"And there shall be no night there."--Rev. 20:3

To an ardent and undevout astronomer the total absence of night would scarcely convey an intelligent and attractive idea of the blessedness and glory of heaven. Enthroned within his towering observatory, he watches with intense interest the gradual fading of the golden beams of day into the gray twilight of evening; and the deepening of evening's shadows into the darker drapery of night; then, with his glass sweeping the skies studded with myriad stars and planets, he revels amid the countless worlds of grandeur now bursting upon his gaze, and which night alone unveils. Remind him that there will be no night in heaven for his favorite study; but that, if his faith has caught a glimpse of "Jesus, the bright and Morning Star," he will know more of astronomy in that wondrous transit than centuries of discovery on earth could have taught him. But, wedded to his science, and satisfied with studying merely the outside glories of heaven, in vain you seek to convince him that the absence of night will be the revelation of sublimities unimaginable, the presence of wonders inconceivable, the unveiling of glories indescribable, such as "eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man." But, interpreted in its spiritual and metaphorical sense, this remarkable negative of heaven suggests to the heir of glory some of his most entrancing and cherished anticipations. Let us first take the lowest.

There will be NO LITERAL NIGHT. This at once reminds us of the entire absence in heaven of all the weariness and jadedness--bodily and mental--inseparable from our present state. There is a limit to the exercise of our physical and intellectual powers, the laws of which will admit of no arbitrary infringement. If we urge the physical body beyond its proper bounds, paralysis of power follows; and perhaps the mental insanity of mind results. The government which regulates both cannot be outraged with impunity. Able writers on mental disease have clearly demonstrated that it is not so much the amount of brain-work which paralyzes power and shortens life, as the superadded element of anxiety. Were it possible for an individual whose brain is incessantly seething to throw off the noble yet undue anxiety for others--the result, often, of the lack of faith in God; or, the more selfish anxiety for his own literary fame--the effect too frequently of a morbid ambition, vanity, or envy--in all probability a premature corrosion of the brain would be averted, and usefulness and longevity greatly prolonged.

But how wise and beneficent this arrangement of God--the night season of SLEEP! How welcome and grateful to the exhausted student, the weary laborer, the suffering patient, is the advent of night, with its diadem of glory and enshrouding curtains, bringing with it the renewing power and soothing influence of sleep, restoring the balance of our over-wrought faculties, and raising us new creatures from our couch of repose! There is much in its philosophy and physiology, not to speak of its moral instruction, we have yet practically to learn concerning this sweet necessity of our nature, sleep--ignorance or willful neglect of which has been productive of much evil which might otherwise have been avoided. It is an established physiological fact that the human brain expands in all cases to an astonishing degree during the period of wakefulness, especially in those individuals whose powers of thought are concentrated upon abstruse and profound subjects of study; and the fact is equally demonstrable that, when recuperation is not equal to expenditure, imbecility, or insanity and self-destruction are often the certain and sad results. It follows that those who do most brain-work require a larger amount of recuperative power; or, in other words, the most sleep--which has been well defined life's manna, dropping from heaven to create us anew day by day. Such is the wise and beneficent arrangement God has made for our present condition.

But not bodily or mental alone are the blessings which the night season brings. It distills equally, yet more certain and refreshing, its spiritual dew. How appropriate is the night for holy thought and prayer! "I have remembered Your name, O Lord, in the night." "I remember You upon my bed, and meditate upon You in the night-watches." To some the night may be long and weary; but there are those who can testify that if there are tears, there are also songs in the night; if sleeplessness, there is also meditation; if there are night-watchings, there are also night-thoughts. Pillow-prayers and pillow-praises are among the most fragrant incense and sweetest music that float from earth to heaven. And he who is a stranger to their exercise is ignorant of one of the richest modes of communion with God, and of communion with heaven, practical to man on earth.

How appropriate, too, is the night season for death! All is now still. The world's busy hum has ceased--every object and every being is in repose--the laborer has retreated to his couch, and the bird to its nest--and silence, profound as the grave, reigns supreme. It is as though the pulse of universal life stood still.

"All things are hushed, as nature's self lay dead."

And now is the time for the Christian to die! All is as tranquil in that death-chamber as death itself. The soft footfall--the bated breath--the subdued whisper--the rustling of the angels' wings waiting to escort the spirit home, are the only sounds that break the hush of that still, solemn hour. What an appropriate time for the believer's departure! It is the soul's holy pause, before earth is exchanged for heaven. It is time standing for a moment still--the sun arrested in its course--waiting the solemn, the glorious advent of ETERNITY!

"How sweet this very hour to die!
To soar from earth, and find all fears
Lost in your light--Eternity!"

"Night is the time for rest:
How sweet, when labors close,
To gather round an aching breast
The curtain of repose,
Stretch the tired limbs, and lay the head
Upon our own delightful bed!

"Night is the time for dreams,
The gay romance of life,
When truth that is, and truth that seems,
Blend in fantastic strife.
Ah! visions less beguiling far
Than waking dreams by daylight are!

"Night is the time to weep;
To wet with unseen tears
Those graves of memory where sleep
The joys of other years;
Hopes that were angels in their birth,
But perished young, like things of earth!

"Night is the time to watch
On ocean's dark expanse,
To hail the Pleiades, or catch
The full moon's earliest glance,
That brings unto the home-sick mind
All we have loved and left behind.

"Night is the time for care;
Brooding on hours misspent,
To see the spectre of Despair
Come to our lonely tent;
Like Brutus 'midst his slumbering host
Startled by Caesar's stalwart spirit.

"Night is the time to muse;
Then from the eye the soul
Takes flight, and, with expanding views,
Beyond the starry pole
Observes athwart the abyss of night
The dawn of uncreated light.

"Night is the time to pray--
Our Savior oft' withdrew
To desert mountains far away--
So will His followers do;
Steal from the throng to haunts untrod,
And hold communion there with God.

"Night is the time for death;
When all around is peace,
Calmly to yield the weary breath,
From sin and suffering cease;
Think of heaven's bliss, and give the sign
To parting friends--such death be mine!"
--James Montgomery

But what a world and what a condition will that be in which the mind and the body of the glorified will be occupied with studies the most profound, with enjoyments the most ecstatic, and in a service the most incessant, yet never conscious of the slightest satiety, or sensible of a moment's weariness! Searcher of truth! student of science! laborer for Christ!--you who often mourn the limit of your powers, and the interruption of your inquiries, and the cessation of your toil which languor and sleepiness entail, begrudging the time which repose demands--oh! think how much is contained in that marvelous negative, "And there shall be NO NIGHT there!" With every intellectual faculty developed, and with every moral power sanctified, and with every material organ strengthened, and with every moment incessantly employed--new subjects of study presenting, new wonders of glory unveiling, new spheres of service opening; and with them the powers of the soul expanding to an inconceivable extent, and still expanding with every fresh theme of thought, and intensified with every fresh draught of knowledge--oh! what a blessing will the absence of night be!

Like Israel's Divine Watchman, who "neither slumbers nor sleeps," and who "faints not, neither is weary," we shall be girded with power that knows no limit. Study will not exhaust us, thought will not oppress us, activity will not weary us; and, like the four living creatures around the throne, who "rest not day nor night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is, and is to come," we shall never fatigue in performing God's holy will, nor faint or tire in celebrating His high praises.

No night in heaven! Think of this, you sick and suffering saints, to whose over-wrought brain, to whose shattered nerves, to whose anguished hearts and restless pillow the refreshment and ease of sleep comes not. Oh! what a precious boon to you will a nightless heaven be! No slow, anxious, sleepless hours then--gazing at the shadows dancing upon the wall--watching the flickering flame of the dimly burning night-lamp--or listening to the heavy tread of night's guardian as he paces to and fro beneath your casement--intensely longing for the first streak of day "as those who watch for the morning."

Oh! what a perfection of heaven--to need no repose! Sleep! you have proved to me a kind and faithful friend; you have come at my need, and, as with an angel's wing, have fanned my fevered brow; and like the dew of Hermon have sweetly distilled upon my aching eyelids; and like the flood-waters have drowned in oblivion my cares, anxieties, and sorrows; and so, strengthened and refreshed by your kind and renewing influence, I have risen with the morning's light, and have gone forth to life's daily duties, service, and trials, as a "bridegroom coming out of his chamber, rejoicing as a strong man to run a race."

But, sweet sleep! I shall no more need you in heaven!--for there will be no night of fatigue, no night of suffering, no night of sorrow, no night of sleeplessness there. Until then, come, you angel of loveliness and love, and shroud my pillow with your soft, balmy wings; and when morning light breaks upon my eyelids, I will uplift my praises to Him who gives His beloved sleep!

"Come, sweet oblivion of all care,
And reign triumphant in my breast;
There's no alloy to comfort there,
And I need rest.
Soon as the morn steals on the night,
I'd have you flee away;
And I'd resume, with mind more light,
The duties of the day."

But let us study this negative attribute of heaven in its metaphorical teaching. There shall be NO INTELLECTUAL NIGHT in heaven. Intellectual night--as natural--is inseparable from our present existence--it would seem, indeed, a necessary part of our education for heaven. Darkness is the type of IGNORANCE. "The people who sat in darkness saw a great light." Ignorance is the rule, and knowledge the exception, of our present condition. It is rather what we do not know, than what we do know, that forms the distinctive feature of this life. There is a limit to our range of knowledge, even as there is a limit to our faculty of knowledge. "We know in part." "Now we see through a glass darkly." We admit that the subjects of human study are vast, and their range illimitable; but the faculty of grasping these subjects, and the power of compassing that range, are by sin paralyzed and cramped. The limit is not so much in the fields of study as in the power of traversing those fields. We know in part here, and in part only can we know.

Take, for example, our spiritual attainments. How limited is our knowledge of God, of Christ, of truth! How meager our experience of His grace; less than all is our knowledge of ourselves. In human knowledge we are but "children;" in divine knowledge, but "babes." Contrasted with the future development of the mind, the vast range of its research, and the sublime subjects of its study, our present grasp of intellect is infantile, and our present acquirements but rudimentary. And when the longest life of inquiry has closed, and its results are piled upon the shelves, or stored within the archives of earth's literary treasures, compared with the eternal day of intellectual life which awaits us--to quote the simile of Newton, the greatest philosopher that ever lived--we have but been gathering pebbles upon the shores of knowledge, the ocean of which still stretches out before us in all its fathomless and illimitable extent.

Yes, there will be no intellectual night in heaven. Problems in human science, the solution of which baffled us here--mysteries in divine truth, for the unravelment of which no thread was provided--the facts and prophecies and revelations of God's Word, which now are accepted as matters of faith rather than of reason--the character and government of God--the glory and work of Christ--the inexplicable agency of the Spirit in regeneration--will then be seen in light so transparent, and will be bathed in luster so divine, that a new-born babe, the moment it opens its eyes in glory, knows more of all these intellectual and sacred wonders, and grasps them with a stronger power of thought, than the profoundest philosopher or the most learned theologian on earth.

No overtasking the brain there--no crushing of the mind by the weight of thought, or bounding its range of intellectual research--no languor in thinking--no exhaustion in studying--no mental cloud-veil--for "there shall be no night there;" and when countless centuries of thought and study have passed, the mind will be as youthful and fresh, as vigorous and luminous, as at the moment when it first emerged from its night of intellectual darkness into the perfect and eternal day of intellectual light.

O blessed Land! when my mind, unclouded by sin, unwarped by prejudice, unimpaired by disease, will be commensurate with its unlimited range of thought, and its exhaustless subjects of study; where all the mysteries of knowledge will be unraveled, all its facts confirmed, and all its discrepancies harmonized! Depths which my line cannot now sound--truths which my reason cannot now compass--texts which my learning cannot now explain--contradictions which my ingenuity cannot now adjust--will in that world all stand forth bathed in the golden sunlight of perfect day, where not an infirmity will cramp the energy, nor a cloud shade the luster, nor a sin taint the sanctity of my intellectual powers; but where I shall be equal to the world of thought in which my soul shall expatiate, knowing even as I am known.

It is a blessed reflection, too, that, in a world of pure and perfect intellect, Christian doctrine--now impaired by the subtleties of human thought, obscured by the poverty of human language, entangled by the theories of human philosophy, and robed in the antiquated garments of bygone ages--will then stand out in all its native and sublime simplicity. The soul unclothed, the mind unshackled, wandering through amaranthine bowers, inhaling the life-inspiring odors of paradise, plucking fresh fruit from the tree of knowledge, sustained by nectar draughts of peace, gladness, and joy flowing from beneath and around the throne of God and the Lamb--oh! what a world of intellectual bliss and glory awaits us! What an ocean of research--the character and government of God! what a body of divinity--the person and work of Christ! what an gallery of mystery and wonder--the operation and grace of the Spirit! what themes of thought and subjects of study--the revelations and teachings of the Bible! "Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known."

There will be no night of error in heaven. The perversion of divine truth is among the saddest results of the Fall. To twist truth into error, and to clothe error with the garb of truth, has ever been one of Satan's master and most successful efforts. The dreary but momentous inquiry of Pilate still trembles upon many an anxious lip, "What is truth?" The history of error is one of the saddest, as the most voluminous and instructive, the pen of man ever wrote. From the first moment of its introduction to the present hour, the conflict of truth and error, of human doctrine and divine teaching, has been as fierce and fiery as it has been incessant and prolonged.

Oh! how has the 'virgin form of Truth'--to quote the simile of Milton--been mutilated, dismembered, and scattered--a limb here, and a fragment yonder--until, to a superficial eye, she has 'no form or loveliness' that men should either recognize or desire her! With what damnable heresies, Christ-denying doctrines, and God despising practices have the inventors and 'apostles of error' sown and flooded the world!--propagating their schisms and their falsehoods often by the prison and the chain, the faggot and the sword. How has the teaching of the Bible been adulterated, the simplicity of Christ distorted, the Gospel of God caricatured by the ungodly and deceitful, who have erred from the faith, not knowing the Scriptures; substituting for divine doctrines human tradition; the teaching of men for the revelation of God--plunging countless immortal souls into endless perdition and despair!

In this connection let us remark that, all theological error, all false doctrine, and will-worship, have had their rise and origin in the ignoring of CHRIST as THE TRUTH. Here is the beginning of all doctrinal error. The moment a church or an individual moves off from CHRIST as the great central truth of the Bible, the anchor is slipped, the cable is broken; and the bark, loosed from its moorings and drifting towards the lee-shore of soul-destroying error, is wrecked and engulfed amid its rocks and surf. Hold firmly to CHRIST, my reader, if you would you stand fast in the faith, and be courageous in your combat with false doctrine like men. Do not depart from Him, your Center. Fasten the anchor of your faith firm upon the doctrine of His Deity, Atonement, and Mediatorship. Draw all truth from Christ, test all teaching by Christ, examine every spirit in the light of Christ; take no lower standard, submit to no inferior test, listen to no stranger voice, enter by no other door than--CHRIST.

All that is saving, satisfying, and comforting in this life--all that is bright, pure, and hopeful in the life that is to come, centers in, and flows from, the Lord Jesus Christ, "who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption." Christ is essentially and emphatically "the Truth;" and to know Him is to compass all truth. Christ is essentially and emphatically "the Life;" and to possess Him is to have life eternal. "This is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."

If the 'apostles of error' have seduced you--if false doctrine has ensnared you--if papistical delusion or infidel sophistry has drawn you from 'the truth as it is in Jesus,'--if, searching sincerely and earnestly, but fruitlessly and despairingly, for the divine and precious jewel, you roam from mine to mine, anxiously inquiring, "What, and where, is truth?"--our exhortation to you is--Believe! simply and only believe, in the Lord Jesus Christ, and your inquiry will be met, your question answered; and, casting away your doubts, you shall exclaim, with a yet deeper significance and profounder emphasis than the Grecian philosopher, "I have found it! I have found it!"

But there will be no night of error in heaven. Blessed negative! All will be truth, and all will be true there! False doctrine will not assail the divine citadel of our religion; deceitful men will not sap the foundation of our faith; doubt and distrust will not shade the brightness of our hope. The decoy-lights of error will then be extinguished; the blinding mists of ignorance dispelled; the misconceptions of the superficial, and the prejudices of the bigot, will all be entirely and forever banished. The "BEAST, and those who had received his mark and worshiped his image," the "FALSE PROPHET and those who had been deceived by his miracles," will then be "cast alive into a lake of fire and brimstone"--for there will be no night of error in heaven.

There will be NO PROVIDENTIAL NIGHT in heaven. How dark, long, and weary is often this night with us here! In the present life our path is at times draped with gloomy, painful, and inexplicable clouds.

"God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform."

So strange in shape, somber in hue, and crushing in effect, are often the events and circumstances of our personal history, we are stunned and appalled, paralyzed and awed at the 'thick darkness' in which our God moves, at the overshadowing cloud which He makes His chariot--wondering where the scene will end. What prophet will explain to us the handwriting upon the wall? Who will interpret the symbols of an event that has suddenly plunged us in a world of mystery?

God is speaking to us from the 'secret place of thunder'--His voice issues from out the cloudy pillar. He has nipped the bursting bud, plucked the lovely flower, broken the graceful sapling, uprooted the strong oak, sowing life's landscape with the snowflakes of winter, congealing all its flowing springs, and tincturing all its sweet rivers with the bitterness of Marah. Like Moses, we are awed into silence by these dreadful emblems of His majesty and power, and wrapping our faces in our mantle, bow our heads in reverence to the ground.

But the absence of night in heaven bids us look beyond the present scene of suffering and sorrow to that glorious world where shall be no drapery of dark and mysterious providences. In that light, pure and transparent as the atmosphere which encircles the throne of God, we shall read all the lessons of His love, interpret all the symbols of His providence, understand all the mysteries of His dealings.

Our education then complete--the last task done, the last lesson learned, the last discipline experienced--we shall emerge from the gloom of this night of providential dispensation into that world of glory upon whose noontide splendor no shadow shall ever fall, and upon whose landscape the sun shall never set. How wise will then appear all the way our covenant God led us, through the wilderness, across the desert, home to Himself! We shall then see that every dispensation was right, every stroke needed, every step an advance in our heavenly ascent, and that every cloud that veiled God's love was one of its truest and holiest expressions. And until this night of mystery passes, ushering in the perfect day whose sunny sky no providential clouds will ever darken, let us resolve all our Heavenly Father's dealings into infinite wisdom, rectitude, and goodness, fully assured that, "as for God, His work is perfect."

"We cannot see the twinings
In God's long cord of love;
We cannot trace the windings
By matchless wisdom wove.

"Even as a thread, when raveled,
Still holds the hidden end,
So love's mysterious windings
Around our footsteps blend.

"That cord can ne'er be broken,
'Tis held by God alone;
The Lord's seal is the token--
He knows, He keeps His own.

"And when the Father chastens,
His children's faith to prove,
The cord is held by Jesus--
The unseen end is--LOVE!

"Love, deep, divine, unsearchable,
Love is the binding cord;
And hid beneath the chastening
Twines round the saints of God."

There will be NO NIGHT OF PERIL. Of the New Jerusalem it is said, "And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day, for there shall be no night there"--clearly implying the freedom of the favored citizens of that glorious city from the invasion of every foe. O you who are the subjects of cruel enmity and persecution, against whom lying tongues are leveled, and malicious shafts are flung; whose labors are misinterpreted, whose achievements are unrecorded, whose motives are misunderstood, and whose names are cast out as evil for Christ's sake! rejoice that through these jasper gates no foe of the saints shall ever pass, no barbed arrow of malignity shall ever fly, no peril to soul or body shall ever enter. "There the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest."

The moment you cross its threshold you breathe an atmosphere untainted by a breath of calumny, undisturbed by a sound of harshness, undimmed by a cloud of envy, jealousy, or revenge. Wide as is heaven's door--never shut at all by day--no persecutor, no reviler, no slanderer, no evil-speaker, no envenomed tongue, no avowed enemy, no anonymous assassin, no wily thief, no bloodthirsty murderer, shall enter.

Night has its terrors as its attractions, its alarms as its soothings, its disturbings as its repose, its sighs as its songs, its restless tossings, its troubled dreams, its fancied apparitions, its feverish pillow--even as it has its ambrosial dews, its pensive thoughts, its heavenly musings, its praises and its prayers. But in heaven "you shall not be afraid of the terror by night;" for the gates of the holy city shall be open all the day, "into which no foe shall ever enter, and from whence no friend shall ever depart."

There will be NO NIGHT OF SPIRITUAL DESERTION, DARKNESS, AND DESPONDENCY. All this is inseparable from our present condition, and forms a necessary part of the soul's education for heaven. If it was essential that the Divine Sun should pass through the terrible eclipse of the cross--and O my soul! what a night of nights was that! when Jesus cried from the depths of His soul's darkness and woe, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?"

Much more essential is it to our holiness, obedience to the divine will, and fitness for heaven, that we should at times walk in darkness having no light, travel many dreary stages without the sensible presence of Christ, exclaiming, "The Lord has forsaken me! My God has forgotten me! Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies, and will He be favorable no more?" Not a star to guide, nor a ray to cheer the soul's perplexity and gloom! Beloved! Is this your present experience? Are there no sweet visits from Jesus, no fatherly manifestations of God, no light beaming from the Sun of your soul to cheer you on your way? Behold the path trodden by the flock, nor less by the Shepherd of the flock, leaving us an example that we should follow His steps.

The sun's eclipse is not its withdrawal, but the veiling only of its light. The spiritual gloom and mental depression now shrouding you is not the darkness of hell, nor the despondency of despair; it is the Lord's wise and gracious dealings, designed but to lead you into the experience of truth, to teach you lessons, and confer upon you blessings, known and learned only in the night season of soul-exercise. But all this is done away in heaven. Not a passing shadow crosses the sunshine of the spirit. With the corruptions of the body, will be entombed the infirmities of the soul. With every quiver and pang of the body laid at rest, will be every mental doubt and fear. Disencumbered of the vehicle which clogged its progress, repressed its aspirations, and shaded its hope, the soul will expand and expatiate in a world of ever-growing wonder, and ever-widening range, freed from every element that contributed to its night of gloom and woe.

Oh! the bliss of the glorified saints!--no longer tormented with doubts and fears, no more questioning their interest in Christ, their adoption by God, their hope of glory! The agonizing question, "Am I a Christian?" is now answered by the perfect realization of the fact. "Am I a child of God?" is now met by the beatific vision of His face. The distressing fear, "Have I union with the Savior?" is now lulled to rest upon His glorified bosom; and the trembling uncertainty of ever reaching heaven at last is lost in the blissful consciousness of being actually, safely and forever there!

No longer anxiously inquiring, "Have you seen Him whom my soul loves?" You will gaze upon His transcendent countenance outshining ten thousand suns, hear His loving voice sweeter than ten thousand harps, and bask in the rays of His presence as they sweep in circling glory around the throne before which you stand 'without a fault.' "In Your presence is fullness of joy, and at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore." No more soul-despondency--mental cloud-veil--or heart-sorrow--for the night of gloom and disquietude will forever have passed. Oh! to think that I shall never lose the sensible presence of God--never lose sight of Jesus, my soul's Beloved--never grieve the Holy Spirit by whom I am comforted and sealed--and never more wander from the bosom which so often soothed me in grief, sheltered me in danger, and upon which I shall now forever recline!

The negative of night in heaven assures us of THE ABSENCE OF ALL THE LONELINESS AND SOLITUDE OF THE WILDERNESS which conducts us there. The Christian pilgrimage is in some of its stages, isolated and lonely. Created for communion, fitted for companionship, yearning and sighing for love, sympathy, and fellowship, the Christian is often as Joseph separated from his brethren–he travels a lonely path, and is like a pelican in the wilderness, a sparrow alone upon the house-top. This may be the way God is leading you, my reader. It is often with you a night of weeping because it is a night of loneliness. You eat your morsel alone. You sit and meditate and suffer in solitude, often longing for Christian society, sighing for the communion of saints, yearning for affection, sympathy, and fellowship; but it is your heavenly Father's appointment, and it must be right--it must be in love. This is the school, and this the discipline, of your training for the full, the perfect, the eternal fellowship of heaven. "They wandered in the wilderness in a SOLITARY way." But it was the right way to Canaan!

Such was a part of the suffering by which Christ, though a Son, learned the lesson of obedience--the school of solitude. Separated from His brethren, denied by one disciple, betrayed by another, forsaken by all--oh! how isolated and lonely was the path He trod, the life He lived. But was He all alone? Oh, no! Listen to His words: "And yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me." Does not your heart, lonely one, echo these words? You are not all alone. Lover and friend God has put far from you, and your acquaintance has gone into darkness; He has written you a widow--made you an orphan--removed the being whose life seemed essential to your own--and, like a green tree whose foliage the wintry blasts have scattered, and in whose leafless branches the birds sit and sorrowfully sing, your heart is smitten, and sad and lonely.

Oh! you will never know until you reach heaven how necessary this peculiar path was to your fitness for its fellowship. It was just the school your soul required--just the discipline your heart needed. But in heaven your dark, lonely night of weeping will give place to a bright and eternal morning of fellowship and joy. There we shall meet again all those who crossed the river a little while before us, then lining the shore to greet and welcome our arrival home.

In heaven there is no solitude or loneliness, no chilled affection or fickle friendships--no misunderstandings, woundings, or separations. This long, dreary, troubled night is passed, and the sun of the soul's affection and fellowship never sets. Wedded hearts are united by a bond which sin cannot taint, which infirmity cannot peril, and which neither poverty, adversity, nor death can impair or dissolve. Each glorified spirit, while retaining its personal identity, its loves and memories, will yet be so perfectly blended with the whole, and all so swallowed up in God, as to constitute one vast and endless unity, "distinct as the billows--one as the sea." Oh! let the thought soothe your loneliness, and the hope alleviate your solitude, that before long this dreary night will be one perfect sunlight and eternal day of fellowship and love!

In the LITERAL AND ETERNAL ABSENCE OF NIGHT in heaven, how magnificent the contrast! "There shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light." As stars fade and disappear in the increasing beams of the rising sun, so the dim and partial light that irradiated and cheered our path on earth will all be lost in the glory of God which then will fill and illumine the heavenly temple. Oh! what must be the purity of that world, and the splendor of that day, of which God is the light and Christ the Sun thereof! There will then be no need of the faint 'sun' of human ministries, and of the dim 'candle' of church ordinances; for we shall be admitted to the beatific vision of the immediate manifestation of Deity, in the overwhelming effulgence of which all other lights expire. "They need no candle."

What do you think, child of AFFLICTION! of that world in which there shall be no night of sorrow? What do you think, child of LONELINESS! of that home in which there will be no night of solitude? What do you think, child of pining SICKNESS! of that place in which there will be no night of sleepless suffering? What do you think, MOURNING ONE! of that night in which there will be no night of weeping? Cheer up! The night is far spent--the day--the perfect, endless day of glory--is at hand, when "no longer will you need the sun or moon to give you light, for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light, and he will be your glory. The sun will never set; the moon will not go down. For the Lord will be your everlasting light. Your days of mourning will come to an end. All your people will be righteous. They will possess their land forever, for I will plant them there with my own hands in order to bring myself glory. I, the Lord, will bring it all to pass at the right time." Isaiah 60:19-22

Until that day in which we shall emerge from our present night of sin, ignorance, and sorrow, into a nightless world of glory, let us not forget that, long and dark though our present night season may be, we are, as believers in Jesus, not children of the night, but of the day. Putting off the works of darkness, let us put on the armor of light, and walk as children of light, illumining this dark, benighted world with the light and luster of true holiness.

It is not all night with the believer in this world. By God's light he walks through darkness; and standing where stood the apocalyptic angel in the sun, and thus drawing his light from Christ, he will "let his light so shine before men, that they may behold his good works, and glorify his Father who is in heaven." Let your light, beloved, be not a borrowed, but a solar light; take your religion, your creed, your profession, not indirectly from others, but directly and only from Christ. "Now are you light in the Lord, walk as children of the light." Following Christ, your Light, your feet shall not stumble, however dark and dreary your night of difficulty, need, and sorrow may be. "Walk in the light, as He is in the light," then shall your path be as "the shining light, shining more and more unto the perfect day."

"Walk in the light! and you shall know
That fellowship of love
His Spirit only can bestow
Who reigns in light above.

"Walk in the light! and sin, abhorred,
Shall never defile again;
The blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Shall cleanse from every stain.

"Walk in the light! and you shall find
Your heart made truly His
Who dwells in cloudless light enshrined,
In whom no darkness is.

"Walk in the light! and you shall own
The darkness passed away,
Because that light is on you shone
In which is perfect day.

"Walk in the light! and you shall see
A path, though thorny, bright;
For God by grace shall dwell in thee,
And God Himself is Light"

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