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Chapter II.

Of Heaven, The Work Of The Second Day.

See Gen. 1:6-8; Ps. 104:6; Ps. 19:1.

Who can doubt that the admirable and pure structure of heaven, with all its wonderful properties, is a strong evidence and witness of God? “What are heaven and all the beauty of nature” (says one of the ancients), “but an illustrious mirror, in which we view the wonders of their Maker.” For if God created all so pure, so glorious, and so firm, that our weak understandings cannot comprehend or explain it; how pure, how glorious, eternal, spiritual, unutterable a Being must that God be who created all? And if He has made so glorious a heaven over men, during their short abode here; how much more illustrious a mansion has he not reserved for us hereafter in the region of life and immortality? Hence St. Paul tells us, “We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.” 2 Cor. 5:1, 2.

2. As to the stupendous height and compass of heaven, to which the earth is in comparison no more than a single point; how does it suggest to us the immense and unsearchable power and wisdom of God? “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts, than your thoughts, saith the Lord.” Isa. 55:8, 9. Does not its circular roundness remind us of the eternity of God? For of both there 430 is neither beginning nor end. Does it not also tell us of his omnipresence? For as the heaven surrounds and encompasses all things, so does the God of heaven support and comprehend all his creatures. “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?” Isa. 40:12.

3. And as, in a circle, no part can be called upper and lower; so God fills all things equally. Heaven and earth are full of the majesty of his glory; “He is not far from every one of us; for in him we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 17:27, 28. For though there are antipodes and many other creatures under us, as is demonstrable from the figure of the earth; yet by the wonderful power of God the heaven is everywhere over our heads, and we look up directly towards it, by reason of its immensity.

4. Does not also the firmament of heaven remind us of the constant, eternal, and immutable truth of God and his Word? For who is it that supports the heaven? Where are the pillars that sustain it? Or how does it hang, but upon the word of God? “The pillars of heaven tremble,” saith Job, “and are astonished at his reproof. He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it.” Job 26:9, 11. And if by his word he has so strongly fixed the heavens, who can doubt that he will keep his word and promise to us forever and ever? If he support the heavens by the word of his power, doubt not but he will also support, protect, and preserve thee forever.

5. But, from this created heaven, learn to raise thy thoughts to the spiritual heaven (1 Kings 8:27), “where are fulness of joy and pleasures forever more.” Ps. 16:11. This St. Paul calls “paradise, and the third heaven” (2 Cor. 12:2, 4); and “the glory into which Jesus Christ was received.” 1 Tim. 3:16. This our Lord himself calls “his Father's house, where he prepares a place for us” (John 14:2); and lastly, it is called, “the heaven of heavens.” 1 Kings 8:27.

6. Moreover, by meditation upon this external, transient heaven, thou mayest learn to descend into thyself, into thine own heart and soul; for there also is heaven, and the habitation of God. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, I dwell with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15.

7. Let this external heaven lead thee to the new heaven, of which St. Peter speaks: “We, according to his promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Peter 3:13. For though this visible heaven was created in such purity, by God, as not to be subject to corruption; yet “the heavens are not clean in his sight.” Job 15:15. Therefore, “they shall pass away,” as St. Peter tells us. 2 Pet. 3:10. And “they shall perish, and wax old like a garment, and as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed.” Ps. 102:27. “I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.” Rev. 21:1, 5. “Behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth: and the former shall not be 431 remembered, nor come into mind.” Isa. 65:17. How beautiful, how illustrious will be this city of God, this heavenly Jerusalem, whose builder and maker is God! Or who can declare the glory of that happy place? “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Cor. 2:9. Hence the Evangelist St. John describes the new and heavenly city by all the precious and costly things in nature. See Rev. 21:11, 18-21. In a word, this is that heaven in which “God will be all in all.” 1 Cor. 15:28.

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