But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:16.
We profess to be pilgrims and strangers on earth, journeying to a better country, even a heavenly. If we are indeed but sojourners here, traveling to a land where none but the holy can dwell, we shall make it our first business to become acquainted with that country; we shall make diligent inquiry as to the preparation needed, the manners and character which we must have in order to become citizens there. Jesus, the King of that land, is pure and holy. He has commanded His followers, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). If we are hereafter to associate with Christ and sinless angels we must here obtain a fitness for such society.
This is our work—our all-important work. Every other consideration is of minor consequence. Our conversation, our deportment, our every act, should be such as to convince our family, our neighbors, and the world that we expect soon to remove to a better country.... Those whose faith is daily confirmed and strengthened by their works will become acquainted with self-denial in restricting appetite, controlling ambitious desires, bringing every thought and feeling into harmony with the divine will....
The land to which we are traveling is in every sense far more attractive than was the land of Canaan to the children of Israel.... What stayed their progress just in sight of the goodly land? It was their own willful unbelief that turned them back. They were unwilling to risk anything upon the promises of God.... The history of the children of Israel is written as a warning to us “upon whom the ends of the world are come.” We are standing, as it were, upon the very borders of the heavenly Canaan. We may, if we will, look over on the other side and behold the attractions of the goodly land. If we have faith in the promises of God we shall show in conversation and in deportment that we are not living for this world, but are making it our first business to prepare for that holy land.