I wish to say a few words on what it is that gives the heart of a believer boldness at all times to say, "Come, Lord Jesus." My own thought as regards this passage is, that nothing but personal affection to the Lord can ever give the heart boldness before Him. The soul must realize that it has been laid hold of by His love, that such a light is shining down upon it from His face as to enable it, under everything coming up against it, in spite of failure, to know that there is nothing but love in the heart of the Lord Jesus Himself towards it. Yes, through all possible changes we have still His love. I may be a poor thing, as unlike Him as possible, still His love laid hold of me just as I was, and nothing that He can find in me is unforseen, or can change that love. If the thought of my heart were, "I have been a Christian thirty or forty years, done this or that," would that enable me to stand and say, "Come, Lord Jesus"? No; nothing but love to Himself will.
"I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." All the promises are sure in Him. Have they failed with us or Israel? No; Christ is the guarantee for all. "Root and offspring." Is the root never to bud and blossom, and fill the world with fruit? Should we be content to have Him up there, and Satan possessing the earth? No; in my heart He is Lord of lords, and King of kings; I must see every knee bow to Him. "Bright and morning star." Not of the night, but of the morning without clouds, harbinger of day before the glory of the sun lights up the world, as it will do. This glory, brightness of the morning star, is a glory to be in Himself, seen and admired of His saints, a peculiar glory. It was something to cheer John's heart in the midst of failure (and ours too), to watch through the night for that bright star, that Lord "who loved us, and gave Himself for us."
Then we find the word, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come." Why displace God's thoughts of the bride for my thoughts of myself? Knowing the grace of Christ, cannot I leave myself in the hands of Christ without reference to what I am? If I can do that, I can say, "Come." If we think we have a multitude of things to do first, we cannot know the blessedness of waiting and watching for that bright star. John might have said, "I have testified of the failure of all in man." But what there was in Christ to meet it all was his thought; is it yours?
There is no scene so marvellous in the whole world as the description of the bride, the Lamb's wife. Faith identifies the soul that has it with the Lord. You ought to know why you can say, "Come, Lord." Testimony may have failed; and if walking in the Spirit, you can never count you have given Christ what He deserves. How then can you say, "Come"? The name of "bride," connected as it is with the Lord Jesus, brings one to the conviction that God is acting just to please Himself there; that Son to be enthroned in the heavenlies with all possible glory, but not alone. He must have companions there. It is God's thought to have an adopted family of poor sinners there; and who shall stop Him? If a ray of light has come down into my heart from the face of the Lord Jesus Christ, that ray identifies me with the bride. I belong to Jesus; I must be with Him, go where He is. Strange place for such as I, but I am His; I must be there. The most halting, the "saved so as by fire," will go up to one common glory, brought in because part of the bride. Rewards, differing according to faithfulness, likeness to the Lord, there will be; but when I think of the Christ there in glory, and myself a part of His body in it, how it does away with all thought of creature merit, and faith understands why Christ must have glory, without reasoning; for "He is worthy." The heart that loves will never be satisfied till Christ has all His glory. Oh for softness of heart rather than greatest intelligence! Is there nothing to move the affections in the certainty of those words being so soon accomplished: "For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry"? Are you longing for Him? He is coming! Is the hope ever on your heart? Has that part of God's grace told on your souls? The moment a man gets this hope he must begin to act on it. How sweet to have love drawing the heart in separation to Christ, or to fruitfulness, if unfruitful!
Looking then at ourselves or our service, there could be nothing but despair; but the moment the person of Christ flits before the mind, then comes a joy that neither light or darkness can dim. He is surely coming, and a bride is surely kept to meet Him. Lift up your eyes in the midst of all your failure; He is coming; it is Jesus; and the heart can say "Come" to Him. I cannot think of Him without breathing out, "Come, Lord, come quickly;" and I cannot get to the love in the bosom of the Father without longing for another to enjoy it too, looking out too for another heart to cry, "Abba, Father" with me. That word "come" is a sort of plumb-line to our hearts, a touch-stone by which to test the state of your soul. Is it failure that hinders? And do you ever expect to meet His face with joy on account of your own faithfulness? No, impossible! All your confidence must spring from what Christ is, not from what you are. If this moment we were caught up to meet Him, His first thought would be surely not to find fault. His first thought would be: These are mine; this is the bride made ready by the Father. He never found fault with anything He did. He does not love to find fault; commendation is sure to come first with Him. He will have a private account to settle with each soul, but not at the hour of meeting -- all will be joy then. Living water is ever streaming from that Rock, and where is the limitation? "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." There may be two states of souls thirsting. With the one God deals to make them find out what they are. If you are one trying to snatch at everything to satisfy yourself, to you I could not say, "Drink freely." Another state of soul is seeing everything in Christ to satisfy; but thinking you have something to do to get hold of Him, there is a grasping, a catching, but a never getting hold; seeing the manna and water, really hungering and thirsting, and crying out, "I see, but cannot lay hold." Such a soul has to learn that the God who has showed the blessing is the One alone to give it. Would the Lord coming tonight find you as those having to do with Christ, and not with yourselves?
This portion fits the day we live in! Nothing now remains but for God to introduce Christ, to put down all the wickedness of man; and in the sense of this, at the fag end of the Church's failure for nearly 2000 years, I can still stand and say, "Come, Lord Jesus;" but I could not do so if looking at a single thing around me or in myself. My heart and my eye must be filled with Himself. Then, and then alone, can I cry, "Come, Lord Jesus." G. V. W.