Seek Heaven

For the LORD hath made Jordan a border between us and you, ye children of Reuben and children of Gad; ye have no part in the LORD: so shall your children make our children cease from fearing the LORD.
~ Joshua 22:25

Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?
~ Ezekiel 14:3

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
~ Colossians 3:1, Hebrews 11:6

Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.
~ Zephaniah 2:3

For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
~ Hebrews 11:14-16

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
~ Revelation 20:6

Seeking the World of Love, by Jonathan Edwards. The following is an excerpt from his work, “Heaven: A World of Love”.

What has been said on this subject (of heaven) may well awaken and alarm the impenitent: First, by putting them in mind of their misery in that they have no portion or right in this world of love. You have heard what has been said of heaven, what kind of glory and blessedness is there, and how happy the saints and angels are in that world of perfect love. But consider that none of this belongs to you. When you hear of such things, you hear of that in which you have no interest. No such person as you—a wicked hater of God and Christ, and one that is under the power of a spirit of enmity against all that is good—shall ever enter there. Such as you are never belong to the faithful Israel of God and shall never enter their heavenly rest. It may be said to you, as Peter said to Simon (Act 8:21), “Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not right in the sight of God”; and as Nehemiah said to Sanballat and his associates, “You have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem” (Neh 2:20). If such a soul as yours should be admitted into heaven, that world of love, how nauseous would it be to those blest spirits whose souls are as a flame of love! How would it (disturb) that loving and blessed society and put everything in confusion! It would make heaven no longer heaven if such souls should be admitted there. It would change it from a world of love to a world of hatred, pride, envy, malice, and revenge, as this world is! But this shall never be; and the only alternative is that such as you shall be shut out with “dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Rev 22:15); that is, with all that is vile, unclean, and unholy. And this subject may well awaken and alarm the impenitent.

Secondly, by shewing them that they are in danger of hell, which is a world of hatred. There are three worlds. One is this, which is an intermediate world—a world in which good and evil are so mixed together as to be a sure sign that this world is not to continue forever. Another is heaven, a world of love without any hatred. And the other is hell, a world of hatred where there is no love, which is the world to which all of you who are in a Christless state properly belong. This last is the world where God manifests His displeasure and wrath, as in heaven He manifests His love. Everything in hell is hateful. There is not one solitary object there that is not (loathsome) and detestable, horrid and hateful. There is no person or thing to be seen there that is amiable or lovely; nothing that is pure, holy, or pleasant, but everything abominable and (loathsome). There are no beings there but devils and damned spirits that are like devils. Hell is, as it were, a vast den of poisonous hissing serpents—the old serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and with him all his hateful brood.

In that dark world, there are none but those whom God hates with a perfect and everlasting hatred. He exercises no love and extends no mercy to any one object there but pours out upon them horrors without mixture. All things in the wide universe that are hateful shall be gathered together in hell, as in a vast receptacle provided on purpose; that the universe that God has made may be cleansed of its filthiness by casting it all into this great sink of wickedness and woe. It is a world prepared on purpose for the expression of God’s wrath. He has made hell for this; and He has no other use for it but there to testify forever His hatred of sin and sinners where there is no token of love or mercy. There is nothing there but what shews forth the divine indignation and wrath. Every object shews forth wrath. It is a world all overflowed with a deluge of wrath, as it were, with a deluge of liquid fire, so as to be called a lake of fire and brimstone and the second death.

There are none in hell but what have been haters of God, and so have procured His wrath and hatred on themselves; and there they shall continue to hate Him forever. No love to God will ever be felt in hell; but everyone there perfectly hates Him and will continue to hate Him. Without any restraint, (they) will express their hatred to Him, blaspheming and raging against Him, while they gnaw their tongues for pain. And though they all join in their enmity and opposition to God, yet there is no union or friendliness among themselves. They agree in nothing but hatred and the expression of hatred. They hate God, Christ, angels, and saints in heaven; and not only so, but they hate one another, like a company of serpents or vipers, not only spitting out venom against God but at one another—biting and stinging and tormenting each other…

In hell, all those principles will reign and rage that are contrary to love without any restraining grace to keep them within bounds. Here will be unrestrained pride, malice, envy, revenge, and contention in all its fury and without end, never knowing peace. The miserable inhabitants will bite and devour one another, as well as be enemies to God, Christ, and holy beings. Those, who in their wickedness on earth were companions together and had a sort of carnal friendship one for another, will here have no appearance of fellowship; but perfect and continual and undisguised hatred will exist between them. As on earth they promoted each other’s sins, so now in hell they will promote each other’s punishment…

Now consider, all ye that are out of Christ, that were never born again, and that never had any blessed renovation of your hearts by the Holy Spirit implanting divine love in them, leading you to choose the happiness that consists in holy love as your best and sweetest good and to spend your life in struggling after holiness. Consider your danger and what is before you, for this is the world to which ye are condemned. (This is) the world to which you belong through the sentence of the law, and the world that every day and hour you are in danger of having your abode everlastingly fixed in. (This is) the world to which, if you repent not, you will soon go, instead of going to that blessed world of love of which you have now heard.

Consider, oh! consider that it is indeed thus with you. These things are not cunningly devised fables, but the great and dreadful realities of God’s Word—things that, in a little while, you will know with everlasting certainty are true. How, then, can you rest in such a state as you are in and go about so carelessly from day to day, so heedless and negligent of your precious, immortal souls? …

Let the consideration of what has been said of heaven stir up all earnestly to seek after it. If heaven be such a blessed world, then let it be our chosen country and the inheritance that we look for and seek. Let us turn our course this way and press on to its possession. It is not impossible but that this glorious world may be obtained by us. It is offered to us. Though it be so excellent and blessed a country, yet God stands ready to give us an inheritance there, if it be but the country that we desire, will choose, and diligently seek. God gives us our choice. We may have our inheritance wherever we choose it and may obtain heaven if we will but seek it by patient continuance in well-doing…

Let what we have heard of the land of love stir us all up to turn our faces toward it and bend our course thitherward. Is not what we have heard of the happy state of that country and the many delights that are in it enough to make us thirst after it, to cause us with the greatest earnestness and steadfastness of resolution to press towards it and spend our whole lives in travelling in the way that leads there? What joyful news might it well be to us when we hear of such a world of perfect peace and holy love, and to hear that it is possible, yes, that there is full opportunity for us to come to it and spend an eternity in its joys! … (Look) here for directions on how to seek heaven:

First, let not your heart go after the things of this world as your chief good. Indulge not yourself in the possession of earthly things as though they were to satisfy your soul. This is the reverse of seeking heaven; it is to go in a way contrary to that which leads to the world of love. If you would seek heaven, your affections must be taken off from the pleasures of the world. You must not allow yourself in sensuality, worldliness, the pursuit of the enjoyments or honours of the world, or occupy your thoughts or time in heaping up the dust of the earth. You must mortify the desires of vainglory and become poor in spirit and lowly in heart.

Second, you must in your meditations and holy exercises be much engaged in conversing with heavenly persons, objects, and enjoyments. You cannot constantly be seeking heaven without having your thoughts much there. Turn, then, the stream of your thoughts and affections toward that world of love, toward the God of love that dwells there, and toward the saints and angels that are at Christ’s right hand. Let your thoughts, also, be much on the objects and enjoyments of the world of love. Commune much with God and Christ in prayer and think often of all that is in heaven—of the friends who are there, the praises and worship there, and of all that will make up the blessedness of that world of love. Let your conversation be in heaven.

Third, be content to pass through all difficulties in the way to heaven. Though the path is before you and you may walk in it if you desire, yet it is a way that is ascending and filled with many difficulties and obstacles. That glorious city of light and love is, as it were, on the top of a high hill or mountain, and there is no way to it but by upward and (exhausting) steps. But though the ascent be difficult and the way full of trials, still it is worth your while to meet them all for the sake of coming and dwelling in such a glorious city at last. Be willing, then, to undergo the labor, meet the toil, and overcome the difficulty. What is it all in comparison with the sweet rest that is at your journey’s end? Be willing to cross the natural inclination of flesh and blood, which is downward, and press onward and upward to the prize. At every step, it will be easier and easier to ascend; and the higher your ascent, the more will you be cheered by the glorious prospect before you and by a nearer view of that heavenly city where in a little while you shall forever be at rest.

Fourth, in all your way let your eye be fixed on Jesus, Who has gone to heaven as your forerunner. Look to Him. Behold His glory in heaven, that a sight of it may stir you up the more earnestly to desire to be there. Look to Him in His example. Consider how, by patient continuance in well-doing and by patient endurance of great suffering, He went before you to heaven. Look to Him as your mediator and trust in the atonement that He has made, entering the holiest of all in the upper temple. Look to Him as your intercessor, Who forever pleads for you before the throne of God. Look to Him as your strength, that by His Spirit He may enable you to press on and overcome every difficulty of the way. Trust in His promises of heaven to those that love and follow Him, which He has confirmed by entering heaven as the head, representative, and Saviour of His people. And,

Fifth, if you would be in the way to the world of love, see that you live a life of love to God and love to men. All of us hope to have part in the world of love hereafter, and therefore we should cherish the spirit of love and live a life of holy love here on earth. This is the way to be like the inhabitants of heaven, who are now confirmed in love forever. Only in this way can you be like them in excellence and loveliness and like them, too, in happiness, rest, and joy. By living in love in this world you may be like them, too, in sweet and holy peace, and thus have on earth the foretastes of heavenly pleasures and delights. Thus, also, you may have a sense of the glory of heavenly things, as of God, Christ, and holiness; and your heart (will) be disposed and opened by holy love to God, and by the spirit of peace and love to men, to a sense of the excellence and sweetness of all that is to be found in heaven. Thus, shall the windows of heaven be, as it were, opened, so that its glorious light shall shine in upon your soul. Thus, you may have the evidence of your fitness for that blessed world and that you are actually on the way to its possession. And being thus made (fit) through grace for the inheritance of the saints in light, when a few more days shall have passed away, you shall be with them in their blessedness forever. Happy, thrice happy (are) those, who shall thus be found faithful to the end and then shall be welcomed to the joy of their Lord! There “they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 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” (Rev 7:16).

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