“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” —John 17:24
Sometimes I have said within myself, “Well, if this be not heaven, it is next door to it” and we have thought that we were dwelling in the suburbs of the celestial city. You were in that land which Bunyan calls the land Beulah. You were so near to heaven, that the angels did flit across the stream and bring you sweet bunches of myrrh, and bundles of frankincense, which grow in the beds of spices on the hills, and you pressed these to your heart and said with the spouse, “A bundle of myrrh, is my well beloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts,” for I am ravished with his love and filled with his delights He hath made himself near to me, he hath unveiled his countenance and manifested all his love. But, beloved, while this gives us a foretaste of heaven, we may nevertheless use our state on earth as a complete contrast to the state of the glorified above. For here, when we see our Master, it is but at a distance. We are sometimes we think in his company, but still we cannot help feeling that there is a great gulf fixed between us, even when we come the nearest to him. We talk, you know, about laying our head upon his bosom, and sitting at his feet; but alas! we find it after all to be very metaphorical, compared with the reality which we shall enjoy above. We have seen his face, we trust we have sometimes looked into his heart, and tasted that he is gracious, but still long nights of darkness lay between us.
Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
Delivered Sunday Morning, April 18, 1858
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens
New Park Street Pulpit, Vol. 4, Sermon No. 188
“The Redeemer’s Prayer”