"Things to Come"
“Things to come; all are yours.” — 1 Corinthians iii. 22.
A SHORT time ago we meditated upon the former words of this Terse, “Things present; all are yours.” Friends have asserted that it was a pleasant and profitable meditation: may we have a more than equal by the blessing of God’s Spirit this morning. The waters are deeper in the things to come than in the things present, but they are every drop of them as sweet. The horizon is wider in the future than in the present, but it is equally clear. If the clouds which threaten us in the future are darker than any we have hitherto experienced, the covenant rainbow shall span them all; and if the glories which are to be revealed are more sublime than any we have yet beheld, they are as certainly ours as those of less bewildering lustre, for there are no hesitations here, but plainly and boldly doth the text assert, “Things to come; all are yours.”
Without further preface, let us advance at once to consider the cheering truth of the text; first, let us view the general future as ours; then let us rejoice that the brightest of all the future is ours; and lastly, if ours, what light doth the future cast upon the present.
I. First, THE BROAD FUTURE IS OURS.
We are very apt to wish to pry into it by vain forebodings and vainer prognostications, but grace forbids us to indulge such impertinence and foolish curiosity. The leaves of the book of destiny are folded; the volume is sealed as with seven seals; thou needest not desire to read a single line, however, for the Lord tells thee that, whatever may be recorded in it, it is all thine; it must all work for thy good; it must all promote shy highest happiness. Why shouldst thou wish to see the mystic writing for thyself? Thy faith is sure of the issue: let that content thee. In the dark days of superstition, the pretended magician would hold up a crystal globe, and bid his dupe look in it, and when he saw nothing, he would tell him that he had an untaught, unaccustomed eye; but when the soothsayer stared into that ball himself, he pretended that he saw the future. My text is a crystal ball, which doth not tell thee what the future shall be as to facts and minutiae, but which assures thee concerning all coming events, what it is far better for thee to know, that all things are thine, if thou be Christ’s — all future things are vested in thy name, to be thy possession by a covenant of salt, to minister to thy comfort, and to increase thy highest wealth. Let that content thee. Gaze not through the telescope to see the future, lest thou breathe upon the glass, and then mistake the haze of thine own breath for thick clouds and overshadowing tempests. Be content to quiet vain curiosity by leaving the future in his hands to whom it is even now present. The Lord thy God will surely bear thy burdens, therefore be thou quieted as a weaning child.
We may expect in the future, brethren, such a degree of joy, as may be fitting this side Canaan. Albeit that the mention of the word “future” inevitably suggests to anxious minds dreams of dread, yet we have no reason to expect that the rest of our life will be more unhappy than the years which are passed already with the years beyond the flood. As Christians, we dare not, and would not murmur at providential appointments. Life to us has had its sorrows, but goodness and mercy have followed us hitherto, and they shall with equal certainty follow us all the days of our life. Though this is not our rest, and we are strangers and foreigners, as all our fathers were, yet for all this, “he maketh us to lie down in green pastures, he leadeth us beside still waters.” “The lines have fallen unto us in pleasant places, and we have a goodly heritage;” we will not speak ill of God’s name who daily loadeth us with benefits, but we will sing, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all. that is within me bless his holy name. Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” We have reason to expect that in the future our lot will include a fair measure of joy, even as the past has done. Summers will bring their flowers, and autumns their mellow fruits; days shall be bright with sunlight, and nights gorgeous with moon and stars. Whatever is beautiful shall still give its rill of joy. Whatever is tender shall yield its ray of comfort. Perhaps to sorrowful hearts the brightest part of their mortal existence is yet to come; they shall pass from Bochim to Beulah! Lay hold on this hope, poor weeper! Ye who are in the hey-day of your youth, looking to the joys of the future, reckon not too surely upon them; but still you have a right to expect a measure of joy even here below. Ye who are struggling in the service of your divine Master, you may reckon up the joy of success, or at least of acceptance at his hands. You who are contending against sin may anticipate the joy of conquest. You who are planning how you can serve God on a wider scale, and in a wiser manner, may expect the joy of his guidance. The truth which I desire to bring before your minds is this: these joys which God may allot to you in the future are yours. Start not back from them as though the golden goblet of divine love must necessarily be filled with a poisoned wine. Mercy may be abused into sin, but in itself the bounty of Providence is pure. Nay, sirs, when God giveth pleasure it is safe, pure, and elevating; you need not suspect its character. There is a joy of the Lord which is the strength of godly souls. There is a rejoicing in Christ Jesus which doth make fat the bones, and causes the soul to sing, and purifies the nature by the divinity of its power, making us live above the inferior joys of sin, because we possess higher and nobler delights. Believer in Christ Jesus, be not afraid of future comfort; it is yours. All things are yours, and in the things to come, if there be anything that is bright, anything that is sparkling, anything that is precious, anything that can make thee glad, anything that can make thy tongue sing loud hallelujahs, accept thou it right cheerfully from the hand of thy covenant -keeping God and say, “It is mine.”
Still, though we touch that string, we have to return to the old paths, and remind you that in the future, without any foolish forebodings, you may expect troubles. Necessarily and unavoidably, if you and I shall be spared to live to an old age, there are certain trials that must happen to us. Changes in circumstances may arise, poverty may supplant wealth, and slander injure fame; where barns were filled to bursting, there may arise a famine; and those whose broad acres could scarce be traversed in a day, may come to a scanty plot of ground, or none at all. But if that do not happen to thee, yet at any rate, thy friends must die, if thou do not. Those who in thy younger days were thy familiar acquaintances and companions, must pass away, and if thou survivest, thou shalt gradually find thyself, like a lone tree of the forest, when the woodman hath exercised his craft, month after month. They that knew thee shall have departed, and the generation that has followed shall not know Joseph. During the lapse of years thy children one by one may die; thy spouse so dear to thy soul may be taken from thee, brethren and sisters may also leave the vale of tears. It must be so. Canst thou hope that the arrows of death will for ever turn aside from thy family? Art thou of an immortal race, and thy children, and thy sires, and all thou lovest, are these immortal too? Nay, they must depart, so nature has decreed. We must expect, sooner or later, that infirmities of body will set in. To some they come, alas! too soon; to all they must come in their time. The windows little by little are darkened, the pillars of the house do tremble, the grinders fail because they are few, and the strong man findeth the grasshopper to be a burden. These things must come; to all men are such trials measured out. And there must come temptations, and inward conflicts, and outward afflictions, in all which we shall have need to possess our souls in patience, lest we be overcome of evil. Trials will arise from our own household, even more severe than if our Absalom had been cut off by death. Alas! how often is the living cross far more heavy and galling than if it had been dead; and certainly to us all there must come (unless Christ shall soon appear) the valley of death-shade, the passage of the black river, the clammy sweat, and the mortal anguish of the last dread hour; “for it is appointed unto men once to die.”
Alas! our fears find it an easy task to paint a very terrible picture out of these gloomy materials. The pains and groans of our dying strife affright us; the giants, the hills of difficulty and the valleys of humiliation, alarm us; we picture the path of the heavenly pilgrimage as a valley of the shadow of death, throughout full of confusion, dark with adversities, beset with snares, watched over by dragons, and blocked up by Apollyons. Let our text encourage us, for it declares to us that all these things are ours. There is not in the whole area of our future life a single plot of stony ground which shall not yield us fertile harvests of joy. As Midas of old touched even the most valueless objects and turned them into gold, so does the hand of divine love transmute every trial and affliction into everlasting joy for his people. Two seeds lie before us — the one is warmed in the sun, the other falls from the sower’s hand into the cold dark earth, and there it lies buried beneath the soil. That seed which suns itself in the noontide beam may rejoice in the light in which it basks, but it is liable to be devoured by the bird; and certainly nought can come of it, however long it may linger above ground; but the other seed, hidden beneath the clods in a damp, dark sepulchre, soon swells, germinates, bursts its sheath, upheaves the mould, springs up a green blade, buds, blossoms, becomes a flower, exhales perfume, and loads the wings of every wind. Better far for the seed to pass into the earth and die, than to lie in the sunshine and produce no fruit; and even thus for thee the future in its sorrow shall be as a sowing in a fertile land; tears shall moisten thee, grace shall increase within thee, and thou shale grow up in the likeness of thy Lord unto perfection of holiness, to be such a flower of God’s own planting as even angels shall delight to gaze upon in the day of thy transplanting to celestial soil. All the future is yours. I trust the Holy Spirit will make this truth full of comfort to you, for to my own soul it is as balm to a bleeding wound, or a cool wind to a fevered cheek. If I can but be persuaded that every occurrence of the future will most surely work for my good, and is by God’s decree ordained to be a blessing to me, and an honour to himself, then, it seems to me, I can have no choice, for no evil can happen to me, and seeming ill is but another form of benediction. If all events shall aid me, what matters in what dress they come, whether of scarlet and fine linen, or sackcloth and ashes. Trial may be very hard to bear for a time, but since in the very hardness of the endurance lies the blessing, the bitter is sweet and the medicine is food. Courage, men and brethren, ye shall meet nought but friends between this and the pearly gate, or, if you meet an enemy, it shall be a conquered one, who shall crouch at your feet, and you shall put your foot on his neck, and win a brighter victory, and a heavier crown, because of the encounter; so that even the foe advances your honour. Courage, men and brethren, the winds which toss the waves of the Atlantic of your life, are all sworn to waft your bark safely into the desired haven. Every wind that rises, whether soft or fierce, it is a divine monsoon, hurrying in the same direction as your soul’s desires are aiming at. God walks the tempest, and rules the storm; order reigns supreme in the uproars of elements or men, for the divine hand compels the most rebellious creatures to obey without fail the divine and all-wise decree. What cheer is this for the saints of God!
Passing on a little further in the word of God, we have certain dark hints, as to the grand events of the future, which concern the church and the world. I must confess myself to be, in the presence of the writings of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, and John of Patmos, as a little child wandering through the museum, marvelling at the Egyptian hieroglyphs, and the Assyrian cuneiform characters, but quite unable to spell them out; fancying, sometimes, that I have the key of the mysteries, and anon discovering some new form of divine symbology which quite confuses me, and makes me confess that I am but of yesterday, and know nothing. Yet does it appear that we are to expect the overturning of many things, which now we regard as permanent. The rule of the coming ages is to be “overturn, overturn,” till he shall come whose right it is. Heavings and convulsions there will be till all the things which can be shaken will be removed in the general conflagration; when the earth also, and all the works that are therein, shall be burned up, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. I am not putting these events in order, for I do not even know their order, and am neither a prophet nor an expounder of prophecy — but it is clear we are to look for the establishment of the Jews in their own land, the conversion of Israel with the fulness of the nations. We are to expect the literal advent of Jesus Christ, for he himself by his angel told us, “This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven,” which must mean literally and in person. We expect a reigning Christ on earth; that seems to us to be very plain, and to be put so literally that we dare not spiritualise it. We anticipate a first and a second resurrection; a first resurrection of the righteous, and a second resurrection of the ungodly, who shall be judged, condemned, and punished for ever by the sentence of the great King. We foresee from the word, despite its obscurity, that strange and wonderful events will happen, such as are depicted by vials, and warriors with avenging swords, and falling stars, and a shrivelled sky, and a reeling earth, and I know not what beside; but when we have put all together and have been sore amazed at the visions that flit before us like dreams of the night, we rejoice to learn at the end of them all, “All these things are ours, whatever they may be.” In the present political crisis there is much alarm and trepidation felt by some as to what may become of a movement which is very dear to most of us. and to accomplish which we would almost be prepared to die, but I foresee in the distance no adversary who can long withstand ns, and the brief opposition which may be offered will increase the ultimate victory. All things that shall happen, be they ever so cross to your thoughts and counter to your wishes, will, nevertheless, come up, like Blucher at Waterloo, at the exact moment when they shall help on the grand old cause. Justice must reign; the church of God must be free from her adulterous connection with the state. God ordereth everything in providence; neither the good by excess of zeal, nor the bad by their malice, shall mar his work. Through the thick darkness I hear the tramp of another host marching to battle, and though I cannot see their plumes, yet am I assured that whether friend or foe, they must, ere the battle is over, have yielded no mean service to our holy cause. Homage must be done even by the powers of darkness to the great King, the Lord of Hosts. Therefore, by the cross and by the crown of Jesus, ye lovers of truth and justice, ye children of a free church and a just God, charge home against the foes of God and man; who under pretence of religion would continue to oppress the sister isle. Ye that love the Lord hate evil, abhor the doing of evil that good may come; believe in the true and the just, but have no faith in wrong. Jesus your Lord would not worship Satan though all nations were showed him as a bribe, neither must we be guilty of injustice though we anticipated from it the happiest results. Let right be done come what may. Consequences are with God; duty alone is ours. Sever the church from the state let it cost what it may. Even if for the moment advantage should seem to be given to the enemies of our faith, it is but so in appearance, or if it were real, we can afford to give it them and yet defeat them. We can hurl down this day the gauntlet of our God, and of his Christ, in the presence of earth and hell, and let those take it up who dare; for with all the deadliest odds against us we shall triumph yet, for the Lord is in the midst of his church, and therefore is she invincible. We will give Goliath his greaves of brass, his spear, his armour, and his shield, for what are these? the Lord’s power, and a stone from his servant’s sling, shall lay the monster in the dust. Let every Christian, then, look forward to future events, on the largest scale, with complete complacency. Let empires shake, let crowns fall from heads anointed, let the great ones of the earth put their hands upon their loins like women in travail, let those that were full hire themselves out tor bread, and let the rulers be astonished; but as surely as God is God, the day cometh when the Lord will maintain the right and avenge the oppressed, and set up his great white throne, from which he will “judge the poor,” and “save the children of the needy,” and “break in pieces the oppressor.” So be it, good Lord, and we will bless thy name.
Once more, amongst the things to come, we mainly consider the heaven of God and the blessedness eternal which are ordained for the righteous. Now, whatever heaven is, and wherever heaven may be, this one thing the text declares, that it is ours. The heaven of the separate spirit before the resurrection, the place where disembodied souls dwell with Christ — this is ours: the perfect heaven of the saints, after the body shall be raised in the likeness of Christ, when soul and body in one man shall sit down at the right hand of God — all this is ours. To attempt to describe heaven as some have sought to do, is to prove our folly; it shall suffice us to wait till we enjoy it; and meanwhile we will comfort ourselves with this thought, that all its delights are ours.
II. I shall beg your special attention, in the second place, to THE BRIGHT ETERNAL FUTURE as being ours.
Come with me, dear hearers, to the text again. Come with me and let down the bucket and draw the water fresh and living from the ever springing well. “Things to come; all are yours.” Notice that the text is not in the subjunctive mood — it reads not “all may be yours.” According to the doctrine of certain esteemed brethren, a Christian may have a hope of heaven, but he can never have a certainty of it, for a child of God may go back into perdition, and an heir of the promises may miss the inheritance. Alas! there must be scant store of food when the doctrine that the saints may perish everlastingly is not only accepted for truth, but actually regarded as a theme for song. Samaria was straitly shut up when the coarsest offal sold at a high price for food; and men must be thoroughly famished when they desire benefit from words like these:—
“O Lord, with trembling I confess,
An heir of God may fall from grace.”
If it be indeed so, the text ought to run, “ It is possible that all things to come may be yours.” “Things to come may be yours,” if— if— if— with ifs in a long line, such as if you are faithful to grace, if you do this and that. It is premature, I think, on Paul’s part, on our friend’s theory, to say, that things to come are ours; the apostle should have waited awhile to see how we hold on. Those angels in heaven are exceedingly impudent on this theory, for they rejoice in the very bud of grace “over one sinner that repenteth.” Why they should do so if that repentant sinner may after all fall back and be damned I can hardly see. Their songs would be more seemly when the battle is won, than when the young knight buckles on his harness. Wise men shout at harvest home and not at seed-sowing. If penitents do not by God’s grace become dwellers in glory, there is small cause of angelic joy. Ah! they believe the truth of God, and doubt not his infallible love; how I wish the saints on earth were all equally sound on a matter of such importance! The angels know full well that such as Jesus hath redeemed, such as God hath called, such as unfeignedly believe, such as have been regenerated by the Holy Ghost, shall be saved. All things, ye faithful in Christ, are yours — not as the Pope gave England to the Spanish king — if he could get it! but all things are laid up, prepared and ordained for you, and the grant which Christ hath made to you stands good, and entails the blessing upon you world without end. “All things to come are yours.”
Please to notice, too, that the text is not in the future tense — “Things to come shall he yours.” If it were so written, it would read most grammatically, and according to the strictest requirements of language. “Things to come shall be yours” is not enough. How can they be ours till they have come? But the text speaks in the present tense; and brethren, all the bliss of the future, and the heaven of God as yet unrevealed, are ours at this very moment, for we have a title to them, clear and good; and though, like young nobles who are under age, we come not into our estates until a little time has passed, and we have reached our majority, yet those estates are as much ours by indisputable right as if we did possess and enjoy them at this moment. When one of our English kings demanded of his barons where were their title deeds to their lands, a hundred swords flashed from the scabbards, as every man swore to maintain his right by his good sword. We take no sword from its scabbard, but we point to the person of our blessed Lord in whom we trust, for he is both our God and our right, and we are persuaded that as our Surety and our Representative, he will preserve our inheritance for us. The heritage which he claims as Son of God the devil shall not defraud him of, and since all that he has he has made over to us, our title is good and valid, and we are not afraid to claim this day that “things to come are ours.”
Notice, again, that in the text there is no exception — “Things to come; all are yours.” All! Then there is nothing excepted. Whatever may be the future glory of the saints, it belongs, according to this text, to them all — “All are yours.” And as there is no exception of things, so there is no exception of persons. Not “All future glories belong to a few of you, and only a portion to others;” but all the blessings that are to come, belong to all the people to whom Paul was speaking— that is, to all who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called by the Spirit. I mention this because there is a new doctrine springing up (and there is generally a new doctrine every week nowadays) — a new doctrine that some of us who may not hold certain views of the millennium, or who may not be so readily duped as others are with fanatical views of the future, are not to have a share in the kingdom, and to be shut out from many divine favours. There is not a word of Scripture to back such an idea, and my text, if there were nothing else, puts its foot upon so wretched a notion and crushes it outright. All that is promised in Scripture, all that heaven will disclose, belongs to every child of God. “All are yours, and ye are Christ’s.” We shall have them next affirming that some of the saints are not Christ’s. We shall have them claiming to be of a higher caste than us poor Pariah’s, who are destitute of their elevated knowledge; indeed, the one assembly of Jesus Christ, as a certain sect delights to call itself, when it does not utterly excommunicate all who differ from it, when it is in its more charitable mood, promulgates a theory of a sort of aristocracy and democracy of saints: on their theory we may expect to see a gradation of principalities and powers, they themselves occupying places at the right hand of the Lord in his kingdom, while poor benighted believers like ourselves may charitably be permitted to pick up the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table! It is ours to believe that all God’s people are equally regenerated, equally adopted, equally washed in blood, equally justified, and equally made to be inheritors of the possessions which belong to us by the covenant of grace. Oh, trouble not your heads with these whimsies of modern fanaticism. “All things to come are yours” if you .are Christ’s; whoever you maybe, there is not one mercy excepted from you, nor you excepted from one of them. Let this be your comfort and delight.
The text speaks without a grain of contingency as to the things to come. It does not say heaven is ours if there be a heaven, and glory is ours if it shall indeed be revealed; but the blessings are spoken of as though they must come— “Things to come.” And so, beloved, our future glory is ordained by divine decree. It is hastened on by every event of Providence; it is prepared by the ascension of our blessed Lord, and his session at the right hand of God; it is existing even now; in measure, beatified saints are already partakers of it, and we may rest assured that by no means shall we be defrauded of the bliss which God has promised.
To introduce you a moment into this glory, let me remind you of a choice text, which like a golden gate leads us into the city. It is in the sixteenth Psalm, just at the close of it. “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Here is as brief, and yet complete a description of heaven, as I can well give you. The things to come thus mentioned belong to all the saints; life is yours — not mere existence, but life fraught with happiness and bliss. Life and the path of it — that mysterious secret which only Jesus could reveal. That narrow path the eagle’s eye hath not seen, and the lion’s whelp hath not trodden; it is the secret of the Lord which is with them that fear him. But that path of life is yours to-day! Think of it! Christ in you is that path of life — he is yours! The life eternal is in you now. The life of heaven is none other than the life of believers developed. “I give unto my sheep eternal life”; they have it now, the selfsame life that suns itself in the presence of God is the life which reveals itself this day in prayer, which groans in desire, and which sings with holy joy in gratitude to the Most High. You have already then, as yours, the life and the path of life, which constitute heaven. “In thy presence,” says the psalmist; the divine presence is heaven; to see the face of God, to be consciously and acceptably near to God; no longer set afar off by sin or divided by frailty, or aught besides; this is our glorious rest. But, beloved, ours is this divine presence to-day; according as we are able to bear it, we behold the face of our Father now. Though, by reason of our mortality, we could not endure to behold his unclouded splendour; yet, in the person of Jesus Christ, the Mediator, we perceive the brightness of the Father’s glory. Heaven, in the text, is described as nearness to God, in the words, “At thy right hand.” How near the glorified are in heaven they themselves know ; but we are near also; and though not always near to our own perception, yet faith rejoices that the justified are a people near unto God — as near, indeed, as Christ himself is. The right hand is also the place of honour. Kings seat their favourites at their right hand. The inhabitants of heaven are an honoured company; but we also, though sojourning below, are at God’s right hand this day, in a certain respect. Though it doth not yet appear what we shall be, yet to-day are we the sons of God, his chosen and his beloved. The right hand of God is a place of safety, and though immunity from every peril be a thing to come, in a certain sense, yet is it ours to enjoy to-day; for the Lord covers us with his feathers, and under his wings do we trust; his truth has become our shield and buckler. The psalmist speaks of fulness: “At thy right hand there is fulness of joy.” This bliss, believer, will fill all thy powers to the brim, this exceeding weight of glory will be more than thy heart could conceive, this joy is more than thine ear hath ever heard men tell of, and yet it is all thine, and thine to-day. Though thou hast not yet reached the everlasting fulness, yet thou hast tasted some of the spray of its joyous waves, and these have made thy heart dream of what immortal joys must be. Fulness of joy is spoken of by David; here is the suitability of heaven for us. It is such as to be really joy to us, not a banqueting place for angels only, but a festival for men. Our joy shall be the joy of our Lord, the man Christ Jesus; such joy as will suit our nature. “At thy right hand there are pleasures.” Here is their variety. Heaven’s joys are not one bare delight, but many rich pleasures. I cannot stay to read into the catalogue now, but heavenly joys shall be like the tree of life in the New Jerusalem, which brings forth twelve manner of fruits, and yields her fruit every month. Robert Hall used to cry, “O for the everlasting rest!” but Wilberforce would sigh to dwell in unbroken love. Hall was a man who suffered — he longed for rest; Wilberforce was a man of amiable spirit, loving society and fellowship — he looked for love. Hall shall have his rest, and Wilberforce shall have his love. There are joys at God’s right hand, suitable for the spiritual tastes of all those who shall come thither. Best of all, these pleasures are “for evermore:” mark their continuance — they shall never cease. There shall be no pause in the hallelujahs of heaven; no nights to eternal days; no winters to close celestial springs. Nor do the words alone declare continuance, they tell of perpetuity. “For evermore.” There shall be no end to the rest which remaineth for the people of God. The text saith that all which David spake of is ours, and so indeed it is. Heaven is ours in the price; the blood of Jesus has opened the gates of heaven to us. It is ours in the promise, for the Lord hath promised eternal life to believers; and Jesus wills that his people be with him where he is, that they may behold his glory. It is ours in the first principles; holiness in the heart is heaven begun below. The Holy Spirit’s indwelling is the pledge and earnest of our inheritance. Once more, heaven is ours in our Representative, for Jesus has taken possession on our behalf, and its goodly land is seized and claimed by him who is our Head, our Leader, and our all. Here let us close this part of our meditation, and occupy one moment or so with practical truth, light shed upon the action of the present by the brightness of the future.
III. Very hurriedly then, beloved brethren and sisters, if things to come belong to all the saints, EXAMINE WELL YOUR TITLE DEEDS, to see whether they belong to you. It will help you if you remember that the saints are Christ’s. Are you Christ’s? Do you trust him? Do you love him and serve him? If so, your title is clear, and all future things are yours.
Next, set greatest store by your best treasure ; and, as the best things are to come, sec loose by the present. The present is a shadow, a bubble that is dissolved: the future lasts for ever. Where your treasure is, there let your heart be. Rejoice even now, I pray you, in your inheritance. As you are thus rich, let your spending-money be dealt out with a generous hand. You are on your way to the mansions of the blessed; rejoice as you make the pilgrimage. If you have no present reason for thankfulness, yet the future may yield you much. Break forth, therefore, into joy and singing, and with songs and everlasting joy upon your head make your way towards Zion. If it be so, that all the future is yours, meditate much upon it; make heaven the subject of your daily thoughts; live not on this present, which is but food for swine, but live on the future, which is meat for angels. How refined will be your communications if your meditations are sublime! Your life will be heavenly if your musings are heavenly. Take wings to your spirit, and dwell amongst the angels.
All these things are yours; then prepare for them. Day by day, in the all-cleansing blood of Jesus, which is the path of purity, wash your souls. By repentance cast off every sin; by a renewed application to Jesus and his Spirit, obtain fresh power against every evil. Stand ready for heaven with your loins girt about and your lamp trimmed; be waiting for the midnight cry, “Behold the bridegroom cometh!” Let your life be spent in the suburbs of the celestial city, in a devout sanctity of thought and act. Live upon the door-step of the pearl gate, always waiting for the time when the angelic messenger shall say, “Come up hither.”
If, indeed, all things are yours day by day, gratefully bless God that though thou deservest to descend into hell, thou hast such a place reserved for thee as heaven. Thou mightest have been cast away; the damnation of hell might have been thine only outlook; it is grace alone that has made thee to differ, and given thee a portion among them that are sanctified. Therefore bless God as long as thou hast any being, and let none hinder thee in thy sacred joy. Praise him night and day for what he has done for thee.
And, lastly, if thou hast no title for these things to come; if they are none of them thine, be amazed and confounded, for it will be an awful thing for Christ to come and thou to have no part in him; for heaven to come and thou no entrance into it; for then there will remain to thee nothing but a fearful looking for of judgment and of fiery indignation. Alas! for thee, judgment shall summon thee, and the Judge shall condemn thee, and outer darkness, and weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, shall be thy portion for ever. God grant, poor soul, that thou mayest lay hold on Christ this morning by an act of simple and humble faith, taking him to be thine only confidence; thus and thus only the blessings of Christ shall become yours; but if you refuse to believe on Christ Jesus, then fearfulness and dismay will lay hold on you in the day when he shall come to judge the world in righteousness according to his gospel. The Lord bless you richly, each one of you, for his name’s sake. Amen.