Austin Farrer on the end

Our knowledge of God now is the promise and the foretaste of heaven: apart from this present knowledge of God, we should have no clue to what heaven will be; for heaven is God. But it’s just as true the other way about – without the heavenly promises God has given us, we should hav no understanding of our present life with God. How could we make sense of the journey if we didn’t know where the road leads? Unless the promise of heaven was shown us, how should we guess that the fitful gleams of spiritual light which visit us here flowed out from the steady and irresistible dawning of eternal day?

Compared with the sight of God in heaven our present glimpses of him seem little, or nothing, indeed; and yet they are not altogether nothing. Even today, when we pray, the hand of God does somewhat put aside that accursed looking-glass, which each of us holds before him, and which shows each of us our own face. Only the day of judgment will strike the glass for ever from our hands, and leave us nowhere reflected but in the pupils of the eyes of God. And then we shall be cured of our self love, and shall love, without even the power of turning from it, the face that is lovely in itself, the face of God; and passing from the great Begetter to what is begotten by him, we shall see his likeness in his creatures, in angels and in blessed saints; returning at long last the love that has been lavished on us, and reflecting back the light with which we have been illuminated. To that blessed consummation, therefore may he lead all those for whom we pray, he who is love himself, who came to us at Bethlehem, and took us by the hand.

from The Essential Sermons, (SPCK, 1991), 203

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