Page images
PDF
EPUB

ingly, he is at rest from the agitations of this baneful passion.

8. He has rest also from easily offended and revengeful feelings. If he has been injured by another, he knows that his Heavenly Father, without originating the holy impulse, has seen fit, for wise reasons, to allow its application against himself. He receives the blow with a quiet spirit, as one which is calculated to strengthen his own piety, while he has pity for him who inflicts it. Considered in relation to himself, he accepts all, approves all, rejoices in all.

9. In the remarkable language of the Apostle Paul, which precisely describes his situation, he “ Suffers long and is kind; he envies not; is not easily provoked; thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

[ocr errors]

The War Cry, No. 84.–JULY 28, 1881.

IN THE HEAVENLIES.

BY DANIEL STEELE, D.D.

FOLLOWING the custom of tourists in foreign lands, I give you a description of the country in which I have happily sojourned nearly five years. I must confess that I have more than a traveller's interest in this land, since I have become a naturalized citizen, and settled down in it for life.

This country was named by one Paul, a daring explorer, who flourished at the beginning of the Christian era, and who, like the writer, became so enamoured of its charms, that he ever made it his permanent abode. It so closely resembled Heaven that he took that term and transformed it into an adjective noun, “The Heavenlies," and wrote it down on his chart as the new country. This new name he uses five times in his report to the Ephesians, and nowhere else.

Some recent travellers who have not diligently studied Paul's chart, either driven by severe storms from the ordinary track of voyagers, or, more likely still, through the guidance of Paul's pilot, whom

he took on board in Damascus, have found this earthly paradise, and, assuming the right of original discoverers, they have christened it “ The Higher Life.” This new name, though rather confusing to the novice, has not altered the thing. “The rose would smell as sweet under any other name." This Rose of Sharon, this isle of verdure and orange blossoms, fills with fragrance all the air for leagues and leagues around.

My great surprise, after entering this Eden, and feasting on its sweetness, was at the sparseness of its population. For the land is exceedingly broad and fruitful, capable of sustaining, with its abundance all the millions who are moistening the unwilling earth with their sweat, and compelling it to yield them a scanty sustenance. Why do they not migrate to these salubrious climes? This question I have been pondering over ever since I drove my tent stakes into the mellow soil of these flowery plains. At last I think that I have got at the truth of the matter. The false report has been industriously circulated through all the world that Paul's discovery was an optical illusion, a mirage in the distance, with bubbling fountains, shady trees, rich vineyards, and olive-clad uplands, all painted with fiery fingers on the clouds through a peculiar state of the tropical atmosphere.

Now, it so happens that the real-estate owner, or “ruler of the darkness of this world," who boasts, with too much truth, that he possesses all the kingdoms of this world and their glory, keeps this falsehood going with a very lively step round and round the world, lest the truth should be believed and leave his estates a habitation of bats and a “place of dragons." This wily despot dislikes to see his dominions depopulated to colonize Paul's “Heavenlies," and so he is ever busy denying that any such place exists on the face of the whole earth. Now it is nothing wonderful that this theory almost universally prevails to-day, since the aforesaid world-ruler has actually succeeded in accomplishing so adroit an act as to get thousands of Paul's successors solemnly to aver that they have diligently sought for “ The Heavenlies" in all latitudes and longitudes, and to publish as God's truth that no such place exists under the heavens. The lie, which millions believe of their own accord, myriads will surely believe if it falls from the lips of their religious teachers.

Another reason for the sparse population is that, of the few who do believe that this land is a reality and no myth, a large number are deterred from entering by reason of the narrow channel through which they must force their way, and they are afraid that, in entering “The Heavenlies,” they will loose too much of their idolized earthly. This narrow pass is The Way of Holiness. Hear Paul,-“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in The Heavenlies in Christ ... that we should be holy, and without blame before Him in love." Holiness is the only gate into this blessed region, which many are afraid to enter.

But you are hungering for a description of the country itself.

As its name indicates, Heavenlies," includes Heaven. The glorified Jesus

« The

is said, in chap. i., 20, to be at the right hand of God in “The Heavenlies," “in human form, locally existent.” In chap. iii., 10, “principalities and powers,” or spiritual intelligence of a higher order, are located in “The Heavenlies.” But in chap. i, 3, Paul and the Ephesian believers are represented as “ in The Heavenlies,” and in chap. ii, 6, they are sitting “together in The Heavenlies in Christ Jesus," the “ sitting implying permanence of abode. This phrase, then, must include more than the Heaven which centres in the radiant person of Jesus. Heaven laps over upon the earth. A segment of earth has been annexed to Heaven. In my youthful days, before I had looked into international law, I one day asked Father Taylor, of the Seamen's Bethel, where in the Atlantic was the boundary within which the child is born an American citizen. His weather-beaten face lighted up with a smile that rippled from the centre to the circumference, as he replied, “My boy, there is no such line in the mid-ocean; we own clear across.”

Locate Heaven wherever you please, it stretches clear across these earthly shores, and even takes in a slice, which Paul calls “The Heavenlies;" King James' version, “heavenly places ;” and Bishop Ellicott, “the heavenly regions.” This is nothing less than a high and serene Christian experience, in which the gracious Jesus manifests Himself to the spiritual eye of the perfect believer, and he enjoys constant communion with the glorified Head of the Church through the Holy Spirit, which makes him “a habitation of God.”

« PreviousContinue »