“I will give you rest.” Strange! For then the words “come hither unto me” must be understood to mean: stay with me, I am rest; or, it is rest to remain with me. It is not, then, as in other cases where he who helps and says “come hither” must afterwards say: “now depart again,” explaining to each one where the help he needs is to be found, where the healing herb grows which will cure hirn, or where the quiet spot is found where he may rest frorn labor, or where the happier continent exists where one is not heavy laden. But no, he who opens his arms, inviting every one—ah, if all, all they that labor and are heavy laden came to him, he would fold them all to his heart, saying: “stay with me now; for to stay with me is rest.” The helper himself is the help. Ah, strange, he who invites everybody and wishes to help everybody, his manner of treating the sick is as if calculated for every sick man, and as if every sick man who comes to him were his only patient. For otherwise a physician divides his time among many patients who, however great their number, still are far, far from being all mankind. He will prescribe the medicine, he will say what is to be done, and how it is to be used, and then he will go—to some other patient; or, in case the patient should visit him, he will let him depart. The physician cannot remain sitting all day with one patient, and still less can he have all his patients about him in his home, and yet sit all day with one patient without neglecting the others. For this reason the helper and his help are not one and the same thing. The help which the physician prescribes is kept with him by the patient all day so that he may constantly use it, whilst the physician visits him now and again; or he visits the physician now and again. But if the helper is also the help, why, then he will stay with the sick man all day, or the sick man with him—ah, strange that it is just this helper who invites all men!
COME HITHER ALL YE THAT LABOR AND ARE HEAVY LADEN, I WILL GIVE YOU REST.
What enormous multiplicity, what an almost boundless adversity, of people invited; for a man, a lowly man, may, indeed, try to enumerate only a few of these diversities—that he who invites must invite all men, even if every one especially and individually.
The invitation goes forth, then—along the highways and byways, and along the loneliest paths; aye, goes forth ere there is a path so lonely that one man only, and no one else, knows of it, and goes forth where there is but one track, the track of the wretched one who fled along that path with his misery, that and no other track; goes forth even where there is no path to show how one may return: even where the invitation penetrates and by itself easily and surely finds its way back—most easily, indeed, when it brings the fugitive along to him that issued the invitation. Come hither, come hither all ye, also thou, and thou, and thou, too, thou loneliest of all fugitives! Thus the invitation goes forth and remains standing, wheresoever there is a parting of the ways, in order to call out. Ah, just as the trumpet call of the soldiers is directed to the four quarters of the globe, likewise does this invitation sound wherever there is a meeting of roads; with no uncertain sound—for who would then come?—but with the certitude of eternity.