875. Things to Come

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Charles Spurgeon looks at what the future holds for believers and how those truths should influence us today.

A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, June 13, 1869, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

Things to come; all are yours. (1 Corinthians 3:22)

1. A short time ago we meditated upon the former words of this verse, “Things present; all are yours.” (See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 870, “Things Present” 861) Friends have asserted that it was a pleasant and profitable meditation; may we have another one 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 every drop of them is just as sweet. The horizon is wider in the future than in the present, but it its equally clear. If the clouds which threaten us in the future are darker than any we have so far 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 seen, they are as certainly ours as those of less bewildering lustre, for there are no hesitations here, but plainly and boldly the text asserts, “Things to come; all are yours.”

2. 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 does the future cast upon the present?

3. I. First, THE BROAD FUTURE IS OURS.

4. We are very apt to wish to pry into it by vain forebodings and even more vain 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; you need not desire to read a single line, however, for the Lord tells you that, whatever may be recorded in it, it is all yours; it must all work for your good; it must all promote your highest happiness. Why should you wish to see the mystic writing for yourself? Your faith is sure of the issue; let that satisfy you. In the dark days of superstition, the pretended magician would hold up a crystal globe, and ask his dupe to look into it, and when he saw nothing, he would tell him that he had an untaught, unaccustomed eye; but when the soothsayer stared into that crystal ball himself, he pretended that he saw the future. My text is a crystal ball, which does not tell you what the future shall be concerning facts and minutiae, but which assures you concerning all coming events, what it is far better for you to know, that all things are yours, if you are Christ’s—all future things are vested in your name, to be your possession by a covenant of salt, to minister to your comfort, and to increase your highest wealth. Let that satisfy you. Do not gaze through the telescope to see the future, lest you breathe upon the glass, and then mistaken the haze of your 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 your God will surely bear your burdens, therefore be as calm as a weaned child.

5. We may expect in the future, brethren, such a degree of joy, as may be fitting on this side of 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 so far, 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 makes us to lie down in green pastures, he leads us beside still waters.” “The lines have fallen to us in pleasant places, and we have a goodly heritage”; we will not speak badly of God’s name who daily loads us with benefits, but we will sing, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name. Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your 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! You who are in the heyday of your youth, looking to the joys of the future, do not depend too much upon them; but still you have a right to expect a measure of joy even here below. You who are struggling in the service of your divine Master, you may tally up the joy or success, or at least of acceptance from 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. Do not recoil 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. Indeed, sirs, when God gives 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 strengthens 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, do not be afraid of future comfort; it is yours. All things are yours, and in the things to come, if there is anything that is bright, anything that is sparkling, anything that is precious, anything that can make you glad, anything that can make your tongue sing loud hallelujahs, accept it very cheerfully from the hand of your covenant keeping God and say, “It is mine.”

6. 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 scarcely be traversed in a day, may come to a scanty plot of ground, or none at all. But if that does not happen to you, yet at any rate, your friends must die, if you do not. Those who in your younger days were your familiar acquaintances and companions, must pass away, and if you survive, you shall gradually find yourself, like a lone tree of the forest, when the woodman has exercised his craft, month after month. Those who knew you shall have departed, and the generation that has followed shall not know Joseph. During the lapse of years your children one by one may die; your spouse so dear to your soul may be taken from you, brothers and sisters may also leave the vale of tears. It must be so. Can you hope that the arrows of death will for ever turn aside from your family? Are you of an immortal race, and your children, and your fathers, and all whom you love, are these immortal too? No, 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 finds the grasshopper to be a burden. (Ecclesiastes 12:1-7) 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 are overcome by 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 the shadow of death, the passage of the black river, the clammy sweat, and the mortal anguish of the last dread hour; “for it is appointed to men once to die.”

7. 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 frighten 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 noontime beam may rejoice in the light in which it basks, but it is liable to be devoured by the bird; and certainly nothing 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, pushes up the earth, springs up a green blade, buds, blossoms, becomes a flower, exhales perfume, and loads the wings of every wind. Better by far for the seed to pass into the earth and die, than to lie in the sunshine and produce no fruit; and even so for you the future in its sorrow shall be as a sowing in a fertile land; tears shall moisten you, grace shall increase within you, and you shall grow up in the likeness of your Lord to 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 your transplanting to celestial soil. All the future is yours. I trust the Holy Spirit will make this truth full of comfort for 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 only 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 only another form of benediction. If all events shall aid me, what does it matter 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, you shall meet nothing 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!

8. Passing on a little further in the word of God, we have certain dark hints, concerning 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 hieroglyphics, and the Assyrian cuneiform characters, but quite unable to spell them out; imagining, sometimes, that I have the key of the mysteries, and immediately 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 it does 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,” until he shall come whose right it is. There will be heavings and convulsions until all the things which can be shaken will be removed in the general conflagration; when the earth also, and all the works that are in it, 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 who is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as you 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 do not know what else besides; but when we have put everything together and have been greatly 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 concerning 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 withstand us for long, and the brief opposition which may be offered will increase the ultimate victory. All things that shall happen, no matter how unpleasant to your thoughts and opposite to your wishes, will, nevertheless, come up, like Blucher at Waterloo, at the exact moment when they shall help the grand old cause along. Justice must reign; the church of God must be free from her adulterous connection with the state. God orders 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 although I cannot see their plumes, yet I am assured that whether friend or foe, they must, before the battle is over, have yielded great 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, you lovers of truth and justice, you children of a free church and a just God, charge home against the foes of God and man; who under the pretence of religion would continue to oppress the sister isle of Ireland. You who love the Lord hate evil, abhor the doing of evil so 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 shown to him as a bribe, neither must we be guilty of injustice although we anticipated the happiest results from it. Let right be done come what may. Consequences are with God; duty alone is ours. Sever the church from the state no matter what the cost. Even if for the moment advantage should seem to be given to the enemies of our faith, it is only so in appearance, or if it would be real, we can afford to give it to them and yet defeat them. We can hurl down today 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 still triumph for the Lord is in the midst of his church, and therefore she is 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 anointed heads, let the great ones of the earth put their hands upon their loins like women in travail, let those who were full hire themselves out for bread, and let the rulers be astonished; but as surely as God is God, the day comes 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 your name.

9. Once more, among the things to come, we mainly consider the heaven of God and the eternal blessedness 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 separated 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 tried to do, is to prove our folly; it shall suffice us to wait until we enjoy it; and meanwhile we will comfort ourselves with this thought, that all its delights are ours.

10. II. I shall ask for your special attention, in the second place, to THE BRIGHT ETERNAL FUTURE as being ours.

11. Come with me, dear hearers, to the text again. Come with me and let down the bucket and draw the fresh and living water from the ever springing well. “Things to come; all are yours.” Notice that the text is not in the subjunctive mood—it does not read “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 strictly shut up when the coarsest dung sold at a high price for food; and men must be thoroughly famished when they desire benefit from words like these:—

   Oh Lord, with trembling I confess,
   An heir of God may fall from grace.

If it is 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, according to 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 who repents.” 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 little cause for angelic joy. Ah! they believe the truth of God, and do not doubt his infallible love; how I wish the saints on earth were all equally sound on a matter of such importance! The angels know very well that such as Jesus has redeemed, such as God has called, such as sincerely believe, such as have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, shall be saved. All things, you 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 has made to you stands good, and entails the blessing upon you world without end. “All things to come are yours.”

12. Please notice, too, that the text is not in the future tense—“Things to come shall be 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 until 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 do not come into our estates until a little time has passed, and we have reached our age of majority, yet those estates are as much ours by indisputable right as if we possessed and enjoyed them at this moment. When one of our English kings demanded from 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 devil shall not defraud him of the heritage which he claims as Son of God, and since all that he has he has signed over to us, our title is good and valid, and we are not afraid to claim today that “things to come are ours.”

13. Notice, again, that in the text there is no exception—“Things to come; all are yours.” All! Then there is nothing excluded. Whatever may be the future glory of the saints, it belongs, according to this text, to them all—“All are yours.” And since there is no exclusion of things, so there is no exclusion of people. 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 excluded from many divine favours. There is not a word of Scripture to support 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 you 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, (a) 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 heirs of the possessions which belong to us by the covenant of grace. Oh, do not trouble your heads with these whimsies of modern fanaticism. “All things to come are yours” if you are Christ’s; whoever you may be, there is not one mercy withheld from you, nor you excluded from one of them. Let this be your comfort and delight.

14. The text speaks without a grain of contingency concerning the things to come. It does not say heaven is ours if there is 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, glorified 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.

15. 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. “You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fulness of joy; at your 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 full of happiness and bliss. Life and the path of it—that mysterious secret which only Jesus could reveal. That narrow path the eagle’s eye has not seen, and the lion’s whelp has not trodden; it is the secret of the Lord which is with those who fear him. But that path of life is yours today! 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 to my sheep eternal life”; they have it now, the very same life that suns itself in the presence of God is the life which reveals itself today in prayer, which groans in desire, and which sings with holy joy in gratitude to the Most High. You already have then, as yours, the life and the path of life, which constitute heaven. “In your 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 anything besides; this is our glorious rest. But, beloved, ours is this divine presence today; according as we are able to bear it, we behold the face of our Father now. Although, 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 your right hand.” How near the glorified are in heaven they themselves know; but we are near also; and though not always near in our own perception, yet faith rejoices that the justified are a people near to 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 today, in a certain respect. Although it does not yet appear what we shall be, yet today we are the sons of God, his chosen and his beloved. The right hand of God is a place of safety, and although immunity from every peril is a thing to come, in a certain sense, it is still ours to enjoy today; for the Lord covers us with his feathers, and under his wings we trust; his truth has become our shield and buckler. The psalmist speaks of fulness: “At your right hand there is fulness of joy.” This bliss, believer, will fill all your powers to the brim, this exceeding weight of glory will be more than your heart could conceive, this joy is more than your ear has ever heard men speak of, and yet it is all yours, and yours today. Although you have not yet reached the everlasting fulness, yet you have tasted some of the spray of its joyous waves, and these have made your 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 your right hand there are pleasures.” Here is their variety. Heaven’s joys are not only one delight, but many rich pleasures. I cannot stop 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, “Oh 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 companionship 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 there. Best of all, these pleasures are “for evermore”: notice 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 remains for the people of God. The text says that all which David spoke of is ours, and so indeed it is. Heaven is ours in the price; the blood of Jesus has opened the gates of heaven for us. It is ours in the promise, for the Lord has promised eternal life to believers; and Jesus wills that his people be with him where he is, so 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.

16. III. Very hurriedly then, beloved brothers 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.

17. Next, set greatest value on your best treasure; and, since the best things are to come, hold the present loosely. 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 urge you, in your inheritance. Since you are so 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 out, therefore, into joy and singing, and with songs and everlasting joy upon your head make your way towards Zion. If it is so, that all the future is yours, meditate much upon it; make heaven the subject of your daily thoughts; do not live on this present, which is only food for swine, but live on the future, which is food 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 among the angels.

18. 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 comes!” Let your life be spent in the suburbs of the celestial city, in a devout sanctity of thought and act. Live upon the doorstep of the pearly gate, always waiting for the time when the angelic messenger shall say, “Come up here.”

19. If, indeed, all things are yours day by day, gratefully bless God that although you deserve to descend into hell, you have such a place reserved for you as heaven. You might have been cast away; the damnation of hell might have been your only outlook; it is grace alone that has made you to differ, and given you a portion among those who are sanctified. Therefore bless God as long as you have any being, and let no one hinder you in your sacred joy. Praise him night and day for what he has done for you.

20. And, lastly, if you have no title deed for these things to come; if none of these are yours, be amazed and confounded, for it will be an awful thing for Christ to come and you to have no part in him; for heaven to come and you to have no entrance into it; for then there will remain for you nothing but a fearful looking for of judgment and of fiery indignation. Alas! for you, judgment shall summon you, and the Judge shall condemn you, and outer darkness, and weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, shall be your portion for ever. May God grant, poor soul, that you may lay hold on Christ this morning by an act of simple and humble faith, taking him to be your only confidence; only by this shall the blessings of Christ 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. May the Lord bless you richly, each one of you, for his name’s sake. Amen.

[Portion of Scripture Read Before Sermon—Revelation 21]


(a) Pariah: A member of a very extensive low caste in Southern India, especially numerous at Madras, where its members supplied most of the domestics in European service. OED.

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