The Life of Duty, v. 2 A year's plain sermons on the Gospels or Epistles

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(Trinity Sunday.)

REV. iv. 1.

"A door was opened in Heaven."

When Dante had written his immortal poems on Hell and Purgatory, the people of Italy used to shrink back from him with awe, and whisper, "see the man who has looked upon Hell." To-day we can in fancy look on the face of the beloved Apostle, who saw Heaven opened, and the things which shall be hereafter. We have summed up the great story of the Gospel, and have trodden the path of salvation from Bethlehem to Calvary. We have seen Jesus, the only Son of God, dying for our sins, and rising again for our justification, and ascending into Heaven to plead for us as our eternal great High Priest. We have heard of the coming of God the Holy Ghost, the gift of the Father, sent in the name of the Son. To-day, the Festival of the Blessed Trinity, Three Persons, yet one God, we are permitted to gaze for a moment through the open door, on the Home of God, yes, and the Home of God's people, who are redeemed with the Precious Blood of Christ.

Now, there are many people who never think of Heaven at all, and many who think of it in a wrong way. When we were baptised, the door was opened for us in Heaven, and Jesus said to us, "Behold, I set before you an open door." From that day we were permitted to look with the eye of faith upon those good things which pass man's understanding. But some of us would not look up. We were like travellers going along a muddy road on a starlight night, and who look down on the foul, dirty path, and never upwards to the bright sky above. My brother, turn your eyes from this world's dirty ways, look away from your selfish work, and your selfish pleasure, look up from the things which are seen and are temporal, from the fashion of this world which passeth away, and gaze through the open door of Revelation at the things which shall be hereafter. I said that many people never think of Heaven at all. These are they who love this world too well to think of the world to come, they are of the earth, earthy. "As is the earthy, such are they that are earthy, and as is the Heavenly, such also are they that are Heavenly."

I said, too, that many think of Heaven in a wrong way, as did the lady of fashion, who fancied Heaven would be like the London season, only better, as there would be no disagreeable people. Now, if we are to think rightly of Heaven, we must do as S. John did. He heard a voice saying, "Come up hither, and I will show the things which shall be hereafter. And immediately he was in the Spirit." We must ask for the Holy Spirit to lift our hearts and minds to Heaven; we must try to go up higher in our thoughts, words, and works; we must try to get above the world, above ourselves, so shall we be able to look, though with bowed head and shaded eyes, through the open door. Let us reverently do so now, and see what we can learn of the things which shall be hereafter. First, I think we learn that Heaven and earth are not, as some people fancy, two very different places, very far apart....