"The Master has come, and is calling for you." (John 11:28).

These familiar and memorable words were spoken at Bethany on a very different occasion from that of a Communion Season. But they may be warrantably and appropriately adapted as a summons and invitation to the Great Feast of love.

Jesus at all times is invisibly near to His own people. As doubtless, though unseen, He marked every tear of sorrow in that Bethany home during the mysterious "tarrying days" beyond Jordan—so on His throne in Heaven is He still ever imparting and manifesting, by His grace and Spirit, the comforting sense of His presence. But there are times and seasons when He draws especially near; and at no time nearer, or more graciously, than at this His own blessed Sacrament of Communion. In these memorials of His bleeding love, He is evidently and impressively "set forth crucified and slain." In the preaching of this blessed Gospel I hear of Him. In the Holy Ordinance of the Supper I am privileged emblematically to behold Him. There, as in the case of Mary and Martha, He summons me to His feet, to listen, on that hallowed ground, to utterances of love and promises of glory. He takes me, as He did them, to a Grave—but it is that of no human friend. It is the Sepulcher into which He Himself entered as my Surety and Substitute. It is to see the Grave-stone rolled away forever; and over these symbols of suffering to hear Him proclaiming, as He did to the Bethany sisters, that He is Himself the Resurrection and the Life, and that because He lives, His people shall live also.

How does the summons sound in my ears? "The Master has come." Do I—can I—respond to the Name? Am I able, experimentally, to rejoice in Him as 'Rabboni, my Master,'—an all-sufficient Savior—whose blood has purchased a full, free, everlasting remission of my sins; and whose intercession is so prevalent at the right hand of God, that I am warranted, as I meet Him at this Bethany-gate of love, to say in the words of Martha's first utterance—"I know that even now whatever You will ask of God, God will give it to You"? Yes! that mourner of Bethany presents me with a divine watchword, a golden key for the Table of Communion. The riches and promises of grace are to be there, in visible emblem, spread out before me—the garnered blessings of Salvation "hidden in Christ," and whatever be my trial, or weakness, or infirmity, I am encouraged to behold the Scepter of the Heavenly King stretched forth, with the challenge and invitation—"What is your petition, and what is your request?"

"I will hear what God the Lord will speak—He will speak peace unto His people." I will go to His appointed Ordinance, and there unburden and unbosom to Him all my needs and necessities. He will not send me empty away. "Jesus wept."—He wept tears of sorrow as He stood before Martha and Mary in the Bethany graveyard; but this day He is to manifest Himself, in significant symbol, as shedding, not His tears, but His blood. He gives me the blessed pledge and assurance that He will, after the greatest of all boons and blessings—the gift of Himself, freely dower me with every lesser mercy. The Table is about to be spread; the Feast is prepared; the oxen and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready. As, in the name of the rich Provider, I listen in thought to the summons, as if from some herald-angel—"The Master has come, and calls for you," be it mine to respond—"I will go into Your House with burnt offerings, I will pay You my vows." Lord, to whom can I go but unto You, You have the words of eternal life! Bring me to Your Banqueting-house, and let Your banner over me be love! Hide me in this Cleft of the Rock, and let all Your glory pass before me!