Saturday, August 18, 2007

A vision of heaven

..In my vision I thought that so far as the world was concerned, Agur's
prayer [from Proverbs] was answered in regard to me, for I had neither
poverty nor riches. All my wants were supplied. I had leisure, and friends,
and home, and all that was necessary to make me happy.

Then also, I thought that I was a Christian. Most of my close friends professed to be the same. We visited together at each other's homes, joined in amuse- ments, business, politics and many other things. In short, we bought and sold, and married, and acted as though the world we were in were going to last forever.

In this vision I was one who was active in religious activities. In fact, I
considered myself to be quite a shining light. I always attended church on
Sunday and I taught in the Sunday School. Now and then, though not very
often, I visited the sick. And in addition to these good deeds I gave a
little money to support Christian work.

In all this I was quite sincere. I had no idea of playing the hypocrite. It's
true that I didn't stop to consider what Christianity really was, although
I talked freely enough about it at times, and pitied people who didn't
profess to be Christians.

I seldom, if ever, considered what Jesus Christ required. Nor was I very
concerned about the lost, although I heard these matters occasionally
discussed in my presence. I had gotten into a definite rut in thought and
action and profession. And I went on from day to day, hoping that everything
would turn out all right in the end.

But in my vision I thought that without any apparent warning a dangerous
fever seized me. I became terribly sick all of a sudden. In fact, in just a
few hours I was brought to the very brink of death. This was serious business, indeed. Everyone about me was in great confusion. And those who loved me were paralyzed with fear.

Some took action. The proper medicines were administered. There were
consultations among several physicians. And the members of my family hurried
to my side from far and near. Friends and acquaintances came.

I was given the best medical care possible - but all proved in vain.

I could feel that the medicines weren't helping. And yet I didn't feel anything very much. I don't know whether this was because of the suddenness of the sickness or the deadening character of the narcotics which the physicians gave me. But strangely enough I seemed to be the least disturbed person in the place.

I felt as though I were in a dream. I knew I was ill - dangerously ill -
because a relative had insisted on my being informed of my real condition.
And yet I was not disturbed about the fact. I thought I would recover.

Most people do, I suppose, until the hand of death is actually upon them.

And if I did not recover, I had no reason to be terribly concerned, because,
wasn't I a Christian? Hadn't I been converted? Didn't I believe the Bible?
Why should I fear?

And wasn't I continually hearing hymns being sung and prayers offered that I
might be restored to health, and if not, that I might pass away without
suffering, and have a good time of it in heaven?

But even so, disquieting thoughts did cross my mind - because I couldn't
keep out questions that kept arising as to whether I had truly followed
Jesus Christ and had done my duty to a perishing world with my time and
influence, and money and family. And questions would come and go that were
very difficult indeed to answer. Yet it was all in a dreamy way. How could
it be otherwise, with the burning fever lapping up the vital current, and my
brain all benumbed, and my energies laid prostrate.

So when I complained that I didn't have much joy or assurance, I quite
naturally agreed readily to the suggestion that my condition prevented this.
And I felt, moreover, that if I were not "ready" I had neither the time nor
energy to begin so serious a business over again as the salvation of my
soul. Besides, how could I confess that I had been mistaken all these years,
and that my life had been a failure? No! It was too late, and I was too ill
for any such confession.

One thing I could do, and that I did. I cast myself, with what force of soul
I had left, on the mercy of my Savior. And again and again I repeated a
verse which had always been a favorite of mine:

"I am a poor sinner, just nothing at all,
But Jesus Christ is my all in all."

It was with this sentence on my lips - a sentence taken up and reproduced at
my funeral service - that a cold numbness seemed to come creeping over me,
and a great difficulty of breathing seized me. My friends were alarmed. I
read it in their faces. Some prayed, while others wept. And my dear ones
moistened my lips and kissed my brow.

Meanwhile a strange faintness seized me. I lost consciousness.


My next sensation was altogether beyond description. It was the thrill of a new and celestial existence. I was in heaven.

After the first feeling of surprise had somewhat subsided, I looked around
me, and took in the situation. It was way beyond anything of earth -
positively delightful. And yet some of the more beautiful scenes and sounds
and feelings of the world I had just left appeared to be repeated in my new
experience in enchanting fashion. Still no human eyes ever beheld such
perfection, such beauty. No earthly ear ever heard such music. No human
heart ever experienced such ecstasy, as it was my privilege to see, hear,
and feel in the celestial country.

Above me was the loveliest of blue skies. Around me was an atmosphere so
balmy that it made my whole physical frame vibrate with pleasure. Flowing by
the bank of roses on which I found myself reclining was the clearest and
purest water of a river that seemed to dance with delight to its own
murmurings. The trees that grew upon the banks were covered with the
greenest foliage, and laden with most delicious fruit - sweet beyond all
earthly sweetness. And by lifting up my hand I could pluck and taste.

In every direction above and around me the whole air seemed not only to be
laden with the sweetest perfumes coming from the fairest flowers, but filled
with the fairest forms. For, floating around me were beautiful beings whom I
felt by instinct were angels and archangels, seraph and seraphim, cherub and
cherubim, together with the perfect blood-washed saints who had come from
our own world. They were sometimes far, and again coming nearer.

The whole sky at times seemed to be full of white-winged, happy, worshiping,
joyous beings. And the whole country, apparently of limitless extent, was
filled with a blissful ecstasy that could only be known by being experienced.

You may perhaps imagine my sensation. At first I was swallowed up with a
sort of ecstatic intoxication, which feeling was immediately enhanced by the
consciousness that I was safe, saved, to suffer and sin no more.

And then suddenly, a new set of feelings began to creep over me. Strange as
it may seem, I felt somewhat lonely and a little sad, even in the midst of
this infinite state of bliss. Because up to this moment I was alone. Not one
of the bright beings who were soaring and singing in the bright ether above
me, nor the ones who were hastening hither and thither, as though bent upon
some high mission, had spoken to me or approached me.

I was alone in heaven! Then, in a still stranger and mysterious way, I
appeared to feel in myself a sort of unfitness for the society of those pure
beings who were sailing around me in indescribable loveliness. How could it
be? Had I come there by mistake? Was I not counted worthy of this glorious
inheritance? It was indeed a mystery.


My thoughts went back to earth. And all before me, as though unfolded by an
angel's hand, the record of my past life was unrolled before my eyes. What a
record it was! I glanced over it. And in a glance I seemed to master its
entire contents - so rapidly, indeed, that I became conscious of a marvelous
quickening of my intellectual powers. I realized that I could take in and
understand in a moment what would have required a day with my poor, darkened faculties on earth.

With my quickened mind, I saw, to my delight, at that very first glance,
that this register of my earthly existence - the Divine biography of my
life - contained no record of any misdeeds before my conversion. Indeed,
that part of my life seemed to be very much of a blank. I further perceived
that neither was there any record of the sins I had done since that time. It
was as though some friendly hand had gone through the roll and blotted out
the record of the evil doings of my life. This was very gratifying. I felt
like shouting praises to God, who had delivered me from the pain of having
these things staring me in the face in this beautiful, holy land, among all
these holy beings, where it seemed to me that the very memory of sin would

Nevertheless, a further glance at my record appalled me, for there was
written therein - leaving out, as I have said, the sins of commission -
there was written the exact daily record of the whole of my past life! In
fact, it went much deeper, because it described in full detail the object
for which I had lived. It recorded my thoughts and feelings and actions -
how and for what I had employed my time, my money, my influence, and all the other talents and gifts which God had entrusted me with to spend for His
glory and for the salvation of the lost.

Every chapter of this record carried my thoughts back to the condition of
the world I had left. And there came up before my eyes a vivid picture of
its hatred for God, its rejection of Christ, its wickedness, with all the
wretchedness and destitution and abomination. It utterly appalled me. Also
into my ears there came a hurricane of cursing and blasphemy, and a wail of
anguish and woe that stunned me.

I had seen these sights and had heard these sounds before, not too often, it
is true, because I had hid myself from them. But now they blinded and stunned me. They appeared a million times blacker and more vile, more wretched and piteous, than they had ever seemed before!

I felt like putting my hands before my eyes, and my fingers in my ears to
shut these things out from sight and hearing, so intensely real and present
did they seem. They wrung my soul with sorrow and self-reproach, because on
the "Record of Memory" I saw how I had occupied myself during the few years
which I had been allowed to live amidst all these miseries, after Jesus Christ had called me to be His soldier. I was reminded how, instead of fighting His battles, instead of saving souls by bringing them to His feet, and so preparing them for admission into this lovely place, I had been on the contrary, intent on earthly things, selfishly seeking my own, spending my life in practical unbelief, disloyalty and disobedience.

I felt sick at heart. Oh, if at that moment I could have crept out of the
"land of pure delight" about which I had sung so much in the past, and could
have gone back to the world of darkness, sin and misery, which I had just
left - if I could but spend another lifetime among the lost and dying, and
truly follow my Lord!

But that could not be. My opportunities of earth were past. Heaven must now
be my dwelling forever. And contradictory as it may seem, this thought
filled my soul with unspeakable regret.

And then came another thought, more wild than any that had gone before it.
(You must remember that it is a vision I am relating.) It was this: Would it
be possible for me to obtain permission to go back to the world, to that very part of it from which I had come, clothed in some human form, and live my earthly life over again - live it in a manner worthy of my profession, worthy of my Christ and my opportunity? Could this be?

If at that moment an answer in the affirmative had been brought to me, I
would have gladly given up my heavenly blessedness. I would have gladly
undergone ages of hardship, ignominy, poverty and pain. I would have given
up a million dollars in money. Yes, I would have gladly given a world, if it
had been mine to give! But I could see no hope for a second probation. What
was to be done?


I had not been musing in this way for many seconds, for thoughts appeared to
flow with remarkable rapidity, when, quick as a lightning flash, one of those bright inhabitants which I had watched floating far off in the clouds of glory, descended and stood before my astonished gaze.

I can never forget the awe-struck feelings with which I beheld this heavenly
being. Describe the shape and features and bearing of this noble form I
cannot, and will not attempt it. He was at the same time angelic and human,
earthly and yet celestial. I discerned therefore at a glance that he was one
of the "blood-washed multitude" who had "come out of the great tribulations
of earth." I not only judged from a certain majestic appearance which he
bore, but from instinct I felt that the being before me was a man, a
redeemed and glorified man.

He looked at me. And I could not keep from returning his gaze. His eyes
compelled me. And I confess I was ravished by his beauty. I could never have
believed the human face divine could ever bear so grand a stamp of dignity
and charm.

But far beyond the entrancing loveliness of those celestial features was the
expression which filled his total countenance, and shone through those eyes
that were gazing upon me. It was as though that face was only a sunlit
window, through which I could see into the depths of the pure, kindly and
tender soul within.

I don't know how I looked to my beautiful visitor. I don't know what form I
had. I had not seen myself in a mirror since I had taken on immortality for

It was evident that he had a deep interest in me. But it was an interest
which seemed to bring sadness to him. His features seemed to me to grow
almost sorrowful as I sat there with my eyes fixed on him in a fascinated

He spoke first. Had he not done so I could never have summoned courage to
address him. His voice was soft and musical, and fitted well with the seriousness of his bearing. I understood him almost before I heard his words, although I cannot tell now what language he spoke. I suppose it was the universal language of heaven.

This was the substance of what he said: My arrival was known throughout a
certain district of the celestial regions, where were gathered the ransomed
ones who had come from the earthly neighborhood where I had lived. The
tidings of my arrival had been flashed through the heavenly telephone, which
spoke not in one ear only, but in every ear in that particular region. My
name had been whispered in every hillside and echoed in every valley, and
had been spoken in every room of every mansion. It had been proclaimed from
every tower and pinnacle of the stupendous temple in which these glorified
saints day and night present their worship to the great Father.

All who had known me on earth, all who had any knowledge of my family, my
opportunities for helping forward the Kingdom of Christ, whom they
worshipped and adored, were burning to see me and hear me tell of the
victories I had won and the souls I had blessed while on earth. And all were
especially anxious to hear if I had been the means of bringing salvation to
the loved ones they had left behind.

All this was poured upon my soul. I didn't know which way to look. Again and
again I remembered my life of ease and comfort. What could I say? How could
I appear with the record of my life before these waiting ones? What was
there in it except a record of self-gratification? I had no martyr stories
to tell. I had sacrificed nothing worth naming on earth, much less in
heaven, for His dear sake!

My mind was running in this direction when I think my visitor must have
discovered something of what I was thinking, and felt pity for me. Seeing my
consternation, he spoke again.

"Where you find yourself is not actually heaven," he said, "but only its
forecourt, a sort of outer circle. Presently, the Lord Himself, with a great
procession of His chosen ones will come to take you into the Celestial City
itself. There is where your residence will be if He deems you worthy; that
is, if your conduct on the battlefield below has pleased Him.

"Meanwhile, I have obtained permission to come and speak to you concerning
a soul who is very dear to me. I understand he lives in the neighborhood where you recently lived, and from which have just come. Our knowledge of the affairs of earth is, for our own sakes, limited, but now and then we are
permitted to get a glimpse.

"Can you," he said, "tell me anything about my son? He was my only son. I
loved him dearly. I loved him too much. I spoiled him when a child! He had
his own way. He grew up willful, passionate and disobedient. And my example
didn't help him."

Here a cloud for a moment came over the beautiful brow, but vanished as
quickly as it came. "Memory has been busy, but that has all gone," he said,
as though talking to himself. And then he finished the story of his prodigal
son. He, the father, had been rescued, washed, regenerated. He had learned
to fight for souls, and had won many to the blood-stained banner. Then he
had suddenly been taken in death by an accident at his work and was taken to Heaven.

"And now," he added, "where is my boy? Give me tidings of my boy! He lived
near you, and had business dealings with you. What did you do for him? Is
there hope? Tell me what his feelings are today."

He stopped speaking. My heart sank within me. What could I say? I knew the
boy. The story of the father's death and his prodigal son had been told me.
I had never spoken one serious word to the boy about his soul or about his
Savior. I had been busy about other things. And now, what could I say to his
father, who stood before me? I was speechless!

The cloud that I had noticed before again came over the face of my visitor,
but with a dark shadow this time. He must have guessed the truth. He looked
at me with a look in which I felt that disappointment to himself and pity
for me were combined. He then spread his wings and soared away.

I was so intently gazing after his retreating form that I hadn't noticed a second fair being, who had descended from above, and who now occupied the
place abandoned only a moment before by my last visitor.

I turned and looked upon the newcomer. This was a spirit of the same class,
of the same ransomed multitude who once were dwellers on earth. There was a dignity of bearing, the same marvelous expression of inward power, purity,
and joy. But in this case there was a beauty (which I could have imagined)
of more delicate and enthralling mold.

Beautiful as I thought my first visitor to be, more beautiful than conception or dream of earth could be, yet here was a beauty that surpassed it - not, perhaps, if judged from heaven's view, but judged from my standpoint, for it must be remembered that I was still a man. My former visitor I have said was a glorious man - this one was evidently the glorified form of a woman.

I had, when on earth, sometimes thought that I could have wished for the
privilege of beholding Eve in the hour when she came forth from the hands of
her Maker. And I had imagined something - only something, of what her
beautiful form must have been as she sprang into being on that bridal morning, young and pure and beautiful - the fair image of her Maker - perhaps, the sweetest work of God. Now, here I saw her - I saw Eve reproduced before my eyes as young, pure and beautiful, even more beautiful than her first mother could possibly have been, for was not this His finished work?

But I was soon awakened from my dream by the voice of the fair creature who, from her manner, evidently wished to speak to me on some matter of great importance.

She told me her name. I had heard it on earth. She was a widow who had
struggled through great difficulties. Her husband's death had resulted in her conversion to Christ. Converted, she had given herself up unreservedly to fight for the Lord. Her children had been her first care. They had all been saved, and were fighting for God, except one.

The mention of that name brought the same saddening cloud on her lovely face which had dimmed the bright face of my first visitor. But the cloud vanished almost as soon as it came. That one, that unsaved one, was a girl who had been her mother's delight. She had grown up beautiful, the village pride, but alas! had gone astray. It was the old story of wrong, and of being
seduced into evil ways. And then of utter abandonment to that way of life,
and all the consequent train of miseries.

I listened. I had known some of the sad story on earth, but I had turned
away from hearing any more about it as being "no concern of mine." Little
did I ever think that I would be confronted with it in heaven!

And now the bright spirit turned those eyes on me that, beaming with love
and concern, were more beautiful than ever. She said again: "My daughter
lived near you. You know her. Have you saved her? I don't know much about
her, but I do know that one earnest and determined effort would save her,
and win her to Christ."

And then again she asked me, "Have you saved my child?"

I must have cried out in agony. I know I put my hands over my eyes, because
I could no longer bear to meet her intent look, which now turned to one of
pity for me.

How long she continued to look on me, with an expression of concern almost
greater than she had shown for her lost child, I do not know. But when I
uncovered my eyes, she was gone, and the silvery sheen of her white wings
marked her out to my seeking eyes like a speck on the distant blue.

Then I cried out, "Oh, my God, is this heaven? Will these questionings go on
forever? Will the meanness and selfishness of my past life haunt me through- out eternity? What shall I do? Can I not go back to earth, and do something to redeem myself from this wretched sense of unworthiness? Can I not live my life over again?"

This question had hardly passed through my mind when there was another rush of wings, and down beside me alighted another form, surprisingly resembling the first that had spoken to me, and yet, oh so very different! But I will not take time to describe him; you must imagine it.

He introduced himself much in the same way as my former visitors. He had
been a great singer, but was awakened and won to Christ only a short while
back. Having had much forgiven, he had loved much. All his desire after his
conversion was to get free from the entanglements of business and to devote
himself a living sacrifice to the saving of men.

When just on the threshold of the realization of his wish, he had been sent
to heaven. And here he was, a spirit of glory and joy, coming to inquire of
me concerning the church group among whom he had labored, and of the crowd of companions he had left behind. Was I acquainted with his little church? Their place of worship was near my place of business. Had I helped them in their difficulties, and in their service and testimony for Christ? Had I
done anything for his old mates, who were drinking and cursing their way to
hell? He had died with prayers for them on his lips. Had I stopped them on
their way to ruin?

Again I could not speak. What could I say? I knew his church. But I had
never given them any encouragement or help. I knew of the hovels in which
his old mates lived, and the dens of hell in which they spent their time and
money. But I had been too busy, or too proud, or too cowardly to seek them
out with the message of the Savior's love.

I was utterly speechless. He guessed my feelings, I suppose, because with a
look of sympathy he left in sadness - at least in as much sadness as is
possible in heaven.

As for myself, I was in anguish - strange as it may appear, considering I
was in heaven. But so it was.


Wondering whether there was not some comfort for me, I involuntarily looked
around. And I saw a marvelous phenomenon on the horizon at a great distance. All that part of the heavens appeared to be filled with a brilliant light, surpassing the blaze of a thousand suns at noonday. And yet there was no blinding glare making it difficult to gaze upon, as is the case with our own
sun when it shines in its glory. Here was a brilliance far surpassing anything that could be imagined, and yet I could look upon it with pleasure.

As I continued to gaze, wondering what it could be, it appeared to come a
little closer. Then I realized it was coming in my direction. I was still
reclining on the banks of the beautiful river.

And now I could distinctly hear the sound of music. The distance was a great
many miles, after the measurement of earth, but the atmosphere was so clear,
and I found my eyesight so strong, that I could easily see objects at a
distance which, on earth, would have required a powerful telescope.

The sound came closer. It was music, beyond question - and such music as I
had never heard before. But there was a strange commingling of other sounds
which all together made a marvelous melody, made up, as I afterwards
discovered, by the strains that came from the multitude of musicians, and
the shouts and songs that proceeded from innumerable voices. This phenom-enon was approaching rapidly. But my curiosity was so strongly aroused to know what it was, that a few minutes seemed an age.

Finally I was able to make out what it was. It was astounding! But who could
describe it! The whole firmament was filled, as it were, with innumerable
forms, each of beauty and dignity, far surpassing those with whom I had
already made an acquaintance. Here was a representative portion of the
aristocracy of heaven accompanying the King, who came to welcome into the
heaven of heavens the spirits of men and women who had escaped from earth, who had fought the good fight, who had kept the faith, and had overcome in the conflict as He had overcome.

I stood filled with awe and wonder. Could it be possible? Was I at last
actually to see my Lord and be welcomed by Him? In the thought of this
rapture I forgot the sorrow that only a moment before had reigned in my
heart, and my whole nature swelled with expectation and delight.

And now the procession was upon me. I had seen some of the pageants of
earth - displays that required the power of mighty monarchs, and the wealth
of great cities and nations to create - but they were each, or all combined,
as the feeble light of a candle to a tropical sun in comparison with the
tremendous scene which now spread itself before my astonished eyes.

On it came. I had sprung up from my reclining position, and then had fallen
prostrate as the first rank of these shining heavenly spirits neared me.
Each one looked in himself, to my untutored eyes, like a god, so far as
greatness and power could be expressed by the outward appearance of any

Rank after rank swept past me. Each turned his eyes upon me, or seemed to do so. I could not help feeling that I was somewhat an object of pity to them
all. Perhaps it was my own feelings that made me imagine this. But it certainly appeared to me as though these noble beings regarded me as a fearful, cowardly soul, who had only cared for his own interests on earth, and had come up there with the same selfish motives.

On they came. Thousands passed me, yet there appeared to me to be no
diminishment in the numbers yet to come. I looked at the procession as it
stretched backwards, but my eyes could see no end to it. There must have
been millions. It was indeed a "multitude that no man could number."

All were praising God, either in hymns expressive of adoration and worship,
or by recounting, in songs of rapture the mighty victories which they had
witnessed on earth - or describing some wonderful work they had seen

And now, the great central glory and attraction of the splendid procession
was at hand.

I gathered this from the still more dignified character of the beings who now swept by, the heavier crash of music and the louder shouts of exultation
which came pealing from all around.

I was right, and before I could prepare my spirit for the visitation, it was
upon me. The King was here! In the center of circling hosts - which rose
tier above tier into the blue vault above, turning on Him their millions of
eyes, lustrous with the love they bore Him - I beheld the celestial form of
Him who once died for me upon the cross. The procession halted. Then at a
word of command, they formed up instantly in three sides of a square in
front of me, the King standing in the center immediately opposite the spot
where I had prostrated myself.

What a sight that was! Worth toiling a lifetime to behold it! Nearest to the
King were the patriarchs and apostles of ancient times. Next, rank after
rank, came the holy martyrs who had died for Him. Then came the army of
warriors who had fought for Him in every part of the world.

And around and about, above and below, I beheld myriads and myriads of
spirits who were never heard of on earth outside their own neighborhood, or
beyond their own times, who, with self-denying zeal and untiring toil had
labored to extend God's Kingdom and to save the souls of men. And encircling
the gorgeous scene, above, beneath, around, hovered glittering angelic
beings who had kept their first estate, proud, it seemed to me, to minister
to the happiness and exaltation of these redeemed out of the poor world from
which I came.


I was bewildered by the scene. The songs, the music, the shouts of the
multitude that came like the roar of a thousand cataracts, echoed and
re-echoed through the sunlit mountains. And the magnificent and endless
array of happy spirits ravished my senses with passionate delight. All at
once, however, I remembered myself, and was reminded of the High Presence
before Whom I was bowed, and lifting up my eyes I beheld Him gazing upon me.

What a look it was! It was not pain, and yet it was not pleasure. It was not
anger, and yet it was not approval. Anyway, I felt that in that face, so
inexpressibly admirable and glorious, there was yet no welcome for me. I had
felt this in the faces of my previous visitors. I felt it again in the

That face, that Divine face, seemed to say to me, for language was not
needed to convey to the very depths of my soul what His feelings were to me:
"Thou wilt feel thyself little in harmony with these, once the companions of
My tribulations and now of My glory, who counted not their lives dear unto
themselves in order that they might bring honor to Me and salvation to men."
And He gave a look of admiration at the host of apostles and martyrs and
warriors gathered around Him.

Oh, that look of Jesus! I felt that to have one such loving recognition - it
would be worth dying a hundred deaths at the stake. It would be worth being
torn asunder by wild beasts. The angelic escort felt it too, for their responsive burst of praise and song shook the very skies and the ground on which I lay.

Then the King turned His eyes on me again. How I wished that some mountain
would fall upon me and hide me forever from His presence! But I wished in
vain. Some invisible and irresistible force compelled me to look up, and my
eyes met His once more. I felt, rather than heard, Him saying to me in words
that engraved themselves as fire upon my brain:

"Go back to earth. I will give thee another opportunity. Prove thyself worthy of My name. Show to the world that thou possessest My spirit by doing My works, and becoming, on My behalf, a savior of men. Thou shalt return hither when thou hast finished the battle, and I will give thee a place in My conquering train, and a share in My glory."

What I felt under that look and those words, no heart or mind could possibly
describe. They were mingled feelings. First came the unutterable anguish
arising out of the full realization that I had wasted my life, that it had been a life squandered on the paltry ambitions and trifling pleasures of earth - while it might have been filled and sown with deeds that would have produced a never-ending harvest of heavenly fruit. My life could have won for me the approval of heaven's King, and made me worthy to be the companion of these glorified heroes.

But combined with this self-reproach there was a gleam of hope. My earnest
desire to return to earth was to be granted. Perhaps it was in response to
the longings I had felt ever since the realization of my earthly failures had dawned upon me that this favor was granted to me. I could have the
privilege of living my life over again. True, it was a high responsibility, but Jesus would be with me. His Spirit would enable me. And in my heart I felt ready to face it.

The cloud of shining ones had vanished. The music was silent. I closed my
eyes and gave myself over, body, soul and spirit, to the disposal of my
Savior - to live, not for my own salvation, but for the glory of my Christ,
and for the salvation of the world. And then and there, the same blessed
voice of my King stole over my heart, as He promised that His presence
should go with me back to earth, and make me more than conqueror through His blood.

And with the joy of this assurance I awoke. The crowd of shining ones had
vanished. The music was silent, and behold it was all a dream.

- by General William Booth (1829-1912)
Founder of the Salvation Army

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