Earth is to its inhabitants, neither a paradise nor
a desert. If it has not all the beautiful scenes and
productions of a paradise—so neither has it all the
dreariness and desolation of a desert. This world is
called “a valley of tears,” but it is not less true that
it is sometimes a valley without the tears. It often
wears a smiling aspect, and reflects the light of
God’s graciousness and bounty.
We know very well that man’s chief portion lies in
the blessings of salvation, and the hope of eternal
glory. These are so vast as almost to reduce all else
to nothing. Full pardon of sin, and the hope of an
eternity of pure and perfect felicity, are such
amazing expectations, as might seem to render
us absolutely indifferent alike to . . .
poverty and riches;
pain and ease;
obscurity and renown.
How little would it signify to him who was going to take
possession of a kingdom and a throne, whether he traveled
through a desert or a garden; or whether he dined meagerly
or sumptuously; or whether he had all best accommodations
and conveniences along the way. His thoughts would be so
engrossed with the permanent scenes of greatness, grandeur,
power, and wealth before him—as to be almost insensible to
the privations or comforts along the way. So it is, with a
Christian traveling to glory, honor, immortality and
It is incumbent upon Christians to let their spirit and
conduct be consistent with the hope of eternal glory,
in that eminent spirituality and heavenliness of mind,
which are manifested in a supreme, constant, and
practical regard to divine and eternal things.
—By John Angell James, 1785-1859