And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from where they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.…
1. I shall first desire you to consider the nature and the magnitude of that bliss which is reserved for good men in that better country towards which they are tending. It is to consist in seeing and knowing God, in being made better acquainted with His ways and works and the wonders of the Creation in the highest intellectual and moral improvements — in better opportunities of being extensively useful — in living and reigning with Christ, and sharing in that glory to which He is raised as our Redeemer. But what most deserves our attention with respect to this happiness is, that it will be eternal in its duration. This makes the value of it properly infinite. Through boundless ages we are to be improving and rising under the eye and care of the Almighty. I must add that we have reason to depend on this happiness as certain to be enjoyed. God, who cannot lie, has promised it to us, and His Sen came into the world to acquire the power of recovering us from death and of introducing us to it. Think now what a happiness this is. Need I ask you whether if does not invite or demand your warmest ambition and wishes?
2. In order to render ourselves more sensible of this, let us compare with it the happiness we enjoy in this world, and the circumstances of imperfection that attend the present state. It is an infant and probationary state. Our faculties being net yet fully opened, and our situation not admitting of our looking far into the Creation, we understand nothing fully. Difficulties obstruct us in our inquiries, and distressing doubts often perplex us. The present state is also a state in which we are subject to much trouble; and dangers surround us in it, against which we are obliged to be perpetually on our guard. But what is worst of all is, that the present world is a wicked world. It exhibits to us a sad scene of guilt and degeneracy. Again, this life is of short duration. Were our happiness in it ever so great, the time for enjoying it is short. Such is the present state. What then is it when viewed in competition with that which I have before described? Can we prefer darkness to light, tumult to quietness, and slavery to liberty?
3. I am lad from hence to observe that an earthly-minded temper is low and sordid, but that the contrary temper confirms the highest dignity and honour. Not to aim at the perfection we are made for — to suffer ourselves to creep on the earth, though capable of aspiring to heaven — what can be more base? Heaven is your home, there let your affections be. Heaven is your country, there let your desires tend. Be not so cruel to yourselves as to suffer any temptation to turn off your attention from your best and highest good. Be not so ungrateful to God, as, notwithstanding His goodness in designing you for a glorious immortality, to declare by your actions that you care not for it.
4. I would point out to you the advantages, with respect to our present interest, which will attend such a temper as I am recommending. The worst that can happen to us here will appear trifling to one who considers with a lively faith that our present afflictions, which are for a moment, work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Heavenly-mindedness, therefore, will give the best support under afflictions. Amidst the storms of this world it places us in the situation of a person elevated to the upper regions of the air, who there sees the clouds spread at his feet, and hears the thunder roar below him.
5. In the next place it should be considered that heavenly-mindedness will be one of the best proofs of our fitness for heaven and title to it. If you would know where your treasure is, you must inquire where your hearts are.
6. Lastly, let me set before you the particular obligations we are under, as Christ's disciples, to cultivate heavenly-mindedness. The design of the gospel is to draw off our affections from. things temporal. It teaches us that we are strangers and pilgrims, and therefore commands us to abstain from fleshly lusts.
(R. Price, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.