The River of Death
“For the wages of sin is death.” — Rom. vi, 23. This book is a description of the River of Death, its Branches, and its dangers, and how toescape them. Study the foregoing picture of it very carefully, as it will be often referred to.
This River flows through the “Land of Sin,” better known by some as the “Land ofSelfishness,” and by others as the “Land of Unbelief.” This Land abounds with sterile deserts anddeadly swamps, and is infested by ravenous wild beasts and venomous serpents. Pitfalls andquicksands are numerous. The inhabitants were lured into it by Satan, and multitudes have and areperishing in spite of the heroic efforts put forth by the King of Heaven and His Son to rescue them.The River of Death, with its Tributaries, flows through this Land, poisoning the inhabitants, andbearing them over the Falls of Eternal Despair to their awful doom and despair.
It is an old River; one of the very oldest in all the World. Its source is way back in theGarden of Eden, when our first parents fell into its fatal flood and lost their spiritual lives.
It is a deep River, so deep that all who sink in it rise no more, unless rescued by DivinePower. Itsbanks are so high and steep that no one has ever been able, unaided, to climb them, and millions ofsouls have gone down in its depths.
It is a popular River — not with the King of Heaven, nor His Son, nor His Spirit, nor Hispeople, but with the Arch Deceiver and the multitudes he is dragging down.
It is a fascinating River. So fascinating that, though its people know their peril and finaldoom, they frequently resist every appeal and disregard every warning for the momentary pleasure’or profit of the ride upon its bosom. They are all the victims of a sort of spiritual insanity, bywhich the will and affections are deranged, and domineer over the reason and the judgment.
It is a swift River, Its current is so strong that no one, unaided, can resist it, and its watersand banks are alive with poisonous serpents that hiss and sting and kill.
It finally leaps over the greatest Falls in all the World — the Falls of Eternal Despair — andsweeps its victims on into the bottomless Ocean of a burning Hell, where they are “tormented, dayand night, for ever and ever.”
There is no other river or stream in all the Universe whose currents thus fill the Ocean ofEternal Doom. Hence Satan himself takes great delight in it, superintends it from the beginning tothe end, and, with his imps, sets multitudes of baits and snares to induce people to venture upon itstreacherous bosom.
It is a deceptive River. He has a way of making it seem to shimmer and ripple in thesunshine like a great silvery sheen, and the unthinking, unawakened one would not dream of theswift undercurrents, the rapids, the angry, foaming whirlpools, the sudden, maddening dash overthe Falls of Eternal Despair.
But not only is this true about the waters, but there floats about a thin, transparent cloud of apeculiar chloroform, so sweet and fragrant to the senses that the unwary boater drinks it in, notrealizing that, like the scent of the lotus-flower, it lulls into forgetfulness, so that eternal things areswallowed up in the dreamy pleasures of today; and he believes he is on his way to heaven, whenevery second is bringing him closer and closer to the sweeping whirlpools. Satan has many agentsat work urging people to take these rides.
Not only does he urge them to take the ride, but, once safely in the boat, he persuades themto be their own pilot and to dare the middle of the stream, scorning the Life-boat of Salvation, withJesus as the Pilot, which would safely carry them to the Plains of Regeneration, from whence theascent to Holiness Heights and Heaven is easy, and there they should spend a glorious Eternity.
Millions have believed his lies, purposing to sail only a “short while,” and then return, buttoo late they find the unseen current so swift and strong they are flung about hither and thither as atoy, and sweep over the merciless Falls, stung by many a scorpion of sin, and shrieking, “Toolate!” “Too late!” “I am lost!” “O, is there no help?” “Undone!” “Forever undone!” the awful,anguished cry to ring through the caverns of the doomed and damned even forever.
“To be forewarned is to be forearmed.” Hence God has told us all about this “River” inHis Word; all about the heroic expedition of His Son from Glory’s dazzling heights to earth’s darknight to rescue souls from Satan’s power, from this River’s awful flood, and the fearful Falls ofEternal Despair, and the burning Lake of Fire beyond.
Would you like to know more about it? Then read the following chapters. Before you read,promise me one thing; namely, if you find you have been deceived, and are drifting on this fatalStream, that you will cry to God for help, break away from the enchanted spell that Satan may havethrown around you, and leap into the Life-boat of Salvation which the Savior brings to your side.Will you not?