16A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, “Come; for all things are now ready.” 18And 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.” 19And another said, “I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.” 20And another said, “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” 21So 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.” 22And the servant said, “Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.” 23And 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. 24For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.” —Luke 14:16-24 KJV
Come, sinners, to the Gospel feast;
Let every soul be Jesu’s guest.
Ye need not one be left behind,
For God hath bid all humankind.
Sent by my Lord, on you I call;
The invitation is to all!
Come, all the world! Come, sinner, thou!
All things in Christ are ready now.1
Come, all ye souls by sin oppressed,
Ye restless wanderers after rest,
Ye poor, and maimed, and sick, and blind;
In Christ a hearty welcome find.
Come, and partake the Gospel feast;
Be saved from sin; in Jesus rest;
O taste the goodness of your God,
And eat His flesh, and drink His blood!
Ye vagrant souls, on you I call!
(O that my voice could reach you all!)
You all may now be justified,
You all may live, for Christ hath died.
My message as from God receive:
Ye all may come to Christ and live.
O let His love your hearts constrain,
Nor permit Him to die in vain.
His love is mighty to compel;
His conquering love consent to feel,
Yield to His love’s resistless power,
And fight against your God no more.
See Him set forth before your eyes,
That precious, bleeding Sacrifice!
His offered benefits embrace,
And freely now be saved by grace.
This is the time; no more delay!
This is the Lord’s accepted day.
Come in this moment at His call,
And live for Him Who died for all.
Jesus to you His fullness brings,
A feast of marrow and fat things.
Do not begin to make excuse;
Ah! do not you His grace refuse.
Your grounds forsake, your oxen quit,
Your every earthly thought forget;
Seek not the comforts of this life,
Nor sell your Savior for a wife.
“Have me excused,” why will ye say?
Why will ye for damnation pray?
Have you excused from joy and peace?!
Have you excused from happiness?!
Excused from coming to a feast!
Excused from being Jesus’ guest—
From knowing now your sins forgiven,
From tasting here the joys of Heaven!
Excused, alas! why should you be,
From health, and life, and liberty,
From entering into glorious rest,
From leaning on your Savior’s breast?
Sinners my gracious Lord receives—
Harlots, and publicans, and thieves,
Drunkards, and all ye hellish crew,
I have a message now to you:
“The worst unto My supper press,
Monsters of daring wickedness;
Tell them My grace for all is free;
They cannot be too bad for Me.”
[I feel indebted to the folks at CyberHymnal.org for providing the last seven verses, which appear nowhere in my 19th-Century Methodist hymnals.]
- The second couplet of the second stanza is quoted by Percy Gutteridge in The Supernatural Character of New Testament Christianity. Pastor Gutteridge's version reads:
Come all the world, come sinner thou,
The arms of love are open now.