Category Archives: Heaven

“To be truly happy” by J.C. Ryle

“To be truly happy a man must have sources of gladness which are not dependent on anything in this world.”

–J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion: Being Plain Papers on the Daily Duties, Experience, Dangers, and Privileges of Professing Christians (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1878/2013), 221.

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“Heaven is not heaven without Christ” by Richard Sibbes

Question: Why doth Paul not say, I desire to be in heaven?

Answer: Because heaven is not heaven without Christ. It is better to be in any place with Christ than to be in heaven itself without Him.

All delicacies without Christ are but as a funeral banquet. Where the master of the feast is away, there is nothing but solemnness.

What is all without Christ? I say the joys of heaven are not the joys of heaven without Christ; He is the very heaven of heaven.”

–Richard Sibbes, “Christ Is Best,” in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, Volume 1 (ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1638/2001), 1: 339.

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“Here at last is the thing I was made for” by C.S. Lewis

“There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven; but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else.

You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread. You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words: but most of your friends do not see it at all, and often wonder why, liking this, you should also like that.

Again, you have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody what you have been looking for all of your life; and then turned to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw– but at the first words a gulf yawns between you, and you realise that this landscape means something totally different to him, that he is pursuing an alien vision and cares nothing for the ineffable suggestion by which you are transported.

Even in your hobbies, has there not always been some secret attraction which the others are curiously ignorant of– something, not to be identified with, but always on the verge of breaking through, the smell of cut wood in the workshop or the clap-clap of water against the boat’s side?

Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling of that which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for?

You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it – tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear.

But if it should ever really become manifest – if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself- you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say, ‘Here at last is the thing I was made for.’

We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work.

While we are, this is. If we lose this, we lose all.”

–C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: HarperCollins, 1940/1996), 149-151.

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“A deluge of self” by Stephen Charnock

“The whole little world of man is so overflowed with a deluge of self.”

–Stephen Charnock, “On Practical Atheism,” in The Existence and Attributes of God, in The Works of Stephen Charnock, Vol. 1 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1681/2010), 1: 225.

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“My soul is very sick, but my Physician is infallible” by John Newton

“I see, I know, I cannot deny, that Jesus Christ is all-sufficient. He can, and does pity and help me, unworthy as I am.

And though I seldom enjoy a glimpse of sunshine, yet I am not wholly in the dark. My heart is vile, and even my prayers are sin.

I wish I could mourn more, but the Lord forbid I should sorrow as those that have no hope. He is able to save to the uttermost.

His blood speaks louder than all my evils. My soul is very sick, but my Physician is infallible.

He never turns out any as incurable, of whom He has once taken the charge. That would be equally to the dishonour of His skill and His compassion.

Had He been willing I should perish, He would not have wrought a miracle (for I account it no less) to save me from sinking into the great deep, when He first put it in my heart to cry to Him for mercy.

And, oh, what astonishing goodness has followed me from that day to this! Help me to praise Him.

And may He help you to proclaim the glory of His salvation, and to rejoice in it yourself.

I am affectionately your servant,

John Newton”

–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Vol. 6 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 6: 180.

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“Singing the triumphant song of Moses and the Lamb forever” by John Newton

“However the Lord may be pleased to indulge us with comforts and mercies here, still this is not, and cannot be, our rest.

In-dwelling sin, the temptations of Satan, changing dispensations, and the vanity which is inseparably entwined with every earthly connexion, will more or less disturb our peace.

But there is a brighter world, where sin and sorrow can never enter. Every moment brings us nearer to it.

Then every imperfection shall cease, and our best desires shall be satisfied beyond our present conceptions.

Then we shall see Him whom having not seen we love: we shall see Him in all His glory, not as now, through the medium of ordinances, but face to face, without a veil.

We shall see Him, so as to be completely transformed into His perfect image.

Then likewise we shall see all His redeemed, and join with an innumerable multitude of all nations, people, and languages, in singing the triumphant song of Moses and the Lamb forever!

Then we shall look back with wonder on all the way the Lord led us through this wilderness, and shall say, ‘He hath done all things well.’

May this blessed hope comfort our hearts, strengthen, our hands, and make us account nothing dear or hard, so that we may finish our course with joy.

Pray for us and believe me to be your affectionate friend and servant,

John Newton”

–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Vol. 6 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 6: 47–48.

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“The Shepherd of the whole flock is Himself a Lamb” by Jonathan Edwards

“Though Christ is now at the right hand of God, exalted as King of Heaven, and Lord of the Universe, yet as He still is in the human nature, He still excels in humility. Though the man Christ Jesus be the highest of all creatures in heaven, yet He as much excels them all in humility, as He doth in glory and dignity.

And though He now appears in such glorious majesty and dominion in heaven, yet He appears as a lamb in His condescending, mild and sweet treatment of His saints there. For He is a lamb still, even in the midst the throne of His exaltation.

And He that is the Shepherd of the whole flock is Himself a Lamb, and goes before them in heaven as such: ‘For the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes,’ (Revelation 7:17).

Though in heaven every knee bows to Him, and though the angels fall down before Him, adoring Him, yet He treats His saints with infinite condescension, mildness and endearment. And in His acts towards the saints on earth, He still appears as a lamb, manifesting exceeding love and tenderness, in His intercession for them, as one that has had experience of affliction and temptation.

He has not forgotten what these things are, nor has He forgotten how to pity those that are subject to them. And He still manifests His lamb-like excellencies in His dealings with His saints on earth in admirable forbearance, love, gentleness, and compassions, instructing, supplying, supporting, and comforting them, often coming to them, and manifesting Himself to them by His Spirit, that He may sup with them, and they with Him, admitting them to sweet communion with Him, enabling them with boldness and confidence to come to Him, and solace their hearts in Him.

And in heaven Christ still appears, as it were with the marks of His wounds upon Him; and so appears as a lamb as it had been slain.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “The Excellency of Christ,” Sermons and Discourses, 1734–1738 (ed. M. X. Lesser and Harry S. Stout; vol. 19; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2001), 19: 581.

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