Posted by: rcottrill | May 2, 2016

Along the River of Time

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Words: George Frederick Root (b. Aug. 30, 1820; d. Aug. 6, 1895)
Music: George Frederick Root

Wordwise Hymns (George Root)
The Cyber Hymnal (George Root)

Note: Mr. Root;’s musical talent showed early on. As a young teens he was able to play thirteen different instruments. He went on to become a composer of note, not only of hymns, but of secular songs. He wrote Civil War songs such as The Battle Cry of Freedom, and Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys Are Marching.

Root wrote hymns expressing his faith in Christ, as well. For example, he gave us words and music for the present hymn, and for She Only Touched the Hem of His Garment, and two invitation hymns, Come to the Saviour, and Why Do You Wait?

D rifting can be fun. When you’re out on a stream, in a boat, with a companion, sometimes it’s nice to stop rowing for awhile, and simply let the current carry you along. Relaxing, chatting, watching the banks slide slowly by, enjoying the warm summer sun–what could be more pleasant?

But it doesn’t pay to completely ignore what’s ahead. Rivers and streams that move with a smooth, oily calm may also have rocks, rapids, and even waterfalls along the way. Unless we know the area, or are prepared to steer and paddle when required, the current can carry us into difficulty and danger.

Niagara Falls is one of the scenic wonders of the world. To stand near and hear the thunder of the cataract, feeling the ground shaking beneath your feet, it’s awe inspiring. Above the falls, the broad Niagara River flows gently along. But, up river there are buoys, with warning signs, telling boaters to go no closer to the falls.

Even so, some do. Perhaps, to see how close to disaster they can get and escape. Or, occasionally, it’s because the boat’s motor failed, and the current carried it relentlessly onward. Over many years, daredevils have built reinforced “barrels” and attempted to survive the falls, but many have perished. Of those who have gone over the falls without any protection–either by accident, or in a suicide attempt, only three in all of its history have lived to tell about it.

Yes, drifting with the current can be fun–at times. But watch out! And it’s the same with life. Some seem to have hardships from beginning to end. But there are others who grow up well cared for, and life seems to hold relatively little unpleasantness. They simply drift along, until a crisis strikes that changes everything.

And for each of us there is the prospect of one final crisis. Death. It may come long after the traditional three-score years and ten. Or it may come suddenly, and much sooner. Apart from the prophesied return of Christ (I Thess. 4:16-17), we will all face it. There’s no drifting past it on the stream of life. The question is, are we prepared to deal with it?

The Bible says, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die” (Ecc. 3:1-2). And “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Are we ready? The preparation for what is to come requires that we put our faith in the Saviour. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 3:23).

There is an unusual hymn by George Root about what’s ahead on the river of life. The hymn, Along the River of Time, is unusual musically because the melody alternates between men’s and women’s voices–though it’s possible for all to sing it together. The dramatic and sobering song says:

1) Along the River of Time we glide,
Along the River, along the River;
The swiftly flowing resistless tide,
The swiftly flowing, the swiftly flowing,
And soon, ah, soon the end we’ll see;
Yes, soon ‘twill come, and we will be
Floating, floating, out on the sea of Eternity!

2) Along the River of Time we glide,
Along the River, along the River;
A thousand dangers its currents hide,
A thousand dangers, a thousand dangers;
And near our course the rocks we see:
Oh, dreadful thought! A wreck to be,
Floating, floating, Out on the sea of Eternity!

3) Along the River of Time we glide,
Along the River, along the River;
Our Saviour only our bark can guide,
Our Saviour only, our Saviour only;
But with Him we secure may be:
No fear, no doubt–but joy to be
Floating, floating, out on the sea of Eternity!

1) Do you know anyone who is drifting into danger in their spiritual lives?

2) Is there anything you can do to warn and help them to find safety in Christ?

Wordwise Hymns (George Root)
The Cyber Hymnal (George Root)


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