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The Water fo Life
by John Bunyan
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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. That which is spiritual, is desired only of them that are spiritual; for temporal good will satisfy a carnal mind. Now grace is a spiritual good; this river of grace is the goodness of spiritual good. It is the original life of all the grace in our souls. No marvel, then, if it be so little set by of those that are carnally minded. They will serve a horse, and mire will serve a sow; so things of this life suit best with the men of this world; for their appetite is gross and carnal, and they savour not the things that be of the Spirit of God. 'The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God,' the things that be of this river of God; 'for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned' (1 Cor 2:14). This is the river of OIL which the prophet speaks of, the river of SPIRIT. Were it a river of gold and silver, there would be old fishing on the banks thereof. But it is a river that runs 'like oil, saith the Lord God' (Eze 32:14). This rock pours us out 'rivers of oil' (Job 29:6)—'fresh oil' (Psa 92:10)—'soft oil' (Psa 55:21)—'the oil of joy' (Isa 61:3)—'the oil of gladness' (Psa 45:7)—oil to anoint the head withal (Eccl 9:8)—oil to make the face to shine (Psa 104:15)—oil by which thou wilt be made able to honour both God and man in some good measure as becomes thee (Judg 9:9).

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.

1. CLEAR is set in opposition to dark; therefore some are said to be 'clear as the sun' (Cant 6:10). And again, 'the light shall not be clear nor dark' (Zech 14:6). 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 (Heb 10:32). 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 (Luke 1:78). It is also called the dawning of the day (2 Peter 1:19). 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' (Eph 5:8). 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 Sam 14:27; Matt 4:16). 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 Cor 4:6). 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 (Acts 9:3, 22:6, 26:13).

2. CLEAR is set in opposition to that which is not pleasing. For to be clear is to be pleasant. Hence it is said, 'truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun' (Eccl 11:7). I read of rivers that looked red as blood, that stank like the blood of a dead man, but this is no such river (Exo 7:19,20; 2 Kings 3:22,23). I read of rivers whose streams are like streams of brimstone, fiery streams, streams of burning pitch, but this is none of them (Isa 30:27-33; David 7:9-11; Isa 34:9). 'There is a river' besides all these, clear and pleasant, 'the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God' (Psa 46:4).

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 (Cant 5:12).

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 excellent 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 34:18,19). 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.[15]

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?' (Gen 24:8-14, 44:16). 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' (Psa 51:4), 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 based things into 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' (Acts 24:5,6). 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 Kings 5:10-12). 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.

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 Cor 7:11). That is, you have made it appear, and stand upon your justification, 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 (Isa 43:26). 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?' (Jer 2:5). So Christ: 'Which of you convinceth me of sin?' (John 8:46). And 'If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil' (John 18:23). 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 Cor 4:2). All these sentences 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.

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,[16] 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 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. Indeed, as to the wideness of it, it is said to be such as that it 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' (John 5:34). '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' (John 10:10). 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.

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. Our salvation might have been laid upon a more difficult bottom 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' (Rom 3:24). 'By grace ye are saved,' there is the bottom (Eph 2:5,8).

Now, grace, as I have showed you, is a firm bottom to stand on; it is of grace that life might be sure (Rom 4:16). 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' (Psa 69:2,14). I say, to be sure this could not be the river. No, David was now 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.

3. The bottom of all is, as I said, that we might be saved, saved by grace, and I will add, 'through the redemption that is in Christ.' This is still better and better. We read that, when Israel came over Jordan, the feet of the priests that did bear the ark stood on firm ground in the bottom, and that they set up great stones for a memorial thereof (Josh 3:17, 4:1-3). But had Jordan so good a bottom as has this most blessed river of water of life, or were the stones that Israel took out thence like this 'tried stone,' this 'sure foundation?' (Isa 28:16). O the throne! this river comes out of the throne, and we are saved by grace through 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. (Heb 11:10). And again, all these are the very bottom of this goodly river of the water of life (Eph 2:19,20).

4. There is another thing to be seen at the bottom of this holy river, and that is, the glory of God; 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. Grace will not fail, Christ has been sufficiently tried, and God will not lose his glory. Therefore they that drink of this river shall doubtless be saved; to wit, they that drink of it of a spiritual appetite to it. And thus much for the explication of the text.

[THE APPLICATION OF THE WHOLE.]

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, head-spring, and quality; and I have showed you that its nature is excellent, its quantity abundant, its head-spring 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-a-days, that are for inventing of 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 probatum est.[17] It has been proved times without number; it never fails but where it is not taken (Acts 26:18; Isa 5:4,5). No disease comes amiss to it; it cures blindness, deadness, deafness, dumbness. It makes 'the lips of those that are asleep to speak' (Cant 7:9). This is the right HOLY WATER,[18] all other is counterfeit: it will drive away devils and spirits; it will cure enchantments and witchcrafts; it will heal the mad and lunatic (Gal 3:1-3; Mark 16:17,18). It will cure the most desperate melancholy; it will dissolve doubts and mistrusts, though they are grown as hard as stone in the heart (Eze 36:26). It will make you speak well (Col 4:6). It will make you have a white soul, and that is better than to have a white skin (Eze 36:25,26). It will make you taste well; it will make you disrelish all hurtful meats (Isa 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 good nourishment, and make good blood. In a word, it preserveth life (John 4:14). They that take this water shall live longer than did old Methuselah, and yet he lived a great while (Gen 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, but to take it in the morning of your age is best (Matt 20:3-6). For then diseases have not got so great a head as when they are of long continuance, 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 (Eccl 11:1-4).

This water gently purges, and yet more effectually than any others. True, where bad humours 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 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.

SECOND. 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' (Deut 33:12). 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' (Rev 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' (Psa 69:36). Get thee a dwelling in Jerusalem, in the midst of Jerusalem, and then thou wilt be seated by this river.

In old times, the ancients had their habitations by the rivers; yea, we read of Aroer that stood upon the brink of the river Arnon (Josh 13:9). Balaam also had his dwelling in his city Pethor, 'by the river of the land of the children of his people' (Num 22:5). O! by a river side is the pleasantest dwelling in the world; and of all rivers, the river of the water of life is the best. They that dwell there 'shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them' (Isa 49:10). 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 (Psa 1:3; Jer 17:8). And the promise is that men that take up their dwellings by this river of water of life, shall be fruitful as such trees.

If thou art a Christian, thou hast more than an ordinary call and occasion to abide by these waters; thy things will not grow but by these waters. Weeds and the excellencies of most men we may find in the barren wilderness, they grow under every hedge; but thine are garden, and so choice things, and will not thrive without much water, no, without the water of God's river. Dwell, therefore, here; that thy soul may be as a watered garden (Jer 31:12; Isa 12:1-3). And when thou seest how those that are loath to die,[19] 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 of 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 mayest 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. And herein is God, and thy Father, glorified, that thou bear much fruit (John 15:8).

THIRD. My third word is, bless God for providing for man such waters. 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 thanksgiving, how should we bless God for this unspeakable gift! (2 Cor 9:15). 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.

O my brethren, bless God! who doth good and gives us such rain, filling our hearts with food and gladness.[20] 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 depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land that flowed with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands' (Deut 8:7; Exo 3:8, 13:5; Lev 20:24; Num 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, for God is the living God. This 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' (Jer 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 of the world, that in the reception of it thy heart and soul should run out and flow after him in thanksgiving. See how David words it in Psalm 103:1-5, and do likewise.

FOURTH. 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 Bel 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 hand (Job 36:3). Thy life lies at stake; the counterfeit of things is dangerous; everybody that is aware, is afraid thereof. Now a counterfeit here is most dangerous, is most destructive. Wherefore take heed how you hear, what you hear; for, as I said before of the fish, by your colour it will be seen what waters you swim in; wherefore look you well to yourselves.[21]

FIFTH. 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.

SIXTH. 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 shuttlecocks in the air, till their foot slips, and themselves descend into the pit.

Let this suffice for this time.

FOOTNOTES:

1 As God gave us existence, so, in his munificence and royal bounty, he gives us his rich grace. We have nothing to give in return but grateful love. He redeems us from the captivity of sin, and earth, and hell. 'Every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills: the world is mine, saith the Almighty, with the fulness thereof.' O to grace how great a debtor; freely bestowed to the poor and needy.—Ed.

2 Water is a curse, as in the dropsy, but essential to life with our food. Oil is valuable, properly taken, but an irritating oil to consume the bones is destructive. How awful the case of the rich man when refused a drop of water to cool that fire which he had created while living, and into which he had irretrievably plunged himself.—Ed.

3 Reliance upon an imperfect obedience to God's holy law, united with a hope, through Christ or some other means, of forgiveness for not having kept some parts of that law, is 'the doctrine of the world,' and of devils. It is a refuge of lies, which death will fearfully sweep away. We must rely wholly upon Christ, or perish.—Ed.

4 Aquae Vitae was a cordial-water well known in Bunyan's time, and much used in compounding medicines, but now almost forgotten. It was distilled from brewed beer, strongly hopped, and well fermented. The French have an intoxicating liquour called eau de vie; this is distilled from the refuse of the grapes after the wine is made.—Ed.

5 Although all mankind are fatally diseased, they only feel it that are made sick of sin; this is the law work, and when it takes place, then comes the new birth and salvation by the efficacy of this water of life.—Ed.

6 A RIVER inexhaustible, to supply the pure and unmixed joys of heaven to all the myriads of happy glorified souls, and applied by the Spirit of grace to quench the thirst of the soul on earth. This grace is fixed and permanent, 'springing up into everlasting life.' Blessed Jesus, 'give me this water, that I thirst not ever.'—Ed.

7 This water of life is as essential to the spiritual-mindedness of the soul, as natural water is to the life of a fish. The grace of God is the element in which only the renewed soul can live and enjoy a little of that heaven into which, as an ocean of bliss, this river carries him.—Ed.

8 Those that are satisfied with the world, and its enjoyments, and seek not for happiness in the favour of God; those that depend on the merit of their own works for a righteousness; these do not thirst—they have no sense of their need, and will not condescend to come to THE FOUNTAIN.—Ed.

9 The rain is taken from the sea by water-spouts or in vapour; it is wonderfully distilled, and descends upon the earth in fertilizing showers which supply the rivers. In proportion to the rain or melting of the snow, is the quantity of water in the rivers. Bunyan was taught all this phenomena of nature, by a single verse in the inspired volume which he quotes. How wonderful is that Book!—Ed.

10 This is a most astonishing natural phenomenon: that such a river as the Thames, receiving constantly all the filth of a vast metropolis, containing more than two millions of inhabitants, buries it all, and yet purifieth itself.—Ed.

11 Light bread is an allusion to Numbers 21:5: 'our soul loatheth this light bread.' The heavenly manna, like Christ, is despised and rejected of man.—Ed.

12 By 'the text,' in this and other places, is meant the text of sacred Scripture; not the particular passage, or text, on which this treatise is founded.—Ed.

13 The solemn silence, and the sound of the trumpet, took place in quick succession when the medium of prayer and praise, from fallen man, was first exhibited in heaven. When Christ was revealed to John, as the throne upon which God received the prayers of all his saints, awe, and wonder, and silence, was felt in heaven for the space of half an hour; then came the sound of the trumpet with dire events to those who had refused to pray in the name of Christ.—Ed.

14 Thus the Spirit of God in regeneration produces light out of darkness, makes the barren heart fruitful, and from confusion, discord, and enmity, brings order, harmony, and tranquility. The renewed man is actuated by new hopes and fears; his judgment is enlightened, his will rectified, and his heart transformed; his eyes being divinely opened he sees into eternity; he has a hope full of immortality; spiritual appetites are excited in his soul; his affections are raised to God and heaven; his soul thirsteth for God, for the living God! Thus the Spirit giveth life to the dead, eyes to the blind, speech to the dumb, feet to the lame, and the hand of faith to lay hold on Christ for complete salvation.—Mason.

15 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 the arduous ascent which led him, in defiance of a persecuting world, to join in church fellowship, allegorically represented by the house Beautiful—'When Christian drank it was clear 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.

16 'Shuck,' to shake; obsolete as a verb, but retained as a noun to designate the pea-shell, after the peas have been shook out.—Ed.

17 Probatum est—is proved—a scrap of Latin commonly used in advertising medical prescriptions, in Bunyan's time.—Ed.

18 A Protestant can have but little idea of the insane superstition of the Papists in respect to holy water. The following lines, from Barnaby Googe's Popish Kingdome, will shed a little light upon it:—

'Besides, they do beleeue their sinnes to be forgiven quight, By taking holy water here, whereof if there do light But one small drop, it driueth out the hellishe deuils all Then which there can no greater griefe vnto the feend befall.'—4to. 1570, p. 42. In the Editor's library.—Ed.

19 The infatuation, nay, madness of human nature, in its fallen state, is shown by living to hasten the inroads of death; and when he appears, terror-stricken they fly from it to any remedy that is within their reach. How vast the number of suicides by intemperance!—Ed.

20 The real Christian, and such only, are in this blessed case; they have the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come. Their Father, the Almighty, supplies all their wants; giving joy and peace, when heart and flesh tremble.—Ed.

21 In proportion to the number of professed Christians who thus obey the gospel by judging for themselves, so will be the happiness of the church, and the hastening on of the kingdom of Christ. No one is a Christian that receives his doctrine from a prelate, priest, or minister, without prayerfully comparing it with the written Word. O man, take not the water of life as doled out by a fellow-man; go to the river for yourself—survey yourself as reflected in those crystal streams. Christ does not say to the heavy-laden, sin-burdened soul, Go to the church; but, Come unto me, and find rest. Blessed is he who loves the river of water unpolluted by human devices, forms, or ceremonies; who flies to the open bosom of his Christ, and finds refuge from every storm.—Ed.

THE END

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