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"There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God." — Psalm 46:4

What can this "river" be, but that blessed covenant to which David himself repaired in the time of trouble, and extolled beyond every other resource or delight? Although my house be not so with God, yet hath he made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure; for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.

And what are "the streams" of this river, but the outgoings and effects of this divine constitution — the blood of Jesus, the influences of the Holy Spirit, the doctrines and promises of the Gospel, the ordinances of religion, and all the means of grace?

There are four ways in which the streams of a river would gladden the citizens. They will all apply in a pre-eminent degree to the case before us.

The first regards prospect. Nothing can be more pleasing or interesting to those who relish the simple beauties of nature, than to walk by the side of living streams; to see the fish playing and disappearing; the green weeds waving their long streamers in the water; the reeds bending and recovering themselves again; the rippling of the shallows; and the glassy reflections of the deeps, while the bushes and trees form a quivering shade on the banks. Here is enough to fix the tasteful mind, and to induce the poet to take out his pen, and the painter his pencil. What views have Christians by the side of their streams! How various, how endearing, how impressive the objects which strike and occupy their minds! "My meditation of him shall be sweet; I will rejoice in the Lord."

The second regards traffic. It is an unspeakable advantage to a place to be accessible by water, as it renders commerce not only practicable, but easy and extensive. The Humber was the making of Hull. The Thames has rendered London so famous. Were this stream dried up or diverted, how would the mistress of the nations be humbled and reduced! It is owing to their trade, carried on by the means of their rivers, that many cities on the Continent have united themselves to the ends of the earth, and acquired such distinction and wealth. And by these streams Christians obtain riches for the soul and eternity: unsearchable riches, durable riches, with righteousness. It is by these they carry on business with the land that is very far off, the merchandise of which is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.

The third regards fertility. Imagine a dry and barren land where no water is, and think what happiness would ensue if springs gushed forth from the sands, and meandered through meadows with grass, and reeds, and rushes. Lot chose the plain country, the vale of Sodom, near Jordan, because it was well watered, like the garden of the Lord. Did you never read the words of Balaam in describing the blessedness of Israel? "As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side, as the trees of lign aloes which the Lord hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters." What is a tree planted by the rivers of waters, bringing forth fruit in its season, and with never-withering leaves, but a Christian by these streams, growing in the divine life, adorned with the graces of the Spirit, and filled with all the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ unto the praise and glory of God?

The fourth regards supply. What could a city do without this precious, all-important fluid? An enemy, therefore, always endeavours to cut off the water, to compel a place the more suddenly and speedily to surrender. Hence the boast of Rabshakeh: "With the sole of my foot I have dried up all the rivers of the besieged places." This shall never be the case here. Your resources can never fail. Your relief can never be cut off. You have always access to the God of all grace. And how superior are your supplies! How free; how full; how satisfying! "Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

Are you asking, Who will show us any good? Let the subject supply an answer. Oh, there is, there is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God. Forsake the foolish and live, and go in the way of understanding. Leave the world, and enter the Church. There — how unlike creatures, who are all vanity and vexation of spirit — there you will find a Saviour full of grace and truth. Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto thee.

O my soul, am I the subject of this happiness? Let me give proof of it. Let me be a witness for God. Let me exemplify his word. Let me convince others that there is a reality, an excellency, a blessedness in the religion of Jesus that can set the heart at rest, and yield a joy unspeakable and full of glory.

The pleasures of which we have been speaking are the pleasures of the way. What will be those of the end!

"If such the sweetness of the streams,
What must the fountain be,
Where saints and angels draw their bliss
Immediately from Thee!"

Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
By Rev. William Jay

 
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When then a man shall be the most perfect in science and knowledge that it is possibly to be imagined, yet ought we to learn to humble ourselves and to cast all our pride clean under foot, that the worldly knowledge which God hath given unto us to serve him, be subject unto his word.  - John Calvin, Sermons on Psalm 119 (verse 99)
 

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EPCA & PRCA Conference

Lecture 1
Genuine Church Unity - Prof. Russ Dykstra

Lecture 2
Singing Again the Songs of Zion - Rev. Mark Shand

Lecture 3
The Doctrine of the Church Visible and Invisible - Rev. David Higgs

Lecture 4
The Sweetness of the Heart - Rev. Joshua Engelsma

Lecture 5
Church and State in the Scottish Reformatio - Rev. David Torlach

Lecture 6
The Reformation s Response to the Radical Reformation - Prof. Russ Dykstra