Scripture Verse

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. Psalm 46:4

Introduction

portrait
Henry T. Smart
1813–1879

Words: Sam­u­el J. Stone, 1870. Writ­ten at Wind­sor, Eng­land, for The Month­ly Packet. Ap­peared in The Knight of In­ter­ces­sion (Lon­don, Ox­ford & Cam­bridge, Eng­land: Riv­ing­tons, 1872), pag­es 298–300.

Music: Che­bar Hen­ry T. Smart, 1874 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

portrait
Samuel J. Stone
1839–1900

Lyrics

There is an ancient river,
Whose streams descend in light,
From never-failing fountains,
Beyond all earthly sight;
It ran through all the ages,
And, wheresoe’er it flowed,
Up rose the Holy City,
The Lord’s elect abode.

The river still is flowing,
But now with fuller stream;
And still the light is falling,
But now with brighter beam;
Of old the Song of Moses
Soared as it swept along,
But now the name of Jesus
Is made its sweeter song.

Its radiance lights us onward,
Its chanting waters cheer;
Blest is the eye beholding,
Blest is the hearing ear;
For as the earth clouds darken,
The glory clearer grows,
And gladder for life’s tumult,
The stream of music flows.

God’s River! The One Spirit,
Grace of the mystic Seven!
Drink, Holy Church, these waters,
Thine earnest here of Heaven;
So joy, and peace, and pleasure,
Shall feed thy life within,
So power without shall guard thee,
Against the world of sin.

O Beautiful, the River!
We wait upon thy shore,
In bliss of expectation
Abiding evermore,
Till at some holy even
We pass upon thy breast,
From foretaste into fullness,
From waiting unto rest.