Sermon 1800. Heaven Below
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 21, 1884,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb whichis in the midst of the throne shall feed them and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters." Revelation 7:16,17.
LET us think of this happiness, that we may be comforted in the prospect of it. All this is already enjoyed by tens of millionsof the redeemed! Some of those who were very dear to us on earth, whose faith we desire to follow, are now forever with theLord and this is their joyful portion-"They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun light on them,nor any heat." Our comfort lies in the sweet reflection that we are journeying to this goodly land! This Divine inheritanceis ours-we have the seal of the Holy Spirit upon our title deeds-we have tasted of the grapes of its Eshcol and we alreadyrejoice in the light and warmth of its celestial city to which we draw near! In a little time we shall be actually withinthe gate of pearl and shall know, in an instant, infinitely more of its glory than an Apostle could teach us here below. Weare like one who has, in his hands, the guidebook of a country to which he is journeying-he finds in it fair pictures of thescenery of the land and the architecture of the cities-and as he reads each page, he says to himself, "I am going there! Thisis what I shall soon behold!"
It would be a wretched thing to have such a book in one's hands and to be entering upon a lifelong banishment from home andthe home country! Then would we have to say, "This was my country, once, but I shall never see it again. Fair are its skiesand lovely are its vales, but my eyes shall ache in vain to gaze upon them. I am exiled forever from my own dear land!" Itis not so with us who are believers in Christ-our faces are towards Immanuel's land, the land which flows with milk and honey,and we have a portion among the blessed-a mansion is being made ready for each one of us and we have this promise-"Go yourway till the end: for you shall rest and stand in your lot at the end of the days." Rejoice, then, Beloved, for if your portionon earth is slender, if your condition here is sorrowful, if your trials multiply, if your strength declines, yet it is buta little while and He that will come shall come and shall not tarry!
Well does our hymn tell us that-
"An hour with our Lord will make up for it all." We shall forget the pains of a long life in a half-hour of the vision ofthe Well-Beloved! Comfort one another with these words! Look before you. It is brightness beyond though it is darkness here.Anticipate your sure reward, it comes with all speed. I speak but the sober truth-it seems but a day's journey from this spotto the heavenly highlands! It is so little a while since I was a boy and yet, in less space, I shall be with God! It seemsbut a few days to you who are aged people since you climbed your mother's knee and yet, in far less time you will behold theface of your soul's Bridegroom! Then all trouble will be ended and eternal joy will crown your head!
But I want you to do, this morning, and, by God's Grace I think we shall accomplish it, a little more than receive comfort.I long that we may "sit together in the heavenlies" even now. It seems to me that this world, if Christians lived as theyshould, would become a nether Heaven. The true Christian life, when we live near to God, is the rough draft of the life offull communion above! We have seen the artist draw with his pencil, or with his charcoal, a bare outline of his picture. Itis nothing more, but still, one could guess what the finished picture will be from the sketch before you. One acquainted withthe artist could see upon the canvas all the splendor of color peeping through the dark lines of the pencil.
Now, I want you, today, to see "the patterns of things in the heavens." We have much of Heaven here-at any rate, we have theLamb who is the Glory of the Eternal City! We have the Presence of Him that sits upon the Throne of God among us, even now!We have, if not the perfect holiness of Heaven, yet a justification quite as complete as that of the glorified! We have the"white robes," for, "the blood of the Lamb" has washed them even now! And if we have not yet the palm branches of final victory,yet, thanks be to God, we are led in triumph in every place-and even now, "this is the victory that overcomes the world, evenour faith." Therefore-
"I would begin the music here,
And so my soul should rise!
Oh, for some heavenly notes to bear
My passions to the skies."
Our voices are not clear as yet-they are half-choked with the fogs and smoke of earth. They will be perfectly attuned beforelong! At any rate, let us go over the notes, and if we cannot reach to the full melody of the heavenly music, yet let us runup and down the scale and try some easy passages. Come, let us worship, adore and rejoice, as our departed ones are doing,and thus enjoy some of "the days of Heaven upon the earth." That shall be my drift this morning, as the Holy Spirit shallinstruct me.
I. Keeping to the text, however, I want to speak, first, of THE PERFECTION OF THE PROVISION which is enjoyed in Heaven-"Theyshall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat." This is the perfectionof the provision.
I must, by your permission, go a little further back to make my description of this provision more complete. Notice the lastsentence of the 15th verse-"He that sits on the throne shall dwell among them." In the reading we interpreted, according tothe Revised Version, which gives a more correct rendering-"He that sits on the throne shall spread His tabernacle over them."The glorified dwell under the shadow of God! It is for this reason that, "the sun shall not light on them, nor any heat,"because they dwell in God. Oh, what a dwelling place that will be! You and I are often like Noah's dove, sent out flying overa weary waste and finding no rest for the soles of our feet-but they dwell in the ark forever! We go in and out and find pasture,but in that going in and out we are sometimes troubled. Up yonder they "go no more out forever," but eternally behold theface of the King and forever dwell at God's right hand where there are pleasures forevermore!
Oh what a joy this must be in Heaven, to be always within the circle of the eternal Presence, which is always seen, alwaysunclouded, always enjoyed! Such a dwelling means transformation, for none can dwell with God but those who are like He-freefrom sin and perfect in holiness. We cannot abide in God forever unless we are like He and this, in itself, is boundless bliss.The abiding in the outspread pavilion of Jehovah will certify a similarity of sanctity and purity between the redeemed andthe great Father who becomes their dwelling place. The Lord shall tabernacle over His glorified people-He shall be their eternalhome!
Next we are assured that they shall have no necessities. "They shall hunger no more." To be supplied when we hunger is themercy of earth-never to hunger at all is the plenitude of Heaven! God shall so fill the souls of His redeemed that they shallhave no longings-their longings shall be prevented by their constant satisfaction! That which they enjoy will be more thanthey ever desired to enjoy, or ever imagined that they could be capable of enjoying! Imagination's utmost height never reachedto the exceeding bliss and glory of the world to come. The saints confess in Glory that it never entered into their heartsto guess what God had prepared for them that love Him! Heaven shall exceed all the desires of God's people-they shall not,even with their enlarged capacities, be able to wish for anything which they do not already possess-so that they shall hungerno more in the sense that they shall never pant for more than they have.
They shall have done with the desires which it is right for them to have here-desires which intimate their present imperfection.Here it is their duty and privilege to long after perfection, to be sighing and crying for a perfect deliverance from everyshade of sin. But they shall not sigh and cry for this in Heaven, for they shall be without fault before the Throne of God!None of them shall cry, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" This, on earth, is oneof the most deeply spiritual of cries-only heard from those whose sanctification is greatly advanced. None have ever utteredthat bitter exclamation but men like Paul, to whom the slightest speck of sin has a horror about it akin to death, itself!
Fanatical persons talk about being perfect-it is the talk of blind men! But those whose eyes have seen the Lord, abhor themselvesand sigh and cry over what other men call failures, mistakes and infirmities. To them their heart-sins and unseen faults arethings to weep over! They have sharp hunger and piercing thirst after complete likeness to Christ. This likeness the saintspossess only before the Throne of God-and they shall not thirst any more, even after this best and most desirable of attainments,since they shall enjoy it to the fullest!
Beloved, observe that as they have no kind of hunger, so they have also no measure of thirst. That is to say, they have noneeds, no unsatisfied wishes of any sort. In whatever form a need might approach them, it is excluded, for both hunger andthirst are shut out. Oh, Brothers and Sisters, it has been blessed to hunger and thirst after righteousness-what must thathigher blessedness be which rises above even these holy desires! We have wishes, here, which ought not to be gratified-theseoccasion us our sharpest pangs of hunger-but there we shall never know an unlawful wish, a wandering desire, or even an unwiselonging. We shall have all things that a renewed heart can enjoy! All that our perfected nature can yearn after, we shallpossess-there shall be no unsatisfied craving of our manhood, neither our risen body nor our sanctified spirit shall be movedto hunger or thirst after any evil, for there shall be nothing about us which has a tendency that way. The provision madefor us shall be so absolutely complete that before we can desire any good thing, we shall find it! Before we know a need,we shall have enjoyed the supply! This is wonderful! Yes, but all I can tell you is not half of the truth!
Further, as we read, we discover a third blessing, namely, that every overpowering influence is tempered-"Neither shall thesun light on them." What if by that, "sun," is meant the full Glory of God! If you and I could be introduced into the DivinePresence at once and as we are, the first result upon us must be a swoon and the second must be death! We are not able toendure the blaze of Deity as yet-its Glory would cause a sunstroke to the soul! We might well cry with good Mr. Walsh, "Hold,Lord! Hold! Remember I am but an earthen vessel and I cannot as yet hold much of You." We are not prepared to endure the Lordas our Sun in meridian splendor! In Heaven they are able to endure the immediate Presence of God, not only because of theMediatorship of Christ, through whom the Glory of God shines with tempered splendor upon the saints, but also because they,themselves, are strengthened.
From all this earthly grossness, they are enabled to stand in that Light of God to which no mortal man can now approach. Tous, even, "our God is a consuming fire" while we are here. But in the saints there remains nothing to consume. The Light ofGod is not too bright for eyes that Christ has touched with Heaven's own eye salve! The vision of the Infinite is not tooglorious for those whom the Lord has prepared to be with Him and to see His face! What John of Pat-mos could not bear, theweakest saint in Heaven can endure-not for an hour, but for the whole stretch of eternity! Blessed, indeed, are they who shallbehold the King in the ivory palaces above!
When it is added, "Nor any heat," we learn that injurious influences shall cease to operate. By our surroundings here, weare troubled with many heats. The very comforts of life, like warm weather, tend to dry us up. A man may have gold; a manmay have health; a man may have prosperity and honor till he is withered like the heath in the desert in the day of drought.Unless a dew from the Lord shall rest upon the branch of the prosperous, he will be parched, indeed! We have need of Gracewhenever God gives us blessings of a temporal kind. But no heat of that sort shall happen to saints in Heaven-they can berich, honored, perfectly beautiful and yet under no temptation to self-exaltation! Here the heats which are around us tendto fever us. Our fellow men grow hot about this and that-the pursuit of wealth, the triumph of party politics, the honor ofa family and so forth-and we are all too apt to feel the common condition.
Within ourselves, heats arise-unhealthy and unholy heats. We cannot go through this plague-smitten world altogether unscathed.Every now and then we return to our quiet chamber and feel that we have sickened-sickened in the company wherein we have tarriedfor an hour-sickened, even, in contact with those whom we sought to bless. Up yonder no fever shall burn the hearts of theglorified! Traveling through the wilderness of this world, all of a sudden the hot sirocco of worldliness sweeps over us,laden with the burning dust of the desert, bearing death beneath its wings. Only God can keep us in that evil hour-only aswe lie on our faces before Him can we hope to outlive the blast. Many are the temptations of this life. Some of them softand deceptive, others fierce and terrible. But up yonder no sirocco shall ever blow and the inhabitant shall no more say,"I am sick."
See, then, the perfect provision which is made by Christ for His saints above, and listen while we try to show that this sameprovision, in a modified way, lies at our hands even now. Come, Beloved, do we not dwell in God? Do we not sing,
"Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations"? If any of you Believers have wandered away from your restingplace, whose fault is that? Has not the Lord given you Himself to be your perpetual Pavilion? Has not Jesus said, "Abide inMe"? Have you not sung in that sweet 23rd Psalm, "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever"? What more do you need? TheLord has spread His tabernacle over you-abide under the shadow of the almighty!
Whenever you dwell in God and the Lamb feeds you, do you not also realize that next expression, "they shall hunger no more"?Can you not sing when Christ is with you and you dwell in God-
"I thirst, but not as once I did,
The vain delights of earth to share!
Your wounds, Immanuel, all forbid
That I should seek my pleasures there.
It was the sight of Your dear Cross
First weaned my soul from earthly things
And taught me to esteem as dross,
The mirth of fools and pomp of kings." A child of God in communion with Christ would not lift his finger to possess a world,nor wink his eye to see all the pomp of kings, nor move a step to enjoy all the honors of rank nor rise from sitting at Jesus'feet to learn all the wisdom of philosophy. He is already filled-what more can he have? The best of the best has fallen tohis portion and shall he change it? No! Like the olive tree, he says, "Should I leave my fatness and go to be promoted overthe trees?" And with the fig, he cries, "Should I forsake my sweetness and go to be promoted over the trees?" He that eatsof the bread which Jesus gives him shall hunger no more! The husks of carnal joy have no attractions to the son who banquetsat his father's table.
"Neither shall they thirst any more." They shall feel that the Lord Jesus is such an all-satisfying, all-sufficient portionthat their desires can go no further. I have sped across the sea with flying sails, bidding each gale send me according toits will, hoping that I might somewhere find a port. Restlessly have I hastened to and fro and been tossed up and down, thesport of every wave. My spirit has sped on and on through fair and foul, never abiding long in one place. Happily there camea day when I found a fair haven! Down went my anchor-it took fast hold and held my boat. Under the lee of Calvary I foundrest! Now blow, you winds, or cease to blow as shall best please you! I stir not out to sea again. In the fair haven of thelove of God in Christ Jesus shall my spirit abide forever!
If we could but reach this resolve, dear Brothers and Sisters, and hold to it, we should have no more anxieties and longingsand we also would hunger no more, neither thirst any more. And then how blessedly true it is to those who dwell in God andlive near to Jesus that now the sun does not light on them. God, in His infinite majesty and holiness, does not overwhelmus-
"Till God in human flesh I see, My thoughts no comfort find. The holy, just and sacred Three Are terrors to my mind. But ifImmanuel's face appears All hope, my joy begins! His love forbids my slavish fear, His Grace removes my sins."
What a blessing it is to see God in Christ and to rejoice in Him! And, now, Beloved, if you are being daily fed by Jesus andare dwelling in God, the light of the sun, as to temporal prosperity, will do you no harm! You may be rich, but you will nottrust in uncertain riches. You may be famous, but you will be as humble as if you were obscure. You may be learned, but youwill sit at Jesus' feet. You may be indulged with all kinds of worldly prosperity and yet these things will not prove a snareunto you. "Neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat."
Those who dwell in God are no longer parched with inward heat. We notice people of God who are anxious and fretful-and causea great deal of misery for people round them by always worrying, fidgeting and being in a state of nervous excitement. Butholy souls, who abide in Christ, take everything calmly. You can remember such persons, both men and women-whatever happened,they remained unmoved, patient and cheerful. Great losses came in the course of business, but the Brother did not lose hisbalance. Sad bereavements came, but the Sister did not repine. If the Believer en-
dured a sharp affliction, his chief concern was that the Lord would sanctify it to him-if people persecuted or slandered him,he was not surprised, for he expected to be hated by the world when he became a follower of Jesus.
If he prospered, he did not get into a heat of pride and begin to crow over everybody else like a cock on his dunghill. Inpatience he possessed his soul. God's good gift of the Holy Spirit comforted and strengthened him. He could say, "My heartis fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise." "Neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat." Howmuch of mischief comes to the human body through its heats! The doctor looks hopeful when our blood grows cool, again, andthe fever ceases. The best cure for the fever of the soul is to be made to dwell under the shadow of the Almighty and to befed by the Lord Jesus Christ-for that sacred shadow and that health-giving food prevent the burning sickness from coming nearthe chosen of the Lord. "He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.You shall not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrows that fly by day; nor for the pestilence that walks indarkness; nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand shall fall at your side and ten thousand at your righthand; but it shall not come near you." Safe, calm, happy, restful shall you be-your soul shall dwell at ease and with themeek you shall inherit the earth.
"Ah," somebody says, "you are setting us up an exceedingly high standard." I am setting up a standard to which multitudesof God's people have attained and to which I would have you all attain! If this blessed bribe of Heaven below does not makeyou ambitious to rise to this level, what more shall I say? It is for your own profit and for God's Glory that you shouldnot rest content short of this. Rise from the dust, my Brothers and Sisters! Ascend to the hill of the Lord and stand in Hisholy place! Abide in Christ! Feed upon Christ and then all this shall be yours, today and throughout life! So much for theperfection of the provision.
II. Now give me your heart's attention while I touch a noble string, and that is-THE DESCRIPTION OF THE PROVIDER. "For theLamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters." You see, thisis the reason for all the provision and enjoyment-the verse begins with the word, "For," signifying that this is the causeof all the happiness of the blessed-that the Lamb feeds and leads them!
Who is this that feeds them? It is the Lamb. I wish it were possible for me to communicate to you the enjoyment my own soulhas had in meditating upon this blessed word, "The Lamb," as it stands in this connection. Does it not teach us, first, thatour comfort and life must come from our Incarnate Savior-the Lamb? The expression is very peculiar-it is a figure and no figure-amixed metaphor, and yet most plain and clear! It is written, "The Lamb shall shepherd them." This is an accurate interpretation.How is that? A shepherd-and that Shepherd a Lamb! Here is the Truth of God which the words contain-He that saves, is a Manlike ourselves. He that provides for His people is, Himself, one of them- "For which cause He is not ashamed to call thembrethren."
A lamb is a member of the flock, but in this case the Lamb is the Shepherd of the flock-a Shepherd who is also a Lamb mustbe the most tender shepherd conceivable, the most sympathetic and brotherly guardian that can be! When a man is shepherd tosheep, he should be compassionate, but he cannot be so tender as if he actually partook of their nature. In our case, ourShepherd is, to the fullest, a partaker of our nature-we are men and our shepherd is a Man. Beloved, our soul's support, ourspiritual meat lies in this-that the Son of God is a partaker of flesh and blood and is one of ourselves! He that sits uponthe Throne of God is our kinsman, a sharer in our nature, a brother born of adversity- why, surely this heavenly Truth ismanna from Heaven, the food of saintly souls! The Lamb is our hope, our comfort, our honor, our delight, our glory!
Does it not mean more than that? "The Lamb" surely refers to sacrifice. Only run your eyes back a verse or two and you havethe key of the expression, "they that washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." He, then, that feedsHis people in Heaven is the Sacrifice, the Atonement, the Expiation. In Heaven they glory in the Cross. Each one sings, "Heloved me and gave Himself for me." The glorified drink the deepest draughts of delight from the fact that God was made fleshand that, in human flesh, He offered perfect expiation for human guilt. Brothers and Sisters, these two fountains are hereas well as there! Come, let us drink of them! Let us prevent our thirst by the water of the well of Bethlehem and by streamsfrom the smitten rock!
Still, there is a third meaning which must not be overlooked. "The Lamb" must refer to the meekness of character, the lowlinessand condescension of the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus Christ on earth was "led as a lamb to the slaughter." He was "meek andlowly in heart." He walked up and down among men, the Friend of sinners, the Lover of little chil-
dren, the Companion of the poor and, today, He is not otherwise than He was on the earth! Though Heaven adores Him, He isstill as compassionate and condescending as He was in the days of His flesh-and this is why He can feed His people so wellboth here and in Heaven.
I beg you to dwell upon that word, "Lamb," till you feed upon it with your whole souls. Jesus has joined Himself to His flock-"Asthe children are partakers of flesh and blood, He, also, Himself, likewise took part of the same." As surely as He is God,He is also Man, indeed and of a truth-not in semblance, but in reality-
"Itis my sweetest comfort, Lord,
And will forever be,
To muse upon the gracious truth
Of Your humanity.
Oh, joy! There sits in our flesh,
Upon a throne of light,
One of a human mother born,
In perfect Godhead bright!
Forever God, forever Man,
My Jesus shall endure
And fixed on Him, my hope remains
He is also our Sacrifice-"The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." What rest came unto our hearts when we first understoodthe meaning of that word-"Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world"! Continue to behold Him and all yourfeverish heats will be abated-and your hunger and thirst of spirit will be done.
Jesus is so meek and lowly, as I have said, that you may approach Him at all times, and He will manifest Himself to you. Heis tender and gentle, and never makes Himself strange unto His own flesh. Sitting at His feet you shall find rest unto yoursoul. "Neither shall the sun light on you, nor any heat."
The Character of our Lord, then, brings our spirit all that it needs. But this is not all-the text speaks of "the Lamb whichis in the midst of the throne" as feeding them. Think of that, the Lamb in the midst of the Throne of God! Can you put thesetwo things together-a Sacrifice and a Throne? That same Savior who opened His veins that He might cleanse us from sin nowwears the imperial purple of the universe! He that stooped to be made sin for us is now Supreme Sovereign, King of kings andLord of lords! Think of that and be comforted. Our Representative is glorified! Our Covenant Head, our second Adam, is inthe midst of the Throne of God! God the Father has exalted the Mediator to the place of power and honor and rule. Our Saviorhas all power in Heaven and in earth!
Sometimes when I think of my great King and Captain exalted to so glorious an estate, I feel that it matters nothing whatbecomes of me, His poor follower. The sun of persecution smites not when He is seen as God over all, blessed forever! Hungeris not hunger and pain is not pain for such a loved One! In blissful sympathy with the unutterable delights of Jesus, we arehappy at our worst, feeling that if Christ is rich, we are not poor. And if Christ is happy, we are not disappointed. Hisvictory is our victory! His Glory is our glory! Feel this union with your enthroned Lord and you will begin to be in Heaven!
Yet further, remember that when we read of "the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne," it must mean that our Redeemeris the most conspicuous of persons. In the forefront of the Throne of God is Jesus! He is seen of angels. He is continuallybeheld with wonder by all the servants of our God. The sovereignty of God, His royal power, His eternal majesty are at theback of Christ to sustain His cause and make His name illustrious. He must reign! Every eye must see Him, every knee mustbow to Him and every tongue must call Him Lord to the glory of God the Father! He shall have all enemies under His feet andshall be extolled, exalted and be very high. My heart rejoices to remember this fact in this cloudy and dark day! Though ourmodern thinkers sneer at the Gospel and skeptics scoff at the doctrine of the Nazarene. Though all manner of scorn is pouredupon our holy faith, yet the Lord has set His Son upon His holy hill and He is there with Him to secure His everlasting dominion,despite the assaults of men and devils!
In all this I see the choicest food for the flock of God. To them Jesus speaks from the Throne and uses, today, words likethose which He spoke on earth. "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the king-
dom." Out of Glory He says, "To Him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me on My throne, even as I also overcame, andam set down with My Father on His throne."
The, "midst of the throne," seems to signify, also, that Jesus has become the very center of all things. "Unto Him shall thegathering of the people be." He is lifted up and all men are drawn to Him. He is the great central sun and all other lightsrevolve about Him. He is the heart of the eternal purpose, the hinge of history and the climax of Revelation! He reigns inthe midst of Heaven, even as at this day upon earth He is in the midst of two or three who are met together in His name. Ourjoy is like that of the just made perfect. In this delight we unite with the general assembly and Church of the firstborn.Jesus, on the Throne of God, is to our hearts and songs the central Person-and the Center shall never be removed, neithershall the gathering of His people be scattered!
Thus you see who it is that feeds the saints in Heaven and I desire you to feel that if you are to be fed and comforted herebelow, it must be by the same great Shepherd of the sheep, in the same Character. There are no stores for you other than thosewhich are in the hands of Jesus, in whom all fullness dwells! There are no comforts for you except as they are given fromthe Throne of God where the Lamb is reigning! Turn away, my Brothers and Sisters, turn away from all the frothy noveltiesof modern thought and the vain inventions of man-and behold the crown of your adorable Lord, the Lamb of God's Passover-theLamb who shall overcome all the powers of evil and stand in the midst of the Throne of
Dwell on the literal, historical Incarnation of the Son of God! Believe in His literal death, in His actual Substitution,His complete and perfect Atonement! Dwell on His rising from the dead and His ascent to the right hand of God-and never doubtthat He is now the supreme object of Heaven's adoration, the Lord of all things that are or shall be, sure and certain tobe in the latter days exalted above all principalities and powers and every name that is named! If we can but live on theseTruths of God and delight ourselves in them, we shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun lighton us, nor any heat-and even here we shall find living fountains of water and tears shall be wiped from our eyes.
III. I finish by giving only a hint or two upon the third point. That is to say-THE MANNER OF THIS PROVIDING. We have consideredthe provision in its perfection and the Provider in His glorious Character. Now let us see how this provision is given tothe saints in Heaven, for in the same manner is it brought to us. In two ways the saints in Heaven enjoy it-the Lamb thatis in the midst of the Throne feeds them and leads them. Go over this, and think, first, of the feeding of them. The Greekword is, "shall shepherdize them." In Heaven, Jesus is a Shepherd ruling over all His flock with a happy, genial, sympatheticsovereignty to which they yield prompt and glad obedience. There the Lord Jesus cares for His people immediately and personally.He Himself bestows upon them all that they require.
Here He has under-shepherds and He hands out the food by our poor instrumentality and, alas, sometimes we are found incapable,or forgetful and the flock is not fed-but it is never so in Heaven-for the Lamb Himself maintains the pastorate and acts theShepherd in a manner which none of us can emulate. What says the Prophet Micah? "And He shall stand and feed in the strengthof the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord, His God; and they shall abide: for now shall He be great unto the endsof the earth" (5:4).
All else of care and feeding that saints can require in Glory is in Christ. I know not what it may be, but this I do know,that while they worship Him, He cares for them. He is among them as the Chief Shepherd, at whose appearing the under-shepherdsshall appear with Him in Glory. Up yonder Jesus still communes with them very closely, else were it not written, "The Lambshall feed them." I remind you, again, of what we have said-He feeds them, therefore He is their Shepherd. Yet it is the Lambthat feeds them, therefore He is one with them-as if He fed with them-as if their food was His food and His food their foodand they were one with Him in all respects! What must fellowship with Christ be in Heaven! I confess I have sometimes had,and many of you have had, such communion with Jesus here that if I could but have continued to enjoy it, it would not haveconcerned me the turning of a penny whether I were here or among the angels, for it was bliss enough for me to be with Jesus!
But, oh! When we shall have enlarged our capacities. When our understanding shall have been cleared, our affections purifiedand all our manhood shall be made innocent and Christ-like, what must it be, then, to behold His Glory, to commune with Him,to lean our head upon His bosom, to bask in His love and to feel our hearts on fire with love in return! Oh to be with Himforever-to see no intervening cloud! To feel no wandering wish, no thought of future declen-
sion, no possibility of grieving Him by sin! What must it be, to be forever one with Him in Glory! That is bliss above conception!He shepherdizes them-He Himself does it and, therefore, they are supremely blessed!
Now do you not think we can enjoy some of this today? Do you question it? What does the 10th of John mean, if Jesus is notthe Good Shepherd of His sheep at this day? Read it through when you get home. What does the 23rd Psalm mean? Is that a Psalmfor another world, or for this? Does it not say, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in greenpastures: He leads me beside the still waters"? Why, one would think, from the look of your doubtful faces, that it ran thus-"TheLord has forgotten to be my shepherd. He has given me over to the wolf. He has driven me into a wilderness and left me amongthe dark mountains. I perish in a dry and thirsty land, where there is no water"! It is not so! We must not think it so, foreven here our great Lord is our Shepherd and He cares for each one of the flock.
Then it is added, "He shall lead." That is another work of the Shepherd, to lead His flock-"He leads them to living fountainsof waters." You may read it, "He shall guide them to fountains of waters of life"-it is but a variation of the same thought.Now, even in Heaven, the holy ones need guiding-and Jesus leads the way. While He is guiding, He points out to His peoplethe secret founts and fresh springs which, as yet, they have not tasted. As eternity goes on, I have no doubt that the Saviorwill be indicating fresh delights to His redeemed. "Come here," He says to His flock, "here are yet more flowing streams."He will lead them on and on, by the century, yes, by the millennium, from glory unto glory, onward and upward in growing knowledgeand enjoyment! Continually will He conduct His flock to deeper mysteries and higher glories!
Never will the inexhaustible God who has given Himself to be the portion of His people ever be fully known, so that therewill eternally be sources of freshness and new delight, and the Shepherd will continue to lead His flock to these living fountainsof water. He will guide them-
"'From glory unto glory,' that ever lies before Still widening, adoring, rejoicing more and more, Still following where Heleads, from shining field to field, Himself our goal of glory, Revealer and Revealed!" He will also cause them to drink ofthe river of His pleasures so that they shall be full of bliss. Can we not grasp a little of this today? If we will but followChrist, we may drink of the water which He freely gives to all who believe in Him, even as He gave to the woman of Samaria."I cannot see any joy," cries one. No, but Jesus will lead you to it! "Oh, but I read my Bible this morning and I did notget anything from it." That may be, but if Jesus had been there and led you to the fountain, you would have been refreshed!
How the texts open up when Jesus touches them! You are like Hagar-you have laid your child down among the shrubs to die. Youare perishing of thirst and yet if you would but listen, you might hear the splash of the falling waters just behind you!You only need the Lord to speak and open your eyes and you will see rich supplies, for the living fountain is near at hand.Go to the Savior today, and say, "Lord, lead me to living fountains of water. I drank years ago and I have been drinking allalong, but Lord I need deeper draughts! I desire to know more and love more." Jesus will lead you! He will do it now and whenHe does, you will realize to the fullest how similar this earth may be to Heaven above!
Let us commit ourselves like sheep to our great Shepherd! Come, you wanderers, return to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls!You that have been in Him these many years and fed in His pastures, come near to Him and follow Him yet more closely and youreyes shall be opened to see new rivers of delight where all seemed dry! You shall find in the valley of Baca a well-and drinkingof it you shall go from strength to strength, till every one of you in Zion appears before God! How long will it be, O Ever-BlessedOne, till we behold You? Even now the day breaks!