Home At Last
What sort of a place shall heaven be? Before we pass on and consider its inhabitants, let us just pause an instant and think on this. What sort of a place shall heaven be? Heaven shall be a place of perfect rest and peace. They that dwell there have no more conflict with the world, the flesh, and the devil; their warfare is accomplished, and their fight is fought; at length they may lay aside the armour of God, at last they may say to the sword of the Spirit, Rest and be still. They watch no longer, for they have no spiritual enemies to fear; they fast and mortify the flesh no longer, for they have no vile earthy body to keep under; they pray no more, for they have no evil to pray against. There the wicked must cease from troubling; there sin and temptation are for ever shut out; the gates are better barred than those of Eden, and the devil shall enter in no more. O Christian brethren, rouse ye and take comfort; surely this shall be indeed a blessed rest. There shall be no need of means of grace, for we shall have the end to which they are meant to lead; there shall be no need of sacraments, we shall have the substance they are appointed to keep in mind; there faith shall be swallowed up in sight, and hope in certainty, and prayer in praise, and sorrow in joy. Now is the school-time, the season of the lesson and the rod, then will be the eternal holiday. Now we must endure hardness and press on faint yet pursuing, then we shall sit down at ease, for the Canaanite shall be expelled for ever from the land. Now we are tossed upon a stormy sea, then we shall be safe in harbor. Now we have to plough and sow, there we shall reap the harvest; now we have the labor, but then the wages; now we ave the battle, but then the victory and reward. Now we must needs bear the cross, but then we shall receive the crown. Now we are journeying through the wilderness, but then we shall be at home. O Christian brethren, well may the Bible tell you, "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, for they rest from their labor." Surely you must feel that witness is true.
But again. Heaven shall be a place of perfect and unbroken happiness. Mark what your Bible tells you in the very chapter which contains my text, "God shall wipe away all tears from the eyes of His people; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Hear what the prophet Isaiah says in the twenty-fifth chapter: "The Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." Brethren, think of an eternal habitation in which there is no sorrow. Who is there here below that is not acquainted with sorrow? It came in with thorns and thistles at Adam's fall, it is the bitter cup that all must drink, it is before us and behind us, it is on the right hand and the left, it is mingled with the very air we breathe. Our bodies are racked with pain, and we have sorrow; our worldly goods are taken from us, and we have sorrow; we are encompassed with difficulties and troubles, and we have sorrow; our friends forsake us and look coldly on us, and we have sorrow; we are separated from those we love, and we have sorrow; those on whom our hearts' affections are set go down to the grave and leave us alone, and we have sorrow. And then, too, we find our own hearts frail and full of corruption, and that brings sorrow. We are persecuted and opposed for the Gospel's sake, and that brings sorrow; we see those who are near and dear to us refusing to walk with God, and that brings sorrow. Oh, what sorrowing, grieving world we live in!
Blessed be God! There shall be no sorrow in heaven. There shall not be one single tear shed within the courts above. There shall be no more disease and weakness, and decay; the coffin and the funeral, and the grave, and the dark-black mourning shall be things unknown. Our faces shall no more be pale and sad; no more shall we go out from the company of those we love and be parted asunder - that word, farewell, shall never be heard again. There shall be no anxious thought about tomorrow to mar and spoil our enjoyment, no sharp and cutting words to wound our souls; our wants will have come to a perpetual end, and all around us shall be harmony and love. O Christian brethren, what is our light affliction when compared to such an eternity as this? Shame on us if we murmur and complain and turn back, with such a heaven before our eyes! What can this vain and passing world give us better than this? This is the city of our God Himself, when He will dwell among us Himself. The glory of God shall lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. Truly we may say, as Mephibosheth did to David, "Let the world take all, for as much as our Lord will come in peace." Such is the Bible heaven there is none other; these sayings are faithful and true, not any of them shall fail. Surely, brethren it is worth a little pain, a little laboring, a little toil, if only we may have the lowest place in the kingdom of God.
~J. C. Ryle~
(continued with # 33)