The River’s Ravages
The following are some of the terrible results which all must suffer who sail on the “Riverof Death:” 1. The Guilt of Sin. — God has forbidden Sin; hence the awful guilt which disobediencebrings-guilt so heavy that it will sink the soul into the burning Sea of Everlasting Doom; guilt sodeep that no one can fathom it, and so black that no artist can paint it, and yet so deceptive that itsvictims, unawakened by the Spirit’s power, often seem unconscious that it is fixed upon them.
2. Separation. — Sin not only brings guilt, but it separates from Heaven and God, so thatHis presence is no more enjoyed, nor a glad and final union with Him in Eternity anticipated, andindifference or hatred and rebellion possess the soul.
3. Bondage. — Satan throws a fascinating spell over all who follow his counsels and sailupon this awful Stream. He imparts a love for sin and for sinful society which binds them withsuch mighty cords that none but God Himself can break them.
“To whom ye present yourselves as servants unto obedience, his servants ye are whom yeobey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.” — Rom. vi, 16.
4. Disease. — If people had never ventured upon these Rivers, there never would havebeen an ache or pain or disease on earth; but worse than any disease of the body is the dreadfulleprosy of the soul which the fatal atmosphere and waters of these Rivers give. All who driftthereon, not only have the stubborn soul-disease of sin which Paul calls “the body of this death,””the old man,” inherited from Adam down, but the disease is awfully aggravated by the personalsins of those who suffer from it. Another name for this disease is Selfishness It is seated deeperthan the skin, or the blood, or the nerves, away in the deep soul-center of the spiritual being, and,like the measles and the smallpox, it breaks out on the outside in the form of sinful anger, wickedwords, stubborn and haughty expressions and demeanor, disobedience to parents, and many othersins, although in some persons the main outward mark may be one kind of sin, and in othersdifferent; but any outer mark proves that the disease is in the soul.
5. Eternal Punishment. — Another of the certain and fearful consequences of yielding toSatan and sailing on these Rivers is Eternal Punishment, which God declares all must suffer whopersist in this sinful course. The River of Death, with its mighty, resistless tides, flows over theFalls of Eternal Despair, and bears its victims out into the burning Sea of Everlasting Destruction,from the “presence of God” and the “glory of His power.
The King of Heaven is warning all who are upon its waters of their fearful danger and ofthe doom into which they are rushing.
All along the shore He has Gospel messengers, shouting, “Turn ye, turn ye, for why will yedie?” But many are like the young men who drifted down Niagara’s awful current over its Falls.Friends shouted to them repeatedly: “The rapids are before you! Turn! turn! the rapids are’ beforeyou!” but they laughed and sang, and continued to drift, thinking they would ply their oars and stoptheir boat before it was too late, but passed on from one danger point to another, until, when theywould turn, it was too late, they could not, for the current was too strong, and they were lost.
Others, asleep on this River, in some of the fatal Boats of Sin, are like the poor Indian. Anenemy saw him sleeping on the bank of Niagara River above the Falls, cut the’ rope which tied hiscanoe to the shore, and pushed it out into the surging, rushing tide. The Indian slept on untilawakened by the roar of the cataract, too late to stop the boat or turn his course, and was swiftlyswept over its merciless brink to certain death. A forceful picture of the fate of all who do notheed the warning cry which echoes in their ears, but sweep down the Rivers of Sin into the Lake ofFire, where they shall be “tormented day and night, for ever and ever,”