HELP HEAVENWARD by
Our Father's House
"In my Father's house are many rooms (or mansions, or
dwelling places); if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there
to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will
come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John
Our adorable Lord came down to earth to allure us
up to heaven. In all His delineations of that happy, holy place, He sought
to present it to the believing eye clad in its richest beauty, and invested
with its sweetest and most winning attractions. Its hope was to sanctify us,
its prospect was to animate us, and its foretastes were to comfort us.
Nothing, therefore, was lacking in the imagery with which He pictured its
character, and in the coloring with which He painted its glory, to invite
and attract us to its peaceful, blissful coasts. It may, indeed, be said
that Christ's allusions to heaven were not frequent, and that His
revelations of its state were but partial. Be it so. Sufficient, however, of
the veil was uplifted to reveal the fact of its existence, to awaken the
desire and to inspire the hope of its possession.
We cite, as illustrating this, the words at the head of this chapter.
They are few, but how expressive! Heaven is portrayed as our FATHER'S HOUSE.
What a precious, endearing, attractive view does this give us of our future
and final rest—our eternal abode! "My Father's house!" How touching the
words! How many hallowed associations, sunny memories, and precious thoughts
cluster around the image! If there is one earthly spot dearer, sweeter,
brighter than another, it is the home of our childhood. Around it, when
years and oceans and continents have long and far severed us from its
hearth, our fondest, warmest thoughts and recollections still cling. And we
think, when sickness and loneliness and poverty steal upon us, could we but
return to that home again, and again feel the warm embrace of a mother's
love, and find ourselves beneath a father's sheltering roof, life would be a
Thus Christ portrays our HEAVEN. He tells us it is a house—a Father's
dwelling and that within its walls there are many mansions, one of which
awaits each of us; and then, He bids us not to be troubled in heart by
reason of the sorrow and privation of our present exile, since before long
He would come and take us home. The FATHERHOOD of God is the first truth our
Lord propounds in connection with this picture of heaven. It was a natural
and befitting introduction to His attractive theme.
In speaking of the Father's house, He would first reveal to us the
parental relation of God. We could never have given to this truth the grasp
of faith it demands had not Christ revealed and explained it. It was He who
first taught our lips to say, "Our Father!" In asserting His own relation as
an Elder Brother, He flung around the entire brotherhood the filial bond
that linked both Himself and them to the same God and Father. Oh, how dimly
and imperfectly we realize to what dignity and privilege and glory a
sinner's union with the Lord Jesus exalts him!—it is a relation to God but
one remove from His own. Who would not be willing to forego all the
righteousness of man, all the purity of saints, all the holiness of angels,
to stand in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ? Now, it must be
acknowledged that in asserting the Fatherhood of God in reference to
Himself, our Lord adopted, as the "firstborn among many brethren," the most
effectual mode of instructing us in a knowledge of the same filial relation.
In claiming God as His Father, He claimed Him as ours too. How beautifully
and touchingly were the traits of that filial relation exhibited in His own
personal spirit and demeanor! Each act of His brief but eventful life was
imprinted with filial confidence and love, and his whole career was a
continuous recognition of the Fatherhood of God. Let us cite a few examples.
Speak we of prayer? Hear Him cry, "O righteous FATHER, the world has not
known you, but I have known you. I know, FATHER, that you hear me aways."
Speak we of duty? Hear Him exclaim, "Know you not that I must be about my
FATHER'S business?" Speak we of reverence! Hear Him say, "Even so FATHER,
for so it seemed good in your sight." Speak we of submission? Listen to His
words, "Not my will, O my FATHER, but yours, be done." Approach we the
solemn scene of His death? Hear Him exclaim, amid the maddening tortures of
the cross, the thunders of God's anger, the lightning of God's justice
rolling and flashing above and around Him, "FATHER, into your hands I
commend my spirit." Do we track His footsteps to the mount from the
summit of which He went back to glory? Hear His parting words, "I ascend
unto my FATHER, and unto your FATHER,"
And as we return from these hallowed scenes, we ask ourselves, Is it any
marvel that He, the Elder Brother, who could so embosom Himself in the
Fatherhood of God, should teach our faltering lips, when we prostrate
ourselves before the Divine Majesty of heaven and earth, to breathe the
prayer, "Our FATHER, who is in heaven?" O beloved, allow your heart no
repose, and the Holy Spirit no rest, until He seal 'Abba, Father', upon your
heart! It would be impossible to compute or exaggerate the results that
would follow from the blessing. What a mighty impetus would it give you
heavenward! With what newborn power would it clothe your prayers! What
soothing would it impart in suffering, what submission in trial, what
sweetness to obedience! With what increased beauty and charm would it invest
the whole landscape of life—its chequered scenes of joy and sorrow, sunshine
and shade!—and in what a glow of golden light would it bathe the distant
vision of the Father's unseen home to which Christ is conducting you!
See! the Heavenly Dove flutters over you, waiting to descend, as upon the
baptized Son of God, testifying to your Divine sonship, turning your
darkness into light, your sorrow into joy, your distrust into confidence,
your fears into hope, and the condemnation you dread into a heaven assured.
"Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should
be called the sons of God."
We turn our attention now from the Father to the FATHER'S HOUSE. We have
alluded to the hallowed attractions and the sunny memories which cluster
around the paternal home. Transfer your thoughts, my reader, from the
earthly to the heavenly— take the purest, the fondest, the most poetic
conception you can form of the one, and blend it with the other—and still
you have but the faintest analogy of heaven! And yet you have made some
approximation to the idea. You have entwined around your heart the image and
hope of heaven as your HOME. Earth has some foreshadowings of this truth. If
"now are we the children of God," then ours is not a state of dreary
orphanage; we are not fatherless and homeless. Christ reminded His disciples
of this. "I will not leave you comfortless," -margin, ORPHANS. If, then, we
are not fatherless, there is a sense in which we are not homeless: but that
the lower rooms, the outer courts, the vestibules of the heavenly Home, are
found on earth, in which we meet and hold communion with our heavenly
What is the sanctuary, filled with His glory; the closet, hallowed with
His presence; the chamber of sickness, soothed with His love; the hillside,
where at eventide we go to meditate, sanctified with His fellowship, but our
Father's Home coming down out of heaven to dwell a while with His children
on earth? Where my Father is, there is my Father's house. It may be remarked
of many of the ungodly that they go through a hell to hell; with equal truth
it may be affirmed of the children of God that they pass through a heaven to
Our Father's house is a house of "many mansions," and EARTH is one of
them. The universe is His abode; every sun and star His dwelling place;
why should we exclude Him from this our own planet, though the smallest,
yet, in its history, the greatest, the grandest of all? "The whole family on
earth and in heaven" claim Him as the one Fathers and earth and heaven are
but parts of the one Home. And oh, if earth—the vestibule, the portico of
heaven— is so radiant with glory, what must be heaven itself!
"Since over Your footstool, here below,
Such radiant gems are strewn,
Oh, what magnificence must glow,
My God, about Your throne!
So brilliant here those drops of light;
There the full ocean rolls—how bright!
If night's blue curtain of the sky,
With thousand stars inwrought,
Hung like a royal canopy,
With glittering diamonds fraught,
Be, Lord, Your temple's outer veil;
What splendor at the shrine must dwell!
The dazzling sun, at noontide hour,
Forth from his flaming vase,
Flinging over earth the golden shower
Until vale and mountain blaze,
But shows, O Lord, one beam of Thine;
What, then, the day where You do shine!
Ah, how shall these dim eyes endure
That noon of living rays,
Or how my spirit, so impure,
Upon Your glory gaze;
Anoint, O Lord, anoint my sight,
And robe me for that world of light." -Muhlenburg.
While, therefore, we would not exclude earth as one of the mansions
of the Father's abode, seeing it is the temporary dwelling place of so great
a portion of the family, we must still view it as but one of the lower
rooms, hallowed and radiant, indeed, with the Father's presence, yet, by
service and discipline, designed but to prepare us for the staterooms above,
the higher and nobler mansions, to which, before long, we shall be summoned.
Now, let us transfer our thoughts to the Father's house above, and
endeavor to portray its spiritual architecture and its domestic privileges,
not trespassing upon the region of the fanciful and ideal, but keeping
soberly and strictly within the teaching of God's Word.
"In my Father's house there are many mansions." Guided by these words,
the first view which it presents to the mind is its appointed and prepared
state. We go to no uncertain home. It is the family mansion, eternally
ordained and prepared for the dwelling of the saints. The everlasting love
which chose us to salvation, the predestination which appointed us to be
sons, provided the home we were eternally to occupy. What a sweet truth,
beloved, is this!
Do we not, when after a long exile we turn our face homewards, delight to
think that we shall find our home all ready for our welcome? Such is our
heavenly abode. "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle
were dissolved, we have a building of God, a HOUSE not made with hands,
eternal in the heavens," (2 Cor. 5:1.) The apostle, too, reminds us that it
is "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away,
RESERVED in heaven for you." And did not our blessed Lord declare the same
truth when He said, "I go to PREPARE a place for you." We go, then, to a
home all appointed and prepared, all garnished and made ready for our
And oh, if, with regard to an earthly home, "It is sweet to think there
is an eye that will watch for our coming, and look brighter when we come,"
infinitely more delightful is the thought that not one alone, but many eyes
are now looking and watching for our coming to glory, and will gleam with
deeper luster when we come! Ah yes! we shall find all prepared, anticipating
our arrival, when we reach that blessed abode. It is even now ready: the
crown glitters—the palm waves— the white robe flutters—and the harp is all
strung and tuned by Christ's own hands!
This suggests another thought. The solemn hour of death once passed, the
spirit, upborne by angels, finds itself at once ushered into the RECEPTION
ROOM of heaven, the first of the "many mansions." There we shall see Jesus,
not seated, but standing; as when He rose to receive His first martyr; to
welcome us home, encircled by the general assembly and church of the
firstborn, the spirits of just men made perfect, and an innumerable company
of angels, waiting to greet our arrival. In advance, and more eager than all
the rest of that blessed throng, will be the loved ones from whom we parted
on the margin of the river across which they Passed to the Celestial City.
Oh, what a reception! what greetings! what joy wishings then! "Welcome,
husband! welcome, wife! welcome, child! welcome, parent, brother, sister,
pastor, friend!" will burst from ten thousand times ten thousand lips,
louder than the voice of many waters.
But the Savior's welcome will be the crowning one of all! With what
ineffable joy will He receive home the fruit of His long and weary
travail!—the sheep that often wandered from His side, and had as often been
restored, but now will wander no more! the disciple that often wounded the
bosom that sheltered him, had as often been forgiven, but now will wound it
no more! Oh, who can imagine the infinite joy of that Savior when the
celestial convoy ushers into His presence the sinner He ransomed by His
blood, called by His grace, kept by His power, and in spite of all, through
all, and out of all, at last brought home to His Father's house!
Blessed Lord! not one, the purchase of Your agony; not a sheep straying
from Your fold, not a lamb sheltering in its weakness at Your side, not a
sinner, stricken, wounded, raising its penitent and believing eye to Your
cross; shall be lacking then to complete the number of Your elect, the roll
call of Your redeemed Church. All— all shall be there! "You shall guide me
with your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory."
The Heavenly repast, which succeeds the reception, will introduce us into
the BANQUET HALL of heaven, another mansion of the Father's house. We have
remarked that there are bright gleams of heaven falling upon earth's
shadows. Among the most resplendent of these are the foretastes of the
banquet which awaits us on high. The Church of Christ thus joyously records
her experience of this truth—"He brought me to the BANQUETING HOUSE, and his
banner over me was love," (Song of Solomon 2:4.)
What a chord in your heart do these words touch, O believer! It was JESUS
who brought you! By the drawings of His love, the leadings of His sovereign
grace, having sought and found, separated and called you, He led you gently
and persuasively to His Church, richly stored with all blessings, where He
made you to sit in heavenly places! He brought you, too, in a stately
manner—His all conquering standard floating above you, upon which His name
of LOVE was inscribed. Oh, admire and glorify the grace that brought you
into this house of wine, to banquet with the King! and forget not that
whatever may be the Lord's dealings with you, that all shielding and
overshadowing banner of love still floats above you!
The gospel is another foretaste of the heavenly banquet. It is thus
described by the evangelical Isaiah: "In this mountain shall the Lord of
hosts make unto all people a FEAST of fat things, a FEAST of wines on the
lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined." How
full and rich is the gospel of Christ! How divine the provision— how ample
the supply—how free the invitation! The forgiveness of all and every sin;
your reconciliation with the offended Majesty of heaven; peace in your soul
so divine, so great, that it "passes all understanding,"—life and
immortality, the consummation and crown of its blessings!
Oh, pray for and cherish a spiritual zest for this gospel banquet!
Bring to it your soul's craving, your spirit's weariness, your heart's
sadness, your sin woundings, your worst and lowest frames; there is enough
in its unfoldings of Jesus to "satiate every weary soul, and to replenish
every sorrowful soul." There Christ will nourish you with the finest of the
wheat; with honey from the rock will He satisfy you. Never forget that such
is the fulness of the gospel of Christ, such its variety of blessings, such
the sufficiency of its supply, and such the freeness of its bestowment, that
it meets every case, every trial, every phase, and every need of our
What a banquet, too, is the Lord's Supper, where, perhaps, the brightest
gleams of glory fall, since that, of all other institutions of Christ, the
most closely unites and blends the atoning death and the millennial glory of
Christ. "As often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the
Lord's death until he comes." How strangely, yet appropriately, are the
CROSS and the CROWN of Jesus entwined in this sacred festival! Both are
associated with our sweetest exercise of faith, hope, and love. Faith, with
undimmed and steady eye, looks at the cross; hope, with expanded and
untiring wing, soars onward to the crown; and love prostrates itself before
both in adoring gratitude and praise.
Such are some of the foretastes; let us now consider the HEAVENLY BANQUET
itself. Our Lord thus distinctly and emphatically refers to it: "I appoint
unto you a kingdom, as my Father has appointed unto me; that you may eat and
drink at my table in my kingdom, (Luke 22:29, 30.) And in a gospel parable
He yet more graphically portrays the festival, in the narrative of a certain
king who prepared a sumptuous banquet in honor of his son, and sent forth
his servants to invite those who were ready. It was on this occasion the
memorable scene of the intruder without the wedding garmuent is introduced.
The door of the banquet hall is thrown open, and the king, arrayed in royal
apparel, and with ineffable delight beaming in his countenance, enters the
chamber; all resplendent with the purest light, and redolent of sweetest
odors; to survey and welcome the guests. It is at this moment the discovery
is made of the intruder; and the man who refused the appropriate garment
provided by the king, and presumed to enter attired in his own, is
expostulated with, sentenced, and removed from the scene of splendor and
festivity into outer and eternal darkness!
The great and momentous truth our Lord sought to illustrate and enforce
is, my reader, essentially connected with your future and endless well
being; namely, the absolute, the indispensable necessity of being invested
with the imputed righteousness of Christ, as giving us a title and a fitness
for the heavenly banquet. Without the wedding garment you cannot appear with
acceptance at the wedding supper. Without the investiture of Christ's
justifying righteousness; your own utterly, entirely, unreservedly, and
forever abjured, renounced, and forsaken; you appear at the banquet hall of
glory but to confront and sustain a doom all the more confounding,
overwhelming, and dire, from the presumptuous hope you had vainly cherished.
Oh, it is a fearful plunge as from the very door of heaven into the abyss
of hell; as from the streaming light of glory into the outer darkness of the
bottomless pit! Oh, come away from your doings and your failings, from your
merit and demerit, from the things you have done and the things you have not
done, from the keeping of religious days and fasts and festivals, from all
the fond conceits of goodness, holiness, and righteousness in yourself, from
all self-approval, self-justification, self trusting, and as a SINNER fly to
the righteousness of Christ, accept it as a free gift, put it on in faith;
and from that moment you shall be found complete in Christ, and robed for
the banquet of heaven.
Of the BANQUET we know but little. Our blessed Lord was studiously
partial and reserved in His revelations of heaven. It would seem as if He
would deepen our surprise and enhance our joy by the present concealment He
carefully observed. And yet He has told us sufficient, and revealed enough,
to intensify our panting to be there. This much we know, that heaven is not
a state, but a PLACE; not boundless space, but a LOCALITY; not the dwelling
of a host, where we shall sojourn a while as guests, but our FATHER'S HOUSE,
where we shall be CHILDREN at HOME forever.
We are assured, too, that its nature, its employments and pleasures,
will, in all respects, be agreeable to the condition, and will harmonize
with the capacity, dignity, and immortality of our unclothed and glorified
The soul, divested of all that is material and earthly, will be fitted to
enter into all that is spiritual and pure. The Banquet that your redeeming
God will have prepared for you will be in consonance with the nature He had
fitted for the banquet. And, oh, what imagination can adequately conceive
the costliness, the richness, the variety, the ever increasing material of
that heavenly existence with which the glorified will regale themselves
through eternity! How will the mind revel amid the ever unfolding wonders of
God's mind! how will the heart feast upon the ever unfolding depths of
Christ's heart! how will the soul dilate and repose in its ever deepening,
ever growing happiness!
Dim as our views of heaven are, surely it were enough to satisfy our most
intense aspirations— the assurance that we shall be PERFECTLY HOLY. Advance
me to a condition of sinlessness, to a place where HOLINESS sanctifies every
heart, beams in every eye, breathes from every lip, sparkles in every
action; of which every thought, and word, and look, and act, is its
expression and embodiment; and you have placed me at the richest banquet God
can provide, or my heart desire. "In your presence is fulness of joy; at
your right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Lord! number us among the
blessed who shall eat bread in Your kingdom, and who shall be called unto
the marriage supper of the Lamb, at Your appearing and glory.
The Father's house has also its MUSIC MANSION. Adoration and praise would
seem to constitute the principal employment of the redeemed in heaven. The
visions of glory which floated before the eye of John were all associated
with music. To his seagirt island were wafted the strains of the song sung
by the hundred and forty and four thousand who stood on Mount Zion. In his
lonely exile he heard the harpers harping with their harps. And of whom was
that celestial choir composed?—the redeemed from among men. And who and what
are the subjects of their song?—Jesus and His Redemption. "You are worthy,
for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every
kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation."
Blended with the song of Redemption will be the song of Providence.
Retracing all the way your God led you through the wilderness, you shall
gather material from each mercy and from each trial, from each joy and from
each sorrow, for an eternal hymn of praise to His great and glorious name.
Beloved, you are learning these songs now in the house of your
pilgrimage. As you cross the desert sands, or break your lone footsteps
through the depth of the wilderness, or stand within the sacred shadow of
the cross, God is preparing you for the MUSIC MANSION of glory. All His
dealings with you in providence and in grace are but to train and attune the
powers, affections, and sympathies of your soul to the sweet harmony of the
spheres. Every sunbeam of mercy that gilds your path, and every cloud veil
of judgment that shades it, every heavy footstep of the giant storm, every
gentle wavelet dimpling the calm surface of the soul, every soft zephyr that
lulls it to repose, is designed by God to instruct and mature you for the
music of the celestial state!
A harp of gold, strung by angels, and attuned by Christ's own hands,
awaits you in the MUSIC MANSION above, and soon you will sweep its chords to
the high praises of the triune Jehovah, and all heaven will ring with its
"Arise, my soul, arise,
Unfold your heaven born wings;
Your home is in the skies,
Where lofty Gabriel sings;
And loud, through all the spacious plain,
Is heard—The Lamb, the Lamb was slain!
Oh, may my bosom glow
With melody like this!
Oh, may my spirit bow,
When musing on their bliss!
Ah! did You die, dear Lamb, for me?
He bled—He groaned—He died for thee.
Oh, teach me that new song
Which occupies their time;
And say, will it be long
Before I shall reach that clime?
I'll wait until You shall call me home;
Yet come, Lord Jesus, quickly come.
Is there a harp for me?
(Oh, gently chide my fears!)
Is there a throne for me
Beyond the rolling spheres,
Where joys unchanging ceaseless flow,
And sin or death shall no one know!"
The THRONE ROOM of heaven is not one of the least appropriate and
gorgeous mansions of the Father's house. The saints of God are a kingdom of
priests—a royal priesthood—the heirs of a kingdom. And no character in their
glorified state will be more visible and distinct than their regal one. The
expectation of an earthly kingdom—the dream of the early Christians—our Lord
dispelled by announcing that His kingdom was not of the world. But while He
thus sought to inculcate more spiritual views of the nature of His Church,
He at the same time broadly declared the fact of their present royalty and
of their future reign. "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto your,
That you which heave followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man
shall sit on the THRONE of his glory, you also shall sit upon twelve
THRONES, judging the twelve tribes of Israel," (Matt. 19:28.)
The apocalyptic vision of the seer confirmed this statement "And I saw
THRONES, and they sat upon them . . . and they lived and REIGNED with
Christ," (Rev. 20:4.) Our glorified Lord again referred to the enthronement
of the saints in His cheering words addressed to the Christian combatant:
"To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my THRONE, even as I
also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his THRONE." "Be faithful
unto death, and you shall receive a CROWN of life."
Such, believer, are your royal and resplendent expectations. A public and
glorious enthronement and coronation awaits you. A royal priest, you will
before long be made like Christ, a "priest upon His THRONE." Emerging from
your present incognito—the ignorance of the world and the cold neglect of
the Church—you will be ushered into the THRONE ROOM of glory, saints and
angels will escort you to your seat, and, amid the hallelujah chorus of
countless myriads, Christ will CROWN you a KING and a PRIEST unto God, and
you shall REIGN with Jesus forever and ever!
Oh, whatever obscurity may now veil your relation as belonging to the
seed royal, let your demeanor be such as to stamp you with the character
once ascribed to Gideon's brethren, of whom it was said, that "each one
resembled the CHILDREN of a KING!"
We are trespassing not upon the region of Imagination when, in depicting
the spiritual architecture and appointments of the Father's house, we refer
to the PICTURE GALLERY as constituting one of its most appropriate and
attractive mansions. It is not materializing heaven to transfer to its
spiritual descriptions the expressive imagery of the material. In so doing
we but imitate the Holy Spirit, who, in all His spiritual delineations of
glory, hesitates not to dip His divine pencil in the bright, gorgeous colors
with which God has tinted and enameled this beautiful world.
Painting, as a historic art is universally and practically acknowledged.
As the handmaid to history, her aid and achievements have won the gratitude
and admiration of ages. Transfer the illustration to heaven. Upon the walls
of that magnificent gallery, depicted in color of living light, will be seen
all the marvellous events of God's moral and providential government in the
history of the universe, separately, visibly, and eternally traced.
Nor this only. What will be our astonishment and marvel, when we gaze
upon the walls of that gallery, to behold our individual history, from our
entrance into this world of woe, to our entrance into that world of glory;
each event, each epoch, each step delineated with a lifelike truthfulness, a
depth of tint, and a transparency of color which shall reveal all the past
with startling vividness, overpowering the mind with wonder, and expanding
the heart with praise!
Incidents which we had failed to note, events which we had totally
forgotten, providences which we had blindly seen, and circumstances which we
had strangely misunderstood, will then form a series of pictures, presenting
a complete and perfect history of our individual life, illustrating the
infinite wisdom, goodness, faithfulness, and love of our Father throughout
It is recorded of Elizabeth that, ignorant of the laws of painting, she
commanded her portrait to be taken without a shadow upon the canvas. With an
ignorance of the laws of moral painting equally as profound, and infinitely
more serious, how often would we have obliterated from our history those
somber pencilings of life's picture—the dark background and blended
shadows—which the Divine Artist knew to be essential to the fidelity,
harmony, and perfection of the whole!
We would have life without its moral discipline. We would efface from the
portrait all the shadings of sorrow and sickness, suffering, poverty, and
bereavement— leaving nothing but the bright and sunny hues of unmingled,
unclouded happiness! But when we wander through the interminable PICTURE
GALLERY of our Father's house, and gaze upon the carvings, the paintings,
and frescoes of our whole life, each epoch, event, and incident— the lights
and shadows beautifully and exquisitely blended— looking down upon us with
startling fidelity from its jasper walls; we shall then see the infinite
rectitude of our heavenly Father in all His present dealings with us, both
of sorrow and of joy. With what vividness shall we then see the necessity,
as much for the cold, dark pencilings, as for the warm, roseate tints of the
picture; and for both the lights and shadows, the joys and sorrows of life,
we shall laud and adore His great and glorious name!
Among the many mansions there will not be wanting one which will
especially recognize heaven as a place of study. What a 'LIBRARY of
knowledge', therefore, awaits us in our Father's house! Heaven is a place of
thought, of expanded intellect, of matured and ever enlarging and enriching
mind. Our minds are now but in the infancy of their being; and the themes of
reflection and subjects of research which they grasp are necessarily
graduated to our present infantile and limited powers. What an infinite sea
of knowledge, upon whose shores we now but stand, is reserved for our higher
life in glory!
The Library of Heaven! How vast! how rich! What volumes for study will be
the histories of the universe—of our world—of man—of redemption—of our
individual life! What exalted and sublime themes of thought, the being and
character of God; the love, grace, and glory of Christ; the work, power, and
gentleness of the Holy Spirit! In a word, what volumes for our study and
research will be the Book of providence and the Book of grace!
And will THE BOOK have no place in that library? Verily, I believe that
it will. I do not think that in the archives of heaven, the Sacred Scroll of
God's Revealed Truth will be missing. That most marvellous of all wonderful
books, the BIBLE; the parent, and source, and foundation of all that was
accurate in history, true in philosophy, profound in science, rich in
poetry, sound in ethics, and real in religion; will then unclasp its lids
and unfold its leaves; and in a light that will explain every truth,
elucidate every mystery, harmonize every discrepance, we shall read the
Bible as we never studied its wondrous contents before! Not a truth will be
It is recorded by a late historian that, had every copy of
"Paradise Lost" been destroyed, such was the marvellous tenacity of his
memory, he would have been able to have reproduced every sentence of that
poem. Is it too much to affirm that, so engraved, engrafted, and inlaid is
the precious Word of God in the souls of the regenerate, when every material
copy of the Bible shall, with all that is merely human, have passed away,
each truth of that Divine revelation shall be reproduced, read, studied, and
preserved forever in the Library of our Father's House!
The subject which this chapter has but imperfectly discussed is most
consolatory and sanctifying. Is it not a soothing reflection, that all those
who depart this life trusting in Christ, we shall find again in the House of
the ONE FAMILY? When we met their last look of love, and caught their last
words of blessing, and then laid their dust to rest until the trumpet of the
archangel sound, we were ready to ask, "Shall we see them again?" Oh yes!
the gospel of Christ illumines the believer's grave with a living hope!
On our arrival in the Father's house, we shall find them all again; not
one absent who on earth possessed the first fruits of the Spirit. How
promotive is this truth of Christian union and brotherly love in the Church
of God! In cultivating home feelings, domestic affections, and sympathies,
in our anticipation of heaven, we shall instinctively feel drawn by a bond
of irresistible attraction towards all who evidence their relation to the
family of God. We shall prove our filial relation to God by our fraternal
affection for His people; "Every one that loves Him that begat, loves him
also that is begotten of Him."
Have we not all one Father? Are we not all brethren? Do we not sit at one
table? And are we not all journeying to the same home? Why should we then
fall out by the way? Why allow differences of judgment, or denominational
distinctions, or party heats, suspicion, envy, and jealousy— those wretched
fruits of the flesh— to fracture and alienate us the one from the other?
Must not a lack of love like this be grieving to the heart and dishonoring
to the name of our one Father? Let us no longer speak of tolerating a child
of God, or deem it condescension to fraternize with one of the Lord's
saints, because he belongs to another branch of God's family.
Away with such spurious Christianity! Rather let us, in the meek and
loving spirit of the Elder Brother, feel ourselves honored in ministering to
him in the lowliest office of Christian service, everywhere and on all
occasions recognizing and loving him as a brother beloved of God, and thus
recognize, love, and honor the Father in His child.
Oh for more Christlike LOVE in the family of God! This I consider to be
the great, the chief lack in the professing Church of Christ in the present
day. I speak not of differences of judgment, or modes of worship, or of
denominational branches— these have existed, do exist, and will exist
until Christ comes to unite all His people in one body, and blend all in one
worship, and behold the answer to His prayer and the consummation of His
desire— "that they all may be one."
But I speak of a lamentable deficiency of that LOVE which may and should
exist despite of ecclesiastical differences, which derives not its
inspiration, form, and tint from a denominational source or mold, but which
proceeds pure and holy from God, and in its influence on the Church binds
and assimilates in oneness of spirit, in fellowship of heart, and in unity
of service all who are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Let us aim to model and to mold OUR EARTHLY HOMES after the heavenly.
There righteousness dwells, holiness sanctifies, love reigns, perfect
confidence and sympathy and concord exist. Why should not the earthly homes
of the righteous be types of this? The domestic habitation is a most
marvellous and benevolent appointment of God, and is designed, among other
ends, to unite, strengthen, and sanctify the different relations of life,
and thus secure and promote the mutual happiness and well being of each and
Thus God would make the FAMILY relation a type of His Church on earth and
in heaven. But, alas! how has sin perverted this! What places of misery are
some homes on earth, even where Religion is supposed to have found a temple
and a shrine! Discord, where there should be harmony; suspicion, where there
should be confidence; jealousy, where there should be delight;
coldness, distance, and alienation, where there should be the warmest,
closest and most endearing communion; harsh, abrupt expressions, where there
should be nothing but pleasant words; indifference and neglect, where there
should be the profoundest interest and sympathy; in a word, hatred, where
there should be love.
But, beloved in the Lord, this should not be so with you! And with you it
is an individual matter for our homes are just what the individual members
of the family make them. One unhappy temper, one unbending will, one
unloving, unsympathizing heart may becloud and embitter the sunniest
sweetest home on earth! Oh, cultivate the affections, the sympathies, and
the communion you hope to perpetuate in heaven! By mutual forbearance,
gentleness, confidence and love; by deeds of kindness, delicate attention,
and graceful demeanor, seek to transfer as much of the purity, love, and
sunshine of your Father's House above as you can, to your Father's house
below. And then, when you ascend from the earthly to the heavenly, it will
be but the transfer of home affection, communion and happiness cherished,
cultivated, and sanctified here, to a higher and nobler sphere; holy as God,
enduring as eternity.
Let us cherish domestic thoughts and anticipations of heaven. This will
make us long to be there. How confirmatory of this the dying testimony of
some! Listen to their glowing language. "Almost well, and nearly at home,"
said the dying Baxter, when asked by a friend how he was. A martyr when
approaching the stake, being questioned as to how he felt, answered, "Never
better; for now I know that I am almost at home." Then, looking over the
meadows between him and the place where he was to be immediately burned, he
said, "Only two more stiles to get over, and I am at my Father's house."
"Dying," said the Rev. S. Medely, "is sweet work, sweet work; home! home!"
Another on his deathbed said, "I am going home as fast as I can, and I bless
God that I have a good home to go to."
What sweet and powerful attraction has it to quicken our pulse and to
speed us onward to its blessed abode! Heaven is to some richer in love than
earth. With many there are no relatives so close, no friends so dear, no
hearts so loving, no minds so congenial as those in heaven. And still it
grows richer! Earth's ties are loosening, life's relations are lessening,
sacred friendships are narrowing, the purple clouds of our pilgrimage are
disappearing, and soon we ourselves will be the last shadow that shall melt
into eternity! But these holy ties, these hallowed relations, these sacred
friendships, these heaven enkindled loves, will all be found again in OUR
World, farewell! my soul is weary;
I would here no longer stay,
In your desert wild and dreary;
Heavenward will I wend my way.
World! in you is war and strife,
Pride and vanity are rife,
But in Heaven there ever is
Peace, and rest, and perfect bliss!
On that blessed shore arriving,
Pain and sadness at an end,
Done all anxious care and striving,
Resting with my dearest Friend!
In the world is need and woe,
And at last death's bitter throe;
But in Heaven above shall be
Peace, and joy, and purity.
What are earthly joy and pleasure?
Cloud and mist and empty wind.
What are worldly wealth and treasure?
Burdens for the weary mind.
Oh, what glorious songs are pealing
From that chosen, spotless throng;
Over the plains of heaven stealing,
'Holy, holy,' still their song!
World! in you are scoffs and jeers,
Hatred, woe, and bitter tears;
While in Heaven there ever is
Peace, and rest, and perfect bliss!
Here is weeping and repining,
Earthly joy not long endures;
If a while the sun is shining,
Soon dark night his beams obscures.
World! deep anguish is in you,
And the final agony;
But in Heaven above there is
Peace, and rest, and perfect bliss!
There my Lord unveils His glory,
I shall see Him face to face.
And repeat the wondrous story
Of a sinner saved by grace.
When the woes of earth are past,
And death's bitter pang at last,
Then in heaven above will be
Peace, and joy, and purity.
Oh to join the thrilling voices
Of that happy, sainted choir!
Each in Jesus Christ rejoices,
All their thoughts to Him aspire.
Cheer, my soul, the time is nearing
You your Savior's face shall see!
Do you love your Lord's appearing?
Joyful shall that moment be.
World! you have but storm and strife,
Fear and sadness, death in life;
While in Heaven there ever is
Peace, and rest, and perfect bliss!
Now, in love without dissembling,
Savior, school my willing heart,
That when worlds are round me trembling,
'Come,' I hear, and not, 'Depart.'
World! in you is fear and care,
Sin and sadness everywhere;
But at HOME there ever is
Peace, and rest, and perfect bliss!
"Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me,
be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory."