(John MacDuff, “The Promised Land” 1859)
“And the days of your mourning shall be ended!” Isaiah 60:20
This present world is a valley of tears — a wilderness of woe. While passing through it, we are exposed to sorrows and sufferings of various kinds. Pain and disease beset us on every side…
Here we are subject to innumerable troubles; our fondest hopes may be blasted, and we may be called to survey the wreck of all that we once possessed.
Here the dearest friends are snatched from each other’s embrace! The ruthless spoiler respects neither rank nor age — he tears asunder the very heart-strings of our nature, and seems to delight in trampling upon the tenderest sympathies of the soul.
From a thousand sources, do our present distresses spring;
no temptations there;
and no fightings without — or fears within;
no hardness of heart — or stings of conscience;
and no obscuring clouds, or contrary winds, or tossing waves, there.
No, nothing to grieve, nothing to cause a single sigh to rise from the bosom, or a single tear to fall from the eye — will be there.
But joy and peace will be there; and cheerful hearts and beaming countenances will be there; and the conqueror’s song, and waving palms, and harps of gold, and robes of spotless white, will be there.
O suffering saint! Think much of what is there — it will help you to bear up and to press on under your load of sorrow here. It is only for a little while, that you will have to traverse this howling desert; and then, having passed the narrow stream of death — you shall know Heaven by happy experience! “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined — what God has prepared for those who love Him!”