And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
And he showed me, etc. Philosophers have their transcendental theories, but Christianity transcends their highest speculations. Taking these words as a symbolic representation of it, we make two remarks.
I. IT IS TRANSCENDENTAL IN ITS VALUE. It is "water." What on earth, what throughout the whole material universe, so far as we know, is of such worth as water? So impressed were some of the greatest sages of antiquity with its value, that they regarded it as the first principle, the fontal source of all things. But what is the character of this water?
1. It is a "river." It is not a stagnant pool, a sleeping lake, or a purling brook; but a river, profound in depth, majestic in volume, resistless in movement.
2. It is a "pure" river. No impurities have been drained into it. Its channels are clean; it is fresh and pure from the holy heavens. How pure is Christianity! How holy its morals, how morally perfect its leading character, Christ!
3. It is a "pure" river of life. It not only diffuses life through all the regions through which it rolls its waters, but goes up into the air, forms clouds, sails through the heavens, and discharges itself upon the barren bills, thus giving life to the world. Christianity is a quickening system; it quickens intellect, conscience, heart.
4. It is a "pure" river of life that is transparent. "Clear as crystal." This river, like a perfect looking glass, mirrors the bright heavens above, and all the objects around it. How transparent is Christianity! It can be seen through and through. What character was ever so transparent as the character of Christ? You see with a glance the one ruling principle that worked all his faculties and explained his life - love. Here there is a transcendental system that roils in the moral domain of earth like some mighty Amazon in the material. What would man's moral world be without it? At, what?
II. IT IS TRANSCENDENTAL IS ITS ORIGIN. Whence does this river take its rise? Where is the fountain head? Not on earth, not from any particular province of the universe, but from the "throne of God and of the Lamb."
1. It proceeds from the "throne." It comes from the centre of universal authority. Christianity is a system of authority. It is a code rather than a creed; it is more regulative than speculative.
2. It proceeds from the throne of "God." There are many thrones. We read of thrones and principalities, etc. But this is the throne from which all other thrones derive their authority, to which all are amenable - the throne of God. Christianity is a Divine system; its congruity with all collateral history, with our moral intuitions, with all our a priori notions of a God, proves its Divinity.
3. It proceeds from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Christ has to do with it. It contains his life, it mirrors his character, it bears on its majestic bosom his provision for the world. Such is the gospel. Value this river. What are other books compared to the gospel? Mere puddled pools to the Mississippi. Kind Heaven, speed the course of this river! May it penetrate every region of the world, and roll its waves of life through every heart! - D.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.