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Could the sightless, sunken eyes
Closed beneath the soft grey hair, Could the mute and stiffened lips Move again in pleading prayer, Still, ay, still the words would be, "Let me hide myself in Thee."
THE RIVER OF LIFE.
"Everything shall live whither the river cometh."-
THE Book of Ezekiel is a prophetic Book shadowing forth the history of our dispensations, both Jewish and Gentile. In the first chapter we have in the wings and the wheels a picture of the future heavenly and earthly glory of the Church and the world, the living creatures being the symbols of the former, and the wheels those of the latter. The same spirit that moves the one moves the other. The earthly will be a reflection of the heavenly. The wheel, which is exclusively earthly, will move under the influence of the wing which is entirely heavenly.
From the first chapter onwards to the fortieth we have the destruction of the Jewish temple and nation, together with all the different forms of Gentile dominion-the complete obliteration of all Jewish and Gentile dominion and power. It is a graphic
picture of the present and past history of our earth. It is a picture of idolatry and sin and wickedness, and God's consequent judgment upon it. It is one dark scene, a black picture relieved only by the bright rays of a promised glorious future for God's ancient people the Jews, and all those who are His.
In that chapter everything changes. There is a new temple, new measurements, new sacrifices, a new land, and a new people. This is the earthly scene, and it corresponds with the "new name," the "new song," the 66 new Jerusalem," and the "all things made new "of the Book of Revelation. The one is the picture of the future glory of the earthly people, and the other of the heavenly.
The chapter from which I have taken my text brings before us that which will be the life of this future scene, that which is indeed the life of the kingdom of God now, the living water of the river of life, the streams of spiritual blessing which make glad the city of God. It is the living water flowing forth to bless the Church and the world from Him who died and rose again from the dead on this day. To this glorious resurrection morn we owe it all. It is the source and spring of all life, for “if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins."
These living waters flow forth from the sanctuary "" "desert into our world, and into the "dead sea of human life within it, making everything alive
They create life in the dead sea, new fruits for meat, and healing leaves for medicine. It may be said it is a picture of the Gospel going forth to convert and bless the world. Be it so. Observe, however, it is not the conversion of the world before the Lord comes. When these living waters flow forth from the inner sanctuary the Lord Himself is there. It is a picture of the going forth of the Gospel after the Lord Himself, in our glorified human nature, has returned to this earth again; for "this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts i. 11). Notice how this is shown in the second and fourth verses of the forty-third chapter: "Behold the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and His voice was like the noise of many waters: and the earth shined with His glory:" "and the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east."
Here we have the true order of all future blessing and glory to our world. First, the Lord Himself returns, then the living waters go forth to bless a dead and dying world. No millennium till the Lord comes, but, on the contrary, everything 66 waxing worse and worse." From the first chapter of the Book of Genesis to the last chapter of the Book of Revelation there is not a solitary passage to prove that the world will be converted before
the Lord returns from heaven.
Then, and not till
then, will the promise be fulfilled, "righteousness shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea."
I do not for a moment ignore the great and blessed work of God now going on in the world. I thank God for the day in which we are living, I rejoice to know of the mighty work the Gospel of Christ is doing on every side. But while it is the best day in which we ever lived in this respect, it is the worst in another. Never was there a day in the history of the world when the varied and multiform powers of evil were so busily at work. Never has crime and unblushing wickedness reared its head so high. Never has blasphemy, rapine, and murder, together with a "form of godliness," reached such a pitch. It is the fulfilment of God's Word, the heavy drops of the last thunder-shower that shall deluge Christendom and the world, and draw down that fiery wrath of God which shall usher in the Son of Man, the Lord from heaven, to set up, on this blighted world of ours, a kingdom which shall break in pieces every other, and which shall never be removed.
Turning to our chapter, we notice, first of all, that the forefront of the house, and the waters which flow from underneath the threshold of it, are both toward the east. This situation is not without its meaning. Looking at it as the type of the great spiritual temple of God and the streams of life