A fascinating look at the Catholic concept of Heaven.
From the preface:
Many books, owing to their special character, are designed for only a small circle of readers. But topics involving general and vital interests deservedly claim the attention of all persons. Such is the subject of the present work—”The Happiness of Heaven.” For who is he that, believing in the existence of that blessed abode, does not hope eventually to arrive there?
What sublime descriptions do not the Holy Scriptures give us of the blessed City of God! Her wails are built of jasper-stone; but the City itself is of pure and shining gold, like to clear crystal glass. And the foundations of the City are adorned with all manner of precious stones. Her gates are pearls. The very streets are transparent as glass. This glorious City has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in her; for the glory of God is her light.
In the midst of her sits the Ancient of days: His garments are white as snow: His throne is like flames of fire. Thousands and thousands minister unto him, and ten thousand times a hundred thousand stand before Him. A river of life-giving water, as clear as crystal, whose banks are adorned with the tree of life, issues from the throne of God. The Blessed drink of the torrent of pleasure, and are inebriated with the plenty of the house of God. All tears are wiped away from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away.
And, when we are assured that no mortal eye hath seen nor ear heard, nor heart of man conceived the happiness prepared for God's children, we must conclude that the magnificent language describing the heavenly Jerusalem is only symbolical; that the Holy Ghost speaks of the most precious and beautiful things we know, in order to raise our minds to the reality which they faintly represent. It has been the aim of the author of the following pages to discover the meaning concealed under those enticing figures. In his exposition of ”The Happiness of Heaven,” he has endeavored to follow the teachings of the most approved theologians of the Church. Moreover, mindful that our Divine Model spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven in parables, he has laid aside, as far as possible, the technical language of the schools, and has replaced it by illustrations, which are better adapted to the capacity of all.
Should the worshipper of mammon, on perusing these pages, pause in his headlong course, to think of ”treasures which neither the moth nor rust consumes;” should the votary of pleasure be induced to sigh after the joys that pass not away; should the poor and the afflicted of every description, cast a lingering, longing glance toward that blessed region where sorrow is unknown; should those who have consecrated themselves to God be incited to a greater perfection and to a desire of a higher degree of glory in heaven, the writer will deem himself amply rewarded for his labor.