and expressive word
(J. A. James, "The Death of Mrs.
Sherman" May 28, 1848)
"And this is the
promise that He Himself made to us:
eternal life." (1 John 2:25)
In the infinite comprehensiveness of this one promise are
included all that the omniscient mind of the Father in the
exercise of His love has contrived in eternity; all that the
incarnate Son has obtained by His sacrifice upon the cross;
and all that the Divine Spirit has revealed upon the page of
Scripture; and all which is contained in that
inconceivable, and expressive word—HEAVEN!
I do not need flamboyant descriptions and eloquent
representations of the celestial state, to raise my desires
and hopes. It is enough to know that it is GLORY, first
prepared, then promised, and ultimately bestowed by
Jehovah—as the concentration of His infinite beneficence
and the full manifestation of His boundless benevolence!
Heaven is . . .
the absence of all evil, natural and moral;
the possession of all possible good;
a glorified body united with a perfect soul,
and all this in the immediate presence of God!
There we shall see God!
We shall not only see Him—but love Him!
not only love Him—but serve Him!
We shall not only
serve Him—but enjoy Him!
We shall not only
enjoy Him—but hold such
communion with Him as will assimilate
us to the all-perfect source of our felicity!
The objects of our contemplation,
our personal constitution,
our constant exercises of holy intellect, heart, and
volition—will be so many distinct sources of bliss!
perfect holiness, and
perfect love must of necessity
open the fountain of perfect joy!
No secondary concern will call off our unwearied
attention from the service of God; no sin or pain
will interrupt us in it; nor will death ever dismiss
us from it. The business and the blessedness of
that happy state are the same—our supreme
delight will be our constant employment.
Every sense will be an inlet,
every faculty a capacity, and
every energy a pulsation—of the purest bliss!
Heaven will be "life" . . .
life in perfection,
the life of the soul,
the life of God,
the life of eternity!
But to describe it, how vain and arrogant the
attempt, when even to conceive of it is impossible!
"In Your presence is fullness of joy! At Your right hand
there are pleasures for evermore!" Neither language
nor thought can go beyond this! Mind cannot conceive
more. God Himself can tell us no more, than that
heaven consists in His presence, and the enjoyment
of His favor—forever and ever!
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind
has imagined the things that God has prepared for
those who love Him!" (1 Corinthians 2:9)