Comfort for Zion's Travelers
by James Smith, 1860
One likes company sometimes on a journey. For, though a solitary walk is very pleasant when we are in a musing or a praying mood — yet, when we have far to go, our spirits are apt to sink, unless we have someone to converse with. In good company, the distance does not seem half so long, nor the road half so bad. Indeed, if I were allowed to choose, I would like to have four things in every journey I take. I would like . . .
a good road,
excellent company, and
suitable accommodations at the end of it.
Well, the traveler to Mount Zion — whatever may be said by some to the contrary — has all these. Reader, are you going to the Heavenly Jerusalem, to see and inhabit the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God? If so, let us talk together for a few minutes upon these points; it may cheer, or refresh, or stimulate us on our journey. We are but pilgrims and sojourners here, and therefore should daily make progress on our upward journey.
1. We have a GOOD ROAD.It is God's highway, cut and made on purpose for Zion's pilgrims. Here is a beautiful path, called the way of holiness. This way is solid, clean, and pleasant; raising us above the marshes and swamps around us. This way is plainly marked out in God's holy Word. The Lord Jesus in his person, mediation, finished work, and bright example — constitutes this way. He spans the whole distance between earth and Heaven — and safely carries all and every one there who ventures upon him.
As the traveler commits himself to his path, that
he may arrive at the place he desires, and passes along the same path to the
end; just so must we commit ourselves to Christ, walk in Christ, depending
alone on Christ, until we enter Heaven. We must rest on nothing but Christ.
We must trust to nothing but Christ. Our whole weight must be on him; he
alone must be the path between us and our Father's house. Christ in his
person — Christ in his mediation — Christ in his perfect work — and Christ
in his beautiful example — is the only way . . .
from wrath — to love,
from curse — to blessing,
from guilt — to grace,
from earth — to Heaven.
And this is a good road — solid, settled, and level. Once on it, we have never to leave it; for it is the straight, safe, direct, and only available way to Heaven. Let us therefore, admire the road while we travel it, and travel it while we admire it, until we arrive at the end of it. We walk by faith, and the end of our faith is the salvation of the soul.
2. We have BEAUTIFUL PROSPECTS.In the distance, we see the everlasting hills, on which the sun never sets. Occasionally we catch a glimpse of the city of the great king, with its jasper walls, twelve foundations, and gates of pearl. Now and then, the eye rests on the pure river of the water of life, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb, gliding along like a golden stream of molten silver; making glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
In the purest, clearest light, we can at times, read our pardon, written in large letters ofcrimson — and our title to the mansions in the skies. All along the road we see the waving palm trees, the lofty cedars, green fir-trees, fragrant myrtles, and the many-colored flowers of Paradise. Such views we have at times, as almost ravish us, and make us long to pass over Jordan, and possess the promised land. But of all sights, none are to be compared to that of the king of glory, who at times manifests himself unto us as he does not unto the world. And when this is the case, we are fired with holy longing to see the king in all his beauty, as beheld in the land which is very far off! O the sweet glimpses, the precious foretastes of glory, the bright prospects we sometimes enjoy!
3. We also have EXCELLENT COMPANY.The very best company. We walk with God. We have fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are attended with an innumerable company of angels, who are sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation. Here on this road, we constantly overtake, or are overtaken by the saints, who are the excellent of the earth. Every choice spirit, every holy soul, every heir of glory — travels this road. And what makes our company so excellent, is, that every traveler has the Spirit of Christ, is a son of God, and knows God.
O how pleasant it is as we pass along — to converse of .
the person of the king,
the nature of his government,
the glories of his kingdom, and
of what he has done for all those who believe on his name!
And how sweet it is at times to talk of the work of the
Holy Spirit within us . . .
convincing of sin,
revealing the Savior,
applying the blood,
bringing home the promises,
bearing witness to our adoption, and
sealing our souls unto the day of redemption.
How swiftly and sweetly the time passes away, while thus engaged. At such times we could pity princes on their thrones, and despise all the gold and grandeur of the present world!
4. We shall have SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATION at the end.In our Father's house there are many mansions, and Jesus is gone to prepare a place for us. He knows well what will suit us, what will satisfy us. We shall find everything ready for our reception when we arrive there. Every power will find employment, every faculty enjoyment, and we shall be filled with delight and joy.
If we arrive at home weary — we shall find rest;
if sick — we shall find health;
if hungry — we shall find food;
if thirsty — we shall find drink;
if sorrowful — we shall obtain joy and gladness.
Soon, oh how soon! shall we forget . . .
all the wants and woes,
all the cares and crosses,
all the troubles and trials,
all the darkness and the gloom,
all the sadness and the sorrow,
which we have experienced in the wilderness.
Heaven! Oh, what will Heaven be!
Paradise! Oh, what will it be to be there!
The palace of the great King! What will it be to have dwelling places fitted up for us there! No tongue can tell. No heart can guess. Only God, and those who have safely arrived there can say.
Well, fellow-travelers, let us take heart!
We are on a good road. There could not be a better road. It is harder than adamant, and firmer than rock. It is plain and straight. It is free and level. No tolls are exacted, no thieves prowl thereon. Safety, everlasting safety, is found on this road.
We have beautiful prospects. What sights we have seen already — and we shall see greater things than these.
There are clearer and brighter skies than we have ever seen.
There are sweeter, greener fields than we have ever looked upon.
There are lovelier and more fragrant flowers than ever met our eyes.
There are more striking landscapes than we have ever gazed upon.
In the land of Beulah, on the banks of the river of life
. . .
what sights we shall see,
what sounds we shall hear,
what pleasures we shall taste.
Let us, therefore, press on with vigor and determined courage.
We have also excellent company. True, all are not alike — but all are more or less good. Every pearl is not of the same size, every diamond is not of the same quality, all gold is not alike fine — but all is precious, all is valuable. Just so with the saints, as one star differs from another star in glory, so does one saint differ from another in excellence; and yet all are glorious and excellent.
But the end! The glorious end! What shall we meet with — what shall we see — what shall we hear — what shall we taste — what shall we feel — what shall we receive — what shall we possess, at the end?
The end crowns the whole.
We shall see God.
We shall be like Jesus.
We shall be surrounded by the saints.
We shall be attended by the angels.
We shall feel ourselves at home in Heaven.
There will be . . .
no more doubts or fears;
no more sins or sorrows;
no more disappointments or vexations — but
all will be safety, perfection, and glorious forever.
Reader, are you traveling to Mount Zion? Have you
left the City of Destruction? Have you passed through the strait
gate? Are you in the road to glory? Are you in Christ, who himself said, "I
am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man comes unto the Father — but
by me." There is no way . . .
from sin to holiness,
from wrath to mercy,
from Hell to Heaven
— but the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is the door, the way, the only Savior!