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Christ shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Phil. iii. 21.)
Lily. And my verse I learnt for you this morning says, “I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.” (Psalm xvii. 15.)
Papa. And what a joy will this be of itself, my children, when these vile bodies, or bodies that humble us, (as the Greek means), so weak, so soon weary, so easily laid low by sickness and suffering,---are made like that glorious body with which Jesus ascended from Olivet into the clouds of heaven ; when they are no longer like weights that depress us, but wings that bear us upward into the sunlight of God's love, I suppose we shall be able to move as quick as thought, wherever we wish ; at all events, we shall be “ equal to the angels ” (Luke xx. 36); and we know that the angel Gabriel during Daniel's prayer being caused to fly swiftly, came from the very throne of God to the prophet's side. And then there will be neither sorrow, nor crying, nor pain ; they will require no sleep, for they rest not day or night; neither can they die any more. What happy thoughts come crowding in from the glimpses given of the heavenly body only!
Arthur. And then, dear Papa, our mind
and spirit too are made like that of Jesus ; for St. Paul says, “ Now we see through a glass darkly ; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known.” (1 Cor. xiii. 12.)
Mary. And St. John says, “ We know that when he shall appear we shall be like Him ; for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John ii. 2.)
Mamma. We have the beginning of this now, my children : “For we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. iii. 18.) But then one sight of Jesus as He is, will perfect and perpetuate the likeness for ever.
Lily. For, Mamma, “ They shall see His face, and His name shall be in their foreheads." (Rev. xxii. 4.)
Mamma. Yes, our hearts often seem to me like a looking-glass, which has no light in itself, and in a dark room is itself dark ; let, however, but one ray of light steal in, and the mirror catches and reflects it, and grows brighter with increasing light ; and if you expose it to the full beams of the risen sun, it drinks them in, and gives them back again in a stream of glory. So when the now dim mirror of our hearts is perfectly polished, and
presented before Jesus, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
Mary. Oh, dear Mamma, I think that will be the greatest joy of heaven, not to have one evil temper, one bad thought, one shadow of sin; for I always find when I am unhappy, some naughty feeling or other is the cause of it.
Papa. The absence of sin and sorrow from their home must form one of the brightest prospects to sinful, sorrowful travellers, my child. But we must go on to speak of the real positive joys, and of these the prime of bliss, the essence of life eternal will be the presence of Jesus; most precious are the glimpses we get of Him now by faith, though now at best we see darkly, or in a riddle, as the Greek is, with many things to puzzle us ; but then “our eyes shall see the king in His beauty.” (Isa. xxxiii. 17.)
Arthur. And we found that prayer of the Lord Jesus,_" Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am ; that they may behold my glory.” (John xvii. 24.)
Mamma. Yes, the soul will never weary of that contemplation, for there will be ever new beauties, ana glories, and mysteries of love unfolding themselves in our Saviour. And how happy it makes us now to be with one who loves us, and yet our love here is very imperfect, but then we shall be with Him who is all love, and be able to say, “I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine."
Papa. Nor will those happy inhabitants be without a suitable fatherland and fitting habitations, for it is time we spoke of the promised land itself. We need not imagine heaven to be such a shadowy, airy home, as some seem to fancy it, with which we have no fellow-feeling; for though “a very far off land,” still it is land, built on everlasting foundations, with solid, substantial, material glories, and all images are exhausted to declare its beauty.
Lily. Yes, dear Papa, in my chapter, John xiv., Jesus says, “In my Father's house are many mansions, I go to prepare a place for you.” Somehow this verse always comes into my mind whenever I think of heaven.
Arthur. And then it is spoken of as “a continuing city, a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Heb. xi. 10 ; and xiii. 14.)
Mary. And I like best to think of it as a beautiful garden-a paradise, with green pastures and still waters; where “the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them and shall lead them unto living fountains of water: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (Rev. vii. 17.)
Arthur. Oh, sister, nothing can be so beautiful as the holy city-New Jerusalem, with its foundations of precious stones, its gates of pearl, and its streets of transparent gold.
Mamma. And you will find the thought of a paradise is introduced into the very heart of that city, Arthur, for we are told, “In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month.” (Rev. xxii. 2.) So we have all the summer-like freshness of Eden restored, and all the associations of a well-ordered community--the freedom of the country combined with the fellowship of a city ; every image is brought together. But let us now speak of the society there, for, after all, the glory of a house is its inhabitants.
Arthur. Oh, Mamma, I do love to think of heaven as our family home, for I am sure home is the most precious thing in this world. Death does not seem terrible when I hear you speak of it as going home, and I marked that verse in the second lesson at church, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” (Eph. iii. 15.)
Mary. So do I love to think of it, brother; but then the very joy of home is to be just our own party; if a stranger comes in, it sometimes spoils all our happy evening, and I