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  • CHAPTER - PECULIAR PROPERTIES OF THE WATER OF LIFE.
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    BUT I leave this, and proceed to the fourth and last thing, namely, to the nature and quality of this water. It is said to be pure and clear, pure and clear as crystal. “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal.” I know that there is a twofold quality in a thing, one with respect to its nature, the other with respect to its operation. The first of these is inherent, and remaineth in the subject being as such, and so for the most part useless. The other is put forth then when it meeteth with fit matter on which it may freely work. As to instance, Aqua vitae, the very metaphor here made use of, hath a quality inherent in it; but keep it stopped up in a bottle, and then who will, may faint notwithstanding. But apply it, apply it fitly, and to such as have need thereof, and then you may see its quality by the operation. This water, or river of grace, is called, I say, “The water of life,” and so consequently, has a most blessed inherent quality; but its operation is seen by its working, which it doth only then, when it is administered, and received for those ends for which it is administered. For then it revives life where life is, and gives life where it is not.

    And thus far in the general have we spoken to it already. We will therefore in this place more particularly, though briefly, speak a few words unto it. First then, This water of life is the very groundwork of life in us, though not the groundwork of life for us. The groundwork of life for us, is the passion and merits of Christ; this is that for the sake of which grace is given unto us, as is intimated by the text. It proceeds from the throne of God, who is Christ. Christ then, having obtained grace for us, must needs be precedent as to his merit, to that grace he hath so obtained. Besides, it is clear that the Spirit and grace come from God through him. Therefore as to the communication of grace to us, it is the fruit of his merit and purchase. But I say, in us, grace is the groundwork of life. For though we may be said before to live virtually in the person of Christ before God; yet we are dead in ourselves, and so must be, until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high. For the Spirit is Life, and its graces are life, and when that is infused by God from the throne, then we live, and not till then. And hence it is called as before, living water, the water of life springing up in us into everlasting life. The Spirit then, and graces of the Spirit, which is the river here spoken of, is that, and that only, which can cause us to live; that being life to the soul, as the soul is life to the body. All men, therefore as was said afore (though elect, though purchased by the blood of Christ,) are dead, and must be dead until the Spirit of life from God and his throne shall enter into them; until they shall drink it in by vehement thirst, as the parched ground drinks in the rain.

    Now when this living water is received, it takes up its seat in the heart, whence it spreads itself to the awakening of all the powers of the soul. For as in the first creation the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, in order to putting that creature into that excellent fashion and harmony which now we behold with our eyes: even so the new creation, namely, the making of us new to God, is done by the overspreading of the same Spirit also. For the Spirit, as I may so say, sitteth and broodeth upon the powers of the soul, as the hen doth on cold eggs, till they wax warm and receive life. The Spirit then warmeth us, and bringeth the dead and benumbed soul (for so it is before conversion) to a godly sense and understanding of states, of states both natural and spiritual. And this is the beginning of the work of the Spirit by which the soul is made capable of understanding what God and himself is. And this drinking in of the Spirit is rather as the ground drinks in rain, than as a rational soul does through sense of the want thereof.

    The Spirit also garnisheth the soul with such things as are proper for it, to the making of it, live that life that by the word of God is called for. It imparteth light, repentance, faith, fear, love, desires after God, hope, sincerity, and what else is necessary for the making the man a saint. These things, I say, are the fruits and effects of this Spirit, which as a river of water of life proceedeth forth of the throne of God and of the Lamb. Corinthians 4:13; Galatians 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:7. Hence the Spirit is called the Spirit of faith, the Spirit of love, and the Spirit of a sound mind; for the Spirit is the root and original of all these things by his operations in, and upon the face of, the soul.

    But again, as this living water, this Spirit, and the grace thereof, doth thus, so it also maintains these things, once planted in the soul, by its continual waterings of them in the soul. Hence he saith, ( Isaiah 27:1-3,) “I will water it every moment.” Water it; his vineyard, the soul of the church, the graces of the church; and so the soul and graces of every godly man. And because it so happeneth sometimes, that some of those things wherewith the Holy Ghost has beautified the soul, may languish, to being, if not quite dead, yet ready to die, ( Revelation 3:1,3;) therefore he doth not only refresh and water our souls, but renew the face thereof, by either quickening to life that which remains, or by supplying us with that which is new, to our godly perseverance and everlasting life. Thus “thou visitest the earth, and waterest it; thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God.” Psalm 65:9. For this must be remembered, that as the herb that is planted, or seed sown, needs watering with continual showers of the mountains, so our graces implanted in us by the Spirit of grace, must also be watered by the rain of heaven. “Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly, thou settlest the furrows thereof; thou makest it soft with showers, thou blessest the springing thereof.” ( Psalm 65:10.)

    Hence he says that our graces shall grow. But how? “I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine; the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.” Hosea 14:5,6,7.

    Or as he saith in another place, “The Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in droughts, and make fat thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.” Isaiah 58:11; Jeremiah 31:12.

    There is besides this, another blessing that comes to us by this living water, and that is the blessing of communion. All the warmth that we have in our communion, is the warmth of the Spirit. Without this water of life, communion is weak, flat, cold, dead, fruitless, lifeless; there is nothing seen, felt, heard or understood in a spiritual and heart-quickening way.

    Now ordinances are burdensome, sins strong, faith weak, hearts hard; and the faces of our souls dry, like the dry and parched ground. When a company of saints are gathered together in the name of Christ, to perform any spiritual exercise, and their souls be edified, warmed, and made glad therein, it is because this water, this river of water of life, has, in some of the streams thereof, run into that assembly. Then are Christians like those that drink wine in bowls, merry and glad; for they have drank into the Spirit, and had their souls refreshed with the sweet gales, and strong wine thereof. This is the feast that Isaiah speaks of, when he saith, “In this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” Isaiah 25:6. This is called in another place, “The communion of the Holy Ghost.” 2 Corinthians 13:14. Now he warmeth spirits, uniteth spirits, enlighteneth spirits; reviveth, cherisheth, quickeneth, strengtheneth graces; renews assurances; brings old comforts to mind; weakens lusts; emboldeneth and raiseth a spirit of faith, of love, of hope, of prayer; and makes the word a blessing, conference a blessing, meditation a blessing, and duty delightful to the soul.

    This drink also revives us, when tempted, when sick, when persecuted, when in the dark, and when we faint for thirst. The life of religion is this water of life; where that runs, where that is received, and where things are done in this spirit, there all things are well. The church thrifty, the soul thrifty, graces thrifty, and all is well. And this hint I thought convenient to be given of this precious water of life, that is, with reference to the operative quality of it.

    I shall come in the next place, to speak of it, as to the other descriptions which John doth give us of it. He says it is, 1. Pure. 2. Clear. 3. Clear to a comparison. “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal.” First , You read here, that this water of life is pure; that is, alone without mixture, for so sometimes the word pure is to be understood. As where it saith, pure oil olive, pure frankincense, pure gold, pure blood of the grape, and the like. Exodus 27:20; Exodus 30:34; Exodus 25:11-17; Deuteronomy 32:14. So then, when he saith, “He showed me a pure river of water of life,” it is as if he had said, he showed me a river of water that was all living, all life; and that had nothing in it but life. There was no death, or deadness, or flatness in it. Or as he saith a little after, “And there shall be no more curse.” “A pure river.” There is not so much as a grudge, or a piece of an upbraiding speech found therein. There is in it nothing but heart, nothing but love, nothing but grace, nothing but life. “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Romans 11.

    Again, Pure is sometimes set in opposition to show or appearance; as where he says, “The stars are not pure,” ( Job 25:5;) that is, not so without mixture of darkness, as they seem to be. So again, “If thou wast pure and upright,” ( Job 8:6;) that is, as thou seemest to be, or as thou wouldst have us believe thou art. Now take pure in this sense here, and then the meaning is, it is grace without deceit, without guile; its show, and its substance are the same; it has nothing but substance in it; it is indeed what it seems to be in bulk; it is a river in show, and a river indeed. It comes from God and from his throne in appearance, and really it comes from his very heart.

    The great fear of the tempted is, that there is not so much grace in God, and that he is not so free of it, as some scriptures seem to import. But this word pure is leveled against such objections and objectors, for the destroying of their doubts, and the relieving of their souls. There is no fraud, nor guile, nor fable in the business. For though God is pleased to present us with his grace, under the notion of a river, it is not to delude our fancies thereby; but to give us some small illustration of the exceeding riches of his grace, which as far for quantity outstrips the biggest rivers, as the most mighty mountain doth the least ant’s egg, or atom in the world.

    But again this word pure is set in opposition to that which is hurtful and destructive. “I am pure from the blood of all men;” that is, I have hurt nobody. “The wisdom that is from above is first pure,” it is not hurtful. Do you count them pure with the wicked balances? how can that be, since they are hurtful? Acts 20:26; James 3:17; Micah 6:11. Now take pure in this sense here, and then it intimates that the grace of God, and the doctrine of grace, is not a hurtful thing. Ephesians 5:18. It is not as wine of an intoxicating nature. If a man be filled with it, it will do him no harm. The best of the things that are of this world are some way hurtful.

    Honey is hurtful, wine is hurtful, silver and gold are hurtful; but grace is not hurtful. Proverbs 25:16,17; Proverbs 20:1; 1 Timothy 6:10.

    Never did man yet catch harm by the enjoyment and fullness of the grace of God. There is no fear of excess, or of surfeiting here. Grace makes no man proud, no man wanton, no man haughty, no man careless, or negligent as to the duty that is incumbent upon him, either from God or man. No, grace keeps a man low in his own eyes, humble, self-denying, penitent, watchful, savory in good things, charitable, and makes him kindly affectionated to the brethren, pitiful and courteous to all men.

    True, there are men in the world that abuse the grace of God, as some are said, to turn it into wantonness, and into lasciviousness. Jude 1:4. But, this is, not because grace has any such tendency, or that it worketh any such effect; but because such men are themselves empty of grace, and have only done, as death and hell have done with wisdom, “heard the fame thereof with their ears.” Job 28:22. It is a dangerous thing for a man to have the notions of grace, while his heart is void of the Spirit and holy principles of grace; for such a man can do no other than abuse the grace of God. Alas! what can be expected of him that has nothing in him to teach him to manage that knowledge of grace which he has, but his flesh, his lusts, and lustful passions? Can these teach him to manage his knowledge well? Will they not rather put him upon all tricks, evasions, irreligious consequences and conclusions, such as will serve to cherish sin? What Judas did with Christ, that a graceless man will do with grace, even make it a stalking horse to his fleshy and vile designs; and rather than fail, betray both it and the profession of it, to the greatest enemies it has in the world.

    And here I may say, though grace is pure, and not hurtful at all; yet one altogether carnal, sinful, and graceless, having to do with the doctrine of it, by the force of his lusts which tamper with it,, he will unavoidably bring himself into the highest ruins thereby. An unwary man may destroy himself by the best of things, not because there is in such things an aptness to destroy, but because of the abuse and misuse of them. 2 Peter 2:20,21,22. Some know the way of life, the water of life, by knowledge that is naked and speculative only; and it had been better for such if they had not known, than to know and turn from what they know; than to know and make that knowledge subservient to their lusts. Some receive the rain of God, and the droppings of his clouds, because they continually sit under the means of his grace. But, alas! they receive it as stones receive showers, or as dunghills receive the rain; they either abide as hard stones still, or else return nothing to heaven for his mercy, but as the dunghills do, a company of stinking fumes. These are they that drink in the rain that comes often upon them, and that instead of bringing forth herbs meet for the dresser, bring forth briars and thorns; and these are they who are nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned. Hebrews 6:7,8.

    Again, By this word pure, I understand sometimes the chiefest good, the highest good. There are many things that may be called good, but none of them are good, as grace is good. Romans 14:20; Genesis 1:31. All things indeed are pure, that is, all creatures in themselves are good and serviceable to man, but they are not so good as grace. There is a generation that are pure, that is, are good in their own eyes. Proverbs 30:12. There are good men, good consciences, good works, good days, good angels, etc.; but none so good as grace, for it is grace that has made them so. Grace, this water of life, therefore, is good, superlatively good, good in the highest degree; for that it makes all things good, and preserveth them good. And whatever it be that this water of life washeth not, if is evil and given to the curse, as the prophet intimates where he saith, “But the miry places thereof, and the marshes thereof, shall not be healed, they shall be given to salt.” Ezekiel 47:11.

    But who understands this, who believes it? Its goodness is kept close from the fowls of the air: men, most men are ignorant of the goodness of it, nor do they care to inquire after the enjoyment of this pure, this good water of life. The reason is, because, though it is good in itself, good in the highest degree, and that which makes all things good; yet it is not such a good as is suited to a carnal appetite. There is good, and there is suitable good. Now suitable good is of two sorts, either such as is spiritual, or such as is temporal. That which is spiritual is desired only of them that are spiritual; for temporal good will satisfy a carnal mind. Now grace is a spiritual good; this river of grace is the goodness of spiritual good. It is the original life of all the grace in our souls. No marvel then if it be so little set by of those that are carnally minded. Hay will serve a horse, and mire will serve a sow; so things of this life suit best with the men of this world, for their appetite is gross and carnal, and they savor not the things that be of the Spirit of God. “The natural man receiveth not the things that be of the Spirit of God,” (the things that be of this river of God,) “for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14.

    This is the river of oil which the prophet speaks of, the river of the Spirit.

    Were it a river of gold and silver, there would be odd fishing on the banks thereof. But it is a river “that runs like oil, saith the Lord God.” This rock pours us out rivers of oil, fresh oil, soft oil, sweet oil, the oil of joy, the oil of gladness, oil to anoint the head withal, oil to make the face to shine, oil by which thou wilt be made able to honor both God. and man in some good measure as becomes thee. Job 29:6; Psalm 92:10; Psalm 55:21; Isaiah 61:3; Psalm 45:7; Ecclesiastes 9:8; <19A415> Psalm 104:15; Judges 9:11.

    I might have enlarged upon this head, and have showed you many more particulars wherein this term of pure, might serve for the better setting forth of the excellency of this water of life. But I shall proceed no farther upon this, but will come to that which remains. Secondly . As this river of water of life is said to be pure, so it is said to be clear. “He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear.” This term has also its particular signification, and therefore ought to be heeded. 1. Clear is set in opposition to dark. Therefore some are said to be “clear as the sun.” Song of Solomon 6:10. And again, “The light shall not be clear nor dark.” Zechariah 14:6. In both these places ‘clear’ is to be taken for light, day-light, sun-light; for indeed it is never day, nor sunshine with the soul, until the streams of this river of water of life come gliding to our doors, into our houses, into our hearts. Hence the beginning of conversion is called illumination. Hebrews 10:32. Yea, the coming of this river of water of life unto us is called the day-spring from on high, through the tender mercy of our God. Luke 1:78. It is also called the “dawning of the day.” 2 Peter 1:19. And hence again, these men unto whom this river of water of life comes not, are said to be dark, darkness itself. “Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8.

    Wherefore this water is like Jonathan’s honey, ( 1 Samuel 14:27,) it hath a faculty to open the eyes, to make them that sit in darkness see a great light; the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Matthew 4:16. “God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light (the Spirit that enlighteneth and giveth the light) of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6. This river casteth beams where it goes, like the beams of the sun; it shines, it casts out rays of glory unto those that drink thereof. The streams of this grace were they that overtook Saul when he was going to Damascus; they were the waters of this flood that compassed him round about. And if you will believe him, he saith, ( Acts 9:3; Acts 22:6; Acts 26:13,) this light from heaven was a great light, a light above the brightness of the sun, a light that did by the glory of it, make dark to him all the things in the world. 2. Clear is set in opposition to that which is not pleasing. For to be clear, is to be pleasant. Hence it is said truly, “The light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.” I read of rivers that looked red as blood, that stank like the blood of a dead man; but this is no such river. 2 Kings 3:22,23; Exodus 7:19,20. I read of rivers whose streams are like streams of brimstone, fiery streams, streams of burning pitch; ( Isaiah 30:33; Daniel 7:7,10; Isaiah 34:9;) but this is none of them. There is a river, besides all these, clear and pleasant, “the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God.” Psalm 46:4. These are the waters that the doves love to sit by, because by the clearness of these streams they can see their pretty selves as in a glass. Song of Solomon 5:12. These be the streams where the doves wash their eyes, and by which they solace themselves and take great content. These streams are instead (as I said) of a looking-glass; their clearness presents us with an opportunity of seeing our own features. As in fair waters, a man may see the body of the sun, and of the moon, and of the stars, and the very body of heaven; so he that stands upon the bank of this river, and that washeth his eyes with this water, may see the Son of God, the stars of God, the glory of God, and the habitation that God has prepared for his people. And are not these pleasant sights? Is not this excellent water? Has not this river pleasant streams? 3. Clear is set in opposition to dirty water and muddiness. I read of some waters that are fouled with the feet of beasts, and with the feet of men, yea, and deep waters too. Yea, saith God to some, “ye have drunken of the deep waters, and have fouled the residue with your feet.” And again, “As for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet, and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet.” Ezekiel 34:18,19.

    These waters are doctrines contained in the text, muddied and dirtied by the false glosses and sluttish opinions of erroneous judgments; of which the poor sheep have been made to drink. And verily this is apparent enough, by the very color and hue of those poor souls: for though the truth of God was in them, yet the very stain of tradition and superstition might be also seen in their scales. For as the fish of the river receive, by being there, the changeable colors of the waters, so professors, what doctrine they hear and drink, do look like that. If their doctrines are muddy, their notions are muddy; if their doctrines are bloody, their notions and tempers are bloody: but if their doctrines are clear, so are their notions, for their doctrine has given them a clear understanding of things. Now, here we have a river of water of life, that is clear, clear without dirt, and mud; clear without the human inventions and muddy conceptions of unsatisfied, and uninstructed judgments. Yea, here you have a river, the streams whereof lie open to all in the church, so that they need not those instruments of conveyance that are foul, (and that use to make water stink if they receive it,) to bring it to them that have need. 4. By clear we sometimes understand purgation; that a thing has purged itself, or is purged from those soils, and imputations of evil wherewith sometimes they have been charged. “Then shalt thou be clear from this thy oath;” “or how shall we clear ourselves.” Genesis 24:8,14; and Genesis 44:16. Something of this sense may be in the text, for if men are not afraid to charge God with folly, (which is intimated by Psalm 51:4. “That thou mightest be clear when thou art judged,”) will they, think you, be afraid to impute evil to his word, and grace, and Spirit? No verily; they are bold enough at this work. Nay, more than this, even from the foundation of the world, men have cast slanders upon, and imputed base things unto the blessed grace of the gospel. But not to look so far back.

    Paul was one of the pipes through which God conveyed this grace to the world; and what was he counted for his so doing, but “a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition throughout the whole world?” Acts 24:5,6.

    But behold no imputation can stick on the grace of God, not stick long; for that, like honey, will purge itself of what filth is put into it, and of all bad imputations of evil men. Springs and rivers are of a self-purging quality.

    Now here we have to do with a river, a river of water of life, but a river more slandered than ever did Naaman, the Syrian, slander the waters of Israel, in preferring, beyond them, those of Abana, and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus. 2 Kings 5:10,11,12. But behold, now at last, when all the world have done what they can, and have east what reproaches and slanders upon it they are able, it is a river pure and clear! It has purged itself before kings, it has purged itself before princes and judges, and all the Naamans in the world. It is still a river, a river of water of life, a river of water of life, clear! 5. By clear, we sometimes understand purity manifest, or innocency and goodness made known. “In all things you have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” 2 Corinthians 7:11. That is, you have made it appear, and stand upon your justification and are willing to be searched, and sounded to the bottom, by those that have a desire to undertake that work. So this river of water of life in the fountain, and in the streams thereof, offer themselves to the consideration and conscience of all men.

    To this end, how often doth God, the head of this river, and he out of whose throne it proceeds, call upon men to challenge him if they can, with any evil or misdoing towards them, either by presence or doctrine. Hence, he says, “Put me in remembrance; let us plead together; declare thou, (if thou canst,) that thou mayst be justified,” ( Isaiah 43:26,) and I condemned. So again, “What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain” Jeremiah 2:5.

    So Christ, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” “And if I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil.” John 8:46; John 17:23.

    So Paul, “We have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty; not walking in craftiness, not handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” 1 Corinthians 4:2.

    All these sentences are chiefly to be applied to doctrine, and so are, as it were, an offer to any, if they can, to find a speck, or a spot, or a wrinkle, or any such thing in this river of water of life.

    Some men fly from it, as from a bear; and some are afraid to drink of it, for fear it should be poison unto them. Some again, dare not take it, because it is not mixed, and as they, poor souls, imagine, qualified and made palatable by a little of that which is called the wisdom of this world. Thus one shuns, another shrinks, and another will none of God. Meanwhile, whoso shall please to look into this river, shall find it harmless and clear. Yea, offering itself to the consciences of all men to make trial, if it be not the only chief good, the only necessary water, the only water profitable for the health of the soul, of all things that are in the world, and as clear of mischief, as is the sun of spots. Thirdly , As John saw this river pure and clear, so he saw it clear to a comparison. Clear, to the best of comparisons, “clear as crystal.” Crystal is a very clear stone, as clear as the clearest glass, if not clearer; one may see far into it, yea, through it. It is without those spots, and streaks, and smirches that are in other precious stones. Wherefore when he saith, that this river is clear as crystal: it is as if God should say, ‘Look, sinners, look to the bottom, of these my crystal streams.’ I have heard of some seas, that are so pure and clear, that a man may see to the bottom, though they may be forty feet deep. I know this river of water of life, is a deep river: but though it is said to be deep, it is not said we can see no bottom. Indeed, as to the wideness of it, it is said to be such as that it cannot be passed over.

    But I say, it is no where said that we cannot see to the bottom. Nay, the comparison implies, that a man with good eyes may see to the bottom. It is clear, as clear as crystal. So then we will a little look down to the bottom, and see through the crystal streams, what is at the bottom of all. 1. Then, the bottom of all is, that we might be saved. “These things, I say,” saith Christ, “that you might be saved.” John 5:34. And again, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” ( John 10:10.) This is the bottom of this great river of water of life, and of its proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It is that we might be saved. It is that we might live. What a good bottom is here! What a sound bottom is here. But few rivers have a good bottom. Mud is at the bottom of most waters in the world. Even the sea itself when it worketh, casts up mire and dirt, and so do the hearts of sinners: but the bottom of this grace of God, and of the Spirit, and word thereof, is that we might be saved; consequently very good bottom. 2. As the bottom of all is, that we may be saved; so that we may be saved by grace, and this is a bottom sounder and sounder. Our salvation might have been laid upon a more difficult bottom than this. It might have been laid in our works. God might have laid it there, and have been just, or he might have left us to have laid it where we would, and then to be sure we had laid it there, and so had made but a muddy bottom to have gone upon to life. But now, this river of water of life, has a better bottom. The water is as clear as crystal; look down to the bottom and see, we are justified freely by his grace. Romans 3:24. “By grace are ye saved.” Ephesians 2:5,8. There is the bottom. Now grace, as I have showed you, is a firm bottom to stand on. It is of grace that life might be sure. Romans 4:16. Surely David was not here, or surely this was not the river, that he spake of, when he said, “I sink in deep waters where there is no standing; I am come into deep waters where the floods overflow me: deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink.” Psalm 69:2,14.

    I say, to be sure this could not be the river. No, David was now straggled out of the way; was tumbled into some pit, or into some muddy and dirty hole; for as for this river, it has a good bottom; a bottom of salvation by grace; and a man needs not cry out when he is here, that he sinks, or that he is in danger of being drowned in mud or mire. 3. The bottom of all is, as I said, that we might be saved, saved by grace, and I will add, “through the redemption that is in Christ.” This is still better and better. We read ( Joshua 3:17,) that when Israel came over Jordan, the feet of the priests that did bear the ark, stood on firm ground in the bottom, and that they set up great stones for a memorial thereof. But had Jordan so good a bottom, as has this most blessed river of water of life, or were the stones that Israel took out thence, like this tried stone, this sure foundation? Isaiah 28:16. O the throne! This river comes out of the throne! And we are saved by grace through the redemption that is in him.

    We read that there is “a city that hath foundations.” Hebrews 11:10.

    Grace is one, Christ another, and the truth of all the prophets and apostles, as to their true doctrine, another, etc., and again, all these are the very bottom of this goodly river of the water of life. Ephesians 2:19,20. 4. There is another thing to be seen at the bottom of this holy river, and that is the glory of God; we are saved, saved by grace, saved by grace through the redemption that is in Christ, to the praise and glory of God.

    And what a good bottom is here! Grace will not fail, Christ has been sufficiently tried; and God will not lose his glory; therefore they that drink of this river shall doubtless be saved, that is, they that drink of it, of a spiritual appetite to it.

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