James Smith, 1858

"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand!" Psalm 16:11

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined--what God has prepared for those who love him!" 1 Corinthians 2:9

HEAVEN! What is it? It is--God's residence, the Savior's home, and our Father's house! It is a paradise of pleasure, a temple of worship, and the residence of perfect purity and peace! There, God unveils his glory, the Savior exhibits his charms, the angels perform their service, and the saints are entirely happy with their God. In Heaven--sin is banished, holiness is perfect, life is a continual feast, and mortality is swallowed up of life. From Heaven--all pain is banished, all enemies are excluded, and all causes of sorrow are shut out. In Heaven--all our prayers are answered, all our desires are gratified, and all our needs are supplied. There is no weeping, wailing, or wishing there. The sun never sets; Spring is no longer followed by Winter; nor is youth followed by old age. In Heaven--our knowledge will be perfect, our happiness abiding, and our pleasures ever new. In Heaven--we shall see Jesus, be with Jesus, and be like Jesus, forever!

HEAVEN! Who are there?
All tried and tempted followers of Jesus are there.
All doubting and fearing disciples of Jesus are there.
All poor and despised believers are there.
Multitudes, who felt totally unworthy of such glory, and feared they would never reach the place--are there.

All who were chosen by the Father, all who were redeemed by the Son, and all who were sanctified by the Holy Spirit--are there. All who ever sought the Lord in sincerity, fled to Jesus for salvation, and ventured on his blood and obedience alone--are there. Myriads, collected from all times, all places, and all circumstances--are there. Some of all ages, and classes, and characters--are there. In one word, the excellent of the earth are there, the angelic hosts are there, and God, Father, Son, and Spirit, are there. O glorious place! O happy people! O blissful employment! May I find a place there, form part of that vast number, and take part in that holy worship forever!

HEAVEN! What do they enjoy there? Who can answer this question--but one who has been there; and he would need a new language to state, and new figures to represent the enjoyments of Heaven. But they enjoy rest from their pains--and a full supply of all their needs. They enjoy perfect satisfaction, a fullness of joy, and pleasure forevermore. They see all that they believed, realize all that they hoped for, and possess all that they loved. They have health--without sickness; pleasure--without pain, and holiness--without sin. Every sense is gratified, every power is pleasurably employed--and they have the full persuasion that it will be so forever.

Now, they love God as they desired, enjoy Jesus as they longed to do, and possess the certainty they sighed for. They are perfectly and perpetually happy!

Who can tell, what the ransomed and sanctified soul is capable of enjoying? But their enjoyments reach the measure of their capacities. O Heaven, in you there is no tempting devil, no ensnaring world, no indwelling corruption; no doubts, fears, or misgivings! And best of all, there is no sin!

O Heaven, in you I shall see my God, possess my Savior, and enjoy the fullness of the Holy Spirit! O Heaven, in you I shall be with angels and saints, with cherubim and seraphim! O my God, in Heaven I shall be satisfied--for I shall be with you, serving and enjoying you without weariness or cessation!

HEAVEN! Who will yet get to Heaven? Who? Ah, perhaps many we little think of! We shall miss many whom we expected to find there--and find many whom we never expected would reach that glorious place!

Who will go to Heaven? That poor man who is striving against sin, mourning over corruption, and loathing himself before God. That poor woman, who sighs because she sins, pants for perfect holiness, and clings to the cross of Jesus. Do you see that poor soul on his knees, confessing his transgressions, pleading for pardon, and seeking grace to sanctify his nature--he will go to Heaven. Do you see that lowly Christian, who is visiting the sick, pointing sufferers to the cross, and trying to alleviate human woe, out of love to Jesus--he will go to Heaven. Do you see that Sunday School teacher, who, after a hard week's work, is regularly in his class, speaking loving words, in tender tones, to win the little ones for the Savior--he will go to Heaven. Do you see that preacher who exalts Christ in his ministry, honors the gospel in his life, and travails in birth for souls--he will go to Heaven.

Heaven will be peopled by all who believe in Jesus, love the brethren, and worship God in Spirit and in truth. There will be a numberless multitude there, all deeply indebted to free mercy, washed in the Savior's blood, and sanctified by the Spirit's grace.

HEAVEN! How may we make sure of getting there? By faith in Jesus--for he who believes shall be saved. By repentance, confession of sin, and holiness of life--for he who confesses and forsakes his sins shall find mercy. By surrendering to Christ, consecrating ourselves to Christ, and devoting all to the service and praise of Christ.

To entitle us to Heaven--we must have a saving interest in the perfect work of Christ. To qualify or fit us for Heaven--we must be born again, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Without faith in Christ--we have no title to Heaven; and without a new birth--we have no fitness for Heaven. Let us then make sure of these two things, that we believe in Jesus with the heart, and that we are born again by the Spirit of God--and so we make sure of going to Heaven.

Reader, there is a Heaven, a most glorious Heaven--do you believe this? There is a way--but only one way to Heaven--do you perceive this? Only those found in the way will ever reach it--do you realize this? You may be within an hour or two of either Heaven or Hell--do you know which? If called away suddenly--to which would you go? To one or the other you must go--for there is no intermediate place. It is of the greatest consequence to you, that you should know. Ought you not to be certain? Can you be certain too soon? You have a Heaven to obtain, or a Hell to endure--to all eternity! Which shall it be? O that you were wise, that you properly realized this, that you would consider your latter end!

Heaven with all its glories--or Hell with all its horrors--must be your eternal portion, and all depends upon the present. If you seek the Lord, if you believe in Jesus, if you forsake sin, if you follow after holiness, if your one aim is to glorify God--then Heaven is yours. But if you live after the flesh, in the indulgence of its appetites and propensities; if you despise the Savior, make light of the Gospel, and neglect God's great salvation--then Hell, an eternal Hell, with all its unspeakable horrors, is your portion!

"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." Matthew 25:46