"Our Savior, Jesus Christ, abolished death."

"In my Father's house are many mansions."

We lament for the dead, because we ourselves dread death. The physical instinct, wisely given for the preservation of life, is controlled but not destroyed by faith. We may begin life as a summer holiday, on which we start with a guess of rain and certainty of nightfall. We see fleecy cloudlets on the radiant sky which threaten tempest. Every step along the gayest path leads to the grave. We look on the dying and the dead with sadness and awe. But there are far greater fears, and from these we are delivered by Him who "abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."

We dread the after-death. "Tis conscience that makes cowards of us all." But Christ, by death, atoned for sin, and so "destroyed him who has the power of death, and delivered them who, by fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage." His victory in Resurrection and Ascension has become ours. "Thanks be to God who gives us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ. He who believes in me shall never die."

Just prior to His final conflict He assured His sorrowing friends that He would still live for them, and that they would live forever with Him. "In my Father's house are many mansions; I go to prepare a place for you; and I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am you may be also."

Afflicted believers, your sorrows are only the discomforts of a journey, each stage of which, however rough the road and wild the weather, brings you nearer home. The darkness is only that of the tunnel through which you are hurrying, and the speck of light at the end is nearing and brightening as you speed onward to the eternal sunshine.

Our Lord speaks of heaven as home—"My Father's house." What a contrast to the gorgeous imagery employed by servants is this sublimely simple familiarity of the Son! Inspired men are overawed by the distant vision of the Celestial City, with its pearly gates and streets of gold; as if a poor cottager, after visiting a royal palace, tried to describe the unimagined splendors of a place which members of the royal family simply knew as home. This was in harmony with His high claims of Deity! The disciples were not to be troubled on His account. Although betrayed, condemned, crucified, He was going home. They were not to be troubled for Him; and because of their intimate union with Him they were not to be troubled for themselves.

If heaven is Christ's home, it is ours also. We are "joint heirs with Jesus Christ." What hallowed associations are suggested by the word! Most men who have a real home feel, "There's no place like home." Not the outward investiture but the indwelling light and the pervading atmosphere of affection render the humblest dwelling, equally with the grandest mansion, home. LOVE makes home.

Home promises REST. There the wearied limbs or wearied brain repose after the day's toil. So amid the cares of life we look forward to "the rest that remains for the children of God." There will be occupation, but no painful toil. "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord; they rest from their labors."

Home suggests FIDELITY. We may suspect deceit and treachery outside, but we can cast off all reserve, all distrust at home.

Home suggests SYMPATHY. There may be coldness outside, no interest in what deeply concerns us, no response to our warmest feelings, but at home we are always sure of a listening ear, a kindling eye, a responsive hand-grasp, a heart-expressive kiss. There may be enmity outside, avowed or concealed, and even friends may sometimes prove forgetful, selfish, and unkind; but home, true home, is the palace of love, "where hearts are of each other sure."

But the purest of earthly homes are but faint types of that above. There every heart is wholly true to every other, being wholly true to God. No suspicion lurks there, no envy at other's gifts, no ill-will, no mere pretended kindness, but hearty, warmly manifested love. Whatever in this world hinders true communion among Christians will have been left behind, and the unloveliness which more or less mars fellowship will disappear when the Bride of Christ will be "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing."

Oh, the rapture of meeting again and being forever at home with the dear ones we have loved on earth, all made perfect in the presence of the Elder Brother, whose likeness all will bear! Oh the bliss of holiest, deepest, constant sympathy with Christ Himself, and so being in the fullest sense "at home" in heaven! by grace, and yet by covenant right; not strangers, nor visitors, but children at their Father's, having "a right to the tree of life;" penetrating every recess of that paradise, entering every chamber of that palace, and feeling, as a bride entering her new home, "It is all mine, because it is all His, and I am His."

It is a PERMANENT home; mansions, not movable tents, but an enduring habitation. "We know that when this earthly tabernacle is dissolved we have a building of God." How unlike the uncertainty of earthly things! The lake, reflecting from its unruffled surface the sky and stars, may, in one short hour, be wild with storms. The stream, which often refreshed us, suddenly becomes dry. The fairest flowers droop even as we gaze on them. The loveliest homes are quickly broken up. No locks and bolts can shut out sickness and death. But as the home above is everlasting, so its "pleasures are for evermore." The sunshine will never be overcast by one fleeting thought of change or death.

And there is ABUNDANCE of supply. There are "many mansions." The Father's house is large enough for all His children—vast as His own heart. Holy angels are there, and "a great multitude whom no man can number, out of all kindreds and tribes and peoples," but "still there is room." There are multitudes, unknown to men but known to God, who have not bowed their knees unto Baal. Heathen nations are pressing into the kingdom; and the day is not far distant when all shall know the Savior, "from the least to the greatest." There is room for them all; there is still room for us—room for every mourner.

Number implies VARIETY. The mansions are not uniform, though all are perfect. They are prepared for dwellers of varied capacity—for children and young men, for babes in Christ and for those of full age. There will be no seclusion of classes, but there will be variety of degrees of glory; and thus the very lowest in attainment may be sure of a home yonder. There is no place in hell for any who sincerely repent and trust in the Savior. Timid, doubting, sorrowing one, be not troubled—those gates shall open for you; those streets shall be trodden by you; you shall drink of the river, clear as crystal, and you shall eat of the Tree of Life, and find a home in the many mansions.

These hopes are REALISTIC . "If it were not so, I would have told you." In this promise our Lord confirmed all the hopes He had already encouraged. But His silence ought to have sufficed had He not uttered such words. He knew what their expectation must be. The culture of religion in itself implies hope of the future. Are sacrifices made, pleasures surrendered, sorrow endured, prayers offered, and then is death to be the final end? If there be no heaven—"if in this life only we have hope,"—many might say, with Paul, "we are of all men most miserable." Conscience awakens hopes and fears beyond the present life, and Christ strengthened conscience. The Old Testament taught that He who called Himself the God of Abraham was the God, not of the dead, but of the living; and Christ confirmed the Old Testament. The disciples had forsaken all to follow Him. They loved their Lord, and knew He loved them. Could such love perish? They expected a kingdom; and as it was not to be earthly, it must be heavenly. Would Christ allow them to serve Him as they did, on false expectations? He did contradict their expectation of a temporal kingdom—would He not have contradicted this heavenly hope had it also been unfounded? We value our Lord's positive and repeated promises; but there is a special emphasis, a most touching assurance in this supposed silence. If they had falsely interpreted His meaning, if their wishes alone had suggested their expectations, if their loving loyalty was to have no recompense beyond the present life—He would have told them. Not to contradict such expectations would be to sanction them. Silence alone world have given emphatic consent and assurance.

O believer, your hope of heaven is no idle dream! That city does glow with splendor. That paradise is radiant with beauty. That home of perfect love is preparing for you. Earthly hopes perish, human promises fail; but expectations of believers shall be more than realized, for they are based on the truth and love of Him whose silence would have sufficed. "If it were not so, I would have told you."

Paul says," We are of good courage, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord" (R.V.). Death is only the migration of the soul from the fleshly tabernacle, to the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. If thus believers are to be at home with the Lord, they must be at home with one another. As we still enjoy spiritual communion with those gone before, when we meet, it will not be as strangers. It would seem incongruous if love so pure and deep should be incapable of mutual expression yonder. We might ask "Why have You made such capacities in vain?" The heart that truly loves, craves for and anticipates the continuance of those spirit-relationships which most nearly ally us with the Divine nature—God is love.

At the Transfiguration the two from heaven who conversed with Jesus were particular individuals—Moses and Elijah—known to each other, made known to Peter, James, and John. How could the apostle hope to meet his converts, as his "crown of rejoicing," without recognition? Weep, then, for the dead, in full assurance that they live with Jesus, and that you will soon rejoin them. Their rapture in His presence enhances the bliss of friendships, formed on earth to be perfected in glory.

Let us rejoice for them! They have left below all bodily infirmity, all mental errors, all imperfection of the spirit. On earth their chief delight was the will of God. Yet how often it was done with imperfection, intermission, and weariness! Now they "serve Him day and night in His temple." The perfect answer to their Gethsemane-prayer is the perfection of their blessedness—"Your will be done." There is no description of heaven more glorious than this—"His servants shall serve Him."

His servants serve Him. Happy, happy they!
The perfect service of a perfect Lord,
With duty and desire in full accord,
Is Heaven indeed; 'tis rapture to obey
When love constrains, unweariedly, always.
Alas! in seeming service, often now,
To some veiled form of self we basely bow;
Some worldly motive dims the heavenly ray,
And thus the prize of service true we miss
'Tis perfect sunshine that makes perfect day.
In Heaven, the radiant, all-inclusive bliss,
The brightest glory of their crown is this—
They from their Lord's commandments never swerve;
Him with exulting joy "His servants serve."
—Newman Hall

We will not weep for them as dead. Is it death to reach home after the toilsome journey, to wear the crown after the fierce fight, to serve in the presence of the King, where there is fullness of joy? The funeral was only that of frailty, sorrow, and sin. A Christian in that coffin, in that grave? No! he is at home in the Father's house. Away with heathen symbols from Christian cemeteries! The column never stood so firm, the flower never bloomed so fair, the torch never burnt so bright. Lamenting the separation for ourselves we will rejoice for them, and press forward to the home of reunion, where they await our coming, and where, with them, we shall be forever with the Lord."

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