The great privation: or, the great salvation
‘O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.’ Isaiah 48:18
Suggested Further Reading: Ezekiel 47:1–5
A river increases in breadth, and its waters augment their volume. You can leap across the Thames, say at Cricklade, or Kemble; it is so tiny a little brook, you may almost take it up in a cup. There is a narrow plank across which laughing village girls go tripping over; but who thinks of laying down a plank across the Thames at Southend, or at Grays? Who would imagine that at Gravesend it might be crossed by the tripping girls, or by the skipping lambs? No, the river has grown—how deep! At the mouth of it, I suppose, comparable to the sea—how broad! It is a sort of ocean in miniature. There go the ships, and that leviathan might play therein. Not behemoth himself, I think, would have the presumption to suppose that he could sniff up this Jordan at a draught, for it has grown too great for him. Such is the Christian’s peace. Pure and perfect though it is at the first, little temptations seem to mar it; oftentimes the troubles of this life threaten to choke it. Not that they ever do. True, it seems little at the point of its rise. Be not deceived. Wait. When the Christian is ten years older, and has meandered a few more miles along the tortuous course of a gracious experience, his peace will be like a broad river. Wait twenty or thirty years, till he has traversed these rich lowlands of fellowship with Christ in his sufferings, and conformity to his death, then his peace will be like a deep river, for he shall know ‘the peace of God which passeth all understanding;’ and he will have cast all his care upon God, who cares for him. Thus that peace will go on increasing till it melts into the infinite peace of the beatific vision.
For meditation: Rivers in Scripture are often pictures of God’s blessings to his people—bringing to them fruitfulness (Psalm 1:3), pleasure (Psalm 36:8), gladness (Psalm 46:4) and peace (Isaiah 66:12). Think on these things.
Sermon no. 610
4 July (Undated Sermon)