Ho, every one that thirsts, come you to the waters, and he that has no money; come you, buy, and eat…
Dr. Faustus was very dear to legend in the Middle Ages. He burned with desire to drink his fill of all the pleasures of this life; but he could not gain them by his own unaided skill. He therefore made a contract with Satan. It was drawn out in the most lawyer-like style, and Faustus signed it with his own blood. It was stipulated that during the next twenty years he should have the run of all earth's pleasures, and then his soul and body were to be given over to Satan. He began with the sweets of knowledge, but soon he forsook them in disgust, and plunged into the fiercer and coarser excitements of the senses. Amid many horrors the body and soul of Faustus were seized by Satan just as the clock struck twelve at night on the last day of the specified period. These legends hold some of the most solemn secrets of life. They teach that every man has a soul to dispose of; that men, like the fallen angels, may ruin themselves with their eyes open; and that the greatest transactions of the soul may be likened to buying and bargaining.
I. WHEN I BUY, I DESIRE. And I desire what I must fetch from without. Were I entirely self-supporting, had I everything I, need "within myself," as the saying is, I should never go to any market. Isaiah's words for "buy" means to buy provisions. Lost in the desert, parched by thirst, gnawed by hunger, duped by the mirage, ready to perish — that is the standing biblical picture of a sinful man when he realizes his soul's needs. It is he who is urged to come to the waters, and to buy wine and milk. "But I have no heart, no desire for these things: what am I to do?" That is the great trouble; indifference or downright indolence of soul the most common obstacle. But God's appeal is, "Come now, and let us reason together." He sets forth the alternatives as to a reasonable being. Water, wine, milk, good, fatness, life, covenant-mercy — all these are freely offered instead of starvation and death. How unreasonable you must be if anything on earth can keep you from what you know to be your highest good!
II. WHEN I BUY, I CHOOSE The essence of a bargain is an act of choice. Choose I the Bible keeps that word ever ringing in our ears. And so does profane literature. Hercules, the greatest hero of heathendom, was made by his deliberate choice of virtue and rejection of vice. Pythagoras put this great truth into one of the most popular of object-lessons. He compared life to the letter y. The parting of the ways is symbolized by the two limbs of the letter. A man must go forward; and he must go left or right; he must walk in the way of evil or in the way of good. This choosing is the biggest thing you can do in this world. When I buy I consent to the price. Buying is simply avowed consent in action. "Come buy... without money and without price." By this double phrase the prophet assails the deep-seated self-righteousness of the heat. And he assails it wit's its own favourite ideas and phrases. You will buy. Well, then, let him buy who has no money, and let him buy without money and without price. Buying has a legal suggestion; but buying without money more than neutralizes every such suggestion. The most capacious mind, the liveliest imagination, could not suggest a more effective way of setting forth the utter freeness of Gods grace.
III. WHAT I BUY, I OWN. The Gospel is here staten in the language of the market-place, so that all may perfectly understand it. All just laws and our moral instincts make me the undoubted possessor of that which I have fairly bought and paid for. It is my very own. This buying is all you need. The goods are yours in offer; and they are yours in full possession n you accept them.
IV. WHAT I BUY, I USE. Unused milk and flesh are of no value to me. The bread of life, which Christ is and offers, is ours only in so far as we appropriate and assimilate it. "Buy and eat. The buying is useless without the eating. Eating is the most vital, personal, and experimental thing in the world. The bread eaten becomes part and parcel of myself.
Parallel VersesKJV: Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.