John Bunyan (28 November 1628 – 31 August 1688 / Elstow, Bedfordshire, England.)
Heaven is a place, also a state,
It doth all things excel,
No man can fully it relate,
Nor of its glory tell.
God made it for his residence,
To sit on as a throne,
Which shows to us the excellence
Whereby it may be known.
Doubtless the fabric that was built
For this so great a king,
Must needs surprise thee, if thou wilt
But duly mind the thing.
If all that build do build to suit
The glory of their state,
What orator, though most acute,
Can fully heaven relate?
If palaces that princes build,
Which yet are made of clay,
Do so amaze when much beheld,
Of heaven what shall we say?
It is the high and holy place;
No moth can there annoy,
Nor make to fade that goodly grace
That saints shall there enjoy.
Mansions for glory and for rest
Do there prepared stand;
Buildings eternal for the blest
Are there provided, and
The glory and the comeliness
By deepest thought none may
With heart or mouth fully express,
Nor can before that day.
These heav'ns we see, be as a scroll,
Or garment folded up,
Before they do together roll,
And we call'd in to sup.
There with the king, the bridegroom, and
By him are led into
His palace chambers, there to stand
With his prospect to our view.
And taste and smell, and be inflam'd,
And ravished to see
The buildings he hath for us fram'd,
How full of heaven they be.
Its state also is marvellous,
For beauty to behold;
All goodness there is plenteous,
And better far than gold.
Adorn'd with grace and righteousness,
While fragrant scents of love
O'erflow with everlasting bliss,
All that do dwell above.
The heavenly majesty, whose face
Doth far exceed the sun,
Will there cast forth its rays of grace
After this world is done.
Which rays and beams will so possess
All things that there shall dwell,
With so much glory, light, and bliss,
That none can think or tell.
That wisdom which doth order all
Shall there be fully shown;
That strength that bears the world there shall
By every one be known.
That holiness and sanctity
Which doth all thought surpass,
Shall there in present purity
Outshine the crystal glass.
The beauty and the comeliness
Of this Almighty shall
Make amiable with lasting bliss
Those he thereto shall call.
The presence of this God will be
Eternal life in all,
And health and gladness, while we see
Thy face, O immortal!
Here will the Lord make clear and plain
How sweetly did agree
His attributes, when Christ was slain
Our Saviour to be.
How wisdom did find out the way,
How strength did make him stand,
How holiness did bear the sway,
And answer just demand.
How all these attributes did bend
Themselves to work our life,
Through the Christ whom God did send
To save us by his might.
All this will sparkle in our eye
Within the holy place,
And greatly raise our melody,
And flow our hearts with grace.
The largest thought that can arise
Within the widest heart
Shall then be filled with surprize,
And pleas'd in every part.
All mysteries shall here be seen,
And every knot, unty'd;
Electing love, that hid hath been,
Shall shine on every side.
The God of glory here will be
The life of every one;
Whose goodly attributes shall we
Possess them as our own.
By wisdom we all things shall know,
By light all things shall see,
By strength, too, all things we shall do,
When we in glory be.
The Holy Lamb of God, also,
Who for our sakes did die,
The holy ones of God shall know,
And that most perfectly.
Those small and short discoveries
That we have of him here,
Will there be seen with open eyes,
In visions full and clear.
Those many thousand acts of grace
That here we feel and find,
Shall there be real with open face
Upon his heart most kind.
There he will show us how he was
Our prophet, priest, and king;
And how he did maintain our cause,
And us to glory bring.
There we shall see how he was touch'd
With all our grief and pain
(As in his word he hath avouch'd),
When we with him shall reign;
He'll show us, also, how he did
Maintain our faith and love,
And why his face sometimes he hid
From us, who are his dove;
These tempting times that here we have,
We there shall see were good;
Also that hidden strength he gave,
The purchase of his blood.
That he should stand for us before
His Father, thus we read.
But then shall see, and shall adore
Him for his gracious deed.
Though we are vile, he without shame
Before the angels all
Lays out his strength, his worth, and name,
For us, who are in thrall.
This is he who was mock'd and beat,
Spit on, and crown'd with thorns;
Who for us had a bloody sweat,
Whose heart was broke with scorns.
'Tis he who stands so much our friend,
As shortly we shall see,
With open face, world without end,
And in his presence be.
That head that once was crown'd with thorns,
Shall now with glory shine;
That heart that broken was with scorns,
Shall flow with life divine;
That man that here met with disgrace,
We there shall see so bright;
That angels can't behold his face
For its exceeding light.
What gladness will possess our heart
When we shall see these things!
What light and life, in every part,
Will rise like lasting springs!
O blessed face and holy grace,
When shall we see this day?
Lord, fetch us to this goodly place
We humbly do thee pray.
Next to this Lamb we shall behold
All saints, both more and less,
With whit'ned robes in glory roll'd,
'Cause him they did confess.
Each walking in his righteousness
With shining crowns of gold,
Triumphing still in heav'nly bliss,
Amazing to behold.
Each person for his majesty
Doth represent a king;
Yea, angel-like for dignity,
And seraphims that sing.
Each motion of their mind, and so
Each twinkling of their eye;
Each word they speak, and step they go,
It is in purity.
Immortal are they every one,
Wrapt up in health and light,
Mortality from them is gone,
Weakness is turn'd to might.
The stars are not so clear as they,
They equalize the sun;
Their glory shines to perfect day,
Which day will ne'er be done.
No sorrow can them now annoy,
Nor weakness, grief or pain;
No faintness can abate their joy,
They now in life do reign.
They shall not there, as here, be vex'd
With Satan, men, or sin;
Nor with their wicked hearts perplex'd,
The heavens have cop'd them in.
Thus, as they shine in their estate,
So, too, in their degree;
Which is most goodly to relate,
And ravishing to see.
The majesty whom they adore,
Doth them in wisdom place
Upon the thrones, and that before
The angels, to their grace.
The saints of the Old Testament,
Full right to their degree;
Likewise the New, in excellent
Each one his badge of glory wears,
According to his place;
According as was his affairs
Here, in the time of grace.
Some on the right hand of the Lamb,
Likewise some on the left,
With robes and golden chains do stand
Most grave, most sage, and deft.
The martyr here is known from him
Who peaceably did die,
Both by the place he sitteth in,
And by his dignity.
Each father, saint, and prophet shall,
According to his worth,
Enjoy the honour of his call,
And plainly hold it forth.
Those bodies which sometimes were torn,
And bones that broken were
For God's word; he doth now adorn
With health and glory fair.
Thus, when in heav'nly harmony
These blessed saints appear,
Adorn'd with grace and majesty,
What gladness will be there!
The light, and grace, and countenance,
The least of these shall have,
Will so with terror them advance,
And make their face so grave,
That at them all the world will shake,
When they lift up their head;
Princes and kings will at them quake,
And fall before them dead.
This shall we see, thus shall we be,
O would the day were come,
Lord Jesus take us up to thee,
To this desired home.
Angels also we shall behold,
When we on high ascend,
Each shining like to men of gold,
And on the Lord attend.
These goodly creatures, full of grace,
Shall stand about the throne,
Each one with lightning in his face,
And shall to us be known.
These cherubims with one accord
Shall cry continually,
Ah, holy, holy, holy, Lord,
And heavenly majesty.
These will us in their arms embrace,
And welcome us to rest,
And joy to see us clad with grace,
And of the heavens possess'd.
This we shall hear, this we shall see,
While raptures take us up,
When we with blessed Jesus be,
And at his table sup.
Oh shining angels! what, must we
With you lift up our voice?
We must; and with you ever be,
And with you must rejoice.
Our friends that lived godly here,
Shall there be found again;
The wife, the child, and father dear,
With others of our train.
Each one down to the foot in white,
Fill'd to the brim with grace,
Walking among the saints in light,
With glad and joyful face.
Those God did use us to convert,
We there with joy shall meet,
And jointly shall, with all our heart,
In life each other greet.
A crown to them we then shall be,
A glory and a joy;
And that before the Lord, when he
The world comes to destroy.
This is the place, this is the state,
Of all that fear the Lord;
Which men nor angels may relate
With tongue, or pen, or word.
No night is here, for to eclipse
Its spangling rays so bright;
Nor doubt, nor fear to shut the lips,
Of those within this light.
The strings of music here are tun'd
For heavenly harmony,
And every spirit here perfum'd
With perfect sanctity.
Here runs the crystal streams of life,
Quite through all our veins.
And here by love we do unite
With glory's golden chains.
Now that which sweet'neth all will be
The lasting of this state;
This heightens all we hear or see
To a transcendant rate.
For should the saints enjoy all this
But for a certain time,
O, how would they their mark then miss,
And at this thing repine?
Yea, 'tis not possible that they
Who then shall dwell on high,
Should be content, unless they may
Dwell there eternally.
A thought of parting with this place
Would bitter all their sweet,
And darkness put upon the face
Of all they there do meet.
But far from this the saints shall be,
Their portion is the Lord,
Whose face for ever they shall see,
As saith the holy word.
And that with everlasting peace,
Joy, and felicity,
From this time forth they shall increase
Comments about this poem (Of Heaven by John Bunyan )
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