The River of God

There flows from the throne of God a mighty river, tinctured with all the elements for the sustenance of all the mighty works of His hands. What, of this river, may be seen by the angels of God, is past the comprehension of man. Man knows naught of the powerful tides flowing out from God to sustain the mighty orbs of heaven. To man no intelligence conveys an idea of the power that controls the motions of myriads of incomprehensibly immense planets which are hung apparently on nothing. What a stream of power must flow continuously to every orb, to say nothing of every possible inhabitant of every orb, is a theme not to be solved by the dwellers of earth, at least not in this life; but to us it is but a theme of wonder and an awe forever.

Yet man sees his small share of that mighty stream. Daily do its gracious drops sustain him; daily he basks in the reflection of its crystal tides; daily he carols in unison with its pulsating harmony, and bathes in the sparkling essence of its splendor. In and through and around man is the river of God ever flowing. On the sinking shores of time man stands and views the ever-flowing stream. Now he sees the silent eddy; then perhaps the rapids dash past him, covering the underlying rocks, yet showing by an uneven surface that they are there; then the mighty cataract thunders, dashes, foams, writhes, and hisses as if, in its mad fury, it would long to grasp every object, movable or immovable, and hurl it into the untold ruin beneath.

This is the portion of the stream of God that is placed immediately before the vision of man. This is that portion of the stream that we are told shall not last. It is a broad stream, even what we can see of it, so broad that we cannot see the other side. A Guidebook has been left us giving a description of some features of the other side. Some have been said to have crossed over, and we believe that Enoch and Moses and Elijah have done so. The Guidebook tells us that many of us also shall see the other side; not that in our present state we shall see it, but that, recreated and changed to incorruption and immortality, we shall cross over, and that there we shall see the Fountain Head of the great stream.

There are many strange features in this Guidebook that distinguishes it in nature from all other guidebooks ever written. It was not written by the diction of man, and no man has been, nor can ever be, able to write a work that will faithfully detail the nature of the other shore nor give any valuable directions as to how to reach it. Neither can any, by following any other book, ever reach, in a satisfactory state, that mysterious shore where we are told that the “surges cease to roll.” Chance will direct no one over. The Guidebook was placed here by the gracious Ruler of the mysterious province, because He wished to see mankind successfully conducted to His realm, and He knew there was no other knowledge on earth able to discern the way across the trackless waters.

Thousands have started without the proper directions, to reach the other shore. Those who have remained behind, and are acquainted with the directions given in the Book, are enlightened upon what must have been the fate of the rash adventurers. How many bodies have fallen into the angry grasp of the mad waters at the falls; how many have plunged headlong into the mighty confusion beneath, where the stream from above never ceases to pour its mighty weight, nor will till the close of time, remains one of the mysteries of the stream. As though to confirm the record of all its past doings, that mighty cataract thunders unceasingly down upon the insensible mass of all it has buried during the past ages. Into its keeping have been delivered all those who have attempted to pass without the Guidebook’s illuminations. Some who have read the Guidebook have dared to spurn its directions. Rash children of the angry waves! Where, oh, where are the bones and flesh that once supported thy proud spirits?

Those who have followed the Guidebook have found therein individual instructions. This is another peculiarity of the Book. While following the same general plan of instruction with all, it enforces certain points upon the very persons who need them. Also the Spirit of the Author of the Book accompanies the work, and this of itself is a powerful and indispensable factor in mastering the directions. Some unwisely have not valued this prime factor, but have tried to master the Book by their own understanding. Of these, some have carelessly given up; some have done so despairingly; but some, happy to relate, have discovered what was wanting and have wisely and cheerfully united their own intelligence with that of the Spirit, and have thereby gained the secrets of the pilotage.

Many who have launched out upon the river we are still able to discern. Invariably their first motion on the water has carried them under, but, as we have seen, this rather strengthened than weakened their confidence in the Book, for as each one has recovered from his submersion, he has been heard to quote words from the Book which, by the aid of the Spirit, seemed to be to him full of meaning. As nearly as I can quote the words, their substance is this: “Like as we have been buried beneath the water, so shall we rise from the earth.”

Some have gone beyond the limit of our observation. The last we saw of these, they were sunken into a peaceful slumber and were being carried by some of their friends. Garlands of flowers were about them, but they seemed to be asleep, and seemed not to be noticing their surroundings. By the aid of the Guidebook’s Spirit we were able to make out the following words, which seemed to be hanging over the presence of each sleeper, and in which we could almost imagine the sleeper himself was interested: “I shall be satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness.”

The Signs of the Times, December 11, 1893.