and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.' saith, pure, pure olive oil.' Ex. xxvii. 20.

18. lviii. 11.

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, it is the warmth of the Spirit: 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. Je.'xxxi. 12, 13. Then are Christians like those that drink wine in bowls, merry and glad; for that 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.' Is. xxv. 6. This is called in another place, the communion of the Holy Ghost.' 2 Co. xiii. 14. Now he warmeth spirits, uniteth spirits, enlighteneth spirits; revives, 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 very delightful to the soul. 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.

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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.

[The other qualities of this water.] SECOND. 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, First, pure; Second, clear; Third, clear to a comparison: And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal.'

[First. The purity of this water.]

1. You read here that this water of life is PURE, that is, alone without mixture, for so sometimes that word PURE is to be understood. As where it




De. xxxii. 14; and the like. 'Pure gold.' Ex. xxv. 11, 17. he showed me a pure

Pure blood of the grape,' frankincense.' Ex. xxx. 34. So then, when he saith, 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 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.' grudge, or a piece of an upbraiding speech found A pure river. There is not so much as a 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.' Ro. xi. 29.

2. PURE is sometimes set in opposition to show not pure.' Job xxv. 5. or appearance; as where he says, 'the stars are ture of darkness, as they seem to be: so again, That is, not so without mixIf thou wert pure and upright,' Job viii. 6: that is, as thou seemest to be, or as thou wouldst have us believe thou art.

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meaning is, it is grace without deceit, without guile; Now, take pure in this sense here, and then the 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.

not so much grace in God, and that he is not so The great fear of the tempted is, that there is free of it as some scriptures seem to import. But this word PURE is levelled against such objections and objectors, for the destroying of their doubts, nor guile, nor fable in the business; for though and the relieving of their souls. There is no fraud, 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.

3. 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. Ac. xx. 26.
above is first pure,' it is not hurtful. Ja, iii. 17.
The wisdom that is from
you count them pure with the wicked balances?
how can that be, since they are hurtful? Mi. vi. 11.

intimates, that the grace of God, and the doctrine
Now take PURE in this sense here, and then it
of grace, is not a hurtful thing. It is not as wine
it, it will do him no harm. Ep. v. 18.
of an intoxicating nature. If a man be filled with
the things that are of this world are some way
The best of
hurtful. Honey is hurtful. Pr. xxv. 16, 27.
Wine is

hurtful. Pr. xx. 1.

Silver and gold are hurtful, but grace is not hurtful. 1 Tim. vi. 10. Never did man yet catch harm by the enjoyment and fulness 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 his 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, savoury 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 4. But this is, not because grace has any such tendency, or for that it worketh any such effect; but because such men are themselves empty of grace, and have only done as death and hell hath done with wisdom, 'heard the fame thereof with their ears.' Job xxviii. 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 fleshly and vile designs; and rather than fail betray both it, and the profession of it, to the greatest enemies it has in the world.

that comes often upon them, and that instead of bringing forth herbs meet for the dresser, bring forth briers and thorns; and these are they who are nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned.

He. vi. 7, 8.

Pr. xxx. 12.

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. 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. Ro. xiv. 20. Ge. i. 31. 'There is a generation that are pure,' that are good in their own eyes. There are good men, good consciences, good works, good days, good angels, &c., 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, it is soil, 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.' Eze. xlvii. 1.

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. And here I may say, though grace is pure, and That which is spiritual, is desired only of them not hurtful at all, yet one altogether carnal, sinful, that are spiritual; for temporal good will satisfy a and graceless, having to do with the doctrine of it, carnal mind. Now grace is a spiritual good; this by the force of his lusts which tamper with it, he river of grace is the goodness of spiritual good. It will unavoidably bring himself into the highest is the original life of all the grace in our souls. ruin thereby. An unwary man may destroy him- No marvel, then, if it be so little set by of those self by the best of things, not because there is in that are carnally minded.. They will serve a horse, such things an aptness to destroy, but because of and mire will serve a sow; so things of this life the abuse and misuse of them. Some know the suit best with the men of this world; for their way of life, the water of life, by knowledge that is appetite is gross and carnal, and they savour not naked and speculative only; and it had been better the things that be of the Spirit of God. for such if they had not known, than to know and natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit turn from what they know; than to know, and of God,' the things that be of this river of God; make that knowledge subservient to their lusts. 'for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he 2 Pe. ii. 20-22. Some receive the rain of God, and the know them, because they are spiritually discerned.' droppings of his clouds, because they continually 1 Co. ii. 14. This is the river of OIL which the prosit under the means of his grace. But, alas! they phet speaks of, the river of SPIRIT. Were it a receive it as stones receive showers, or as dung-river of gold and silver, there would be old fishing hills receive the rain; they either abide as hard on the banks thereof. But it is a river that runs stones still, or else return nothing to heaven for his 'like oil, saith the Lord God.' Eze. xxxii. 14. This mercy, but as the dunghills do, a company of stink-rock pours us out 'rivers of oil,' Job xxix. 6—‘fresh ing fumes. These are they that drink in the rain oil,' Ps. xcii. 10-‘soft oil,' Ps. Iv. 21— the oil of joy,'

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Is. Ixi.3—' the oil of gladness,' Ps. xlv. 7-oil to anoint | I read of rivers that looked red as blood, that the head withal, Ec. ix. 8-oil to make the face to stank like the blood of a dead man, but this is no shine, Ps. civ. 15-oil by which thou wilt be made such river. Ex. vii. 19, 20. 2 Ki. iii 22, 23. I read of able to honour both God and man in some good rivers whose streams are like streams of brimmeasure as becomes thee. Ju. ix. 9. stone, fiery streams, streams of burning pitch, but this is none of them. Is. xxx. 27-33. Da. vii. 9—11. Is. xxxiv. 9. 'There is a river' besides all these, clear and pleasant, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God.' Ps. xlvi. 4.

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 further upon this, but will come to that which remains.

[Second. The clearness of this water of life.]

As this river of water of life is said to be pure, so it is said to be CLEAR. 'He shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear.' This term has also its particular signification, and, therefore, ought to be heeded.

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1. CLEAR is set in opposition to dark; therefore some are said to be 'clear as the sun.' Ca. vi. 10. And again, the light shall not be clear nor dark.' Zec. xiv. 6. In both these places, clear is to be taken for light, daylight, sunlight; 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. He. x. 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. Lu.i. 78. It is also called the dawning of the day. 2 Pe. i. 19. And hence, again, these men unto whom this river of water of life comes not, are said to be dark, darkness. Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.' Ep. v. 8. Wherefore, this water is like Jonathan's honey; it hath a faculty to open the eyes, to make them that sit in darkness see a great light. 1 Sa. xiv. 27. Mat. iv. 16. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the faith of Jesus Christ; 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 Co. iv. 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 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. Ac. ix. 3; xxii. 6;

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There 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. Ca. v. 12.

These are 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 ex| cellent 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 drunk 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.' Eze. xxxiv. 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 colour 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 colours 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.1

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This is an excellent commentary upon that part of the Pilgrim's Progress which describes Christiana and her company at the foot of the hill Difficulty. Greatheart points out the spring at which Christian was refreshed before he began world, to join in church fellowship, allegorically represented by the house Beautiful-When Christian drank it was clear

the arduous ascent which led him, in defiance of a persecuting

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 unsanctified 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; or that a thing has purged itself, or is purged from those soils and imputations of evil wherewith sometimes they have been charged. Then thou shalt be clear from this my oath;' or, 'How shall we clear ourselves?' Ge. xxiv. 8-14; xliv. 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 that thou mightest be clear when thou judgest,' Ps. li. 4, 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 world.' Ac. xxiv. 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 upon it, and of all bad imputations of evil men's 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 those of Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, beyond them. 2 Ki. v. 10–12. But behold now, at last, when all the world have done what they can, and cast 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.

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5. By clear we sometimes understand purity manifest, or innocency and goodness made known. In all things ye have approved yourselves to be CLEAR in this matter.' 2 Co. vii. 11. That is, you have made it appear, and stand upon your justifi

and good, but now it is dirty; and with the feet of some that are not desirous that pilgrims should here quench their thirst.' After the writing of the first part, and before that of the second, the Act of Uniformity had spread its baleful influence over England. To use Bunyan's words-The Romish beasts have corrupted the doctrine by treading it down with their feet, and have muddied this water with their own dirt and filthiness.'-(See Holy City.)-ED.

cation, 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 mayest be justified,' and I condemned. Is. xliii. 26. 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?' Je. ii. 5. So Christ: Which of you convinceth me of sin?' Ju. viii. 46. And If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil.' Jn. xviii. 23. So Paul: We have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the Word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.' 2 Co. iv. 2. All these seutences 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.

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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 toothsome by a little of that which is called the wisdom of this world. Thus one shucks, 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 waters, the only profitable, for the health of the soul, of all the things that are in the world, and as clear of mischief as is the sun of spots.

[Third.—This river is clear to the most perfect comparison.]

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

2 Shuck,' to shake; obsolete as a verb, but retained as a noun to designate the pea-shell, after the peas have been shook ont.-ED.

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. the wideness of it, it is said to be such as that it Indeed, as to cannot be passed over; but I say, it is nowhere 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 these crystal streams, what is at the bottom of all.



1. Then the bottom of all is, that we might be saved.' Jn. v. 34. These things I say,' saith Christ, that ye might be saved;' and, again, I am come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly.' Jn. x. 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 deep 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 a very good bottom.

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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. vation might have been laid upon a more difficult Our salbottom than this. It might have been laid on 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, it has a better bottom; the water of life is as clear as crystal, look down to the bottom and see, we are justified freely by his grace.' Ro. iii. 24. By grace ye are saved,' there is the bottom. Ep. i. 5, 8.

Now, grace, as I have showed you, is a firm bottom to stand on; it is of grace that life might be sure. Ro. iv. 16. Surely David was not here, or surely this was not the river that he spake of when he said, 'I sink in deep mire, 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.' Ps. Ixix. 2, 14. this could not be the river. No, David was now I say, to be sure 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.

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be saved, saved by grace, and I will add, through 3. The bottom of all is, as I said, that we might better and better. the redemption that is in Christ.' This is still came over Jordan, the feet of the priests that did We read that, when Israel bear the ark stood on firm ground in the bottom, and that they set up great stones for a memorial thereof. Jos. iii. 17; iv. 1—3. But had Jordan so good

life, or were the stones that Israel took out thence a bottom as has this most blessed river of water of xxviii. 16. like this tried stone,' this 'sure foundation?' Is. throne, and we are saved by grace through the O the throne! this river comes out of the redemption that is in him. We read that there is a city that has foundations; grace is one, Christ another, and the truth of all the prophets and apostles, as to their true doctrine, another, &c. He. xi. 10. this goodly river of the water of life. Ep. ii. 19, 20. And again, all these are the very bottom of tom of this holy river, and that is, the glory of 4. There is another thing to be seen at the botGod; 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. been sufficiently tried, and God will not lose his Grace will not fail, Christ has glory. Therefore they that drink of this river of it of a spiritual appetite to it. And thus much shall doubtless be saved; to wit, they that drink for the explication of the text.


I now come to make some use of the whole. of the water of life, of its quantity, head-spring, You know our discourse has been at this time and quality; and I have showed you that its nature is excellent, its quantity abundant, its headspring glorious, and its quality singularly good.

provocation to us to be more free in making use of this FIRST. Let this, then, in the first place, be a water. There are many, now-a-days, that are for body; and to allure those that are ill to buy, they inventing of waters, to drink for the health of the 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. 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 probatum est.1 It fails but where it is not taken. Ac. xxvi. 18. Is. v. 4, 5. has been proved times without number; it never No disease comes amiss to it; it cures blindness,


used in advertising medical prescriptions, in Bunyau's time. 1 Probatum est-is proved-a scrap of Latin commonly ED.

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