"See the haven full in view,
Love divine shall bear you through.
Saints in glory, perfect made,
Wait your passage through the shade.
Ardent for your coming o'er,
See, they throng the blissful shore!"
"He shall swallow up death in victory."—Isa. 25:8.
Victory is a cheering word! Joyous is the return to their
own land of a band of warriors after a long and triumphant campaign.
Inspiriting are the hosannas of welcome poured upon them by an applauding
country; and sweeter still the music of home-voices. The memory of past toil
and suffering is forgotten, or remembered only to enhance the gladness of
What shall it be when the Christian, freed from the last
conflict, enters the gates of the Heavenly City, the hosannas of angels and
saints resounding through the streets of the new Jerusalem! Each toil-worn
warrior bathing his wounds in the river of the water of life—death-divided
friends gathered to welcome him to his everlasting home!
Looking back from the heights of glory on earth's long
battle-field; it is a gloomy and chequered retrospect of stern foes,
stubborn temptations, mountains of difficulties that had to be climbed,
valleys of humiliation that had to be descended—yes, and the sadder memory
of unwatchfulness and betrayal, temporary defeat and disaster. But all is
now crowned with "VICTORY," and the last and most recent foe—Death
How great the contrast NOW and THEN!
Now, alas! Death is the unsparing invader of every
household; all our precautions, all our wisest human expedients in vain are
employed to disarm him of his power, and arrest his advancing footsteps. He
reigns on earth with a frightful force! He comes in the hour least
expected—often just when the fondest visions of earthly joy are being
Do we think of it—we who may be living all careless and
thoughtless, lulled by the dream of prosperity, presuming on our present
cloudless horizon—that each moment, with sleepless vigilance, the
stealthy foe is creeping nearer and nearer?—that the smooth current is
gliding slowly but surely onward and still onward towards the brink of the
waterfall, where all at once the irrevocable leap will and must be
Reader, perchance you can even now tell the tale! You may
at present be reading it, or you may have recently done so, with tearful
eyes and a breaking heart. You may be marking the vacant seat at your table,
missing the accents of some well-known voice, or the sound of some
well-remembered footfall; a beaming eye in your daily walk may be gone, and
gone forth forever of time! What other antidote for hearts smitten
down by these hurricane-blasts which leave earth a blackened wilderness—but
a look beyond, to that Better Land, where this enemy's power is
neither felt nor feared?
In that glorious resurrection-morning, the scepter which
death has wielded for six thousand years will be wrested from his grasp, and
that chorus will begin for which centuries of suffering hearts have been
willfully longing, "O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your
victory?" (1 Cor. 15:55.) Sounding trumpets commenced the song of the
Lord in the temple of old, (2 Chron. 29:27.) It was a type of a mightier
festival in the temple of glory. "The trumpet of God" is to sound first.
Slumbering millions will start at the summons, "Awake and sing, you
that dwell in dust!" (Isa. 26:19.)
Believer! seek to contemplate death from the
heavenward side, as a foe doomed and conquered. If you are now in Jesus,
victory over death is yours by anticipation. You cannot sing the song of
victory completed; but you can be weaving the garlands of triumph,
and tuning your harp for the prophetic strain! But although death is between
us and the heavenly paradise, the monster's sting has been plucked away, and
cast into the flames of the Savior's sacrifice. Safe in Christ!—then,
indeed, is death disarmed of its real terrors. It becomes a stupendous
triumphal arch, through which God's redeemed legions pass into glory. A dark
Valley, but bridged by the rainbow of promise, with its radiant hues of
love, and joy, and peace! Lean on the promises now; they alone will support
you in the hour of death, and prove to you, like Elijah's horses and
chariots of fire. Living now near to Jesus, you will have nothing to do when
the last solemn hour does arrive, but to step into these chariots,
and be upborne by angels to your Father's house!
O blissful consummation! once across that threshold,
and every remembrance of sadness which death generates here, and which
often makes life one valley of Baca—one "valley of weeping"—will be
obliterated, and that forever! No sun going down "while it is yet
day;" no glory of manhood suddenly eclipsed; no early blossoms nipped in the
bud; no venerable trees, under whose shadow we have long reposed, succumbing
to the axe of the Destroyer. Viewing death from the earthly side, it
seems the mournful "exodus of life"—the fatal extinguisher, the dread
annihilator of fondest hopes and purest happiness. Taking the heavenward
view, it is what Matthew Henry significantly calls "the parenthesis of
being." It is the bridge from the finite to the infinite; the birthday of
immortality; the momentary rasping of the shallows in entering the quiet
haven; the day which, while it terminates the joys of the worldling, only
truly begins those of the believer!
Suffering saints of God! you who may have been "tossed
about with a great fight of afflictions," long out on the stormy sea,
neither sun nor stars appearing, and, like the seamen in Adria of old,
"wistfully looking for the day"—be comforted. Each day is bringing you
nearer and nearer these peaceful shores. You may even now be discovering
indications that you cannot be far from the desired port!
"Afflicted, tempest-tossed, and not comforted," "lift up
your heads with joy, for your redemption draws near!" (Luke 21:28.) Yet a
little while and He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry. Every
new sorrow that visits you; every new season which passes over you; every
friend taken from you; these are so many silent messengers from the shores
of glory, whispering, "Nearer eternity!" Time itself seems not to be
without significant monitors—signals scattered on its ocean that "the day is
at hand!" Prophecy is fast fulfilling. There are those who, from the shrouds
and rigging, can observe, in the hazy distance, the dim outline of a more
glorious hemisphere than that of earth—"the new world"—even "the new
heavens and the new earth, wherein dwells righteousness!" (2 Pet. 3:13.)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old
heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. I heard
a loud shout from the throne, saying, "Look, the home of God is now among
his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself
will be with them. He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be NO
MORE DEATH or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are
gone forever." Rev. 21:1, 3, 4
"Then, looking up through sorrow's night,
We trace the spirit's homeward flight;
The Prince of Life has marked that road,
Through the Dark Valley, home to God.
"Where once the Master lowly lay,
Let the tired servant rest today;
And in the Father's house above,
Forever share the Master's love."