Heaven is Fulfilment: Chapter 5
“What an experience that was!” Janet exclaimed as we began to walk through the woods beyond the well.
“It amazed me to see how sure the little shopkeeper was, that the Heaven he sees and lives in is all,” I mused.
The angel gave me a swift glance, grave and searching.
“Do you begin to realize now,” he asked, “that Heaven cannot he wholly seen? That it indeed comprises ‘many mansions’ that what is Heaven to you, is certainly far from ‘heavenly’ to another?”
“I think we do,” Janet answered for both. “Of course, we discovered in the Place of Vision that even in the same place people may see it in an entirely different way. That helps the realisation too.”
“That is because people in two different planes may inhabit, temporarily, one place,” said our teacher.
“It seems to me that Heaven is very much what we make it, just as we used to say of earth-life,” I commented.
“How true that is!” Our angel seemed pleased that we had understood so well. “It is more true of Heaven than of earth. People so often live their earth-lives in blissful expectation of Heaven, thinking that it does not much matter how they live in their thoughts, provided they commit no outward sin. When they pass through death’s door they find that it is their thought-life that determines the ‘mansion’ in which they can live. It is not that other ‘mansions’ are closed to them, but just that they cannot see or appreciate them. That is why the little brother thought that Heaven was a keeping of shops. It is so, to him, but when he grows in thought he will come to suspect the existence of a wider Heaven-world. Then he will rise up in search of it. Truly, a man builds his Heaven by the quality of his own thoughts on earth.”
“That is why the great Paul taught the value of right thinking,” I said, and quoted: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
“Yes,” our teacher agreed. ‘Yet how few really apply these admonitions to themselves? They think, because they have accepted Christ, that they are sure of Heaven. They do not say in their hearts, ‘Yes – but what part of Heaven, what mansion? Shall I be asked to go up higher, or shall I be moved down to make room for another guest at the eternal feast?’ If they would but ask themselves that question, then begin to watch their thoughts, how much higher they would climb toward the Father’s bliss when they had passed through death’s door!”
Talking thus, we had passed through the wood and now we came to a mountainous country. We stood on a hill, looking down into a tree-clothed valley where glimpses of water reflected the light. Beyond the mountains climbed into the sky, receding mistily into a veil of cloud.
“This is beautiful,” Janet exclaimed, pausing to breathe deeply of the delicious air.
“It is characteristic of this particular mansion,” our teacher explained. We set off into the valley.
This time we did not ply our dear angel with questions, for we felt that he wished to surprise us. However, we kept our eyes very wide open, and, if it were possible, they opened wider than ever when we came out of some trees and on to a wide plain.
There were men hauling great stones up the mountain-side. All around was a great activity. Everyone seemed to be hurrying to and fro, carrying enormous weights, rolling boulders, climbing steep rocks to gather plants or labouring to help young children over rocky places bridging the river. No-one seemed to notice us, and, although we stood watching quite a long time, the work never ceased.
“There is something rather grand about this,” I mused.
“I know,” Janet answered. “Yet I cannot quite grasp it.”
It is the joy of accomplishment,” our teacher said quietly, standing between us and following the toiling figures with his glance.
“These people are all abundantly happy, for-” he broke off, smiling. “We will let our friend tell you himself”
“Where is he?” Janet asked.
“He is one of those on the nearest mountain. We will go to meet him as he descends.”