“The differences between this world, and that which I am going to”
1. This world is God’s footstool. That is his throne.
2. Here are his works of inferior nature and of grace. There he shineth forth in perfect glory.
3. Here is gross, receptive matter moved in invisible powers. There are the noblest efficient communicative powers moving all.
4. This is the inferior, subject, governed world. That is the superior, regent world.
5. This is a world of trial, where the soul is his that can win its consent. That is a world where the will is perfectly determined and fixed.
6. Satan winning men’s consent hath here a large dominion of fools. There he is cast out, and hath no possession.
7. Here he is a tempter and troubler of the best. There he hath neither power to tempt nor trouble.
8. This world is as the dark womb where we are regenerated. That is the world of glorious light into which we are born.
9. Here we dwell on a world of sordid earth. There we shall dwell in a world of celestial light and glory.
10. Here we dwell in a troublesome, tempting, perishing body. There we are delivered from this burden and prison into glorious liberty.
11. Here we are under a troublesome cure of our maladies. There we are perfectly healed, rejoicing in our Physician’s praise.
12. Here we are using the means in weariness and hope. There we obtain the end in full fruition.
13. Here sin maketh us loathsome to ourselves, and our own annoyance. There we shall love God in ourselves, and our perfect selves in God.
14. Here all our duties are defiled with sinful imperfection. There perfect souls will perfectly love and praise their God.
15. Here Satan’s temptations are continual danger and molestation. There perfect victory hath ended our temptations.
16. Here still there is a remnant of the curse and punishment of sin. Pardon and deliverance are perfected there.
17. Repenting, shame, sorrow, and fear, are here part of my necessary work. There all the troublesome part is past, and utterly excluded.
18. Here we see darkly, as in a glass, the invisible world of spirits. There we shall them as face to face.
19. Here faith, alas! Too weak, must serve instead of sight. There presence and sight suspend the use of such believing.
20. Desire and hope are here our very life and work. But there it will be full felicity in fruition.
21. Our hopes are here oft mixed with grievous doubts and fears. But there full possession ends them all.
22. Our holy affections are here corrupted with carnal mixtures. But there all are purely holy and divine.
23. The coldness of our divine love is here our sin and misery. The perfection of it will be there our perfect holiness and joy.
24. Here, though the will itself be imperfect, we cannot be and do what we would. There will, and deed, and attainment, will all be fully perfect.
25. Here, by ignorance and self love, I have desires which God denieth. There perfect desires shall be perfectly fulfilled.
26. Here pinching wants of something or other, and troublesome cares, are daily burdens. Nothing is there wanting, and God hath ended all their cares.
27. Since here rebelleth against faith and reason, and oft overcometh. Sense there shall be only holy, and no discord be in our faculties or acts.
28. Pleasures and contents are here short, narrow, and twisted with their contraries. There they are objectively pure and boundless, and subjectively total and absolute.
29. Vanity and vexation are here the titles of transitory things. Reality, perfection, and glory, are the titles of the things above.
30. This world is a point of God’s creation, a narrow place for a few passengers. Above are the vast, capacious regions, sufficient for all saints and angels.
31. This world is as Newgate, and hell as Tyburn; some are hence saved, and some condemned. The other world is the glorious kingdom of Jehovah with the blessed.
32. It was here that Christ was tempted, scorned, and crucified. It is there where he reigneth in glory over all.
33. The spiritual life is here as spark or seed. It is there a glorious flame of love, and joy, and the perfect fruit and flower.
34. We have here but the first fruits, earnest, and pledge. There is the full and glorious harvest and perfection.
35. We are here children in minority, little differing from servants. There we shall have full possession of the inheritance.
36. The prospect of pain, death, grave, and rottenness, blasteth all the pleasures here. There is no death, or any fear, of the ending of felicity.
37. Here, even God’s word is imperfectly understood, and errors swarm even in the best. All mysteries of nature and grace are there unveiled in the world of light.
38. Many of God’s promises are here unfulfilled, ad our prayers unanswered. There truth shineth in the full performance of them all.
39. Our grace is here so weak, and our hearts so dark, that our sincerity is oft doubted of. There the flames of love and joy leave no place for such a doubt.
40. By our consistency, here one day is joyful and another sad. But there our joys have no interruption.
41. We dwell here with sinful companions, like ourselves in flesh. There holy angels and souls, with Christ, are all our company.
42. Our best friends and helpers are here, in part, our hinderers by sin. There all conquer in the harmony of active love.
43. Our errors and corruptions make us all so hurtful to our friends. But there both Christ and they forgive us, and we shall trouble them no more.
44. Selfishness and cross interest here jar, and mar our conversation. There perfect love will make the joy of every saint and angel mine.
45. A militant church imperfectly sanctified here liveth in scandal and sad divisions. The glorious church united in God in perfect love hath no contention.
46. Sin and error here turn our very public worship into jars. The celestial harmony of joyful love and praise is, to mortals, inconceivable.
47. Weak, blind, and wicked teachers here do keep the most in delusion and division. There glorious light hath banished all lies, deceit, and darkness.
48. The wills of blind tyrants is the law of most on earth. The wisdom and will of the Most Holy God is the law of the heavenly society.
49. Lies here cloud the innocency of the just, and render truth and goodness odious. All false judgments are there reversed, and slander is silenced, and the righteous justified.
50. Government is here exercised by terror and violence. But there God ruleth by light, love, and absolute delight.
51. Enemies reproach, and persecution here annoy and tempt us. All storms are there passed, and the conquerors crowned in joyful rest.
52. The glory of divine love and holiness is clouded here by the abounding of sin, and the greatness of Satan’s kingdom upon earth. But the vast, glorious, heavenly kingdom, to which this earth is but a point and prison, will banish all such erring thought, and glorify God’s love and goodness forever.
53. This is the world which, as corrupted, is called an enemy to God and us, and which, as such, we renounce in baptism, and must be saved from. That is the world which we seek, pray, and wait for all our lives, and for which all the tempting vanities of this must be forsaken.
54. This body and world is like our riding clothes, our horse, our way, and inn, and traveling company; all but for our journey homeward. The other is our city of blessedness, and everlasting rest, to which all grace inclineth souls, and all present means and mercies tend.
55. The very ignorance of nature and sensible things make this life a very labyrinth; and our studies, sciences, and learned conversation, to be much like a dream, or puppet play, and a childish stir about mere words. But in heaven a universal knowledge of God’s wonderful works, will not be the least of the glory in which he will shine to saints.
56. Distance and darkness of souls here in flesh, who would fain know more of God and the heavenly world, and cannot, doth make our lives a burden by these unsatisfied desires. There glorious presence and intuition giveth full satisfaction.
57. Our sins and imperfection here render us uncapable of being the objects of God’s full, complacential love, though we have his benevolence, which will bring us to it. But there we shall, in our several measures, perfectly please God, and be perfectly pleased in God forever.
58. All things here are short and transitory from their beginning, posting towards their end, which is near and sure, and still in our eye. So short is time, that beings here are next to nothing; the bubble of worldly prosperity, pomp, and fleshly pleasure, doth swell up and break in so short a moment, as that it is, and is not, almost at once. But the heavenly substances, and their work, and joys, are crowned by duration, being assuredly everlasting.
Such, o my soul, is the blessed change which God will make.
From “The Saints’ Everlasting Rest” by Richard Baxter (1615-1691)