"There, are those everlasting gardens
Where angels walk and seraphs are the wardens,
Where every flower, brought safe through death's dark portal,
Becomes immortal.
Each blooming bright,
Though some reflecting more of Heaven's all-glorious light."

"One star differs from another star in glory."—1 Cor. 15:41.

In that world of light, and love, and glory, all will be supremely blessed. But it is a thoroughly scriptural view of the happiness of the Redeemed in glory, to represent it, though the same in kind, as differing in degree. The saints will be classified—"enrolled in moral genealogies."

DIVERSITY is a law of God's universe. It extends to great things as well as to little things. Some flowers are more beautiful than others. Some intellects are more lofty than others. One planet in the skies is of greater magnitude than another. There are gradations too in the heavenly hierarchy. Angels and archangels—principalities and powers—"the greatest and the least" in the kingdom of heaven.

And have we not reason also to believe that it will be so with glorified saints? All, indeed, will have reached their thrones and their crowns through "the only one way." We cannot speak of any of that white-robed multitude as being more justified than others; for they equally point, as the ground of their justification, to the finished work and righteousness of their adorable Surety. They all equally feel that in being saved they were "saved by grace"—that nothing but the blood of that precious Lamb of God was between them and everlasting ruin! And just as one law binds the planets and the atoms which compose them; so the one great principle of love to Him who died for them, will bind together the vast family of the ransomed, from the soaring Paul to the weeping Magdalene.

But the degree of the saints' happiness will be regulated according to their advances in holiness. Our blessed Lord Himself very emphatically enunciates this same truth, more especially in His parable of the Talents, where the amount of the reward is in exact proportion to diligence and fidelity in trading—a parable the lesson of which the great Apostle has thus translated into one of his weighty aphorisms: "Whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap," (Gal. 6:7.)

Works will form no plea or ground whatever for acceptance before the throne. But while it is not said of the "blessed dead" that their works "go before them," (as a passport to their crowns;) it is said "their works do follow them," (Rev. 14:13.) There will be a vast difference between the happiness of the man who had done much for Christ on earth—who had long stood "a pillar in the temple of God"—and that of the monument of grace who had just been plucked at the eleventh hour "a brand from the burning."

As memory, we have reason to know, will form a fearful element in the misery of the lost (Luke 16:25;) so, we may conclude, will the exercise of the same ennobled faculty form an element of exalted bliss in the case of the righteous and the saved. The recollection of all that we have done out of love to the Savior, and to promote His cause on earth—the sacrifices, little though they be, we have made for Him—the denial of self for the furtherance of His glory—the affection we have borne to His people—the pleasures we have forsworn and forgone for His sake—all such will be matter of hallowed joy. Jesus will love to recount them—His words will carry their approving echo through all eternity—"Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it unto me." "You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things," (Matt. 25:23, 40.)

But yet, with all this diversity in bliss and glory, there will be no strife among the heavenly, as once among the earthly disciples, as to "who should be the greatest." In this present world, the race for distinction is limited and restricted; only a favored few can attain pre-eminence. "They which run" (on earth) "a race, all run, but only one receives the prize," (1 Cor. 9:24.) In Heaven, each will receive his reward. The runner may be distanced in the earthly course by his competitor—not so in the heavenly. "In the race for most worldly objects, one who has prepared himself, however well, runs uncertainly, since, after all his exertions, another may outstrip him; whereas he who aids a brother in striving for the incorruptible crown, is ever benefitting Himself," (Whately.) There will be crowns with varying luster, and harps of varying tone; but, like the blending of different colors to the eye, or different notes to the ear, all will be pervaded by one beautiful harmony. The saint on the loftiest pinnacle of glory, and the saint on the outskirts of the spiritual horizon, will have the same confession—"We are all one in Christ Jesus."

There will, moreover, be a felt and acknowledged equity in this future retribution. The grace or virtue most assiduously cultivated by the believer on earth, will, (in subordination to God's glory,) be the main channel of his happiness in heaven. In the words of Richard Baxter, "we shall join with Moses in his song—with David in his psalm of praise. We shall see Enoch walking with God—Noah enjoying the end of his singularity—Joseph of his integrity—Job of his patience—Hezekiah of his uprightness, and all the saints the end of their faith."

On earth, the cultivation of particular branches of knowledge brings a pleasure to their possessors which is denied to those ignorant of them. The man, for example, who has cultivated the science of music, is capable of enjoying the elaborate composition and exquisite harmonies of some great master, in a way which another cannot do who has neglected this study. So likewise in Heaven; we believe that whatever may have been the tree of righteousness—the Christian grace or virtue or labor—you have most assiduously nurtured and cultivated here, you will through eternity encamp under its shadow and partake of its fruits. Whatever were the desires to which your lips and your heart were most frequently attuned below, you will resume with most intense pleasure amid the sublime harmonies of "the new heavens and the new earth." Whatever kindled your luster as an earthly star, that radiance will be perpetuated in the celestial skies. Heaven will not extinguish your earthly tastes and longings—your earthly energies and activities. As a luminous orb you will still shine for God—not absorbing your light, but delighting to be a holy medium in giving forth radiations to others. Not a volume bound up and put under lock and key in the library of Heaven, but continued as a living epistle to be read by other orders of intelligent beings. Not a life of dreamy inaction—all its moral activities arrested on entering the spirit-world, but occupied in true angel-work—endless ministries of love.

Jesus, knowing the tastes and capacities of His ransomed, will delight to lead from fountain to fountain—from scene to scene—from eminence to eminence, as He knows they will be severally able to appreciate them.

Oh, what an incentive is this to be "up and doing"—to be adding to your faith the bright catalogue of Christian graces! Seek an "abundant entrance." It will be joy indeed, happiness far transcending earth's happiest hours, to bask as a star on the outskirts of glory. But why not be fired by the noble ambition to be near the all-glorious Center? Your crown, given by grace and sprinkled with blood, can never be dim, but why not strive now, that when the Lord the righteous judge shall reward you, you may be "found unto praise, and honor, and glory," at His second appearing?