Would You be Happy in Heaven?
THE guard’s whistle gave the signal for the start. The door opened, and two brightly-dressed young ladies entered and took seats opposite each other. As the train steamed out of the station the newcomers took a scrutinizing glance at the occupants of the car, which consisted of two gentlemen (friends of mine), myself, and two elderly gentlemen. Having satisfied their curiosity as to the character of their travelling companions, each took out a novel of the sensational type and attempted to bury herself in its contents. As my friends and I conversed on the Christian Conference to which we were going we got enthusiastically engaged in the subject of God’s Grace, God’s truth, and God’s Son. During our animated conversation we had produced our Bibles, and made frequent reference to them.
Presently the ladies found the novels incapable of absorbing the mind as completely as desirable and the conversation above referred to seemed to break in upon the enjoyment of the readers. Presently one of the young ladies said to her companion, in tones sufficiently loud for all in the car to hear:
“Maude, isn’t it perfectly abominable to think we must be bored to death with this religious nonsense wherever we are? This is the third car we have gotten into, hoping to escape it, and here we have it again worse than ever. I declare it’s positively a nuisance.”
“Yes,” said her companion, “gentlemen, if they were gentlemen, would surely consider the presence of two ladies, and not monopolize the entire car by their religion, as though we had not enough of it at church on Sundays.”
One elderly gentleman, who was unknown to me, turned to the last speaker, and said, “Pardon me, Miss, but I am not aware there has been anything objectionable in the conversation you so strongly speak against. We have merely been speaking of some very great blessings and joys which are ours through the love of our Heavenly Father. To speak of these precious things ought not to be distasteful to you.”
“Oh, yes they are,”replied the haughty girl. “There are times for all things, and surely a railroad coach is not the place for such things. We get enough on Sundays.”
“Do you hope to go to Heaven some day?” the stranger asked.
“Of course I do. We all do, I should think, but we don’t want to die just yet, or be constantly told of it in one way or another,” was the young lady’s answer.
“You will excuse me asking another question. I am an old man, and have seen quite a lot of life. We shall probably never meet again on earth, but let me ask you this: If a few minute’s conversation about Jesus and His love is so abhorent to you, how could you be happy in Heaven where for endless ages the same theme is continued?”
The words seemed to have wondrous power. They were calmly and kindly spoken. The young lady could not reply; her tongue seemed chained, and, turning ashly pale, she remained as a statue till the train stopped at the next station. Then, without saying a word, but with a sad, sad look at the gentleman, she left with her friend and was seen no more.
Yet is she not a sample of thousands of others? Is not the Name of Jesus distasteful to vast numbers? It may be that the one who reads these lines may often have felt as this young lady felt, although the feelings may not have expressed themselves in so many words. If so, let me ask you: Is it not evident from that fact, that before Heaven could be a Heaven to you, a great change must take place in your desires, your tastes, and feelings? This change so needful is what the Bible terms the “new birth.” Is it not clear that “exept a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God”? John 3:3,7