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AND thus much for the explication of the text. I now come to make some use of the whole.
You know our discourse has been at this time of. the water of life, of its quantity, headspring and quality: and I have showed you that its nature is excellent, its quantity abundant, its headspring glorious, and its quality singularly good. First , Let this then in the first place, be a provocation to us to be more free in making use of this water. There are many now adays, that are for inventing waters, to drink for the health of the body; and to allure those that are ill to buy, they will praise their waters beyond their worth. Yea, and if they be helpful to one person in a hundred, they make as if they could cure every one. Well, here you have the great Physician himself with his water, and he calls it the water of life, water of life for the soul! This water is well tried. It has been proved times without number. It never fails, but where it is not taken. Acts 26:18; Isaiah 5:4,5. No disease comes amiss to it; it cures blindness, deadness, deafness, dumbness. “It makes the lips of them that are asleep to speak.” Song of Solomon 7:9.
This is the right ‘Holy Water;’ (all other is counterfeit;) it will drive away devils and spirits; it will cure enchantments and witchcrafts; it will heal the mad and lunatic; it will cure the most desperate melancholy; it will dissolve doubts and mistrusts, though they are grown as hard as stone in the heart. Colossians 4:6; Ezekiel 36:25,26. It will make you speak well. Galatians 3:1,2,3. It will make you have a white soul, and that is better than to have a white skin. Mark 16:17,18. It will make you taste well; it will make you disrelish all hurtful meats. Isaiah 30:22. It will beget in you a good appetite to that which is good; it will remove obstructions in the stomach and liver; it will cause that what you receive of God’s bread, shall turn to a good nourishment, and make good blood. John 4:14. In a word, it preserveth life. They that take this water shall live longer than did old Methuselah; and yet he lived a great while. Genesis 5:27.
Wherefore, let me continue my exhortation to you. Be more free in making use of this water. It is the wholesomest water in the world. You may take it at the third, sixth, ninth, or eleventh hour. Matthew 20:3-6. But to take it in the morning of your age is best, for then diseases have not got so great a head as when they are of long continuance, ( Ecclesiastes 11:1-4,) consequently they will be removed with far more ease: besides, those that thus do, will receive endless life and the comfort of it betimes, and that you know is a double life to one.
This water gently purges, and yet more effectually than any others. True, where bad humors are more tough and churlish, it will show itself stronger of operation; for there is no disease can be too hard for it. It will, as we say, ‘throw the house out of the windows,’ but it will rid us of the plague of those most deadly infections that otherwise will be sure to make us sleep in death, and bring us with the multitude down to hell. But it will do us no hurt. It only breaks our sleep in security, and brings us to a more quick apprehension of the plague of our heart and flesh. It will, as I said before, provoke to appetite, but make us only long after that which is wholesome.
If any ask why I thus allegorize, I answer, the text doth lead me to it. Secondly . I advise, therefore, in the next place, that thou get thee a dwelling place by these waters. “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him, and the Lord shall cover him all the day long.” Deuteronomy 22:12. If thou ask, where that dwelling is? I answer, in the city of God, in, and among the tabernacles of the most high. This river comes from the throne, to water the city of God: and to that end it is said to run in the midst of the street of it. Revelation 22:2. (If ye will inquire, inquire, return, come.) “The seed also of his servants shall inherit it, and they that love his name shall dwell therein.” Psalm 69:34,35,36. Get thee a dwelling in Jerusalem, in the midst of Jerusalem, and then thou wilt be seated by this river.
Balaam also had his dwelling in his city Pethor, by the river of the land of the children of his people. Oh! by a river side is the pleasantest dwelling in the world; and of all rivers, the river of water of life is the best. “They that dwell there shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat or sun smite them; for he that hath mercy on them, shall lead them, even by the springs of water, shall he guide them.” Isaiah 49:10; Psalm 1:3; Jeremiah 17:8. Trees planted by the rivers, and that spread out their roots by the rivers, they are the flourishing trees, they bring forth their fruit in their season. And the promise is that men that take up their dwellings by this river of water of life, shall be fruitful as such trees.
Weeds, and the excellencies of most men, we may find in the barren wilderness; they grow under every hedge. Jeremiah 31:12. But thine are garden, and so choice things, and will not thrive without much water, no, not without the water of God’s river. Isaiah 26:1,2,3. Dwell therefore here that thy soul may be as a watered garden. And when thou seest how those that are loath to die, make provision at Tunbridge, Epsom, the Bath, and other places, and what houses they get that they may have their dwellings by those waters, then do thou consider thy spiritual disease, and how nothing can cure thee but this blessed water of life. Be also much of desires to have a dwelling place in Jerusalem, that thou mayst always be nigh to these waters. Be often also in watering thy plants with these waters. I mean, the blessed graces of God in thy soul. Then shalt thou grow and retain thy greenness, and prove thyself to be a disciple indeed.
These only can make us live; all others come out of the Dead Sea, and do kill: there is no living water but this. I say, show thy acceptation of it with thanksgiving. If we are not to receive our bread and cheese, but with thankfulness, how should we bless God for this unspeakable gift. Corinthians 9:14, 15. This is soul-life, life against sin, life from sin; life against the curse, life from the curse; life beyond hell, beyond desert, beyond thought, beyond desires! Life that is pleasing, life that is profitable, life everlasting! Oh, my brethren! bless God, who doth good, and gives us such rain, filling our hearts with food and gladness. When Moses would take the heart of Israel, and took in hand to raise up their spirits to thankfulness, he used to tell them that the land that they were to go to, was a land that God cared for, and that was watered with the dew of heaven.
Yea, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and deeps that spring out of the valleys and hills; a land that flowed with milk and honey; which is the glory of all lands. Deuteronomy 8:6-8; Exodus 3:8; Exodus 20:3, Exodus 13:15; Leviticus 20:24; Numbers 14:8. But yet in his description he makes no mention of a river of water of life; a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God.
This river is the running out of God’s heart, the letting out of his very bowels of mercy. For God is the living God. This living water is his heart and soul. “Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly, with my whole heart and with my whole soul.” Jeremiah 32:41.
I say, if ever God’s heart and soul appeared, it showed itself in giving this water of life, and the throne from whence it proceeds. Wherefore, there is all the reason in the world that in the reception of it, thy heart and soul should run out and flow after him in thanksgivings. See how David words it in the hundred and third psalm, all the five first verses, and do likewise. Fourthly , By the characters that are given of this water of life, thou art capacitated to judge, when a notion, a doctrine, an opinion comes to thine ears, whether it is right, good, and wholesome, or how. This river is pure, is clear, is pure and clear as crystal. Is the doctrine offered unto thee so?
Or is it muddy and mixed with the doctrines of men? Look, man, and see if the foot of the worshippers of Baal be not there! and if the waters be not fouled thereby. What water is fouled, is not the water of life, or at least not the water of life in its clearness. Wherefore, if thou findest it not right, go up higher to the spring head; for always the nearer to the spring, the more pure and clear is the water. Fetch then thy doctrine from afar, if thou canst not have it good nearer at hand. Job 36:3. Thy life lies at stake! The counterfeit of things is dangerous; every body that is aware, is afraid thereof. Now a counterfeit here is most dangerous, is most destructive.
Wherefore look you well to yourselves. Fifthly , Doth this water of life run like a river — like a broad, full, and deep river? Then let no man, be his transgressions never so many, fear at all but there is enough to save his soul, and to spare. Nothing has been more common to many, than to doubt of the grace of God: a thing most unbecoming a sinner of any thing in the world. To break the law, is a fact foul enough; but to question the sufficiency of the grace of God to save therefrom, is worse than sin; if worse can be. Wherefore, despairing soul, for it is to thee I speak, forbear thy mistrusts; cast off thy slavish fears; hang thy misgivings as to this upon the hedge; and believe, thou hast an invitation sufficient thereto. A river is before thy face! And as for thy want of goodness and works, let that by no means daunt thee; this is a river of water of life; streams of grace and mercy. There is, as I said, enough therein to help thee; for grace brings all that is wanting to the soul. Thou therefore hast nothing to do, (I mean as to the curing of thy soul of its doubts and fears, and despairing thoughts,) but to drink and live for ever. Sixthly , But what is all this to the dead world; to them that love to be dead? They toss their vanities about as the boys toss their shuttle-cocks in the air, till their foot slips, and themselves descend into the pit. Let this suffice for this time.