"I shall be satisfied, when
I awake, in thy likeness."— Psalm xvii. 15.
"Whilst I see Thy love to
Every object teems with joy;
Here, oh may I walk with Thee,
Then into Thy presence die!
"Thee to praise, and Thee to
Constitute my bliss below;
Thee to see, and Thee to love,
Constitute my bliss above."
What a glorious awaking,
after earth's unquiet dream! With God! Like God!
Happiness has well been
defined to be "the coincidence of the finite will with the Infinite."
[Harris.] On earth that coincidence is never perfect. There are disturbing
forces m the moral atmosphere tempting the soul ever and anon, like some
wandering planet, to break loose from the sphere of the Divine favour, and
pursue a devious and erratic orbit. Strange, indeed, that, despite of
lessons constantly enforced, it should cling so fondly to the delusion
that there are elements of heart-satisfying happiness independent of God.
Vain thought! Even when the objects on which the affections are lavished
seem the purest and noblest, there is ever a consciousness of unsated
longings, yearnings after something better, which earth cannot give. In
this chase after happiness a point may be reached, but not the point. In
grasping the imaginary good, it is but a shadow. It appeared, in
approaching, fair and captivating. It proved, in reality, a piece of fairy
frostwork ; on touching it, it fell.
But in Heaven the
coincidence will be complete. Man's will and love will there be entirely
subordinate to the will and love of God. The lineaments of the divine
image, erased and effaced at the fall, will be there again imprinted.
There will be no competing affection to alienate from the great source of
happiness, no vacuum requiring aught else to fill it. The rills will be
unneeded in the presence of the great Fountain-Head—Him who is ''essential
love, essential goodness, essential glory." "Lord," says Augustine, "Thou
hast made us for Thee, and our heart is unquiet until it reposeth in
Thee!" Those immortal powers and energies and affections made for God,
will then repose for ever in God; He will fill His saints with the
affluence of His own life and love. There will be nothing more to be
desired or longed for; and the rejoicing soul, gazing around on the floods
of the excellent glory, will be able to say, ''I am satisfied!"
"Once I dreamed," says
Payson, "of being-transported to heaven; and being surprised to find
myself so calm and tranquil in the midst of my happiness, I inquired the
cause. The reply was, When you were on earth, you resembled a bottle but
partly filled with water, which was agitated by the least motion—now you
are like the same bottle filled to the brim, which cannot be disturbed.
"Yes! then every soul will become a temple, and its distinguishing glory
will be that of Solomon's on the day of consecration—"the house was filled
with the glory of the Lord!" Other and minor sources of glory and
happiness there may be. There may be the waving of incense, sounds of
sweet melody, the high praises of God chanted by a mighty multitude which
no man can number, and the lofty companionship of cherubim and seraphim;
but the believer's pre-eminent dignity and blessedness will consist in his
own soul becoming a consecrated shrine for the mystic Shekinah — ''God
dwelling in him, and he in God."
Reader! whatever be the
Divine dealings and discipline in fitting thee for such a Heaven, and such
a likeness, submit to them. To employ a well-known but beautiful
illustration:—The refining of silver is not complete until the refiner
beholds his own image reflected brightly in the fused metal. And if He who
calls Himself ''a Refiner of silver" keep thee long in the crucible,
subject thee for long to the furnace, it is only that every grain and
speck of alloy may be purged away, and that in Heaven thou mayest awake
rejoicing, and "satisfied" in "His likeness."
What a glorious, what a
strange transformation! Who would recognise the spirit that is now chafed
and buffeted with temptation and sin, corruption and iniquity, then made
resplendent with the image of a holy God! As the shapeless, unseemly root
of the flower or plant struggling amid rubbish and stones and cheerless
darkness, after fastening its fibres in the soil, sends up a graceful
stalk, efflorescing in loveliness and beauty, its leaves waving in the
sunlight, and filling the summer air with their fragrance; — so will it be
with the soul.
It is here sown in
corruption. It fastens its roots in a world dark and cheerless, by reason
of sin. Its immortal fibres are nursed and disciplined amid trials and
sorrows, difficulties and perplexities. It is soiled and degraded with the
corruptible elements through which it has to fight its upward way. But
there is a glorious summer-time at hand, when the root thus nurtured shall
burst its mortal coil, and its leaves and blossoms shall not only be
bathed in the loveliness of Heaven, but their every tint will be
resplendent with a glory reflected from the Great Source of all light and