Wednesday, May 4, 2011



As preached by the
Rev. MR. Beverly Carradine,
at a camp meeting outside
St. Louis, Missouri
TEXT: Ezekiel 47:1-12
1 Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house [stood toward] the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south [side] of the altar. 2 Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. 3 And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters [were] to the ancles. 4 Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters [were] to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters [were] to the loins. 5 Afterward he measured a thousand; [and it was] a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. 6 And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen [this?] Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. 7 Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river [were] very many trees on the one side and on the other. 8 Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: [which being] brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. 9 And it shall come to pass, [that] every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. 10 And it shall come to pass, [that] the fishers shall stand upon it from En-gedi even unto En-eglaim; they shall be a [place] to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. 11 But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. 12 And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.

The prophet Ezekiel was granted a number of visions concerning the church of the future. Among them none is more impressive or richer in blessed suggestions, or clearer in the description of the coming holiness of the church than that granted him of the waters bursting out of the holy sanctuary and streaming out over the world. No one can read the first twelve verses of the forty-seventh chapter of the prophecy without realizing the following three facts: One is, that a great blessing is to come to the world; another is that the blessing is to come out of the church. God has been pleased to bless mankind through His people in the past, and will do so to the end. Let every one tempted to Come-out-ism remember that the great approaching grace is to come out of Zion. A third fact taught is that the blessing that is to do much for the race is holiness. The very caption of the chapter reads:

"The Vision of the Holy Waters."

Moreover, as the waters came out of God's blessed sanctuary, where nothing unclean could enter, how could they be anything else but holy?

Some deeply interesting truths in regard to the holy waters appear in this passage.

One is that it starts humbly. It is first seen issuing from under the threshold of the door of the temple. It does not pour down as a cascade beautiful and imposing from the pinnacle of God's house, but is first seen near the floor and ground.

Truly holiness has never originated among the dignitaries and hierarchies, civil or ecclesiastical. Invariably it makes its first appearance among the poor and obscure. When holiness first gushed forth as a distinct blessing for the church in the New Testament times, it appeared among a band of humble disciples. When it flowed again with marvelous power in the Wesleyan revival, the curious fact of its being confined to the poor was again noticed. It is equally remarkable today that the present holiness revival is seen in the Salvation Army, despised by many, and is also sweeping among the humbler members of the various churches, while the heads and functionaries of the church, in company with the wealthier classes, look on amazed, disapprovingly and skeptically, at  the whole movement. Paul states a solemn truth in the words: "Ye see your calling, brethren, that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called," while another inspired writer declares that God hath chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith. The holy water appears under the threshold.

Another fact stated is that the waters came down at the south side of the altar. We are brought at once into the presence and upon the spot itself of sacrifice. Holiness is of God, but cannot flow out to the world except through the sacrifice of the Son of God. The south side of the altar is mentioned. This is the warm, sunny side. There are religious experiences and moralities and ecclesiastical formalities that produce rigidity and coldness. We have known Christian people who, when in their coffins, will scarcely be colder and stiffer than they are now. But holiness touches the south side of our nature, pours sunshine in the soul, and produces the tropical spiritual life. It makes a summer land. Frostiness of manner and chilling speeches are at an end. Fragrance of spirit, melody in the heart, brightness of countenance, and the burning heat of love declare a religious southland. How the writer wishes that God's people who are cold, if not freezing, on the north side of the altar would come around on the south side and get thawed out and be spiritually warm thereafter for evermore.

The holy waters soon became visible. Who supposes that a fountain gushing up in the church and flowing down the aisles and under the door and out upon the street and down the street could be  hidden? If this be the case, who can doubt that when the experience and life of holiness arises in the church, pours out at the door in the person of the people enjoying it, and streams in every direction  toward home, street, and avenue, it will be equally manifest? It could not be concealed on the day of Pentecost, nor in Wesley's time nor in our time. The strange news is now on every lip, some
wondering, some doubting, some believing, but all in the land cognizant of the fact that a peculiar religious experience has arisen in the church and is sweeping through the land in every direction.

The holy waters could not be stopped; neither can that which it typifies be arrested. The blessed flow of holiness cannot be prevented. A man can divert it from his own heart and life, but he cannot keep it from the world. What folly it would be for one standing down a stream to endeavor to dam it up when it has back of it a fountain, and back of that an inexhaustible subterranean river? Yet what consummate folly is it in one to think that he can arrest the flow of a blessing whose source is in God, and that has a Niagara drop from a world above the stars, and the weight of God's hand and God's will upon it, in addition. Did the reader ever try to stop a spring by throwing stones into it, and notice that the water gushed up still, and trickling through the rocks, went on its musical, laughing, triumphant way down the valley? How much less able is one to check that fountain opened up for sin and uncleanness! And yet there are men foolish enough to try it. It would certainly be a poor fountain if the satire, laughter, and denunciation of a man could dry it up. We notice that in spite of everything in this line it flows on. We have seen what was regarded as a skilful and powerful hand, wielded by a high functionary in the church, or by one commissioned by that functionary, attempt to seal the fountain and thus stop its flow, when just as they thought the work was done, puff, gush, and lo! The ecclesiastical cement was blown out of sight, and the holy water was gushing again. Think of a man trying to bail the Mississippi River dry with a dipper! Yet have we seen men attempt a far more insane and impossible thing in endeavoring with a dipper of human authority, conferred on them for a few years, to empty the channel of grace of the wonderful stream of holiness flowing out of the very throne and heart of God. With careful hand and calculating eye the dipper is placed in the stream, then suddenly elevated, and its contents flung as far as the authority can throw, when Lo! it appears that simply a minnow swimming in t he experience has been flung away, while the holy water still flows on.

The water increased. This is taught beautifully. First it reached the ankles, then the knees, then the loins, and finally went over the head. This holds good in the individual case. It is a mistake to think there is no growth or improvement after the blessing of sanctification. Holiness people never say that, but their testimony is that it gets better, deeper, sweeter, every day. And so the time comes when the man is fairly swallowed up in the life, and self is lost to sight.

The figure is true also in a world-wide sense. Many today are smiling and sneering at this movement of God. It seems so shallow in its sweep, is confined to such a few camp meetings, has been received by so few of the wealthy and prominent, that no one dreams of being overtaken by it, or its overflowing the land. But the passage teaches that it is an increasing tide, and will steadily rise higher until no one can stand before it. The very pots in the house of the Lord will be holy, the bells on the horses will bear the name, and all will be righteous from the least unto the greatest in those days.

We have only to glance about to see how rapidly the heavenly flood is rising and spreading. In one state alone there are two hundred holiness preachers. Look at the increasing holiness literature, the one hundred holiness periodicals, the sanctified evangelists now covering the country, and the people everywhere who are sweeping into the blessing. 

The holy water is to redeem the desert. The writer once saw the Great African Desert. Parched, desolate, and vast as it is, it could be reclaimed by means of the Mediterranean Sea. A greater desert is human life, and greater than man and man's wants is the abundant and never failing grace of God.  The vision of the holy waters is but a stream from the sea of the divine fullness. And this ever widening and deepening stream is to redeem and reclaim the spiritual deserts of the world. It seems to have a peculiar bent or tendency in that direction. It moves toward the forsaken and desolate. It rises up to the garrets of a city, descends to the cellars, and goes with its sweet, loving flow to morally abandoned places and lives. Its object is to reclaim the waste and make it bloom like a garden of the Lord.

The holy waters bring life. The remarkable statement made by the prophet is that everything that liveth and moveth shall live where the waters come. Holiness brings life; and, mysterious as it may  at first appear, brings it not only to the dead, but to everything that liveth and moveth. It is the regenerated and truly growing Christian who is the first to obtain the blessing.

Here is life added to life. And this is the very experience of this great grace. It is another blessing, containing a deeper and fuller measure of life. Christ spoke of this when he said he came that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly. This was what took place at Pentecost; not life, but a more abundant life.

It certainly as a blessing brings life. A man receiving it begins to live indeed in a way worthy of the name. There is life to prayer, to praise, to testimony, to Christian activity, and all this in turn touches and arouses the sinner, and so he obtains life.

The holy waters produce food. They seemed to have the power of making trees spring up of a fruit bearing character. And this is just what takes place where holiness is received. There spring up under its influence devoted men and women of God, and from them come sermons, testimonies, prayers, songs, and lives that are soul food for the people. Holiness brings food for the soul, rich, strengthening, and satisfying. Millions today are perishing for the lack of that food, and are mocked in pulpit and in so-called religious papers by what is termed spiritual provision, that is no more
nourishing to the spirit than sawdust to the body.

The holy waters beautified. Look at the picture drawn by the prophet, of a river lined with trees. We know of nothing lovelier in nature than the graceful bendings of a river whose flowery shores are lined with lofty and spreading trees. Grassy banks, shadowy nooks and dells, with singing birds, are all concomitant with this scene.

God takes this attractive spectacle in nature to describe the beauty of holiness and the beautifying power of holiness. There is nothing that makes the face and life more attractive and lovely. There comes a beauty of expression, a holy charm in manner evident even to the careless observer. When the church obtains this grace, she is going to draw and win the world for God.

The holy waters called forth a host of workers. This thought is suggested by the words, "The fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto En-eglaim." Holiness creates fishermen for souls. This has been and is the invariable result from the day of Pentecost until this day. Let this blessing enter the heart, and workers for God or soul fishermen spring up at once. They want to fish for souls and they know how. Some go out with a line; they seek for and obtain individuals. Others go forth with nets; they have greater gifts or possess more of the Spirit, and so bring in great companies for God. But all are fishermen of souls. The passion for the work is thoroughly aroused. In place after
place, and church after church, the writer has noticed it. When holiness comes to the people of God, they are transformed into burning, tireless workers for Him.

They reach from Engedi to En-eglaim. Oh, how we need them from one end of the land to the other; from Boston to San Francisco, form London to Peking!

A final discovery in regard to holiness, taught by the holy waters, is that it produces a religious experience and life that is unchanging and full of blessedness to others. The remarkable characteristics pertaining to the trees growing by the holy waters bring out this fact.

"Their leaf shall not fade." That is, the religious profession and the corresponding outward appearance of the life are always the same. There are no spells of gloom, fits of dumbness, and bewailings over departed joy and power. The testimony and life are ever bright, strong, and attractive. The leaf, green and fresh, rustles in the wind all the year round.

"The leaf thereof for medicine." Everywhere that the experience of holiness shall be told it shall heal some heart, cure doubt, and do good. To speak of what we possess in this beautiful and blessed life is to throw a leaf full of healing on some sin-sick soul. Truly, these are some of the leaves that are to bring healing to the nations. Once the writer was relating his experience to a large audience where there was considerable skepticism in regard to the blessing of sanctification. Months afterward he found that the leaf of that open testimony had fallen upon the listening ear of one woman and had brought healing to her soul.

"The fruit thereof shall be for meat." A holy life is moral nourishment. Even people who deny holiness will admit that the lives of godly individuals have stimulated and strengthened them. Truly, we feed upon each other, and there is nothing that so nourishes and invigorates the soul as holy teaching and holy living.

"Neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed." This looks like a contradiction to the other statement, but it is only one of the paradoxes of the Bible. It means that, in the giving forth of the life to others, the person himself suffers no waste. As in the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the bread, in spite of constant breaking and distribution, remained unwasted; so this life, in spite of constant demands as well as assaults made upon it, will abide the same. The fruit is not consumed.

To the person's delight he finds an unwasting fullness in his experience that lasts not only from day to day and from year to year, but through all the lifetime.

"It shall bring forth new fruit." There will be fresh experiences every day, new works and enterprises for God and man. Men may stone off and pluck away and partake of the fruit of that life continually, but new fruit, new fruit, new fruit will be seen abounding just as constantly throughout all the days, months and years of that life.

All this mentioned above takes place, says the prophet, "because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary." Without the waters of holiness, none of these things would or could possibly occur.

The vital and unbroken connection with God and the spiritual world is the only explanation of the perennial experience. The constant inflowing of the divine life into our lives will always produce religious activity, moral beauty, unfading freshness of spirit, blessedness to self, and a life abounding in comfort and relief to the spiritually sick, sad and sinful of the world.

Oh, that the holy waters would begin to flow in every church, appear at the threshold, stream over the land, and fill every heart and the whole world with the knowledge and love and glory and saving power of our God!

From the book THE DOUBLE CURE: or ECHOES FROM THE NATIONAL CAMP MEETINGS, Copyright, 1887 By The McDonald & Gill Co. [Apparently Compiled and Edited by William McDonald]


sage said...

As one who finds renewal by rivers, this passage has always been a favorite (it is linked to the river in the garden, Psalm 46 and the river at the end of Revelation. btw, I came over to your blog from "Buddies in the Saddle" when I saw your profile as a "follower." My first thought, "I didn't know Dwight Moody was blogging... Blessings!

Anonymous said...

Would love to track down a copy of this book! Let me hear from you.

Albie The Good said...

SAGE: Rivers rock! Thanks for commenting... sorry i didn't see your until this much later, pal!

ANONYMOUS: I don't own this book... but I did see a copy at a Baptist college library in the '90s. There is an online version at the Wesley Center of a Nazarene College... you may already know about that as you are a Carradine fan, apparently :)

Thanks for stopping! I love ol' Bev myself, especially his volume on Gideon.