Our Long Home
Don't let God hang a "For Rent" sign on the mansion that has been prepared for you in heaven.—Billy Sunday.
VIVID, literal and comforting, is Sunday's portrayal
of the Christian's long home. He is one of the
few preachers who depict heaven so that it ministers to earth. Countless thousands of Christians have been comforted by his realistic pictures of "the land that is fairer than day."
What do I want most of all? A man in Chicago said to me one day, "If I could have all I wanted of any one thing I would take money." He would be a fool, and so would you if you would make a similar choice. There's lots of things money can't do. Money can't buy life; money can't buy health. Andrew Carnegie says, "Anyone who can assure men ten years of life can name his price."
If you should meet with an accident which would require a surgical operation or your life would be despaired of, there is not a man here but would gladly part with all the money he has if that would give him the assurance that he could live twelve months longer.
If you had all the money in the world you couldn't go to the graveyard and put those loved ones back in your arms and have them sit once more in the family circle and hear their voices and listen to their prattle.
A steamer tied up at her wharf, having just returned from an expedition, and as the people walked down the plank their friends met them to congratulate them on their success or encourage them through their defeat. Down came a man I used to know in Fargo, S. D. Friends rushed
up and said, "Why, we hear that you were very fortunate."
"Yes, wife and I left here six months ago with hardly anything. Now we have $350,000 in gold dust in the hold of the ship."
Then somebody looked around and said, "Mr. L ,
where is your little boy?"
The tears rolled down his cheeks and he said, "We left him buried on the banks of the Yukon beneath the snow and ice, and we would gladly part with all the gold, if we only had our boy."
But all the wealth of the Klondike could not open the grave and put that child back in their arms. Money can't buy the peace of God that passeth understanding. Money can't take the sin out of your life.
Is there any particular kind of life you would like? If you could live one hundred years you wouldn't want to die, would you? I wouldn't. I think there is always something the matter with a fellow that wants to die. I want to stay as long as God will let me stay, but when God's time comes for me to go I'm ready, any hour of the day or night. God can waken me at midnight or in the morning and I'm ready to respond. But if I could live a million years I'd like to stay. I don't want to die. I'm having a good time. God made this world for us to have a good time in. It's nothing but sin that has damned the world and brought it to misery and corruption. God wants you to have a good time. Well, then, how can I get this life that you want and everybody wants, eternal life?
If you are ill the most natural thing for you to do is to go for your doctor. You say, "I don't want to die. Can you help me?"
He looks at you and says, "I have a hundred patients on my hands, all asking the same thing. Not one of them wants to die. They ask me to use my skill and bring to bear all I have learned, but I can't fight back death. I can prescribe for your malady, butl can't prevent death."
"I, Too, Must Die"
Well, go to your philosopher. He it is that reasons out the problems and mysteries of life by the application of reason. Say to him, "Good philosopher, I have come to you for help. I want to live forever and you say that you have the touch-stone of philosophy and that you can describe and solve. Can you help me?"
He says to you, "Young man, my hair and my beard have grown longer and as white as snow, my eyes are dim, my brows are wrinkled, my form bent with the weight of years, my bones are brittle and I am just as far from the solution of that mystery and problem as when I started. I, too, sir, must soon die and sleep beneath the sod."
In my imagination I have stood by the bedside of the dying Pullman-palace-car magnate, George M. Pullman, whose will was probated at $25,000,000, and I have said, "Oh, Mr. Pullman, you will not die, you can bribe death." And I see the pupils of his eyes dilate, his breast heaves, he gasps—and is no more. The undertaker comes and makes an incision in his left arm, pumps in the embalming fluid, beneath whose mysterious power he turns as rigid as ice, and as white as alabaster, and they put his embalmed body in the rosewood coffin, trimmed with silver and gold, and then they put that in a hermetically sealed casket.
The grave-diggers go to Graceland Cemetery, on the shore of Lake Michigan, and dig his grave in the old family lot, nine feet wide, and they put in there Portland cement four and a half feet thick, while it is yet soft, pliable and plastic. A set of workmen drop down into the grave a steel cage with steel bars one inch apart. They bring his body, in the hermetically sealed casket all wrapped about with cloth, and they lower it into the steel cage, and a set of workmen put steel bars across the top and another put concrete and a solid wall of masonry and they bring it up within eighteen inches of the surface; they put back the black loamy soil, then they roll back the sod and with a whisk broom and dust pan they sweep up the dirt, and you would never know that there sleeps the I^illman-palace-car magnate, waiting for the trumpet of Gabriel to sound; for the powers of God will snap his steel, cemented sarcophagus as though it were made of a shell and he will stand before God as any other man.
What does your money amount to? What does your wealth amount to?
I summon the three electrical wizards of the world to my bedside and I say, "Gentlemen, I want to live and I have sent for you to come," and they say to me, "Mr. Sunday, we will flash messages across the sea without wires; we can illuminate the homes and streets of your city and drive your trolley cars and we can kill men with electricity, but we can't prolong life."
And I summon the great Queen Elizabeth, queen of an empire upon which the sun never sets. Three thousand dresses hung in her wardrobe. Her jewels were measured by the peck. Dukes, kings, earls fought for her smiles. I stand by her bedside and I hear her cry "All my possessions for one moment of time!"
I go to Alexander the Great, who won his first battle when he was eighteen, and was King of Macedonia when he was twenty. He sat down on the shore of the ^Egean sea, wrapped the drapery of his couch about him and lay down to eternal sleep, the conqueror of all the known world, when he was thirty-five years of age.
I go to Napoleon Bonaparte. Victor Hugo called him the archangel of war. He arose in the air of the nineteenth century like a meteor. His sun rose at Austerlitz; it set at Waterloo. He leaped over the slain of his countrymen to be first consul; and then he vaulted to the throne of the emperor of France. But it was the cruel wanton achievement of insatiate and unsanctified ambition and it led to the barren St. Helena isle. As the storm beat upon the rock, once more he fought at the head of his troops at Austerlitz, at Mt. Tabor, and the Pyramids. Once more he cried, "I'm still the head of the army," and he fell back, and the greatest warrior the world has known since the days of Joshua, was no more. Tonight on the banks of the Seine he lies in his magnificent tomb, with his marshals sleeping where he can summon them, and the battle flags he made famous draped around him, and from the four corners of the earth students and travelers turn aside to do homage to the great military genius.
I want to show you the absolute and utter futility of pinning your hope to a lot of fool things that will damn your soul to hell. There is only one way: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Search the annals of time and the pages of history and where do you find promises like that? Only upon the pages of the Bible do you find them.
You want to live and so do I. You want eternal life and so do I, and I want you to have it. The next question I want to ask is, how can you get it? You have seen things that won't give it to you. How can you get it? All you have tonight or ever will have you will come into possession of in one of three ways—honestly, dishonestly, or as a gift. Honestly: You will work and sweat and therefore give an honest equivalent for what you get. Dishonestly: You will steal. Third, as a gift, you will inherit it. And eternal life must come to you in one of these three ways.
No Substitute for Religion
A great many people believe in a high moral standard. They deal honestly in business and are charitable, but if you think that is going to save you, you are the most mistaken man on God's earth, and you will be the biggest disappointed being that ever lived. You can't hire a substitute in religion. You can't do some deed of kindness or act of philanthropy and substitute that for the necessity of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Lots of people will acknowledge their sin in the world, struggle on without Jesus Christ, and do their best to live honorable, upright lives. Your morality will make you a better man or woman, but it will never save your soul in the world.
Supposing you had an apple tree that produced sour apples and you wanted to change the nature of it, and you would ask the advice of people. One would say prune it, and you would buy a pruning hook and cut off the superfluous limbs. You gather the apples and they are still sour. Another man says to fertilize it, and you fertilize it and still it doesn't change the nature of it. Another man says spray it to kill the caterpillars, but the apples are sour just the same. Another man says introduce a graft of another variety.
When I was a little boy, one day my grandfather said to me: "Willie, come on," and he took a ladder, and beeswax, a big jackknife, a saw and some cloth, and we went into the valley. He leaned the ladder against a sour crab-apple tree, climbed up and sawed off some of the limbs, split them and shoved in them some little pear sprouts as big as my finger and twice as long, and around them he tied a string and put in some beeswax. I said, "Grandpa, what are you doing?" He said, "I'm grafting pear sprouts into the sour crab." I said, "What will grow, crab apples or pears?" He said, "Pears; I don't know that I'll ever live to eat the pear—I hope I may—but I know you will." I lived to see those sprouts which were no longer than my ringer grow as large as any limb and I climbed the tree and picked and ate the pears. He introduced a graft of another variety and that changed the nature of the tree.
And so you can't change yourself with books. That which is flesh is flesh, no matter whether it is cultivated flesh, or ignorant flesh or common, ordinary flesh. That which is flesh is flesh, and all your lodges, all your money on God Almighty's earth can never change your nature. Never. That's got to come by and through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. That's the only way you will ever get it changed. We have more people with fool ways trying to get into heaven, and there's only one way to do and that is by and through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Here are two men. One man born with hereditary tendencies toward bad, a bad father, a bad mother and bad grandparents. He has bad blood in his veins and he turns as naturally to sin as a duck to water. There he is, down and out, a booze fighter and the off-scouring scum of the earth. I go to him in his squalor and want and unhappiness, and say to him: "God has included all that sin that he may have mercy on all. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Will you accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour?"
"Whosoever cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out," and that man says to me, "No, I don't want your Christ as my Saviour."
Here is a man with hereditary tendencies toward good, a good father, a good mother, good grandparents, lived in a good neighborhood, was taught to go to Sunday school and has grown up to be a good, earnest, upright, virtuous, responsible business man; his name is synonymous with all that is pure and kind, and true. His name is as good as a government bond at any bank for a reasonable amount. Everybody respects him. He is generous, charitable and kind. I go to your high-toned, cultured, respectable man and say to him: "God hath included all under sin that he might have mercy upon all. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Whosoever cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out. Will you accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour? Will you give me your hand?" He says: "No, sir; I don't want your Christ."
What's the difference between those two men? Absolutely none. They are both lost. Both are going to hell. God hasn't one way of saving the one and another way of saving the other fellow. God will save that man if he accepts Christ and he will do the same for the other fellow. That man is a sinner and this man is a sinner. That man is lower in sin than this man, but they both say, "No" to Jesus Christ and they are both lost or God is a liar.
You don't like it? I don't care a rap whether you do or not. You'll take it or go to hell. Stop doing what you think will save you and do what God says will save you.
Morality Not Enough
Morality doesn't save anybody. Your culture doesn't save you. I don't care who you are or how good you are, if you reject Jesus Christ you are doomed. God hasn't one plan of salvation for the millionaire and another for the hobo. He has the same plan for everybody. God isn't going to ask you whether you like it or not, either. He isn't going to ask you your opinion of his plan. There it is and we'll have to take it as God gives it.
You come across a lot of fools who say there are hypocrites in the Church. What difference does that make? Are you the first person that has found that out and are you fool enough to go to hell because they are going to hell? If you are, don't come to me and expect me to think you have any sense. Not at all. Not for a minute.
A good many people attend church because it adds a little bit to their respectability. That is proof positive to me that the Gospel is a good thing. This is a day when good things are counterfeited. You never saw anybody counterfeiting brown paper. No, it isn't worth it. You have seen them counterfeiting Christians? Yes. You have seen counterfeit money? Yes. You never saw a counterfeit infidel. They counterfeit religion. Certainly. A hypocrite is a counterfeit.
But there is one class of these people that I haven't very much respect for. They are so good, so very good, that they are absolutely good for nothing. A woman came to me and said: "Mr. Sunday, I haven't sinned in ten years."
I said: "You lie, I think."
Well, a man says: "Look here, there must be something in morality, because so many people trust in it." Would vice become virtue because more people follow it? Simply because more people follow it doesn't make a wrong right; not at all.
The Way of Salvation
There was an old Spaniard, Ponce de Leon, who searched through the glades of Florida. He thought away out there in the midst of the tropical vegetation was a fountain of perpetual youth, which, if he could only find and dip beneath its water would smooth the wrinkles from his brow and make his gray hair turn like the raven's wing. Did he ever find it? No, it never existed. It was all imagination. And there are people today searching for something that doesn't exist. Salvation doesn't exist in morality, in reformation, in paying your debts. It doesn't exist in being true to your marriage vows. It is only by repentance and faith in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, and some of you fellows have searched for it until you are gray-haired, and you will never find it because it only exists in one place—repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Supposing I had in one hand a number of kernels of wheat and a number of diamonds equal in number and size to the kernels of wheat. I would say: "Take your choice." Nine of ten would take the diamonds. I would say: "Diamonds are worth more than wheat." So they are now, but you take those diamonds, they will never grow, never add. But I can take a handful of wheat, sow it, and, fecundated by the rays of the sun and the moisture, it will grow and in a few years I have what's worth all the diamonds in the world, for wheat contains the power of life; wheat can reproduce and diamonds can't; they're not life. A diamond is simply a piece of charcoal changed by the mysterious process of nature, but it has no life. Wheat has life. Wheat can grow. You can take a moral man; he may shine and glisten and sparkle like a diamond. He may outshine in his beauty the Christian man. But he will never be anything else. His morality can never grow. It has no life, but the man who is a Christian has life. He has eternal life. Your morality is a fine thing until death comes, then it's lost and you are lost. Your diamond is a fine thing to carry until it's lost, and of what value is it then? Of what value is your morality when your soul is lost?
Supposing I go out in the spring and I see two farmers, living across the road from each other. One man plows his field and then harrows and puts on the roller, gets it all fine and then plants the corn or drills in the oats. I come back in the fall and that man has gathered his crop into the bar n and the granaries and has hay stacked around the barn.
The other fellow is plowing and puts the roller on and gets his ground in good shape. I come back in the fall and he is still doing the same thing. I say, "What are you doing?" He says: "Well, I believe in a high state of cultivation." I say: "Look at your neighbor, see what he has." "A barn full of gram." "Yes." "More stock." "Yes." But he says: "Look at the weeds. You don't see any weeds like that on my place. Why, he had to burn the weeds before he could find the potatoes to dig them. The weeds were as big as the corn." I said: "I'll agree with you that he has raised some weeds, but he has raised corn as well." What is that ground worth without seed in it? No more than your life is worth without having Jesus Christ in it. You will starve to death if you don't put seed in the ground. Plowing the ground without putting in the seed doesn't amount to a snap of the finger.
Rewards of Merit
When I was a little boy out in Iowa, at the end of the term of school it was customary for the teachers to give us little cards, with a hand in one corner holding a scroll, and in that scroll was a place to write the name: "Willie Sunday, good boy." Willie Sunday never got humpshouldered lugging them home, I can tell you. I never carried off the champion long-distance belt for verse-quoting, either. If you ever saw an American kid, I was one.
I feel sorry for the little Lord Fauntleroy boys with long curly hair and white stockings. Yank 'em off and let them go barefoot.
A friend of mine told me he was one time being driven along the banks of the Hudson and they went past a beautiful farm, and there sitting on the fence in front of a tree, in which was fastened a mirror about twelve inches square, sat a bird of paradise that was looking into the mirror, adjusting his plumage and admiring himself, and the farmer who had driven my friends "I Fbelsorbt For The Lit- out said that every time he passed ^Sfft those birds were doing that. And White Stockingb" I thought, "Well, that re
minds me of a whole lot of fools I'm fortunate enough to meet everywhere. They sit before the mirror of culture, and their mirror of money, and their mirror of superior education and attainments; they are married into some old families. What does God care about that?" I suppose some of you spent a whole lot of money to plant a family tree, but I warrant you keep to the back the limbs on which some of your ancestors were hanged for stealing horses.
You are mistaken in God's plan of salvation. Some people seem to think God is like a great big bookkeeper in heaven and that he has a whole lot of angels as assistants. Every time you do a good thing he writes it down on one page and every time you do a bad deed he writes it down on the opposite page, and when you die he draws a line and adds them up. If you have done more good things than bad, you go to heaven; more bad things than good, go to hell. You would be dumfounded how many people have sense about other things that haven't any sense about religion. As though that was God's plan of redemption. Your admission into heaven depends upon your acceptance of Jesus Christ; reject him and God says you will be damned.
Back in the time of Noah, I have no doubt there were a lot of good folks. There was Noah. God says: "Look here, Noah, I'm going to drown this world with a flood and I want you to go to work and make an ark." And Noah started to make it according to God's instructions and he pounded, and sawed, and drove nails and worked for 120 years, and I have often imagined the comments of the gang in an automobile going by. They say: "Look at the old fool Noah building an ark. Does he ever expect God's going to get water enough to flood that?" Along comes another crowd and one says: "That Noah bunch is getting daffy on religion. I think we'd better take them before the commission and pass upon their sanity." Along comes another crowd and they say: "Well, there's that Noah crowd. I guess we won't invite them to our card party after Lent is over." They said: "-Why, they're too religious. We'll just let them alone."
Noah paid no heed to their criticism, but went on working until he got through. God gave the crowd a chance, but they didn't heed. It started to rain and it rained and rained until the rivers and creeks leaped their banks and the lowlands were flooded. Then the people began to move to the hilltops. The water began to creep up the hills. Then I can see the people hurrying off to lumber yards to buy lumber to build little rafts of their own, for they began to see that Noah wasn't such a fool after all. The hilltops became inundated and it crept to the mountains and the mountains became submerged. Until the flood came that crowd was just as well off as Noah, but when the flood struck them Noah was saved and they were lost, because Noah trusted God and they trusted in themselves. You moral men, you may be just as well off as the Christian until death knocks you down, then you are lost, because you trust in your morality. The Christian is saved because he trusts in Jesus. Do you see where you lose out?
"Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin." You must accept the atonement Christ made by shedding his blood or God will slam the gate of heaven in your face.
Some people, you know, want to wash their sins and they whitewash them, but God wants them white, and there's a lot of difference between being "white-washed" and "washed white."
Supposing I was at one of your banks this morning and they gave me $25 in gold. Supposing I would put fifty of your reputable citizens on this platform and they would all substantiate what I say, and supposing I would be authorized by bank to say that they would give every man and woman that stands in line in front of the bank at 9 o'clock in the morning, $25 in gold. If I could stand up there and make that announcement in this city with confidence in my word, people would line the streets and string away back on the hills, waiting for the bank to open.
I can stand here and tell you that God offers you salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and that you must accept it or be lost, and you will stand up and argue the question, as though your argument can change God's plan. You never can do it. Not only has God promised you salvation on the grounds of your acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Saviour, but he has promised to give you a home in which to spend eternity. Listen! "In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." Some people say heaven is a state or condition. I don't believe it. It might possibly be better to be in a heavenly state than in a heavenly place. It might be better to be in hell in a heavenly state than to be in heaven in a hellish state. That may be true. Heaven is as much a place as the home to which you are going when I dismiss the meeting is a place. "I go to prepare a place for you." Heaven is a place where there are going to be some fine folks. Abraham will be there and I'm going up to see him. Noah, Moses, Joseph, Jacob, Isaiah, Daniel, Jeremiah the weeping prophet, Paul, John, Peter, James, Samuel, Martin Luther, Spurgeon, Calvin, Moody. Oh, heaven is a place where there will be grand and noble people, and all who believe in Jesus will be there.
Suppose instead of turning off the gas at bedtime I blew it out. Then when Nell and I awoke choking, instead of opening the window and turning off the gas I got a bottle of cologne and sprinkled ourselves. The fool principle of trying to overcome the poison of gas with perfumery wouldn't work. The next day there would be a coroner's jury in the house. Your principle of trying to overcome sin by morality won't work either.
I'm going to meet David and I'll say: "David, I'm not a U. P., but I wish you'd sing the twenty-third psalm for me."
A Place of Noble People
The booze fighter won't be in heaven; he is here. The skeptic won't be there; he is here. There'll be nobody to run booze joints or gambling hells in heaven. Heaven will be a place of grand and noble people, who love Jesus. The beloved wife will meet her husband. Mother, you will meet your babe again that you have been separated from for months or years. Heaven will be free from everything that curses and damns this old world here. Wouldn't this be a grand old world if it weren't for a lot of things in it? Can you conceive anything being grander than this world if it hadn't a lot of things in it? The only thing that makes it a decent place to live in is the religion of Jesus Christ. There isn't a man that would live in it if you took religion out. Your mills would rot on their foundations if there were no Christian people of influence here.
There will be no sickness in heaven, no pain, no sin, no poverty, no want, no death, no grinding toil. "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." I tell you there are a good many poor men and women that never have any rest. They have had to get up early in the morning and work all day, but in heaven there remaineth a rest for the people of God. Weary women that start out early to their daily toil, you won't have to get out and toil all day. No toil in heaven, no sickness. "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." You will not be standing watching with a heart filled with expectation, and doubt, and hope. No watching the undertaker screw the coffin lid over your loved one, or watching the pall-bearers carrying out the coffin and hearing the preacher say, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust." None of that in heaven. Heaven— that is a place He has gone to prepare for those who will do his will and keep his commandments and turn from their sin. Isn't it great?
Everything will be perfect in heaven. Down here we only know in part, but there we will know as we are known. It is a city that hath foundation. Here we have no continuing state. Look at your beautiful homes. You admire them. The next time you go up your avenues and streets look at the homes. But they are going to rot on their foundations. Every one of them. Where are you tonight, old Eternal City of Rome on your seven hills? Where are you? Only a memoiy of your glory. Where have they all gone? The homes will crumble.
"Enoch walked with God and was not, for God took him.'' That is a complete biography of Enoch.
Elijah was carried to heaven in a chariot of fire and Elisha took up the mantle of the prophet Elijah and smote the Jordan and went back to the seminary where Elijah had taught and told the people there. They would not believe him, and they looked for Elijah, but they found him not. Centuries later it was the privilege of Peter, James and John in the company of Jesus Christ, on the Mount of Transfiguration, to look into the face of that same Elijah who centuries before had walked the hilltops and slain four hundred and fifty of the prophets of Baal.
"A Place for You »
Stephen, as they stoned him to death, with his face lighted up saw Jesus standing on the right of God the Father, the place which he had designated before his crucifixion would be his abiding place until the fulfilment of the time of the Gentiles in the world. Among the last declarations of Jesus is, "In my Father's house are many mansions." What a comfort to the bereaved and afflicted. Not only had God provided salvation through faith in Jesus Christ as a gift from God's outstretched hand, but he provided a home in which you can spend eternity. He has provided a home for you. Surely, surely, friends, from the beginning of the history of man, from the time Enoch walked with God and was not, until John on the island of Patmos saw the new Jerusalem let down by God out of heaven, we have ample proof that heaven is a place. Although we cannot see it with the natural eyes, it is a place, the dwelling place of God and of the angels and of the redeemed through faith in the Son of God.
He says, "I go to prepare a place for you,"
People sometimes ask me, "Who do you think will die first, Mr. Sunday, you or your wife, or your children or your mother?" I don't know. I think I will. I never expect to be an old man, I work too hard. I burn up more energy preaching in an hour than any other man will burn up in ten or twelve hours. I never expect to live to be an old man. I don't expect to, but I know this much, if my wife or my babies should go first this old world would be a dark place for me and I would be glad when God summoned me to leave it; and if I left first I know they would be glad when God called them home. If I go first, I know after I go up and take Jesus by the hand and say, "Jesus, thank you. I'm glad you honored me with the privilege of preaching your Gospel; I wish I could have done it better, but I did my best, and now, Jesus, if you don't care, I'd like to hang around the gate and be the first to welcome my wife and the babies when they come. Do you care, Jesus, if I sit there?" And he will say, "No, you can sit right there, Bill, if you want to; it's all right." I'll say, "Thank you, Lord."
If they would go first, I think after they would go up and thank Jesus that they are home, they would say, "Jesus, I wish you would hurry up and bring papa home. He doesn't want to stay down there because we are up here." They would go around and put their grips away in their room, wherever it is, and then they would say, "Can we sit here, Jesus?" "Yes, that's all right."
I don't know where I'll live when I get to heaven. I don't know whether I'll live on a main street or an avenue or a boulevard. I don't know where I'll live when I get to heaven. I don't know whether it will be in the back alley or where, but I'll just be glad to get there. I'll be thankful for the mansion wherever God provides it. I never like to think about heaven as a great, big tenement house, where they put hundreds of people under one roof, as we do in Chicago or other big cities. "In my Father's house are many mansions." And so it will be up in heaven, and I'll be glad, awfully glad, and I tell you I think if my wife and children go first, the children might be off some place playing, but wife would be right there, and I would meet her and say, "Why, wife, where are the children?" She would say, "Why, they are playing on the banks of the river." (We are told about the river that flows from the throne of God.) We would walk down and I would say, "Hello, Helen! Hey, George. Hey, Willsky; bring the baby; come on." And they would come tearing as they do now.
I would say, "Now, children, run away and play a little while. I haven't seen mother for a long time and we have lots of things to talk about," and I think we would walk away and sit down under a tree and I would put my head in her lap as I do now when my head is tired, and I would say, "Wife, a whole lot of folks down there in our neighborhood in Chicago have died; have they come to heaven?"
"Well, I don't know. Who has died?"
"Mr. S. Is he here?"
"I haven't seen him."
"No? His will probated five million. Bradstreet
and Dun rated him AaG. Isn't he here?"
"I haven't seen him."
"Is Mr. J. here?"
"I haven't seen him."
"Haven't seen him, wife? That's funny. He left years before I did. Is Mrs. N here?" "No."
"You know they lived on River street. Her husband paid $8,000 for a lot and $60,000 for a house. He paid $2,000 for a bathroom. Mosaic floor and the finest of fixtures. You know, wife, she always came to church late and would drive up in her carriage, and she would sweep down the aisle and you would think all the perfume of
Arabia had floated in, and she had diamonds in her ears
as big as pebbles. Is she here?"
"I haven't seen her."
"Well! Well! Well! Is Aunty Griffith here?"
"Yes; aunty lives next to us."
"I knew she would be here. God bless her heart! She had two big lazy, drunken louts of boys that didn't care for her, and the church supported her for sixteen years to my knowledge and they put her in the home for old people. Hello, yonder she comes. How are you, Aunty?"
She will say, "How are you, William?"
"I'm first rate."
"Mon, ye look natural just the same."
"And when did ye leave Chicago, Wally?"
"Last night, Aunty."
"I'm awfully glad to see you, and, Wally, I live right next door to you, mon."
"Good, Aunty, I knew God would let you in. My, where's mother, wife?"
"I know she's here; I wish she would come. Helen, is that mother coming down the hill?" "Yes."
I would say, "Have you seen Fred, or Rody, or Peacock, or Ackley, or any of them?"
"Yes. They live right around near us."
"George, you run down and tell Fred I've come, will you? Hunt up Rody, and Peacock and Ackley and Fred, and see if you can find Frances around there and tell them I've just come in." And they would come and I would say, "How are you? Glad to see you. Feeling first-rate."
And, oh, what a time we'll have in heaven. In heaven they never mar the hillsides with spades, for they dig no graves. In heaven they never telephone for the doctor, for nobody gets sick. In heaven no one carries handkerchiefs, for nobody cries. In heaven they never telephone for the undertaker, for nobody dies. In heaven you will never see a funeral procession going down the street, nor crepe hanging from the doorknob. In heaven, none of the things that enter your home here will enter there. Sickness won't get in; death won't get in, nor sorrow, because "Former things are passed away," all things have become new. In heaven the flowers never fade, the winter winds and blasts never blow. The rivers never congeal, never freeze, for it never gets cold. No, sir.
Say, don't let God be compelled to hang a "For Rent" sign in the window of the mansion he has prepared for you. I would walk around with him and I'd say, "Whose mansion is that, Jesus?"
"Why, I had that for one of the rich men, but he passed it up."
"Who's that one for?"
"That was for a doctor, but he did not take it." "That was for one of the school teachers, but she didn't come."
"Who is that one for, Jesus?"
"That was for a society man, but he didn't want it."
"Who is that one for?"
"That was for a booze fighter, but he wouldn't pass up the business."
Don't let God hang a "For Rent" sign in the mansion that he has prepared for you. Just send up word and say, "Jesus, I've changed my mind; just put my name down for that, will you? I'm coming. I'm coming." "In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you; I go to prepare a place for you."