Hebrews 10:32
But call to remembrance the former days, etc. Our subject divides itself into two main branches.

I. SUFFERINGS ENDURED FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF THE FAITH IN THE PAST.

1. These sufferings were of various kinds.

(1) Sufferings in their own persons.

(a) Infliction of physical pain. "Being made a gazing-stock by afflictions." The afflictions, or tribulations, arose from active and bitter persecutions. And these were inflicted (as the word translated "gazing-stock," or spectacle, clearly indicates) in the theatre before the assembled multitude, that to the physical pain might be added the sense of shame.

(b) Subjection to undeserved reproaches. "Being made a gazing-stock by reproaches." They were publicly assailed by the scornful jeers of their persecutors. The people of God have frequently borne the bitterest anguish by reason of the malignant and contemptuous utterances of their adversaries (cf. Psalm 41:5-9; Psalm 42:3, 10).

(c) Spoliation of their worldly possessions. "Ye took joyfully the spoiling of your goods." Ebrard suggests that by this "we are to understand what we find still at this day taking place in the sphere of the Jewish mission. When a Jew shows himself determined to become a Christian, he is disinherited by his relations, his share in the property is withheld from him, his credit and every source of gain withdrawn; he falls into a state of complete destitution."

(2) Sufferings in sympathy with other sufferers. "Becoming partakers with them that were so used. For ye had compassion on them that were in bonds." In a truly Christian spirit they sympathized with others who were in tribulation; they wept with those who wept; they made common cause with their persecuted brethren.

2. Their sufferings were of great severity. They "endured a great conflict of sufferings." The severity of the sufferings of the early Christians is witnessed to by very many portions of the New Testament (Acts 5:17-42; Acts 6:9-15; Acts 7:54-60; Acts 8:1-4; Acts 9:1, 2; Acts 12:1-5; Acts 14:19; Acts 16:19-24; Acts 21:27-32; Acts 22:24, 9.5; 1 Corinthians 4:9-13; 2 Corinthians 4:8-11; 2 Corinthians 11:23-27; 1 Peter 4:12-19; Revelation 2:9, 10).

3. Their sufferings were because of their Christianity. "After ye were illuminated, ye endured," etc. This enlightenment is that which led them to embrace Christianity and trust in Christ (cf. Hebrews 6:4). They endured persecutions for his Name's sake.

4. Their sufferings were patiently endured. "Ye endured" - the word used by the sacred writer indicates endurance "without losing heart or hope." They "took joyfully the spoiling of their possessions." Like the apostles they "rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his Name." One thing which sustained them in this noble endurance of cruel persecutions was their assurance that they possessed precious and imperishable treasures. "Knowing that ye have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one." They bad treasure in heaven beyond the reach of their mightiest and most malignant enemies. Three things concerning this possession are worthy of brief notice.

(1) Its certainty. They knew that it existed, and existed for them; for they had the earnest of it in their hearts.

(2) Its superiority. It is "better" than any earthly possessions.

(3) Its perpetuity. "An enduring substance." Heavenly possessions are inalienable and imperishable. The knowledge that they had these sustained them under the loss of earthly possessions and sore tribulations. If any are called to suffer in the cause of Jesus Christ in these days, let them think of these noble endurers of far severer afflictions, and gather courage and patience from their example.

II. SUFFERING RECALLED FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF FAITH IN THE PRESENT. "Call to remembrance the former days, in which," etc. It is implied that they were suffering in the time then present because of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and would probably have to suffer for some time (cf. Hebrews 12:3-13). They are exhorted to call to mind the tribulations which they had already borne victoriously to inspire them in the endurance of present and future afflictions, and to preserve them from apostasy. This was not to be an occasional exercise, but a constant habit. Hence the sacred writer uses the present tense, the force of which is thus given by Alford, "Call ever to remembrance the former days." But how would this recollection of past trials and victories assist them in their present conflicts?

1. All the fruit of their former sufferings would be lost if they did not continue faithful. "To begin in faith, but not to endure, leads to useless sacrifices, vain hopes, and fruitless sufferings." These Hebrew Christians had already borne far too much in the cause of Christ for them to abandon that cause now because they were called to bear more tribulation. They were like capitalists who had invested so much in this enterprise, that they had only to call to mind the amount of their investments to save them from giving up their interest in it because other calls were made upon them.

2. All the help afforded them in former sufferings was available unto them still. The God who had helped them in the past would not forsake them in future trials; for he is ever the same - the same in wisdom, in power, in faithfulness, in goodness. Thus, the recollection of former deliverances should be an inspiration in present trials and for future difficulties. "All the historic triumphs of the Divine arm stimulate us in the present battle." "Because thou hast been my Help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice." Thus David frequently reasoned (cf. 1 Samuel 17:32-37). And thus should we encourage ourselves in God, especially in seasons of suffering or of sorrow, of temptation or tribulation. - W.J.







Ye endured a great fight of afflictions.
Expository Sermons.
I. THE SUFFERINGS TO WHICH THE APOSTLE ADVERTS. "A great fight of afflictions." The term affliction is usually employed by us to denote bodily indisposition; but it is evident that the reference here is to persecution. The words, "a great fight," show that these Hebrews had a severe struggle to maintain; and it would be well for us to contrast the sufferings of the early Christians with what we have to endure. In addition to this general representation, the apostle proceeds to enumerate some of the special evils which they had to encounter. By the term "reproaches," we are given to understand that they were the objects of false and slanderous accusations, which has been the case with the people of God in all ages (Psalm 69:20). This is a severe trial, especially to tender and sensitive minds. But what says the Saviour? (Matthew 5:11, 12). And what says the apostle? (1 Peter 4:14-16). "With reproaches the apostle again connects the term "afflictions," or persecutions; and, from what is stated in the following verse, it is evident that the spoliation of their property is mainly intended. The notoriety connected with these proceedings added to their trials. "Partly, whilst ye were made a gazing-stock," &c. The object of their persecutors was openly to expose them to scorn, and to excite public feeling against them. Then their own sorrows were enhanced by the warm sympathy they felt for their fellow-sufferers. "Part]y, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used." As believers, being united to Christ, partake of the fellowship of His sufferings; so, being united to each other, they cannot but share the afflictions which are accomplished in their brethren around them.

II. THE ENCOURAGING CONSIDERATIONS WHICH HE ADDUCES (ver. 34).

1. The conduct of these persons demands our highest admiration. Simply to acquiesce without murmuring would have been no small matter; but to meet joyfully such a visitation, was strange indeed. When the harvest is suddenly blasted, the utmost we expect in the husbandman, after all his care and toil, is patient resignation; no one, under such circumstances, thinks of joy. But these persons took joyfully the spoiling of their goods — those goods including their earthly all.

2. They were influenced by the consideration of the treasure laid up for them in heaven, which the spoiler could not reach, nor aught else destroy. They knew that they had there a better and a more enduring substance than the possessions of this passing world.

(1)More satisfying.

(2)More enduring.

III. THE DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS WHICH HE ENFORCES.

1. Confidence. This feeling is to be regarded as the fruit of faith, and is displayed by courage in the face of difficulties and oppositions. It includes freedom from bondage and fear, and also a prevailing persuasion of our acceptance with God.

2. Patience. This is another fruit of faith, and is not the least important of those things which are lovely and of good report. There are three things which call for the exercise of this grace. We have need of it —

(1)In bearing provocation.

(2)In suffering affliction.

(3)In waiting under delays and disappointments.In each of these senses the Hebrews had to exercise this grace, but especially in the latter. What the apostle exhorts them to cultivate is the opposite of that impatience which cannot wait; but he tells them that they would not have to wait long. "For yet a little while," &c. The overthrow of the Jewish state would put an end to their power to annoy them. O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest and not comforted, think of this "little while." Every wave is numbered between thee and the desired haven; and then the little while of time will be swallowed up in the unending ages of eternity.

3. Perseverance. "Now the just shall live by faith" — in the exercise of a calm and constant trust in God — "but if any man draw back, My soul," &c. To draw back, after putting our hands to the gospel plough, is a sin highly aggravating in its nature, and, if persisted in, one that will be most awful in its results (2 Peter 2:20-22; Hebrews 6:4-6; Hebrews 10:26-31). Some years ago there was a shipwreck in one of our channels. Among the passengers were a father and his son. They were a considerable distance from shore, but, as their lives were at stake, they resolved to make an effort to reach it by swimming. Before long, the son became very faint, and the father, perceiving it, cried out, "Hold on! Hold on! " Again and again did he repeat the words, Hold on! and he did not cry in vain. The youth was stimulated thereby; and at length, in spite of the roaring winds and boisterous waves, they reached the shore in safety. Now, what this shipwrecked father said to his fainting son would we say to those who have named the name of Christ, especially to the young disciple. By all the fearful consequences with which backsliding will be attended we bid you, Hold on!

(Expository Sermons.)

I. THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST IS NOT ONLY AN EXTERNAL REVELATION, IT IS ALSO AN INNER LIGHT. The first aspect it presents to us is of an objective revelation. Christ's mission fulfilled and transcended all the hopes of the past. In His person and work we have the materials of the world's illumination. He is the Sun of the spiritual universe. That revelation still advances. The historic work of Christ on earth is given in the volume of Revelation, closed in the first century. The work of Christ in the heavenly world, and in the hearts of men, constitute ever fresh gospels in that unending volume which contains the progressive manifestation of God. We are surrounded, then, on all sides, with this environment of light. But that light and the objects it reveals are not discovered by us until we are inwardly illuminated by the Holy Spirit. Then we are transformed by it, and become orbs of light enlightening the darkness about us. Only when these two conditions are met, is the spiritual world a reality to us.

II. THE RECEPTION OF THIS LIGHT BRINGS CONFLICT. We should expect the possession of Christ to bring gladness, peace, power; and so it does, but only as the effect of battle. The influx of light ever arouses opposition. Why is this conflict inevitable? It is because of the antagonism of the light and that which it expels. It is because there is a Divine necessity that truth and error should come into collision. It is because it is the destiny of the light to rule. It must be diffused. It exposes all that is withered, noisome, dead. The aim of the light is to fashion a different world altogether. The face of Nature is the work of light. And the light of Christ is spreading, rising, will prevail.

III. THE LIGHT THAT PROVOKES THE CONFLICT GIVES US FORTITUDE TO ENDURE AND CONQUER. All power is in the light. If we shut our eyes to any part of it, we are weakened, we are without the correlative energies that go with the light — fire, heat, electricity.

IV. THE MEMORIES OF THE PAST VICTORIES OF THE LIGHT SHOULD BE CHERISHED FOR PRESENT HELP. "Call to remembrance." Is it dark with you now? Does your way lie through shadows? Remember that "He turns the shadow of death into the morning." The twilight of doubt shall be followed by the dawn of certainty. The night of sorrow by the morning of joy. The evening of life by the noontide of heaven. The present darkness of the world shall be succeeded by the universal shining of the light of the gospel.

(J. Matthews.)

A missionary in India says: I rode to Nallamaram and saw some people of the congregation there, together with the catechist. The clothes of one of the women were rather dirty, and I asked her about it. "Sir," said she, "I am a poor woman and have only this single dress." "Well, have you always been so poor?" "No, I had some money and jewels, but a year ago the Maravers (thieves) came and robbed me of all. They told me," she said, "if you will return to heathenism, we shall restore you everything." "Well, why did you not follow their advice? Now you are a poor Christian." "Oh, sir," she replied, "I would rather be a poor Christian than arichheathen."

(W. Arvine.)

It is with wealth as with a water reservoir. When the drought has dried it up, you find in the deserted bed things that were lost years ago, and curious interesting things which but for this circumstance would never have been known. So, where it is a believing contented mind, it will discover, when the flood of fortune has drained away, in the deserted channel unsuspected sources of enjoyment and lost things, feelings which long since vanished, simple pleasures and primitive emotions which abundance had overflowed.

You don't know, Christian friends, how much harm some of you do by looking so gloomy and unapproachable. I remember one of my congregation telling me how, when she was a girl, she was nearly driven to shun the society of godly people by hearing the unhappy utterance of a friend of her father's, who was reputed to be a good man, but who, more than once, groaned in the hearing of herself and other young people, "Woe's me! the more grace a man has, the more he has to make him miserable." Let the world know that there is a fountain of joy and gladness.

(A. A. Bonar, D. D.)

I. They endured a great fight of afflictions, PARTLY BY BEING A GAZING STOCK, BOTH IN REPROACHES AND AFFLICTIONS.

1. They were reproached. Thus they might be used either by words or deeds. For so to speak or do anything that tends to our disgrace is to our reproach. Perhaps they called them sectaries, heretics, apostates, innovators, seditious persons, and also did so account them, and in this respect did hate them. These reproaches in themselves were bitter and grievous, yet they were more grievous because of afflictions, for they afflicted them by scourging, imprisoning, banishing them.

2. Yet these were made still more grievous, because they did reproach and afflict them not so much privately as publicly, in open view, to make their shame and ignominy the greater. They brought them as it were upon a stage, and as into a theatre, where multitudes, even thousands, might gaze upon them, revile them, scourge them, and make a sport of their sufferings. Every one must take notice of them as base persons, troublers of the world, the refuse and scum of mankind, and abhor them.

3. This was part of their great fight, and a great fight it was, because naturally we much desire to preserve our credit, honour, and reputation, which to some high spirits which the world terms generous is dearer than life, for men choose rather to die than live in disgrace and lose their honour. And as we desire respect in the world and abhor ignominy and contempt, so we love our liberty, ease, and peace, and are very unwilling to lose them.

II. Partly they endured a great fight WHILST THEY BECAME COMPANIONS OF SUCH AS WERE SO USED.

1. Some part of the Church doth suffer sometimes and not another. The storm which fell upon them was past, yet another falls upon their brethren, and they are reproached and afflicted sad made a gazing stock as they had been.

2. They became companions of these, for they owned them, were grieved inwardly for their sufferings, and did relieve and comfort them. By doing thus they were exposed to the derison of others: their former sufferings might be called passion, this compassion.

3. This also made a part of the great fight: for Satan's design in this was to strike a terror into them, and to let them know what a dangerous and restless condition they were in if they should continue to be Christians. And if he could not daunt and discourage them, yet he would at least grieve and vex them, for he knew the passion of their brethren would be their compassion, and that in their suffering they would suffer.

(G. Lawson.)

Ye had compassion of me in my bonds.
1. He cometh to particulars; and first, their compassion towards himself in his bonds is remembered by him. Then —(1) Compassion with sufferers, especially when it is manifested to the afflicted party for his comfort, maketh the compassionate person a partaker with the sufferer.(2) Such compassion should be remembered by the sufferer thankfully, and recompensed by seeking their eternal welfare who have showed them such great kindness.

2. Another particular is, their joyful enduring the spoliation of their goods. Then —(1) When trial cometh of men's faith in Christ, such as mind to be constant must prepare themselves to quit their goods if God please so to honour them with employment.(2) When we see we must lose our goods for Christ's sake, or suffer any other inconvenience, we ought to do it cheerfully, and count our gain in Christ more than our loss in the world; seeing there is no cause of grief, if our eyes were opened, and our earthly affections mortified.

3. Their encouragement and cause of joy was the sensible feeling within themselves of the comfort of eternal riches in heaven keeping for them. Then —(1) It is the assurance of our heavenly inheritance which must make us ready to quit our earthly movables.(2) Whoso getteth a heart to quit anything on earth for Christ, shall have better in heaven than he can lose here.(3) God useth to give earnest of what He is to give, in sensible feeling of spiritual riches to such as believe in Him.(4) When men can esteem of things heavenly, as they are, that is enduring goods; and of things earthly as they are, that is perishing movables; then shall they readily quit the earthly in hope of the heavenly.

(D. Dickson, M. A.)

A better and an enduring substance.
Homilist.
I. THE APOSTLE'S BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THEM.

1. A "better" substance than anything on earth, in its moral character, social enjoyments, spiritual services.

2. More "enduring."

II. THE CHRISTIAN'S CONSCIOUS INTEREST IN THEM.

1. Attainable.

2. Valuable.

3. Needful.

4. Will soon be realised.

(Homilist.)

I. CHRISTIANS POSSESS AN INVALUABLE PROPERTY IN ETERNITY.

1. The state where our possessions are placed. They are " in heaven."

2. The character by which our heavenly possessions are distinguished. We have property in heaven substantial and valuable — far superior to all the productions of the globe, and which is to last for ever.

3. The certainty with which the heavenly possessions are regarded — "Knowing in yourselves." The Divine word informs us — and here let the heart rest in joyous confidence — that the blessing is prepared for all those who are believers in the Son of God.

II. THE CONSIDERATION OF THE PROPERTY POSSESSED BY CHRISTIANS IN ETERNITY OUGHT TO POSSESS A POWERFUL INFLUENCE UPON THEM IN TIME.

1. If we know that we have "in heaven a better and an enduring substance," we shall not allow inordinate affection for the things. of the present world.

2. If we know that we have "in heaven a better and an enduring substance," we shall exercise patience and fortitude under the privations and sufferings of life.

3. If we know that we have "in heaven a better and an enduring substance," our dispositions and thoughts will be imbued with the spirit of heaven, and testifying a growing meetness for its enjoyments.

(J. Parsons, M. A.)

I. THE TRIAL THEY WERE CALLED TO ENDURE Was imprisonment and the spoliation of their property. You can all understand the misery that must attach to the violent invasion of your freedom and of your possessions. You know that such are among the heaviest sufferings of an external kind that human nature can experience; and that they require the highest degree of fortitude to sustain them with patience. But these were, in all probability, very frequent sufferings among those first disciples of Christ.

II. THE TEMPER OF MIND WITH WHICH THIS TRIAL WAS SUSTAINED. They exhibited a Christian generosity, crowned with a Divine devotion; they remembered their fellowsufferers, and forgot their own sufferings. And, what is much more remarkable, "ye took joyfully the spoiling of your goods." Simply to acquiesce unmurmuring in such a dispensation of Providence as this; not to be driven by it to dissemble; not to flinch from an honourable adherence to truth; might have been thought all that could be expected of human nature. But "joyfully" to meet the severest of circumstantial distresses, rendered the more severe by its cruel injustice, this is an elevation to which Christian piety only can ascend!

III. THE PRINCIPLE WHICH CHERISHED AND MAINTAINED THIS DIVINE TEMPER: "knowing in yourselves," etc.; not taking this prospect upon probable testimony, but relying on it as a certain reality.

1. In how many respects this heavenly substance is " better" than any that is of an earthly nature.(1) It is better, in as much as earthly substance is merely the instrument of enjoyment: while heaven is enjoyment itself, essential felicity.(2) Again, earthly objects have no power to satisfy the mind; they cannot tranquillise the heart: on the contrary, by an unhappy, tendency, they enlarge the desires which they gratify; they inflame the passions which they indulge, nor can they ever fill the vast vacuity which they are condemned to leave in an immortal mind.(3) Earthly treasure can only enable its possessor to surround himself with superfluous pomp, to "walk in a vain show"; it can only gratify the taste and imagination, or catch the applause of the multitude: it has no power to come into contact with the soul; none to calm the perturbations of conscience, heal the corrosions of remorse, or give comfort to the dying.

2. This is also an enduring substance. Temporal wealth is extremely transient. Lessons:(1) How much we are indebted to God for that kind of evidence of Christianity which arises from the sufferings of its first disciples!(2) How ought we to magnify that almighty grace which enabled them to suffer!(3) Let us apply their example for our own improvement. Piety must rise above the world in a holy superiority to its alluring pleasures.

(R. Hall. M. A.)

Essex Remembrancer.
I. THE CHRISTIAN'S FUTURE INHERITANCE.

1. By contrast. It is designated "substance," as opposed to shadow. All the pleasures and enjoyments of the world are a shadow; there is nothing solid or substantial in them. Afflictions are but a shadow (2 Corinthians 1 2 Corinthians 5:17). Our present existence is but a shadow (James 4:14). It is like an eagle in the air, like a ship in the sea, a flower on the earth; as a tale that is told, a watch in the night, a hireling accomplishing his day: man fleeth also as a shadow. Death is a shadow; there is no substantial evil in it to the Christian. But religion is a substance; the gospel is a substantial reality. There is a most delightful promise in the book of Proverbs, where Christ is represented as speaking under the character of wisdom, "I will cause them that love Me to inherit substance; I will fill their treasures." Heaven is all substance: its pleasures and enjoyments, its worship and devotions.

2. By comparison. It is called "a better substance." It is better in comparison with the present state of our existence, because there is some good in this world. We must not despise God's providential mercies, nor undervalue our temporal supplies. We should thank Him for the atmosphere that vivifies, but most of all for the air of holiness and the breath of devotion. We should thank Him for the bread which perisheth, but most of all for the bread of life, the hidden manna. We should thank Him for the water that quenches the thirst, refreshes, and purifies, and revives, but most of all for the streams of salvation, the water of which if a man drink he shall never die. We should thank Him for the use of our bodily limbs, but most of all if we have been taught to walk at liberty in God's laws, and run in the way of His commandments. We should thank Him for the faculty of reason, but most of all if, by a spiritual perception, our senses are exercised to discern both good and evil. How much better will the enjoyments of heaven be than the highest degree of happiness realised by believers in a state of grace!

3. By continuation. It is an enduring substance. It is a city which hath foundations — a kingdom which cannot be moved — an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away — a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens — a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. When the angel of death shall spread his cloud over everything terrestrial, the celestial abodes shall shine forth with a grandeur which nothing can demolish, and which eternity itself will but increase.

II. THE CHRISTIAN'S PRESENT ASSURANCE.

1. Believers have a present title to this inheritance. They have the promise of it. The gospel is God in a promise; and the saints in glory are said to be inheriting the promises. They have the hope of it, which is no more nor less than the prospect of future good grounded on present evidence. They have preparation for it, being "made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light." They have a title to it, and this by virtue of their adoption.

2. They shall have the future possession. There must be the trial of faith, the exercise of patience, the sifting of your motives, the test of principles, and the examination and pondering of the heart.

3. They have inward assurance. "Knowing in yourselves," &c. Assurance is a pearl that most want, a crown that few wear. It may be ascertained by the testimony of the Spirit, accompanied with the witness of personal experience.

(Essex Remembrancer.)

"Knowing that ye have yourselves as a better and an enduring possession."

I. THE TRUE POSSESSION. We own ourselves only on condition of being Christian men. For, under all other circumstances and forms of life, the true self is brought into slavery and dragged away from its proper bearings by storms, and swarms of lusts, and passions, and inclinations, and ambitions, and senses. A man's flesh is his master, or his pride is his master, or some fraction of his nature is his master, and he himself is an oppressed slave, tyrannised over by rebellious powers. The only way to get the mastery of yourselves is to go to God and say, "Oh, Lord! I cannot rule this anarchic being of mine. Do Thou take it into Thine hands. Here are the reins; do with me what Thou wilt." Then you will be your own masters, not till then.

II. THE SUPERIORITY OF THIS POSSESSION.

1. It is better in its essential quality. The apprehension of union with God is the one thing that will satisfy the soul; the one thing which having, we cannot be wholly desolate, however dark may be our path; and without which we cannot be at rest, however compassed with succours and treasures and friends; nor rich, however we may have bursting coffers and all things to enjoy.

2. It is an enduring possession. These things, the calm joys, the pure delights of still fellowship with God in heart and mind and will — these things have in them no seed of decay. These cannot be separated from their possession by anything but his own unfaithfulness. There will never come the time when they shall have to be left behind. Use does not wear these out, but strengthens and increases them. The things which are destined "to perish with the using" belong to an inferior category.

III. THE QUIET SUPERIORITY TO EARTHLY LOSS AND CHANGE WHICH THE POSSESSION OF THIS TREASURE INVOLVES. When you strike away the false props, the strength of the real ones become more conspicuous. If we possess this true treasure which lies at our doors, and may be had for the taking, we shall be like men in some strong fortress, with firm walls, abundant provisions, and a well in the courtyard, and we can laugh at besiegers.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Zinzendorf became of age in 1721, and in the following year purchased the estate of Berthelsdorf, near his aged relative, the Baroness of Gersdorf, writing up over his dwelling, "The tenant of this has a better house in heaven."

It is worth something to be in a readiness for mercy, for afflictions, for death, or for judgment, as those who are meet for heaven. The speech of Basil was noble, when Modestus, the prefect, threatened confiscation, torment, and banishment. He answered, "He need not fear confiscation that hath nothing to lose; nor banishment, to whom heaven only is a country; nor torment, when his body would be crushed with one blow; nor death, which is the only way to set him at liberty.

(C. Heywood.)

Heaven is as suitable for a saint as a lock is fitted to receive its key; and as the fashion of a lock might be inferred from the key, so may the glorious state be guessed at from the gracious man. He has, moreover, sips of sweetness, which give him no merely fanciful notion of the hill country, and he knows somewhat of what the full-blown flower must be as he gazes at the beauty of the bud; but he looks not that in the revelation of the glory the invisible should be only a reproduction of the visible; for he knows that the spiritual exceeds the natural even as the heaven is above the earth.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I have been told of a wealthy man who died recently. Death came unexpectedly to him, as it almost always does; and he sent out for his lawyer to draw his will. And he went on willing away his property; and when he came to his wife and child, he said he wanted them to have the home. But the little child did not understand what death was. She was standing near, and she said, "Papa, have you got a home in that land you are going to?" The arrow reached that heart; but it was too late. He saw his mistake. He had got no home beyond the grave.

(D. L. Moody.)

1. The happiness of the saints in heaven is substance, something of real weight and worth; all things here are but shadows.

2. It is a better substance than anything they can have or lose here.

3. It is an enduring substance; it will outlive time, and run parallel with eternity. They can never spend it; their enemies can never take it from them as they did their earthly goods.

4. This will make a rich amends for all they can lose and suffer here. In heaven they shall have a better life, a better estate, better liberty, better society, better hearts, better work, everything better.

5. Christians should know this in themselves.

(Matthew Henry.)

My horse invariably comes home in less time than he makes the journey out. He pulls the carriage with a hearty goodwill when his face is towards home. Should not I also both suffer and labour the more joyously because my way lies towards heaven, and I am on pilgrimage to my Father's house, my soul's dear home and resting-place?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

One Palmer, of Reading, being condemned to die, in Queen Mary's time, was much persuaded to recant, and among other things a friend said to him, "Take pity on thy golden years and pleasant flowers of youth, before it be too late." His reply was as beautiful as it was conclusive: "Sir, I long for those springing flowers which shall never fade away." When he was in the midst of the flames he exhorted his companions to constancy, saying, "We shall not end our lives in the fire, but make a change for a better life; yea, for coals we shall receive pearls." Thus do we clearly see that, although " if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable," yet the prospect of a better and enduring substance enables us to meet all the trials and temptations of this present life with holy boldness and joy.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

If a heathen could say, when he saw a sudden shipwreck of all his wealth, "Well, Fortune, I see thou wouldst have me to be a philosopher," should not we, when called to quit our movables, say, "I see that God would have me to lay up treasure in heaven, that is subject neither to vanity nor violence"?

(John Trapp.)

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