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           Heaven Taken by Storm 


"The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matt. 11:12).


The more violence we have used for heaven, the sweeter heaven will be when we come there. As when a man has been grafting trees or setting flowers in his garden, it is pleasant to review and look over his labours, so it shall be in heaven when we shall remember our former zeal and activity for the kingdom. It will enhance heaven and add to the joy of it. For a Christian to think, "Such a day I spent in examining my heart; such a day I was weeping for sin; when others were at their sport, I was at my prayers; and now, have I lost anything by this violence? My tears are wiped away and the wine of Paradise cheers my heart. I now enjoy Him whom my soul loves; I now have the crown and white robes I so longed for." Oh, how pleasant will it be to think, "This is the heaven my Saviour bled for and I sweat for"!


The more violence we put forth in religion, the greater measure of glory we shall have. That there are degrees in glory in heaven seems to me beyond dispute. There are degrees of torment in hell; therefore, by the rule of contraries, there are degrees of glory in heaven. The Scripture speaks of a prophet's reward (Matt. 10:41), which is a degree above others. The saints are said to shine as the stars (Dan. 12). Now one star differs from another in glory, so that there are gradations of happiness; and of this judgment is Calvin as well as many of the ancient fathers. Consider then seriously, the more violent we are for heaven and the more work we do for God, the greater will be our reward. The hotter our zeal, the brighter our crown. Could we hear the blessed souls departed speaking to us from heaven, surely they would say, "Were we to leave heaven awhile and to dwell on the earth again, we would do God a thousand times more service than we have ever done; we would pray with more life, act with more zeal; for now we see that the more we have laboured, the more astonishing is our joy and the more flourishing our crown."


Upon our violence for the kingdom God hath promised mercy. "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matt. 7:7).




An extract from Heaven Taken by Storm (Thomas Watson, Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 2000), pp78-79.


A London-based Presbyterian, Thomas Watson (1620-1686) was a learned and highly popular preacher and writer, especially renowned for his gift of extemporaneous prayer. His exposition of the Westminster Assembly's Shorter Catechism is still highly prized and is an excellent introduction to Puritan teaching.