PISGAH VIEWS, or,
THE NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF HEAVEN
or, The Negative Attractions of Heaven
By Octavius Winslow, 1873
Then Moses went to Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab and
climbed PISGAH Peak, which is across from Jericho. And the Lord showed him
the whole land, from Gilead as far as Dan; all the land of Naphtali; the
land of Ephraim and Manasseh; all the land of Judah, extending to the
Mediterranean Sea; the Negev; the Jordan Valley with Jericho--the city of
palms--as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to Moses, "This is the land I
promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I told them I would give
it to their descendants. I have now allowed you to see it, but you
will not enter the land." Deut. 34:1-4
(God had declared that Moses would not enter Canaan, the
Promised Land. But the Lord also promised that he would have a view of it,
and showed him all that good land. Such a sight believers now have,
through grace, of the bliss and glory of their future state. –Matthew
"Could we but climb where Moses stood,
And view the landscape o'er,
Not Jordan's streams, nor death's cold flood,
Should fright us from the shore."
The revealed descriptions of HEAVEN are, for the most
part, of an obscure and 'negative' character. The negative style of
delineation was probably adopted by the Holy Spirit as more fitted to convey
to our minds intelligent and vivid ideas than those positive modes of
existence of which the future blessedness of the saints really consists. Who
can fail to recognize in this arrangement of the picture the hand of a
Divine Artist? Throwing in the background of the canvas some of the darker
shadows of the present life, the great and attractive objects of the future
are thus made to stand out in more distinct form and in richer glow. By
portraying to us what Heaven is NOT, we form a more correct
and bright conception of what Heaven really is.
By a similar stroke of artistic skill--reversing the
picture of our Lord's life of humiliation--we get a more true and realizing
idea of His great glory and happiness in Heaven. To be told that He no more
sorrows, nor weeps--is no more reviled and persecuted--no more hungers and
thirsts--suffers and dies no more--unfolds to us more impressively the great
and inconceivable blessedness into which He has entered! What a contrast to
the life of lowliness and poverty, scorn and neglect, grief and woe,
suffering and death, to which He subjected Himself all for the great love He
bore us on earth! What Divine glory now crowns His head! What perfect joy
fills His soul! What pure worship robes Him with its incense! What sublime
songs of adoration roll in circling waves around His throne!
"'Tis past; the dark and dreary night!
And, Lord, we hail You now
Our Morning Star, without a cloud
Of sadness on Your brow.
"Your path on earth--the cross, the grave--
Your sorrows now are o'er,
And, oh, sweet thought!
Your eye shall weep,
Your heart shall break no more."
The design of this little work is to serve a twofold,
soul-animating, purpose--as a STAFF, aiding faith's ascent of the
glorious height of Pisgah; and then, from its summit--as a TELESCOPE,
bringing nearer to its sanctifying and comforting view those sublime
beauties and winning attractions of the "land which is very far off," and
which, in our present imperfect state, are best understood and felt in their
shadowy and negative forms. "Now we see through a glass darkly, but then
face to face; now we know in part, then shall we know even as also we are
known." Oh, sweet thought! soon we shall spring from the Pisgah of earth to
the Mount Zion of Heaven, exchanging the dim glass of faith for the full,
resplendent and eternal vision of its glory!--above, and eclipsing all--the
beatific vision of "THE KING IN HIS BEAUTY."
"Out of your last home dark and cold,
You shall pass to a City whose streets are gold;
From the silence that falls upon sin and pain
To the deathless joys of the Angel's strain,
Out of the shadow into the sun,
The battle fought--the victory won!"