As mentioned numerous times here, I have found great joy in reading Octavius Winslow’s Morning Thoughts this year as part of my devotions. This section from earlier in March has stuck with me and I have read it out loud to several brethren. One of our dear folks lost their grandmother this week and again the cheering words from this book came to mind. These words go well with Ryle’s essay on knowing one another in heaven.
Here is Winslow:
Will it add nothing to the glory of that event, and to the happiness of that moment, when the Son of God descends, and, dissolving the soft slumbers of the holy dead, will reanimate each with its former occupant, that then we shall perfectly recognize those we once knew and loved, and renew the sweet communion, before imperfect and limited, but now complete and eternal? Dry, then, your tears, and cease to mourn, you saints of God. They are “not lost, but gone before.” Their spirits live with Jesus. And when He comes, He will bring them with Him, and you shall see and know them with a cloudless sight and a perfect knowledge. The very eyes which once smiled upon you so kindly- the very tongue which spoke to you so comfortingly- the very hands which administered to you so skillfully- the very feet which traveled by your side so faithfully- the very bosom which pillowed you so tenderly- you shall meet again. “The coming of the Lord draws near,” and those who “sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.” Let us “comfort one another with these words.”
And will it be no additional joy to meet and to know those eminent servants of the Lord whose histories and whose writings stimulated, instructed, and cheered us, shedding light and gladness on our way? Abraham, whose faith had animated us- David, whose experimental psalms had comforted us- Isaiah, whose visions of Jesus had gladdened us- Paul, whose doctrinal epistles had instructed us- John, whose letters of love had subdued us; to gaze upon the “Magdalene ” sitting at Jesus’ feet- upon the “beggar” reposing in Abraham’s bosom- upon the “thief” with Christ in Paradise- oh! will not this add to the happiness of heaven? Will this be no joy, no bliss, no glory? Assuredly it will! At Christ’s coming, will not His ministers, too, and those to whom their labors had been useful, meet, know, and rejoice in each other? The pastor and the flock, will there be no certain and permanent reunion? no sweet, and fond, and holy recognition? Shall their union in the Church below exceed, in its beauty and sweetness, their reunion in the Church above? Here it is necessarily mingled with much that is imperfect. Much concealment is connected with their united labors in the vineyard of Christ. They go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, and often are called to their rest before the fruit of their prayers, and tears, and toil appears. Here, too, seasons of sickness and of separation frequently transpire, enshrouding the spirit with gloom, and wringing the heart with anguish. And then, at last, death itself rudely breaks the tender bond, lays the standard-bearer low, leaving the affectionate flock to gaze with streaming eye upon the lessening spirit of their pastor as it ascends and towers away to glory. But the coming of Jesus, with all His saints, will restore this happy union, invest it with new and richer glory, and place it upon a permanent, yes, everlasting basis. “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.” Yes, beloved, we shall know each other again, altered and glorified though we may be.