Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Name Written in Heaven, the Truest Ground of Joy

An excerpt from a sermon preached by Matthew Mead, a Puritan minister who lived from 1629 to October 6, 1699.

"Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven!" Luke 10:20

The greatest ground of joy imaginable is to have "a name written in heaven!" A saving interest in the glories of the eternal world, is a truer and nobler cause of rejoicing, than anything which this present world can afford.

I need produce no other proof of the truth of this doctrine, than the authority of the text itself; it stands clear in the light of its own evidence. The Lord Christ himself has said it—and therefore we ought to believe it is so.

But why is it so?

Reason 1.

"A name written in heaven" is a rich result of electing love! Love is the most comforting attribute in God—the best name the creature knows him by: "God is love," 1 John 4:16. There are three things to be considered in it.

1. Love acts with a priority to all other attributes. Wisdom contrives the good and felicity of the creature. Power and providence maturate and bring the contrivements of wisdom to pass. But love has the first hand in the work. It was love which first summoned the great counsel held by all the three persons of the Trinity, when neither men nor angels existed.

It was love that first pitched upon the Son, and laid him as the foundation of the whole structure of man's salvation and blessedness. Love sent Christ into the world—love put him to death—love made him an offering for sin! All the attributes of God act in the strength of love; and all the providences of God follow the motions of love.

2. Electing love is the proper source of all our other mercies. So the apostle makes it, Ephesians 1, "Who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings;" how so? "According as he hath chosen us in him" (Christ). And what those spiritual blessings are, he tells you. "He hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." "Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence." "Having made known to us the mystery of his will." "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance"—that is, a name written in heaven! All which the apostle resolves again into electing love, verse 11, "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."

3. Love is the only attribute which God has acted to the utmost. We have never seen the utmost of his power—what God can do. But we have seen the utmost of his love—he has found a ransom for lost souls! Job 33.24-28, "He has laid help upon one who is mighty;" Psalm 89.19, "He has tabernacled divinity in flesh." 1 Tim. 3.16, "He has made his soul an offering for sin, laid upon him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53.11, "He has made us the righteousness of God in him;" 2 Cor. 5.21, "He has accepted us in the beloved." Eph. 1.6, "He has made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Eph. 2.6, "He has written our names in heaven." How can divine love put forth greater efforts of itself than these?

The love of God, is infinite love. It gives the soul interest in an infinite good, entitles it to an infinite blessedness, and so fills the soul with an infinite satisfaction. And is not a saving interest in God's electing love, the highest cause of rejoicing? The scripture compares love to wine—but the love of God is better than wine; Song of Solomon 4.10. It gives "a name in heaven," which causes an eternal rejoicing.

Reason 2. "A name written in heaven" is a special mercy, which is given only to the Christian. David prays, Psalm 106.4,5, "Remember me, O Lord, with the favor that thou bearest unto thy people." God records the names of his people in the book of life, and there David would be recorded too; and why? "That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance."

Nothing is so great a cause of rejoicing and glorying as this. What if God gives you life, riches, relations, honors? There is no special mercy in all this. Can you prove your title to the love of God by any or all of these? A man may have life—and yet be dead to God, and dead in sin! A man may be rich, and yet wretched! We may have children—and yet be ourselves children of wrath for all that! God does not love us in giving us sons, unless he gives us his own Son! A man may have honor—and yet not be honored by God. Herod was honored by the people—and yet "eaten up with worms!" Acts 12.21,23.

Special mercies cause special rejoicing. Common mercies can cause but common joy. A name in heaven is a special mercy—this is not the lot of all; the names of the greatest part of the world are written in the dust! Jer. 17.13, "O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters." The expression has much in it; it travels with a curse.

"A name in heaven" imports the greatest happiness; so a name written in the dust implies the greatest misery.

A name written in the dust implies a short duration, a name of no continuance.

The dust is a place of putrefaction and corruption; what is buried in the earth soon turns to rottenness; so that a name written in the dust implies rottenness, according to Solomon, "The name of the wicked shall rot." Proverbs 10.7b.

The dust is a place of oblivion. What is written in heaven is recorded forever—but what is written in the dust is soon forgotten; so says Bildad of the wicked. "His remembrance shall perish from the earth, and he shall have no name in the street. He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world. He shall neither have son or nephew among his people, nor any remaining in his dwellings. They that come after him shall be astonied at his day, as they that went before were affrighted. Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him that knoweth not God." Job 18:17-21.

The earth is designed for burning; it is decreed to be fuel for the conflagration of the great day, when "the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire," 2 Thess. 1.7,8. So says the apostle, 2 Pet. 3.10, "The day of the Lord will come, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up!" Whatever is of affinity to earth must feel the flames of that dreadful day! Not only the dust of the earth—but the treasures of the earth—the pleasures of the earth, the names written in the dust, earthly affections, earthly delights, earthly designs, earthly hearts—all together must make fuel for that fire! For "the earth, and all the works that are therein, shall be burned up!"

You see what a curse, that a name written in the dust is; and yet the names of the greatest part of men and women in the world are written there. To have a name written in heaven, is the portion but of few; it is a special privilege, by which the Lord distinguishes his people from the rest of the world; and therefore to have a name in heaven is cause of rejoicing indeed.

Reason 3.

A name written in heaven, manifests that person to be in the highest relation to God. You are his children, his sons and daughters, the adopted of the Lord! What can be greater ground of unimaginable joy?

What is it which clothes your child with honor and fame—but the nobleness of his descent? and how does your honor and greatness come to descend upon him—but by being of the same blood? It is the nearness of the relation, which entitles him to all. So all that is in God, all his excellencies, all his attributes, his wisdom, his power, his love, his justice, his providence—all are yours, and work for your benefit and advantage, by virtue of your relationship to him.

There is a two-fold relation to God, a relation of servants and of sons. But the difference between them is very great, especially in five things.

1st, The relation of servants is a common relation. All creatures in the world are God's servants—as he is the great master and householder of heaven and earth. God has servants of all sorts, good and bad; he has "good and faithful servants," Matt. 25.23, and he has "wicked and slothful servants," verse 26. He has some that honor him, and some that rebel against him. God has many servants that take wages of him—but do the devil's work.

All creatures stand in this relation to God, the very devils themselves are subject to his command; "Every knee bows to him, both of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth," Phil. 2.10.

But the relation of sons is a special relation, which appertains only to a few. God has many servants—but he has but few sons; he has many in subjection—but few sons. All are his subjects—but all are not his sons.

2ndly, The relation of servants is a mercenary relation; the duty of that relation is drawn forth by the rewards of it; servants work for hire, it is wages they chiefly look for. God has many such servants, that are merely mercenaries in all their duties. They know God is a good master, pays well, and keeps a good table; his commands are equal, and his rewards are bountiful, therefore they own him. As many followed the Lord Christ when he was upon earth, not because of his mercies—but because of his morsels; not because they would be saved—but because "they ate of the loaves and were filled," John 6.26. It was not for the sake of his person—but his provision; not out of love to the truth, so much as the wages.

The Lord Christ has many such servants now, that call themselves the Servants of Christ, and Ministers of Christ—but they are but mercenaries to him. It is the salary they look at, more than the service; dignities more than duty; the preferments of the church, more than the concernments of it. They have the flesh-hook of the law in their hand, 1 Sam. 2.13,14, often to serve themselves—but the book of the law is in their hand but seldom, whereby they should "save themselves and them that hear them," 1 Tim. 4.16. These follow Christ, indeed—but it is for the loaves. No wages—no work! Like those in Mal. 3.14, who cry out, "What profit is it to serve God?"

But now the relation of sons is more sincere. Sons obey and serve in love—not for the reward. They labor—because they love. Not but that the children of God may look at the rewards promised. Moses was sincere in all his performances, and yet "he had a respect unto the recompense of the reward," Heb. 11.26. Christ was a son in the highest relation, the son of God's choicest regard, Matt. 17.5, and yet it is said of him, in his "enduring the cross, and despising the shame," that he "had an eye to the joy which was set before him," Heb. 12.2. A dutiful child may look at his inheritance; yet he would pay the obedience of a son, though he were to receive no father's blessing.

3rdly, The relation of sons, is a communicative relation. The relation of a servant is not so. A master does not impart all his mind, nor disclose his secrets—to his servant. He lays upon him his commands—but does not trust him with his secrets. So says our Lord Christ, John 15.15, "Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth." But a father will disclose and communicate his heart to his child—he will tell all his mind, and will, and counsels, to his son.

4thly, The relations of servants gives no claim; it does not entitle them to the estate of their Lord. The law allows them a present maintenance—but no share in the inheritance.

But the relation of a son is entitling—it gives a claim. By virtue of his sonship, he has a title to what is his father's—his father's riches, his father's honors, etc. If you are the "children of God," you are born heirs, and your inheritance is the greatest in this world or in the next; for God himself is your portion! All he is, and all he has—is "the lot of your inheritance!"

5thly, The relation of servants is not lasting; it is arbitrary, founded on will and pleasure of the master. You take one servant, and put away another, at your pleasure. But the relation of a son is abiding, it lasts forever, to the end of being. So says our Lord Christ, John 8.35, "And the servant abideth not in the house for ever; but the son abideth ever." If you are the children of God, you are taken into a lasting relation which shall never end! God is your father forever, and you are his children forever—it is an everlasting relationship!

How should we rejoice in this near relation to the great God! To be a child of God is the highest title in the world. David was made but son-in-law to a king, not born a son; and this sonship was but to an earthly king, who dies like other men, Psalm 82.7, and yet the thoughts of it wrought to astonishment in him: "Seemeth it to you a light thing to be a king's son in law . . . . . ?" 1 Sam. 18.23. What is it then to be taken into an eternal sonship to an everlasting father, before whom the kings of the earth are as grasshoppers; who "bringeth the princes to nothing: he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity." Isaiah 40.22,23.

Reason 4. "A name written in heaven" gives an assured hope of heaven. We are by this forever set free from all fear of miscarrying. If you have a title—never question the possession. If the right is yours, you shall surely inherit. When you look over a bundle of deeds, and see the name of such a particular person run through them all, and expressly mentioned in the deeds, and all things run in his name—you conclude that estate his, it belongs to him, and will come to him, for all the law is on his side.

It is so in the case in hand; if you have "a name written in heaven," the estate is yours, the conveyance is made to you. The covenant is the main deed, which is sealed in the blood of Christ, and therein the inheritance is made over and conveyed to you!

There is an inseparable connection between election and glorification. Though there are many links in the golden chain which reaches from election to glorification—yet not one of them can be broken! "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Romans 8.30.

It is observable in what tense the Spirit of God puts it; not in the future, as a thing to be done—but in a tense that notes it to be already done—to show the certainty of it. If our "names are written in heaven," we shall as surely share in the glories of it, as if already in possession; nay, we are already in possession:

1. Partly in Christ, who is already entered upon his inheritance in our behalf; Heb. 6.20, "Where the forerunner has entered for us." Hence that of the apostle, "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:" Eph. 2.6.

2. Partly by the promise: we have the deeds, though we do not enjoy the estate; we keep the title, though we do not possess the inheritance.

3. Partly in the "first fruits of glory," Romans 8.23, which we receive by the Spirit of God, and the graces of the Spirit in our hearts. Entrance upon the least part of an estate, gives a right to the possession, as well as entrance upon the whole. Grace in the heart is a pledge of the holy land, the land of promise, whereby God does actually instate us in the glorious inheritance.


The first use shall be for examination. Is "a name written in heaven," the truest cause of rejoicing? Then let us see what cause of rejoicing we may have in ourselves, upon this account. The apostle's counsel is plainly to this purpose, Gal. 6.4, "But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another."

You have heard that there can be no true cause of joy in the heart—but "a name written in heaven!"

Is "a name written in heaven" the chief ground of your joy?

Question. But you will reply, "Who can say his name is written in heaven? Who has thus far known the mind of the Lord? To whom has he at any time opened the sealed book of his secret decrees? Was ever any man admitted into the regions above, to search the eternal records of the divine purpose?"

Answer. Surely not. But yet let me, in answer to this, lay down two conclusions.

First, The knowledge of this, that our names are written in heaven, is attainable. Why else are we commanded to "make our calling and election sure?" Would the Lord Christ have called upon us to rejoice, because "our names are written in heaven," if it were a thing that could not be known? Surely therefore it is no such secret as lies out of the reach of faith's attainment.

Indeed, to wicked, unbelieving, and impenitent sinners—the knowledge of this is impossible. How can a man who forsakes God, know that his name is written in heaven, when God says, "Those who forsake him, their names shall be written in the dust?" But believers may attain to the knowledge of this.

Secondly, As the knowledge of it is attainable, so it is evident from scripture examples, that many have attained to it. God has sometimes unsealed the book of his decrees, and held it open to the believing eye; so that the soul has been enabled to read its interest in divine love, by the spiritual optics of faith; for "faith is the evidence of things not seen," Heb. 11.1. The soul is as yet enrapt up in gross matter, imprisoned in flesh, and confined to an abode in a tabernacle of clay; and therefore distanced from God, and utterly incapable of any farther converse and communion with him, than what is attainable by the mediation of faith.

Now faith enters within the veil, removes the soul out of the valleys of sense, and sets it upon the highest ground of gospel consolation, that it may stand at the fairest vantage ground, to get a prospect into the glory of the eternal world. Faith draws infallible conclusions of the goodness of its state, from the immutable decrees of electing love. What else made Job say, "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me." Job 19.25-27.

And what made Paul glory in the Lord Christ, crying out, "Who loved me, and gave himself for me!" Gal. 2.20. What made the church say, with so much confidence, "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine!" Song of Solomon 6.3.

Question. But the great question is, "How shall a man be able to know, that his name is written in heaven?"

Answer. There are certain discoveries of this in a man's self; which if we attend to, we may have a sure proof and witness of.

1. Effectual calling is a sure proof that your name is written in heaven! If the call of God has taken hold of our hearts—then our names are written in heaven! There is an inseparable connection between election and calling; and therefore, when the apostle bids us "give all diligence to make our calling and election sure." II Pet. 1:10 Though election is before calling (the one being an act of God in eternity; the other an act of God in time), yet the apostle puts the making our calling sure in the first place; because a man can never be sure he is elected—until he is first effectually called.

Now then, if you would know whether your names are written in heaven; satisfy yourselves in this, that the call of God has taken effectual hold of your hearts. Has it brought your souls off from everything below Christ, wholly to follow Christ? It is said, when Christ called Peter and Andrew, they presently "left their nets and followed him," Matt. 4.18,19,20. Every man has his nets—something that his soul is entangled in, until the call of God takes hold of him. Can you now, with Peter, when God calls—lay aside your nets to follow him?

For it is not every call which will witness the truth of our election: there is an external call of the word—which is ineffectual. It prevails not upon the sinner's heart, he turns a deaf ear upon it. This call leaves sinners as it finds them—in their sins and lusts! Matt. 20.16.

But then there is an internal and effectual call—when Word and Spirit go together, and work together, to bring the soul off from sin, and lust, and self, and world—to Jesus Christ, to live upon him as its portion, and conform to him as its pattern. Now if you are thus called, then is your name written in heaven—and therefore you may go and rejoice indeed—for if any in the world has cause, you have.

2. If the law of God is written in your heart—then your name is written in heaven! It is one of the great promises of the new covenant, that "God will write his law in our hearts," Heb. 8.10.

Question. Now you will say, "What is this law of God?"

Answer. It is the law of love, the law of holiness—a law that takes in all the duties that God requires of us, a law of universal obedience. Psalm 40.8, "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." It is a law that comprehends the whole rule of the new creature. The law within is a counterpart of the law without; so that, whatever the word of God commands, the soul is enabled to perform, when this law is written in the heart.

Question. When is God said to write his law in the heart?

Answer. When he does powerfully impress a divine principle of grace, by his Holy Spirit, in the heart. Believers are said to be "the epistle of Christ, written not with ink—but with the Spirit of the living God," 2 Cor. 3.3. An epistle is nothing else but a paper, with the mind of a man written in it, and sent to another. Believers are "the epistle of the living God;" there his mind, and will, and law is written, not in tables of stone—but in the fleshly tables of the heart.

So that if the law of God is written in your heart—then may you know that your name is written in heaven!

Converting grace in the heart, is the best of God's eternal election; without which the eternal decree concerning us can never be read with clearness, nor understood with comfort. The decree travails and brings forth, in a work of grace in the heart. The mind of God, concerning our eternal condition, is best known by a sound conversion; for there he speaks plainly. That fountain of love which ran underground before, now bubbles up and breaks forth. In election, God spoke within himself; but in conversion, God speaks to the soul. In election, God wrote our names in heaven secretly; but in conversion, we see them written there openly.

A work of grace in the heart carries in it a four-fold witness:

1. That we are the objects of God's election.

2. That sin is pardoned through Christ's atoning sacrifice.

3. That God is reconciled by Christ's intercession.

4. That we are secure as to eternal salvation.

The least of these is worth a whole world!
Who would not be willing to know himself, as the chosen of God? Who would not be glad to see sin pardoned? Who would not rejoice in a friendship with God—whose wrath burns to the lowest hell? Who would not triumph, in an assurance of being saved forever? Now if grace is wrought in your heart, this is your privilege—and you may rejoice in hope of glory. No better witness of our names written in heaven—than the image of God engraved in the heart!

The ungodly do not need descend in the deep, to search in hell—to see if their names be written, by the wrath and vengeance of God, in eternal misery. No! they may find it nearer home; there is a hell within them! There is the stench and filth of hell, in their vile affections! The smoke and flames of hell, are in their burning and raging lusts! The darkness of hell, is in their blind minds! And sometimes the torments of hell, are in their guilty and self-revenging consciences—that "worm which dieth not!" Mark 9.44. Just so—many believers find a heaven in their own souls, a heaven of light, of love, of holiness, of joy and praise! "The kingdom of God (heaven) is within you." Luke 17:21

3. If true faith is wrought in your heart—then is your name written in heaven. 1 John 5.10, "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself:" Faith is a sure fruit of electing love: "As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed!" Acts 13.48. God does not elect us because we believe—but we believe because we are elected. (Election upon foreseen faith is an Arminian dream!) Faith is one of the first fruits which eternal love brings forth in the heart. Final unbelief is a sad witness of a reprobate state: so says our Lord Christ, "But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep." John 10.26.

Would you know then whether your name is written in heaven? then see if saving faith is wrought in your heart. Have you ever truly closed with the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you heartily embrace him, as he is set forth in the gospel? Can you venture your soul, your salvation, your eternal all—upon the single foundation of the Redeemer's righteousness? Have you ever had actual application of the blood and righteousness of Christ to your own consciences, to take off that guilt of sin whereby your souls stand bound over to wrath and damnation? This faith is of the operation of God; and wherever this faith is found in the heart—the name of that man, that woman, is found in heaven! Therefore well may the apostle say, "In whom believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory!" 1 Pet. 1.8.

4. If the father's name is written on your foreheads—then are your names written in heaven! In Rev. 14:1, it is said of those who stood with the Lamb upon Mount Zion—that "the Father's name was written in their foreheads."

The name of God is written in the forehead—when we openly confess the truths of God, and are not ashamed of religion; nor ashamed to own God, and his ways, and ordinances, and people—in the midst of a profane, scoffing, and adulterous generation. Now says our Lord Christ, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, (that is—the name of Christ written on the forehead) "him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven;" Matt. 10:32 . . . that is—he shall have a name written in heaven!

Do you repine at difficulties, shrink at sufferings, blush at being counted pious? Are you ashamed of Christ, his ways, his name, his people? Why if so, his name is not on your forehead.

Or can you lift up your heads, and show your faces, in the cause of Christ? "God is not ashamed to be called our God," Heb. 11.16. And will you be ashamed to be called his children, his saints, his witnesses? Moses was not ashamed, when he "Esteemed the reproach of Christ, greater riches than the treasures in Egypt;" Heb. 11.26. He had the father's name on his forehead.

5. If your great work is to have treasure in heaven—then your names are written in heaven! This is the counsel of the blessed Jesus, Matt. 6.20, "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven!" Luke 12.33,34: "provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

The treasures of most men are perishing, earthly treasures, cankered and moth-eaten treasures, treasures of vanity. Where is your treasure? Is it in this world—or in the eternal world? Is it in present vanities—or in future glory? Is it in present contentments—or in an everlasting inheritance? Is it in food and feasting—or is it in the light of God's countenance? Is it in profits, pleasures, and honors—or is it in grace and glory? Do you build, and plant, and sow in the eternal world, that hereafter you may reap an eternal harvest of blessedness? If so, then are your names written in heaven!

6. If your conversations are in heaven—then are your names written in heaven! Phil. 3.20, "Our conversation is in heaven."

Many profess hope of heaven—but their conversations are upon the earth: like that foolish actor, that while his eyes were fixed upon the earth, cried, "O heavens!" they savor only earthly things—earthly profits, earthly comforts, earthly vanities.

Let a man's profession be ever so heavenly, his prayers and duties ever so heavenly—yet if they are over-topped by an earthly conversation, that man's religion is vain! The scripture says expressly, "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him!" 1 John 2.15.

Never talk of a name in heaven—so long as your hearts are buried in the earth! Where your hearts are—there your names are! If your hearts are earthly, your names are in the earth, "Carnal, worldly, sensual, enemy to God"—that is your name, and the scripture gives you no other! James 4.4: "whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

Now what is your life? How do you live? Do you live by sense—or do you live by faith? Do you live upon the creatures—or upon the promises?

It is said of the virtuous woman, Proverbs 31.14, that "she bringeth her food from afar." So does the true believer; he uses the blessings of the creature—but he lives upon the blessings of the covenant.

"From afar." That is, far out of the sight and view of the natural eye—for it is bread the world knows nothing of. The natural man is blind and cannot see afar off. "God has set the world in their hearts." Eccles. 3.11. They are strangers to this heavenly joy.

"From afar." "for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth," Luke 12.15. His "life is hid with Christ in God," Col. 3.3; and from thence are the comforts of his life. "He fetches his food from afar"—it is God in Christ, and the glories of the eternal world, which are the bread of his soul.

Do you fetch your food from far, or nearer home? Are you fed by sense—or does faith feed you with clusters fetched from the holy land? Do you serve flesh, lust, and sins, and times, which is the basest thraldom? Or do you serve Christ, whose service is perfect freedom? Romans 6.16, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey;" His you are—whom you serve. The apostle Paul will tell you whom he serves, "God, whom I serve with my spirit." Romans 1.9.

"Forgetting the things behind, I press towards the mark," Phil. 3.13,14. Outward privileges, carnal contentments, perishing hopes—these were once the things before him; but now he has turned about, and set his face the other way, and left them all behind him. "I press toward the mark." He is now ascending upon the wings of faith and love—above this dung and darkness—to the regions of light and glory!

If your conversation is in heaven, it is thus with you in one degree or other. Heavenly concernments are your work, and heavenly comforts are your support. It is not profits, pleasures, or honors, which can comfort and gladden you; but it is fruit from the tree of life, in the midst of the paradise of God, which nourishes you.

If thus your conversation be in heaven—then is your name written in heaven!

Entire text of the sermon can be accessed here:

In Christian love,

June & Ralph Nadolny,
two sinners saved by God's grace alone (Eph. 2:8-10; Romans 5:8)
"Christ in you (us), the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27b)
"new creatures in Christ" (2 Cor. 5:17)
"We love him, because HE first loved us." 1 John 4:19