LIVING FOUNTAINS.

"No sickness there!
No weary wasting of the frame away,
No fearful shrinking from the midnight air,
No dread of summer's bright and fervid ray!

"No hidden grief,
No wild and cheerless vision of despair,
No vain petition for a swift relief,
No tearful eye, no broken hearts, are there!

"Care has no home
Within that realm of ceaseless praise and song;
Its toiling billows break and melt in foam,
Far from the mansions of the spirit-throng!"

"Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to FOUNTAINS OF LIVING WATER. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."由ev. 7:16, 17.

This is a glorious note of celestial music, one of the sweetest chimes of the upper sanctuary. All that poetry ever wrote, or touching pathos conceived, falls immeasurably short of the grandeur of this passage. No wonder that the Bible-leaf of a great poet, who studied to better purpose the volume of nature than the volume of grace, should, nevertheless, be moist with tears here.

The verse contains another of the many negative descriptions of Heaven; for the Bible most frequently describes Heaven, not by what it is, but by what it is not. The glorified band of once sin-stricken and woe-worn pilgrims, have now reached the pure river of the water of life. They are like Israel of old when seated under the walls of Jericho, to keep their first Passover in Canaan. The manna had ceased葉hey were eating the new corn of the land葉he hunger, the thirst, the sun-blight of the desert were ended憂ordan was crossed. Their weary feet were treading the Land of Promise, for which they had toiled and suffered during forty protracted years of wilderness-privation. But the memory of these was all that now remained. Their Marahs and Achors葉heir scorching marches葉he burning sands by day葉he chilly damps of night葉heir conflict with the disciplined warriors of Amalek葉he recollection of all this only served to enhance the prospect of peaceful repose in the Covenanted Heritage: "the land of brooks and fountains of waters," a land "flowing with milk and honey," (Josh. 5:6.)

This verse unfolds the same element of joy in the future blessedness of the true Israel of God, which we referred to in speaking of Heaven under a former emblem葉he joy of contrast. Here, in this sinning, sorrowing, weeping world, the believer hungers, thirsts, weeps, suffers. There, in yonder tearless world, "he shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more."

The unfallen angels know nothing of these experiences; they never sinned, and therefore they have never known what it is to suffer. "Hunger," "thirst," are words unknown to them! But to the glorified pilgrim, once sin-burdened and sorrow-burdened容xposed to the fiery sun and the desert blast揺ow will the joy of heavenly rest be increased by the remembrance of the toil and conflict which preceded it?

Here, and There, how startling the COMPARISON!

Here, the burning rays of trial often wither up his best joys. Affliction, like the desolating windstorm, sweeps down in a moment his most cherished props and fondest shelters. There, no withering blast can burst upon him溶o "fiery trial can try him;"葉he furnace-heat of the desert can no longer be felt or feared!

Here, he "hungers," panting after the attainment of earthly objects, which, even when attained, never satisfy the longings of his immortal spirit. Here, he is often like the fevered patient, turning from side to side on his anguished couch, imagining every change of posture will be easier. There, he shall be eternally and everlastingly satisfied. No longer shall there be so much as one longing unanswered, or one aching void unfilled.

Here, he "thirsts""he seeks water and there is none." The world's sources of refreshment are like the summer's brook, dry when most needed. Read the inscription on that earthly cistern"It is leaky;" it "can hold no water!" (Jer. 2:13.) But there the vessel is ever full, ever flowing, overflowing"They shall drink of the river of your pleasures""With you," O God, "is the fountain of life," (Ps. 36:9.)

"God," it is here said, "shall wipe away all tears from our eyes." As the word "Eye," to the Jew, was synonymous with "Fountain," it would seem to denote that the gracious hand of a gracious God will dry up the very fountain of weeping; so that not so much as one tear-drop will again bedim or bedew the face! Often, here, as weary wandering birds, with drooping wing and wailing cry, we roam over earth's ocean of change. There, we shall fold our wings forever溶estling in safety within the true ark of God. Here, it is "outside the camp, bearing His reproach." There, it is within the gates, sharing His glory!

Oh, what a comfort to traverse in thought that glorious white-robed company, and to think, in the midst of my own vileness, "They were once as vile as I!" Every robe there, was stained with sin. "Who are these?" One was haughty, a persecutor, injurious. Another was a thief, translated from a felon's cross to a believer's crown. Another is a saint who had escaped the contaminating influences of "Caesar's household," and was made by grace a monument of mercy. Another was once a weeping Magdalene. But all had "washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." If the angels who have never sinned, find their chief happiness in God's service, what a deepened intensity of joy will there be in the happiness of sainted believers! The angels know God only as their Creator and Benefactor; they know Him as their Redeeming God in Jesus. The one can sing, "Worthy is the Lamb!" the others alone can add, "He was slain for us!"

Do any mourners read this page? Be comforted. Listen once more to the sublime dialogue, "Who are these?" "These are they who have come out of great tribulation!" There is an identity of experience between you and every member of that glorified multitude. They have all graduated in a school of trial. You may now be sowing in tears, but, like them, you will soon "reap in joy." And, better than all"the Lamb" shall "feed you and lead you," and with His own gentle hand wipe away every lingering tear-drop! If it was delightful even on earth to repose in our every anxiety on Him謡hat will it be to rest in the arms of His love, when anxiety, sorrow, weakness, weariness, are known no more! He has loved us in the past裕here, we are told He is to love us and tend us forever and ever. On earth we have loved perishable friends too much, but here is One we cannot love too well. In eternity we shall speak of "the great love with which He loved us"溶o, with which He loves us!

Reader, often anticipate that blessed communion and exalted fellowship, when you shall hear His voice of tenderness stealing down from "the living fountains of waters," by which He is eternally to lead you, saying, "Come up here!" Soon your head will ache no more遥our heart break no more幼herished earthly ties will be sundered no more耀in will reign no more. There will be no furrowed features there溶o withered gourds溶o blighted hopes溶o dread of desolating afflictions. The days of your mourning will be ended. And when you see Him and throw yourself at His feet, what will be your confession, as from the sunlit summit you look back on the windings of the lower valley? "He has done all things WELL!"

"More than conquerors at last,
Here they find their trials o'er;
They have all their sufferings past,
Hunger now and thirst no more;
No consuming heat they feel,
From the sun's oppressive ray,
In a milder clime they dwell,
Region of eternal day!

"They with Him shall ever reign,
Them the Lamb shall always feed,
With the tree of life sustain,
To the living fountains lead:
He shall all their sorrows chase,
All their needs and doubts remove,
Wipe the tears from every face,
In a world of endless love!"




HOME       QUOTES       SERMONS       BOOKS