CCXCII. The Blessed Dead.

REV. xiv. 13. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord
from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest
from their labours; and their works do follow them.”

No book is fuller than this Apocalypse of the struggles
and victories of the Church on earth; but it also opens a
door into heaven. It shows that heaven is not all future,
but, as it were, contemporary with present history, and
bound to it by the closest ties. Messengers pass and re-
pass; tidings come and go; and the Lamb, who is in the
midst of the throne, presides alike over time and eternity.
I. The answer which the text gives to the question, How
is the heavenly blessedness attested? We all profess to
believe in the reality of heaven, but why?
1. There is the evidence from miracle or the presence of
the supernatural in the form of power. This great apostle
heard a voice from heaven. But before this John had
looked on One whose life was crowded with miracle. He
had witnessed His risen glory as He came back from
heaven, and His ascension glory as He returned to heaven
If miracle could vouch for heaven, its existence was con-
firmed.
2. The testimony is in itself divinely credible. Its in-
ternal character vouches for its authority.
3. There is a living and experimental evidence of the
reality of heaven. It is written in living epistles, written
not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.
II. How is the heavenly blessedness secured?
1. The doctrine here is that the title to heaven depends
on faith. “In the Lord.”
2. But there is also a preparation for the heavenly state
by holy obedience. “They rest from their labours,” im-
plying that they prove their faith by works.
III. How is the heavenly blessedness enjoyed?
1. Heaven is the rest of the worker. It is not sloth,
torpor, or inactivity; but while there is no apathy there is
rest to the body and the spirit. No more out in the
billows, toiling in rowing, when the wind is contrary, but
in smooth water, and with the ripple breaking on the
shore.
2. Heaven is the continued influence of the work.
“Their works do follow them.” Every moral act, truly
good, will last for ever. The simplest act of self-denial for
Christ’s sake, the mother’s faintest prayer, record them-
selves in the sounding-board of eternity, and never die
away.
John Cairns, D.D.

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