"When this aching heart shall rest,
All its busy pulses o'er,
From her mortal robes undrest,
Shall my spirit upward soar;
Then shall ever-growing joy
All my thoughts and powers employ.
"Jesus reigns—the life, the sun,
Of that wondrous world above;
All the clouds and storms are gone—
All is light, and all is love.
All the shadows melt away
In the blaze of glorious day."—Lange.
"The path of the just is as the shining light, that
shines more and more unto the perfect day."—Prov. 4:18.
As the Believer's path on earth is, or ought to be, a
progressive one, in knowledge, love, happiness, and joy; so, in a loftier
and more ennobling sense, will it be in a future world. The sun of his bliss
will ever be climbing higher and higher the skies, but yet never attaining
its full meridian. Heaven, indeed, as we have seen in a former meditation,
would be lacking in one chief element of happiness were advancement
unknown. The glorified spirit, constituted as our feelings at present are,
would not be satisfied with a stationary bliss. "Perfect security
from all danger of a change for the worse, is a highly gratifying
idea; but the expectation of a change for the better, is an essential
ingredient in all our present notions of happiness," (Whately.) The Redeemed
in heaven—"vessels of glory" "fitted for the Master's use"—while they will
be always filled, yet, if it seem not a paradox, they will be always
filling—ever increasing in the divine knowledge and likeness,
progressing along the line of infinite blessedness flowing from God's
presence and smile.
It is the privilege of the believer, even in this world,
to be ever aspiring after a more intimate acquaintance with the Divine
character, works, and ways. David, notwithstanding all that he had
seen of Jehovah, says, "My soul THIRSTS FOR GOD," (Ps. 42:2.)
Paul, notwithstanding his exalted attainments, prays, "That I
MAY KNOW HIM," (Phil. 3:10.) The whole Christian dispensation, from the
earliest times until now, has been progressive in its character.
Those living anterior to the flood had but dim perceptions of the glorious
things which our eyes have seen, and our ears have heard. Redemption was
more fully unfolded to the patriarchs—more fully still to the prophets—and
"in these last days," in which He has "spoken unto us by His Son," more
fully than all. This gradual development will still characterize "the
ages to come"—each cycle of these ages evolving some new manifestation of
the Divine character and attributes. As the saints advanced on earth from
grace to grace; so then they will be ascending from "glory to glory"—each
new pause on the steeps of the everlasting hills only unfolding new and more
amazing discoveries of God's grace and love.
Nor shall we ever reach that point where our knowledge of
the Infinite will be complete—where we shall be able to fold the wing in its
upward soaring. An old English writer beautifully compares the believer's
knowledge of God in a future world, to the two well-known mathematical
lines, which, though approaching nearer and nearer to one another, never
meet. So the ransomed spirit, borne upwards nearer and nearer the great Sun
of all knowledge, will never reach the confines of that light which is
spoken of as "inaccessible, and full of glory." Every new height reached in
the infinite progress of the soul, while it will give more insight into the
mysteries of God's dealings, will only inspire with greater longings to know
more of His ineffable glories.
The song of the redeemed is represented as swelling
louder and louder, the more that the mingled wisdom, and faithfulness, and
love of the Almighty is unfolded. "The voice of a great multitude" increases
to the "noise of many waters;"—deeper still, to "the voice of mighty
thunderings," (Rev. 19:6.) Here we are but children-dreamers. Our path lies
through misty shadows and murky clouds—our sun, either smiting with its
beams, or wading through a stormy sky, or "going down while it is yet day."
Here, the believer walks in darkness and can see no light; or when he has
light for a time, it is often fitful and transient; like the luminous wake
of a vessel on a midnight sea, which gilds, only for a moment, the waves
over which it bounds, and then leaves them as dark as ever. But once across
the threshold of glory, the "darkness is past, and the true light shines."
His, then, is an "unsmiting and unsetting sun." "The sun shall not smite
you," says one, (Ps. 121:6.) "Your sun shall no more go down,"
says another, (Isa. 60:20.) It is called "the inheritance of the saints
IN LIGHT," (Col. 1:12.)
Have I begun this path of heavenly love and knowledge
now? Am I progressing in it? Do I feel some dawnings of the heavenly
light—pledges and foretastes of the full day of glory? Let all God's
dealings serve to quicken me in my way. Let every affliction it may please
Him to send, be as the moving pillar-cloud of old, beckoning me to move my
tent onwards—saying, "Arise and depart, for this is not your rest," (Mic.
2:10.), Let me be often standing now on faith's lofty eminences, looking for
"the day of God"—the rising sun which is to set no more in weeping clouds.
Wondrous progression! How will all earth's learning—its
boasted acquirements and eagle-eyed philosophy—sink into the lispings of
very infancy in comparison with this manhood of knowledge! Heaven will be
the true "Excelsior." Its song, "a song of degrees;"—Jesus
leading His people from height to height of glory, and saying, as He said to
Nathanael, "You shall see GREATER things than these!" (John 1:50.)
And—most elevating thought of all!—I shall be advancing
gradually in resemblance to my Divine Lord and Master! And yet the further I
advance, with more fervent lip and devout ardor shall I sing—
"Nearer, my God, to Thee!
Nearer to Thee!
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to Thee!
Nearer to Thee!"