O blessed conductor

“Tell me,” I said, “O blessed conductor, have they no hopes of being reconciled to God again, after some term of time, or at least some of them?”

“No, not at all. They are lost forever. They were the first that sinned, and had no tempter; and they were all at once cast down from heaven. Besides, the Son of God, the blessed Messiah by Whom alone salvation can be gained, did not take upon Himself the angelic nature. He left the apostate angels all to perish, and took upon Himself only the seed of Abraham. For this reason they have so much hatred against the sons of men, because it is a torment for them to see men made the heirs of heaven while they are doomed to hell.”

By this time we were above the sun. My conductor told me this mighty globe of fire was one of the great works of God. Yet all the stars were not less wonderful; whose great distance away makes them appear like candles in our sight. They hang in their appointed places without any support. Nothing but His word that first created them could keep them in their station.

“These words are enough,” I said to my conductor, “To convince anyone of the great power of their Creator, and to show the evil of that unbelief which questions the being of the God who has given so many evidences of His power and glory. If men were not like beasts still looking downwards, they could not help but acknowledge His great power and wisdom.”

“You speak what is true,” he replied. “But you will see far greater things than these. These are but the scaffolds and outworks to that glorious place that the blessed above inhabit. A view of it shall now be given to you, as far as you are able to comprehend it.”

In a few moments I found what my conductor had told me was true. For I found myself transferred into heaven, where I saw things that are impossible to describe, and heard beautiful songs that I could never sing. Whoever has not seen that glory can speak but very imperfectly of it, and they that have seen it cannot tell the thousandth part of what it is. Therefore the great apostle of the Gentiles, who tells us that he had been caught up into paradise where he had heard unspeakable words which are not possible for a man to utter, wrote that “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive the things that God has prepared for those that love him.” I will give you the best account I can of what I saw and heard, as near as I can remember.

Chapter 3: Elijah Explains

When I was first brought near this glorious place I saw innumerable hosts of bright attendants, who welcomed me into this blessed place of happiness. And there I saw that perfect and unapproachable light, that changes all things into its own nature, for even the souls of the glorified saints are transparent. They are not illumined by the sun; but all that light, that flows with such transparent brightness throughout these heavenly mansions, is nothing else but the shining forth of the Divine glory. 

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Compared to this glory, the light of the sun is but darkness, and the fire of the most sparkling jewels are but dead coals. Therefore it is called The Throne of the Glory of God, where the radiance of the divine Majesty is revealed in the most illustrious manner. God was too bright for me to look upon as He was exalted on the high throne of His glory, while multitudes of angels and saints sang forth eternal hallelujahs and praises to Him. Well may He be called the God of Glory, for by His presence He makes heaven what it is. Rivers of pleasure continually spring forth from the divine Presence, and radiate cheerfulness, joy, and splendor to all the blessed inhabitants of heaven, the seat of His eternal empire.

For my own part, I was too weak to bear the least ray of glory that shot from that everlasting Spring of Light which sat upon the throne. I was forced to cry out to my conductor, “The sight of so much glory is too great for me to bear, yet it is so refreshing and delightful that I would desire to look, though I die.”

“No, no,” said my conductor, “death cannot enter this blessed place, nor sin nor sorrow can abide. It is the glory of this happy place to be forever freed from all that is evil; and without that freedom, our blessedness even here would be imperfect. Come along with me and I will bring you to one who is in the body, as you are. Talk with him for a while before I take you back again.”

“O rather,” I eagerly said, “let me stay here. There is no need of building tabernacles, for the heavenly mansions are already prepared.” My shining messenger replied to this, “Here in a while you shall forever be, but the divine will must first be obeyed.”

Swift as thought he conveyed me past thousands of angels, and presented me to that great saint, the prophet Elijah. Though he had lived in the world many hundreds of years ago, I knew him at first sight.
“Here is one,” said my conductor to Elijah, “who by the commission of the Imperial Throne has been permitted to visit these realms of light, and I have brought him to you, to learn from you.”

“That,” said the prophet, “I shall gladly do. For it is our meat and drink in these blessed regions to do the will of God and the Lamb, to sing His praises, and serve Him with the humblest adoration, saying, ‘Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sits upon the throne; and to the Lamb for ever and ever: for He has redeemed us to God by His blood out of every kindred and tongue, and people and nation, and has made us unto our God kings and priests: even so, Amen.'” And I likewise added my “Amen” to that of the holy prophet. 

The prophet then asked me why this great permission and privilege was given to me. (By which I understand the saints in heaven are ignorant of what is done on earth; so how can prayers be directed to them?) I then told him the events I have already written here, at which the holy prophet broke forth in praise, “Glory for ever be given to Him that sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, for His unbounded goodness and great condescension to the weakness of a poor and doubting sinner.” After this he said, “Now give attention to what I shall speak. What you have already seen and heard I am sure you cannot make fully understood to those not yet translated to this glorious place, who have not yet been freed from their earthly bodies. Nor is my being here in the body any objection to what I say; for although it has not been subject to death, yet it has been equally changed. It has been made spiritual, and is no longer able to suffer. Yet in this full state of happiness I cannot utter all that I enjoy, nor do I know what shall yet be enjoyed, for here our happiness is always new.”

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I then asked the blessed prophet to explain himself. I did not understand how happiness could be complete, and yet still be added to. The following was his reply:

“When the soul and body are both happy, as mine now are, I count it a complete state of happiness. For throughout all the coming ages of eternity, it is the soul and body joined together in the blessed resurrection state that shall receive this happiness. But concerning the object of our happiness, which is the ever- adorable and blessed God, our vision of Him is forever new. For as the divine perfections are infinite, nothing less than eternity can be sufficient to display their glory. This makes our happiness eternally added to, as well as our knowledge of Him to be eternally progressive also.

“Therefore the apostle Paul said, ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor can it enter into the heart of man to conceive what God has prepared for those who love him.’ Yet the human eye has seen many admirable things in nature. It has seen mountains of crystal, and rocks of diamonds, it has seen mines of gold, and coasts of pearls. Nevertheless, the eye that has seen so many wonders in the world below could never pry into the glories of this triumphant place. And though the ear of man has heard many delightful and harmonious sounds, even all that man and nature could supply him with, yet he has never heard the heavenly melody which both saints and angels make before the throne. The heart of man is so fine and imaginative that it can conceive almost anything that is, or was, or ever shall be in the world below, and even what shall never be. Man can conceive that every stone on earth shall be turned into pearls, and every blade of grass into the brightest of shining jewels. He can conceive that the whole earth be turned into a mass of pure gold, and the air turned into crystal. He can conceive every star to become as bright as the sun, and the sun to be a thousand times larger and brighter. But all this is infinitely short of what the eternal Majesty has prepared for all His faithful followers.”

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Chapter 4: The Happiness of Heaven

The prophet continued, “I will briefly tell you about our happiness here, for ages spent on this delightful theme would only begin to explain it. That you may have the best understanding, I will first explain about what the redeemed souls have been delivered from, and secondly about the happiness that they enjoy here.

“Firstly, the souls of all the blessed are forever freed from everything that can make them miserable, which above all is sin. It was sin that brought misery into creation. The blessed God at first made all things happy, like Himself. Had not sin defaced the beauty of His workmanship, angels and men would have never known what is meant by misery. It was sin that threw the apostate angels down into hell, and spoiled the beauty of the lower world. It was sin that defaced God’s image in man’s soul, and made the ones who were to be the lords of creation into slaves of their own lust. It is sin which can also plunge them into an ocean of eternal misery from which is no redemption. It is an invaluable mercy that in this happy place all the saints are forever freed from sin through the blood of our Redeemer. In the earth below, the best and holiest of souls groan under the burden of corruption. Sin tries to cling to all that they do, and often leads them captive against their will. “Who shall deliver me?” has been the cry of many of God’s faithful servants, who at the same time have been dear to Jesus. Sin is the heavy weight upon the saints while they live in their corrupted flesh. Therefore when they lay their bodies down, their souls are like a bird loosed from its cage, and with a heavenly joy they rise up to heaven. But here their warfare is at an end, and ‘death is swallowed up in victory.’ Below their souls were deformed and stained by sin, but here their bright souls by the ever-blessed Jesus are presented to the Father ‘without spot or wrinkle.’

“Not only are the saints here free from sin, but also from any temptation to sin. When Adam was in paradise, though he was innocent and free from sin, yet he was not free from temptation. Satan got into paradise and Adam fatally yielded to his temptations. Like a disease, sin has eaten into the human nature and corrupted all mankind.

“Here each soul is freed from this. Nothing but what is pure and holy can find admission here. That roaring lion who roams back and forth throughout the earth seeking whom he may devour, in respect to the saints in heaven, is bound fast in everlasting chains. The temptations of the world shall never again allure those who through faith and patience have overcome it and safely arrived here. In heaven we look with contempt on all earthly enjoyments. There is nothing here that can disturb our peace, but an eternal calm crowns all our happiness.

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