We Will Live Forever
It says in the 12th chapter of John and the 26th verse: If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be.
I cannot agree with some people, that Paul has been sleeping in the grave, and is still there, after the storms of eighteen hundred years. I cannot believe that he who loved the Master, who had such a burning zeal for Him, has been separated from Him in an unconscious state, "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou has given me." This is Christ's prayer.
Now when a man believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, he gets eternal life. A great many people make a mistake right there; "He that believeth on the Son hath--h-a-t-h--hath eternal life;" it does not say he shall have it when he comes to die; it is in the present tense; it is mine now--if I believe. He is the gift of God, that is enough. You can't bury the gift of God; you can't buy eternal life. All the grave-diggers in the world can't dig a grave large enough and deep enough to hold eternal life; all the coffin-makers of the world can't make a coffin large enough and deep enough to hold eternal life; that is mine; it is mine!
I believe when Paul said "To be absent from the body and present with the Lord," he meant what he said; that he was not going to be separated from Him for eighteen hundred years; that spirit that he got when he was converted he got from a new life and a new nature, and they could not lay that away in the sepulcher; they could not bury that that flew to meet its Maker. It may be he is not satisfied, and will not be until the resurrection, but Christ says: "He will see then the travail of his soul, and be satisfied." Even the body shall be raised; this body, sown in dishonor, shall be raised in glory; this body which has put n corruption, shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality. It is only a question of time. The great morning of the world will, by-and-by, dawn upon the earth, and the dead shall come forth and shall hear the voice of Him who is the resurrection and the life.
Paul says: If our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. He could take down the clay temple, and leave that, but he had a better house. He says in one place: I am in a strait betwixt two; having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better; nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for me. To me, it is a sweet thought to think that death does not separate us from the Master. A great many people are living continually in the bondage of death, but if I have eternal life, death cannot touch that; it may touch the house I live in; it may change my countenance and send my body away to the grave, but it cannot touch this new life. To me it is very sad to think that so many professed Christians look upon death as they do.
I received some time ago a letter from a friend in London, and I thought, as I read it, I would take it and read it to other people and see if I could not get them to look upon death as this friend does. He lost a loved mother. In England it is a very common thing to send out cards in memory of the departed ones, and they put upon them great borders of black-- sometimes a quarter of an inch of black border--but this friend has gone and put on gold; he did not put on black at all; she had gone to the golden city, and so he just put on a golden border; and I think it is a good deal better than black. I think when our friends die, instead of putting a great black border upon our memorials to make them look dark, it would be better for us to put on gold.
It is not death at all; it is life. Some one said to a person dying; "Well, you are in the land of the living yet." "No," said he, "I am in the land of the dying yet, but I am going to the land of the living; they live there and never die." This is the land of sin and death and tears, but up yonder they never die. It is perpetual life; it is unceasing joy.
"It is a glorious thing to die," was the testimony of Hannah More on her deathbed, though her life had been sown thick with the rarest friendships, and age had not so weakened her memory as to cause her to forget those little hamlets among the cliffs of her native hills, or the mission-schools she had with such perseverance established, and where she would be so sadly missed.
As some one has said:
"There is a soft, a down bed;
"Tis fair as breath of even;
A couch for weary mortals spread,
Where they may rest the aching head,
And find repose--in heaven!
"There is an hour of peaceful rest,
To mourning wanderers given.
There is a joy for souls distressed
A balm for every wounded breast,
"Tis found alone--in heaven!"