you will find three times more than you ask. This is the very thing He makes so certain. He says to you, poor trembling believer, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also." (John 14.) Yes, He says, your home above with Me shall be as certain as that I am there. Could He say more? Yes, He does. He promised the Comforter, the Holy Ghost to be with you all the way. Yet more still — "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Certainty of home; the presence of the Comforter all the way, and His peace which is surely perfect. My section is finished, but it will take eternity to unfold the vastness of this great supper; the great salvation of God. Tell us, dear reader, how will you escape if you neglect it?

We now proceed to inquire —

Who are the Welcome Guests?

We have seen that this great salvation is entirely of God; as the friend who invites you certainly provides the repast. We have seen that the cost of this great supper was the death of the Son of God. No other price could have bought it. We have seen that the great supper meets every need of the lost sinner. Forgiveness of sins; justification from all things; no condemnation to them that are in Christ, at the great supper. No separation from that festive feast of love. Christ Jesus their wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Their home in the place prepared, secured. The Holy Ghost abiding with them. The peace of Christ their happy portion. All provided of God. Nothing to do, nothing to bring; all given, and given for ever.

Now, Who are the welcome guests?

Such a great supper, such a great salvation spread out before the multitude, hastening on to death and judgment and eternal woe. Surely, you would say, the whole world would at once accept so great salvation. No, it is not so. With all man's boast of freedom, if left to his own choice, not one would sit down at the great supper. These are the words of Jesus: "They made light of it." "They all with one consent, began to make excuse!" Yes, profanely or politely, all refuse the salvation which is wholly of God's providing. Is not this a true and sad picture?

Tell a man to wash in the Ganges, he will do it. Tell him to give his body to be crushed by the wheels of the idol, he will do it. Tell him to lacerate his poor body, to put it to untold tortures, he will do it. Tell him to own the false prophet of Mecca, he will do it. Tell him to fast; to say long prayers; tell him to become an idolater, and worship a bit of bread, or the blessed virgin; tell him to shut himself up in a cell; — all these things, or anything, the million will do, to work out a righteousness of their own: to provide something to bring to God. But, spread out the accomplished salvation of God, not one of the human race will accept it. All make their polite excuse. Is this true? Look at Jerusalem, nay, look at the cities and towns of highly-favoured England, for an answer. Nay, we don't need go beyond the reader and the writer of these few thoughts.

Oh, is this so? Are you hastening on, day by day — every day a day nearer to death, judgment, the lake of fire — and yet every day rejecting the great salvation of God.

Blessed be God, even from Jerusalem, the city that killed the Holy One of God. From the lanes of that city the poor, the maimed, the halt, the blind, were brought to the great supper — three thousand in one day!

Who are the welcome guests? The poor, the maimed, the halt, the blind. "And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room." Yes, there is room; room for the writer, and room for the reader. Yet there is room! "And the Lord said unto His servant, Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled!" This is the blessed work of God amongst the highways and hedges of the lost Gentile world. Is not this grace beyond all measure, beyond all human thought? Not only is this great supper spread, but the outcasts of the highways and hedges are compelled to come in. Oh, how they sing,
'Twas the same love that spread the feast,
That sweetly forced me in;
Else I had still refused to taste,
And perished in my sin.

We will take two persons as samples of the welcome guests. One from the Old Testament, which throws light, in picture, on this great supper. We ask your attention especially to the kindness of God, in fetching a welcome guest, lame on both his feet. This young man had fallen, and became utterly lame on the day of the death of his father. This is our condition through Adam's sin; we are fallen and utterly lame without strength. David said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God unto him? There was one, this lame young man, in the house Machir, in Lo-debar. There he was hiding from David in the place of Lo-debar — that is, the place of no pasture — such a picture of our condition. Are you there, not only hiding from God, hasting on to endless woe, but nothing to satisfy all the way? David sent and fetched him from his hiding-place. And when he came he fell on his face. Then "David said, Mephibosheth! And he said, Behold thy servant. And David said unto him, Fear not, for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake and thou, shalt eat bread at my table continually." Thus God fetches the poor hiding, guilty, helpless, lame sinner, and says, Fear not, I will surely show thee kindness, for Christ's sake. Think of these words, Surely I will show thee kindness. Surely! What a feast; and to eat continually This kindness of God at once produces repentance. "And he bowed himself, and said, what is thy servant that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am." Has the kindness of God ever led you to this deep self-abhorrence?

All is given to this poor cripple. He is placed at the King's table, as one of the King's sons. The kindness of God gives this poor lame sinner the highest place of royal blessing. It was the will of the King. "As for Mephibosheth, said the King, he shall eat at my table, as one of the King's sons. So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem, for he did eat continually at the King's table; and was lame on both his feet." (2 Sam. 9.) Wonderful as is this picture of the kindness of God, yet the reality far exceeds the type. David deals with him for Jonathan's sake. God deals with us for Christ's sake. He sits at the feast as one of the King's sons. But as to all who are brought to the great supper, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God."

Very beautiful is the love of David to one of the house of Saul, his enemy. "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

One scarcely knows which is the most wonderful, the grace of God in spreading such a feast, or the wickedness of man in despising it? What a text is that over the door of the feast, "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to, Me I will in no wise cast out." Look at it again and again. Yes, the house shall be filled. There is a place for every guest; and every guest shall fill that place. The poor, the halt, the lame, the blind, are welcome. The chief of sinners He receives. The greatest sinner you know is welcome, and is not that yourself? Cast yourself on His own words, "Shall in no wise be cast out."

Do you say, Oh, I am a christian without all that; I was baptized; I was confirmed; I say my prayers. Are you a christian? Are you at the great supper? Are your sins forgiven? Are you justified? Have you peace with God? Don't say I pray for these things. Many things we have to pray for. But the poor, halt, lame, blind, had not to pray for the great supper; it was all ready for them. To pray for a supper then, would have been to reject it. Don't say no man can know whether he is saved or not; it is like saying no man can tell whether he has had his supper or not. The great supper, remember, is the gift of God, and to doubt it is to make God a liar. "He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar." (1 John 5:13.)

In our next section we hope to take up a sample case from the New Testament, and also to consider the persons engaged in bringing the guests to the great supper.

Don't forget those words of Jesus, "And shall in no wise be cast out!"

Who are Engaged in Bringing Them to the Supper.

We have seen that this great supper, the great Salvation, is entirely of God. That it meets every possible need of the sinner. It is a great supper because of its great cost. That it lasts forever. "He that believeth hath everlasting life!" We have seen that the whole human race, left to their own choice, reject this great supper, We have seen a sample, how the guests have to be fetched to the supper, in the case of Mephibosheth, lame on both feet. The kindness of God shown unto him. The place given him at the table as a King's son. How God fetches the sinner that deserves everlasting judgment, and how God shows him everlasting kindness for Christ's sake.

Now we will look at another sample guest brought to the supper. And who, dear reader, do you think are the persons engaged in seeking this strange guest, and receiving him safe to the great supper? The ever blessed glorious persons of the one Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. We shall soon see how.

If you read on in Luke 14 you will find one thing greatly overlooked. If you are brought to the great supper, and made a partaker of the great salvation, there must then be no half measures. Christ must be all; He must have the first and sole place. No claims of nature, of relations, or of your own life, must come betwixt you and Him.

This beautiful parable had a wonderful effect: — "Then drew near unto Him all the publicans and sinners for to hear Him." This is just what we want you now to do: listen to the words of Jesus. "And the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying, This Man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." They who would be thought righteous, always murmur at this. But now in connection with the great supper, Jesus, who receiveth sinners, gave the following parable, in which is both shown who are engaged in bringing the guests to the table and also fully describes a sample of the guests.

Don't forget it is Jesus, the Son of God, who speaks to us. The parable is divided into three parts. The man who seeks, finds, and brings the lost sheep. The woman who seeks diligently until she finds the lost piece of silver. The father who rejoices to find the lost son. In each case notice the word lost. Ah! if you knew the meaning in your own soul, lost! Will you notice the order of the parable, all to show how the lost sinner is brought to the supper.

First, the lost sheep. David sent to Lo-debar to fetch the poor cripple. Jesus came himself from the highest glory to bleed, and die for the lost one. Yes, the Good Shepherd must die: must be lifted up: must bear our sins on the cross, or never, never, have the joy of receiving the one lost sheep. He says, "I lay down My life for the sheep." It was not the lost sheep that sought the man, but the man that sought the sheep. It was all the man. He sought it, he found it, he carried it, he desired to have it safe, at home, and he never gave it up till he got it there. Such is the Man Christ Jesus. He came to seek the lost sinner. He died for him. He brings him safe home at last rejoicing.

And all this the will of the Father. He says, "Therefore doth My Father love Me." If you know Him thus, it will fill your heart with repentance; fill His with joy.

There is the diligent seeking of the woman, who had lost the piece of silver. Thus next in order, when the Lord Jesus had finished the work given Him to do, and was ascended up on high, the Holy Ghost was sent down, and for eighteen hundred years [Writen in the XIXth century] has He been diligently seeking lost sinners, to bring them to the great supper. And what ever it is to the repenting sinner, it is joy to the Holy Spirit to find and to bring the lost. Is He not diligently seeking you? Oh, that by this little paper He may bring you to the happy feast. And now we will go to the third part of the parable. Jesus, the Son of God, having bowed His head, and cried, "It is finished;" God having raised Him from the dead for our justification; the Holy Ghost having found the sinner, and awakened his conscience, we will now dwell a little on the Father's joy in receiving him.

There is the guest to be brought, far from his Father's house. As to all good, dead in trespasses and sins. As to all that is bad, he wasted his substance with riotous living. Spent all in grossest sins, with harlots. Could sin satisfy him? When he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land. Satan sends him to the swine. Poor fellow, he would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. Oh, the dreadful slavery of sin! What wretchedness! And no man can give relief. And yet this very wretchedness and self abhorrence is what God is using to bring this poor prodigal to himself. He came to himself. Yes, is not the slavery of sin, rushing wilfully, madly, unto certain everlasting woe; is it not madness? He came to himself. Would you have thought that that wretched sinner was the sample guest the Lord Jesus selects as the one to be brought to the great supper? The moment he came to himself, the Father came to his mind, and bread enough and to spare in the Father's house.

What of the Father? "But when he was a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion on him, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." Did you ever see anything like that? Words of Jesus revealing the Father, meeting the sin-oppressed lost prodigal. The work of Jesus, the beloved Son, has removed every barrier. Are you a wretched sin-confessed prodigal? Oh, see the Father's compassion and kiss first, and then the prodigal's confession second.

The Father ran to meet him; the Father had compassion on him; the Father fell on his neck and kissed him. The kindness of God melts the heart in repentance and confession. It is not our repentance that melts the heart of God in kindness. Oh what precious lessons these are! "And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in Thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called Thy son." "But" yes, immediately sins are confessed all are forgiven. "But the Father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet." Thus is the one lost guest received. Thus is he clothed in righteousness divine: the best robe. Thus he receives the ring, golden pledge of everlasting love. And the shoes on his feet, power to walk and do the will of God. At once and for ever he is ready for the great supper. Nay, though the Father met him a great way off, yet at once he is at the supper. But we don't hear a word more from him, it is all the Father's joy. If thus brought to see and accept the grace of God, let us now forget ourselves, and be occupied with the Father's joy. He says, "And let us eat and be merry. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry." The man rejoiced to find the lost sheep; the woman to find the lost silver; and the father rejoices to find the lost son! God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, God the Father. The three persons in one Godhead rejoice in seeking, saving, bringing, receiving, the lost sinner to the great supper. Such is the great salvation wholly of God.

Satan would tell you there must be long weary years of penance here, or purgatory hereafter, or both, or you must do something to bring a righteousness to God first; or you must do great works of repentance first, before God can love you or show you kindness; or you must spend a life of dismal ritualism first, and then hope, God will be merciful; at last. Satan is a liar.

The Lord Jesus Christ shows us that on the ground of His own infinite sacrifice, by His death for the sinner that now the supper is spread, and now the unhindered kindness of God the Father, by the Holy Spirit, melts the heart of the vilest sinner to full repentance and confession of sins, and immediately all sins are forgiven, the sinner, covered in divine righteousness, is fitted and brought to the great supper, to sit down as a son, in the glory of God.

Oh, that this may be the reader's place, now and for ever more. Amen.

C.S.