"Every voice is then harmonious,
Praising God in hymns symphonious,
Love each heart with light enfolding,
As they stand in peace beholding
There the Triune-Deity!"—Thomas A Kempis.
"So that God may be all in all."—1 Cor. 15:28.
We may shift and alter the heavenly kaleidoscope, but God
is still the center of its ineffable bliss—"the glory of its glory." In
union and communion with Him alone, will the longings of the immortal
spirit be at length fully and forever satisfied.
Existence is one long endeavor after some infinite good.
The disciples of Plato, in their gropings in the dark, aspired after a
mystical, undefined "Fullness," the possession of which was associated with
perfect happiness. This mythical dream of pagan philosophy has its reality
in "the fullness of Him that fills all in all." Here on earth, we have at
best only some feeble foretastes of the "fullness of God"—some
sips at the earthly fountain—what shall it be when we come to stand on
the margin of the infinite ocean! Ask the angels who are now peopling that
world of bliss—or the myriads of ransomed saints whose probation is finished
and their glorification begun, in what their supreme happiness consists.
Their response would be in words they had often before used, but whole true
meaning they had only learned in Glory—"It is good for us to draw near
unto GOD," (Ps. 73:28.)
The best earthly types of Heaven in Scripture were
designedly imperfect. How often, for example, was the earthly Zion spoken of
as the pattern and image of the Heavenly. But even in this "perfection of
beauty" there were defects and blemishes. No river (save the tiniest of
brooks) flowed past its walls. No war-ship(as in other earthly capitals) was
ever seen sailing by, or ship of commerce unlading its stores. "But," says
God, in beautiful allusion to these needs in the earthly Zion, "I shall come
in place of them in the Jerusalem above." "The Lord will be our Mighty
One. He will be like a wide river of protection that no enemy can cross,"
All other joys will be but reflections of the Great joy.
We shall be independent of starlight blessings when we have the
central sun—of the rivulet when we have the ocean. Were the
alternative presented, rather would the ranks of the glorified have God
without Heaven, than Heaven without God. There will be a devout
consciousness throughout all their wide circle of a sweet and holy
dependence on Him. They will never forget the pilgrim prayer of earth—"Hold
me up, and I shall be safe," (Ps. 119:117.) They will feel, even with
the crown on their head and the victor-song on their lips, that it is He
alone who makes them to dwell in safety, (Ps. 4:8.) They will live upon no
graces. Pensioners on earth, they will exult in the feeling that they are
pensioners still. The confession of time will be the anthem of eternity—"By
the grace of God we are what we are," (Rom. 15:10.)
We read of the saints that, glorified though they be,
they still "fall down before the throne," (Rev. 4:10.) Their
ascription, crowned though they be, is this, "Salvation to our God who
sits upon the throne," (Rev. 7:10.) The stream may sooner do without its
fountain—the parched furrow without its refreshing shower—the sky without
its sun—than they without Him who is the source and fountain-head of all
life, and light, and joy. "God himself shall be with them and be their
God, and they shall see His face," (Rev. 21:3.) The infinite center of
an infinite circumference, they shall love all in Him, and Him
in all! Not more surely on earth do the rivers run to the ocean, than in
Heaven will every aspiration of the Church triumphant be turned Godwards;
and it will be our happiness thus supremely to love—supremely to adore Him.
Here on earth, how often, how constantly, has the
Christian to watch over the objects of his love, lest ever and anon he be
betrayed into some sinful excess of idolatrous attachment. There will be no
such bound set in Heaven, because no such need for it. What a glory it
imparts to the soul of man—what an ennobling consciousness it gives of our
true dignity—future communion with, yes, future assimilation to, the
great Jehovah!—gravitating towards Him as an all-glorious center—the aim
and object of an infinite existence, perfectly to please Him!
Let me prepare for this lofty destiny, by making God more
than ever "the portion of my inheritance;" having a more constant and
habitual aim that His will and glory be the regulators of my daily being.
This was my Savior's desire for Himself. It constituted the happiness of His
spotless life—doing His Father's will and not His own. "I do think," says
Lady Powerscourt, "one chief part of our happiness hereafter will consist in
our being done with wretched SELF—God being all in all." Oh! what a
solemnizing influence would it exert on all our thoughts and feelings, our
duties and engagements, our pursuits and pleasures, our sleeping and waking,
our airy visions and worldly plans, were we to think that soon—very soon—we
shall be with God, and that forever and ever!
"Blessed fold! no foe can enter,
And no friend departs thence:
God Himself their Sun, their Center,
And their Shield Omnipotence.
"Thought, repress your weak endeavor,
Here must Reason prostrate fall;
Oh th' ineffable forever,
And th' eternal ALL IN ALL!"