« AnteriorContinuar »
verse with them forever; and I take comfort in those of them that are dead or absent, as believing that I shall shortly meet them in heaven, and love them with a heavenly love that shall then be perfected."
Doddridge said, "Let me be thankful for the pleasing hope that, though God loves my child to well to permit it to return to me, he will ere long bring me to it. And then that endeared paternal affection, which would have been a cord to tie me to earth, and have added new pangs to my removal from it, will be as a golden chain to draw me upwards, and add one further charm and joy
› paradise itself. *** It is for no language but that of heaven, to describe the sacred joy which such a meeting must occasion."
Chalmers wrote concerning the death of a child, “The blossom which withered here upon its stalk, has been transplanted there to a place of endurance; and it will then gladden that eye which now weeps out the agony of an affection that has been sorely wounded; and, in the name of Him who, if on earth, would have wept along with them, do we bid all believers present to sorrow not even as others which have no hope; but to take comfort in the hope of that country where there is no sorrow and no separation.' "'*
Edwards said, "The father shall know that such a one was his child; the husband shall remember that such a ne was his wife; the spiritual guide shall know that such be longed to his flock; and so all other relations of persons snall be renewed and known in heaven."
From a sermon of Dwight upon the Happiness of Heaven, I extract the following: "Husbands and wives, here mutually and singularly beloved, will there be united, not in
* For several of the preceding quotations the author is indebted to Harbaugh
deed in their former earthly relations, but in a friendship far more delightful, and, wafted onward by the stream of ages without a sigh, without a fear, will become in each other's eyes, more and more excellent, amiable, and endeared forever."
Emmons thus wrote, "All pious brothers and sisters, all pious parents and children, all pious husbands and wives, all pious friends and all pious ministers, and their pious hearers, will be forever known to each other and intimately connected in heaven, and mutually promote each other's felicity.
All Christians in every part of the world, who are now alive, will very soon meet together with their departed friends in heaven, and their meeting in that holy and happy place must fill their hearts with mutual joy, and remove all the pains and sorrows of their former parting."
Quotations of a similar character might be multiplied indefinitely, but the above will serve to illustrate to what extent the belief in this doctrine obtains. The difficulty is not in finding theologians who believe as above, but in finding those who do not thus believe.
It is objected to this doctrine that Christ himself will absorb the affections, interest and time, in heaven, and that it is a disparagement to him to believe that the sainted throng will be interested in each other. That Christ will be the centre of all love and attraction with he ransomed," the chief among ten thousand and the one altogether lovely," is readily admitted. That it will be heaven enough to dwell where the Saviour is, and that saints will desire to see his face" first of all, is not denied. But, that this superior interest in Christ precludes the possibility of such interest in kindred as has been described, is untrue. As well might we contend that the love of Christ on earth hinders our love of
kindred, when facts prove it the reverse. Christ, the more we love our friends.
The more we love There is many a reck
less prodigal returned to his father's house to re-love his
kindred, because he has learned to love Christ.
The love of Christ destroys no affection between friend and friend, but elevates and purifies it makes it stronger, more abiding, and holier. Why will it not be thus in heaven? Rather will not the ties of kindred there be more complete because of the augmented love of Christ? The Scriptures declare "that we love the children of God, when we love God," and command chat he who loveth God, love his brother also." Hence, the great love of Christ, that will fill the hearts of the glorified above, becomes an additional reason for believing, that the social ties of sanctified humanity will exist there.
We have now presented some of the reasons for believing that Christian friends will recognize each other in the "many mansions." There are many natural and moral truths which men receive upon far less evidence than that which supports the doctrine under consideration. We have seen that the doctrine is sustained by the universal desire and belief of mankind, by the existence of the remembering faculty, by the increasing knowledge of the mind, by the principle of sociality implanted in the human heart, and by the unerring Word of God. Upon this we are willing to rest our belief in the doctrine, and fondly cherish the hopes and desires which it awakens. We hail it as a real God-send in this world of broken ties, worthy of a place in the formulary of the Christian faith, and glorifying to its Divine Author.
Here, then, we base our plea for The Whole Family in Heaven. It surrounds the heavenly abode of the saints with sweeter attractions, to feel that in addition to the joy of beholding Christ, we may also meet father and mother, husband and wife, son and daughter, brother and sister, never to be parted more.
"Oh happy world! Oh glorious place!
Where all who are forgiven,
Shall find their loved and lost below,
And hearts like meeting streams, shall flow
Eternal home of the Christian family! How beautiful is our holy religion, when it hallows the various relations of the household, and finally brings its members from the divergent paths of life to their " Father's house," a joyous, unbroken band! "There," as another has said, "the mother again clasps her beautiful babes to her bosom, all resplendent in the glory of that Saviour who carried them in His arms thither. There, she who was the solitary widow, and who for long had to tread the melancholy path of immaculate sorrow for the husband of her heart, and who, perhaps, had to accept of life's coldest conditions to secure for her self and orphans a piece of bread-there, she finds the desire of her eyes; and, in garments of white, they together walk the streets of the heavenly city. There the orphan, the poor, shivering, timid orphan, who stood over a father's and a mother's grave, ere he knew or could appreciate such a loss, and who struggled on unbefriended through the battles and breezes of this selfish world, at length beholds and luxuriates in parental love. There the kind friends, the choice benefactors, to whom we have been indebted during our pilgrim passage for many comforts and precious aids, and whose departure from us to the world of spirits has made earth more gloomy, and life less joyous, shall again be met. and again enjoyed. In a word, all the blessed dead who have died in the Lord there meet again, and meet to part no more.'
What consolation is here for the bereaved! The separation, which death has caused between Christian friends is only for a transient season. The translation of every saint
ed one to Canaan's shore becomes a cause for thanksgiving; for they are safe; safe from the power of sin, safe from the wiles of the arch-apostate, safe from the snares and temptations of the world. A few more years will pass away swiftly as flies the weaver's shuttle, a few more moons will light the path of night, a few more suns will rise and set, when the "loved and parted" will meet again in that temple whose builder and maker is God. Viewed thus, there is no death to the pure in heart.
They are not lost-but gone before."
So-called death is only a transition statea passage from a shadowy to a resplendent world-a putting off the soiled garments of mortality, for the unsullied robes of immortality. Death is gain, such as figures cannot compute · change of life mortal for life immortal.
Such a view of the death of Christian friends has poured the oil of joy into many wounded hearts. It has dried up many tears, and mitigated many of the ills and sorrows of life. It has shed a softening and elevating influence over many bereaved circles, by bringing them into a more familiar relation to the world of light. Heaven is no longer a distant and indefinite state or condition; it is the alluring abode of their sainted friends. Their thoughts are often there. Their afflictions are lightened. They wait with patience for the day of final reunion.
Here, too, is found a powerful motive to piety! An eternal separation will sever the impenitent from their sainted friends. Sin cannot enter "those holy gates." There is no communion in all those glorious mansions for holy and unholy hearts. It is a thought which ought to deeply impress the unbelieving members of families. Are they ready to meet the dreadful alternative? Can they endure the thought of receiving no welcome to the abode where their ransomed kindred are? Say, thou unbelieving parent, if the love of