The River of Life

Great Source of being and of love

Author: Philip Doddridge
Published in 42 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, Noteworthy Composer
Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

Great source of being and of love,
Thou waterest all the worlds above,
And all the joys we mortals know
From Thine exhaustless fountain flow.

A sacred spring at Thy command
From Zion’s mount, in Canaan’s land,
Beside Thy temple, cleaves the ground,
And pours its limpid stream around.

The limpid stream with sudden force
Swells to a river in its course;
Through desert realms its windings play,
And scatter blessings all the way.

Close by its banks in order fair
The blooming trees of life appear;
Their blossoms fragrant odors give,
And on their fruit the nations live.

To the dead sea the waters flow,
And carry healing as they go;
Its poisonous dregs their power confess,
And all its shores the fountain bless.

Flow, wondrous stream with glory crowned,
Flow on to earth’s remotest bound;
And bear us on thy gentle wave
To Him, who all thy virtues gave.

Source: The Cyber Hymnal #8197

Author: Philip Doddridge

Philip Doddridge (b. London, England, 1702; d. Lisbon, Portugal, 1751) belonged to the Non-conformist Church (not associated with the Church of England). Its members were frequently the focus of discrimination. Offered an education by a rich patron to prepare him for ordination in the Church of England, Doddridge chose instead to remain in the Non-conformist Church. For twenty years he pastored a poor parish in Northampton, where he opened an academy for training Non-conformist ministers and taught most of the subjects himself. Doddridge suffered from tuberculosis, and when Lady Huntington, one of his patrons, offered to finance a trip to Lisbon for his health, he is reputed to have said, "I can as well go to heaven from Lisbon as from Nort… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Great Source of being and of love
Title: The River of Life
Author: Philip Doddridge
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Great Source of being and of love. P. Doddridge. [River of Living Water.] First published in his (posthumous) Hymns, &c, 1755, No. 147, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and headed, "The waters of the Sanctuary healing the Dead Sea." To this is added, in order to explain the 5th stanza, “To the Dead Sea the waters flow," the note:—

"The Sea or Lake, where Sodom, Gomorrah, &c, had stood, which was putrid and poysonous; and ancient writers say that no Fish could Live in it."

The same text, but with the omission of the note, was repeated in J. D. Humphreys's edition of the Hymns, &c, 1839, No. 165. In some modern hymn-books stanza v. is omitted, as in Martineau's Hymns, &c, 1873.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The Cyber Hymnal #8197
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The Cyber Hymnal #8197

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