“Like a River Glorious”


“I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flooding stream” (Isaiah 66:12)

     INTRO.:  A hymn which talks about the peace of God that flows like a river is “Like a River Glorious.”  The text was written by Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879).  She is the author of a number of well-known hymns including “I Bring My Sins to Thee,” “I Gave My Life for Thee,” “Is It for Me?”, “Lord, Speak to Me,” “Nobody Knows but Jesus,” “Take My Life, and Let It Be,” “True-Hearted, Whole-Hearted,” and “Another Year Is Dawning.”  The tune (Wye Valley) for “Like a River Glorious” was composed by James Mountain, who was born pm July 16, 1844, at Leeds in Yorkshire, England.   After attending Gainford Academy near Darlington, Rotherham College, Nottingham Institute, and Chesthunt College, he became a minister at Great Marlow in Buckinghamshire.  However, he had to leave local church work due to ill health and began conducting evangelism campaigns throughout Britain from 1874 to 1882. 

     In 1876. Mountain published his Hymns of Consecration and Faith, and Sacred Songs for Missions, Prayer and Praise Meetings which included this hymn.  Two other melodies of his from this same work, one (Everlasting Love) with “I Am His, and He is Mine” beginning “Loved with everlasting Love” by George W. Robinson, and the other (Tranquility) with “Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting” by Jean S. Piggot, have been well known.  Mountain took his evangelism campaigns world­wide from 1882 to 1889 and died on June 27, 1933, at Tunbridge Wells, in Kent, England.  The tune which he had composed for “Like a River Glorious” has been used in some newer books with “Let Your Heart Be Broken” by Bryan Jeffery Leech.  Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church, “Like a River Glorious” may be found in the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise edited by Alton H. Howard.

     The song offers some suggestions as to how we can have God’s perfect peace.

I. Stanza 1 says that we should look to God for peace like a river

“Like a river glorious, Is God’s perfect peace,

Over all victorious, In its bright increase;

Perfect, yet it floweth, Fuller every day,

Perfect, yet it groweth, Deeper all the way.”

 A. God offers to His people peace that is like a river glorious: Isa. 48:18

 B. Those who receive it will be victorious: 1 Jn. 5:4

 C. This is because it is a perfect peace in which God will keep His children: Isa. 26:3

II. Stanza 2 says that we should hide ourselves in the hollow of His hand

“Hidden in the hollow Of His blessed hand,

Never foe can follow, Never traitor stand;

Not a surge of worry, Not a shade of care,

Not a blast of hurry Touch the spirit there.”

 A. God has promised that He will hold us with His hand and keep us: Isa. 42:6

 B. There He will protect us from our foes: Ps. 89:23

 C. Also, there we shall have no surge of worry because the peace of God can help keep us from being anxious: Phil. 4:6-7

III. Stanza 3 says that we should remember that He rules over every joy and trial

“Every joy or trial falleth from above,

Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;

We may trust Him fully all for us to do.

They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.”

 A. We know that even our trials are allowed by God for our good: Jas. 1:2-4, 12

 B. Yet, even our trials, we should trust Him: Ps. 37:3-6

 C. And those who trust Him will find Him wholly true and faithful to help us in our temptations and trials: 1 Cor. 10:13

     CONCL.:  The chorus encourages us to be stayed upon Jehovah so that we may have God’s perfect peace.

“Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest

Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.”

Judging from its inclusion in older denominational hymnals, I would gather that this hymn was once very popular among the denominations.  So far as I know, it has appeared in only one of our books and that one fairly recent.  Although I realize that no hymnbook can contain every hymn, or even every good hymn, I have never figured out why more editors of past books used among churches of Christ never included this hymn.  It is good to know that God offers us a peace that is “Like a River Glorious.”


One thought on ““Like a River Glorious”

  1. Pingback: Resting By The River

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