Here is that chapter from Torrey's book. I scanned it and did some proof reading, I think I got most of the errors, let me know if you find any more.
CATCHING A GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN
(Taken from Heaven or Hell by R.A. Torrey)
He looked for a city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God - Hebrews 11:10
Here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come - Hebrews 13:14
Heaven was the city Abraham sought, the "city which hath foundations." This is "the continuing city'' which we are seeking instead of these fleeting and perishable cities and homes of earth. What sort of a place is this city? What sort of a place is heaven?
In answer to the question, I am not going to discuss the sort of a place I imagine heaven to be. I care very little about my speculations or any other man's speculations and fancies on this point. I am going to tell you something that is certain. I am going to tell you what God plainly teaches in His Word.
There are many who think we know nothing about heaven, and that it is all guesswork. That is not so. God has revealed much about it. What He has revealed is very encouraging. It will awaken in every wise and true heart a desire to go there.
If we reflected more about heaven, it would help us to bear our burdens here more bravely. We would want to live holier lives and be delivered from the power of greed and lust that often attacks us. Our lives would be filled with joy and sun- shine.
Shallow philosophers tell us that our business is to live this present life and let the future take care of itself. You might as well tell the schoolboy that his business is to live today without considering his future. True thoughts of the life that is to come clothe the life that now is with new beauty and strength.
The Reality of Heaven
Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you'' (John 14:2). Some will tell you that heaven is merely a state or condition. Doubtless it is more important to be in a heavenly state or condition than in a heavenly place. But heaven is a real place. We are not to be merely in a heavenly state of mind, but in a heavenly city as well, ''a city that hath foundations" "a continuing city."
Christ has already entered into heaven to appear in the presence of God for us. (See Hebrews 9:24.) He has gone to prepare a place for us and is coming back to take us there. We will not be disembodied spirits in the world to come, but redeemed spirits, in redeemed bodies, in a redeemed universe.
Heaven is a place of incomparable beauty. This is obvious from the description we have in Revelation 21 and 22. The God of the Bible is a God of beauty. He made this world beautiful. Its beauty has been marred by sin. The weed, the thorn, and the brier spring up. The insect devours the roses, and the lilies fade. Decay and death bring loath- some sights and foul smells.
All of creation, together with fallen man, groans and travails in pain until now. But enough is left of the original creation to show us how intensely God loves beauty. He has told us in His Word that the creation will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (See Romans 8:20-23.)
There will be perfection of beauty in heaven. Perfection of form, color, and sound will be combined into a beauty that will be indescribable. All earthly comparisons fail. Every sense of perception in our present state is clouded by sin. But in our redemption bodies, every sense will be enlarged and exist in perfection.
Some of us have seen beautiful visions on earth. We have seen the mountains rearing their snow- crowned heads through the clouds; the vista of rolling hills and verdant valleys; winding rivers and forest with their changing colors; the lake and ocean dancing and tossing and rolling in the moonlight; the heavens in the clear wintry night
jewelled with countless stars. We have caught the fragrances that float through the summer night in parks and gardens. We have listened to the indescribable harmonies of piano and violin as they responded to the touch of the master's hand and the more matchless music of the human voice. But all these are nothing compared to the beauty of sight and sound and fragrance that will greet us in that fair city of eternity.
The Best Companions
But the beauty of heaven, as good and attractive as it is, will be its least important characteristic. Heaven will be a place of high and holy companionships. The best, wisest, and noblest men of all ages will be there. Abraham and Isaac and Jacob will be there. "And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven'' (Matthew 8:11). Heaven is the home of Moses, Elijah, Daniel, Paul, John, Rutherford, and Brainerd. All the purest, noblest, most unselfish people the world has known are there because they have trusted in the Atoning blood of Christ.
"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hinds, eternal in the heavens'' (2 Corinthians 5:1). All the dear ones who believed in and loved the Lord Jesus will be there.
There are many who desire to get into the most exclusive social circles. That is all right if it is not merely the society of wealth, fashion, and foolishness that is so strangely called "the best society" but the most select group of this world will be nothing compared to the society of heaven. The joys we find in the companionship of noble, unselfish, thoughtful people here give only the faintest conception of the joys of heaven's companionships.
The angels are there. "and the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God, and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings'' (Luke 1:19).
"I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. . . .Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth'' (Luke 15:7,10). We will enjoy the companionship of these lofty beings- Gabriel, Michael, and the whole angelic host.
God Himself is there, too. In a sense He is everywhere but heaven is the place of His peculiar presence and manifestation of Himself. "Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place" (2 Chronicles 6:30) . "thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven'' (Matthew 6:10).
We will hold communion with Him. Jesus Christ is there. "and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." (Acts 7:56) . ''Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession'' (Hebrews 4 :14) . "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens" (Hebrews 8:1).
To Paul, being with Jesus was one of the most attractive thoughts about heaven. "For I am in a straight betwixt two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you'' (Philippians 1:23-24).
There will be no unpleasant or degrading companions in heaven. The devil will not be there. The lewd, the vulgar, and the obscene will not be there. The greedy and the scheming and selfish will not be there. The liar, the slanderer, the back- biter, the meddler, and the gossip will not be there. The mean, the contemptible, and the hypocrite will not be there. The profane, the blasphemer, and the scoffer will not be there. No money, influence, or cunning will get them in. ''And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie'' (Revelation 21:27).
There are limitations to the joys of the dearest earthly companionships. It will not be so in heaven. We can perfectly open our hearts to one
another there, as we often long to do here but are unable. "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Corinthins 13:12).
Heaven will be a place of glad reunions. "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:17) . The bereaved wife will meet again the husband she has missed so long, and the son will see the mother whose departure left his life so desolate. What glad days those coming days will be when we meet again never more to part.
The Most Glorious Freedom
Heaven will be a place that is free from every- thing that curses or mars our life here. The world we live in would be a happy place if there was no sin, sickness, pain, poverty, or death. But these things ruin the present world.
There will be none of these things in heaven. There will be no sin. Everyone will perfectly obey the will of God. There will be no poverty. Even- one will have all the inexhaustible wealth of God at his disposal. "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be Also glorified together" (Romans 8:17).
There will be no grinding labor. When I see the men and women who rise at dawn and go forth to another day of backbreaking labor, I rejoice that there is a place where the weak can rest severe remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God'' (Hebrews 4:9).
There will be no sickness or pain. Grand God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain for the former things are plated away'' (Revelation 21:4). There will be no more aching limbs, no more throbbing temples, and no more darting pains. Weakness, sighs, groans, nights of tossing in sweltering rooms, and tears will become vague memories from a distant past. There will be no death in heaven.
Heaven will be a place of universal and perfect knowledge. On this earth, the wisest of us sees through a glass darkly, but there face to face. Here we know in part, but there we will know even as we are known. (See 1 Corinthians 15:12.) The wisest scientist or philosopher on earth knows very little Sir Isaac Newton said to one who poised his wisdom, “I am as a child on the seashore picking up a pebble here and a shell there, but the great ocean of truth still lies before me.”
In heaven the most uneducated of us will have fathomed that great ocean of truth. We will have perfect knowledge of all things. The great perplexing problems of God and man, of time and eternity will be solved. No doubts, no questions, no uncertainties, or errors will trouble us. Faith will be swallowed up in sight.
Heaven will be a place of universal and perfect love. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is'' (1 John 3:2).
We shall be like our God, and He is love. “He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love'' (1 John 4:8).
What a place to live, where everyone is a lover and where all love is perfect. How happy is the home where love is triumphant. It may be a very plain place, but it is a happy place. “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.” (Proverbs 17:8)
All is love in heaven. And the love there will not be like that of earth-hesitating, suspicious, selfish, now so cold and then so warm. It will be pure, unbounded, unfaltering, unchanging, and Christ-like. What a world that will be! The universal brotherhood of which we read and talk so much and see so little will find its perfect realization there.
Heaven will be a place of praise. “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, And palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying. Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen'' (Revelation 7:9-12).
Men will have own eyes to see God as He is. Souls will burst forth with praise. Suppose we should get one glimpse of God as He is, one view of Jesus Christ as He is! There would be a burst of song like the world has never heard.
There will be melody all day long in heaven. Some people ask me in a critical way, “Why do you have so much music in your evangelistic meetings?'' I answered, “because we wish them to be as much like heaven as possible.” Heaven will be a very musical place. There will be far more singing than preaching there.
Heaven will be “a city which hath foundations” a “continuing city'' (See Hebrews 11:10 and 13:14.) Earth's greatest cities and fairest homes do not abide-they crumble into dust. The so-called “eternal city'' of the past is trodden underneath the feet of the beggars of modern Rome.
The world itself does not abide. “The world passeth away'' (1 John 2:17). Heaven does abide. Eternity rolls on, but heaven abides in its beauty, ' glory, joy, and love; and we abide with it.
The Way To Heaven
Is your heart stirred with a longing for that abiding city? Who would not rather have an entrance there than to have the fleeting possessions of any of earth's millionaires? If I had my choice between having all that money could buy, and then missing heaven in the end, and living in the most retched tenement but gaining heaven at last, it would not take long to decide which to choose.
When we reach that fair home, the trials of earth will seem small and trifling indeed. “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us'' (Romans 8:18).
We may all gain an entrance there. There is but one way, but it is simple and open to all. In John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto them, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” In John 10:9, He says, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
Christ is the door to heaven; Christ is the way to God. Accept Christ as your Savior, your Master, and your Lord. Do it now. If you stood outside the door of some fair mansion where all inside was beauty and love, and the owner said cordially, “come in”, would you risk waiting for a second invitation? Jesus swings heaven's door open wide and says, “come in.” Accept Him at once and gain a right to enter and live forever in heaven.
There was a godless father who had a sweet little child who was an earnest Christian. The young daughter become ill and died. The father was very angry at God. After the funeral he raged about his room cursing God and blaming Him for taking his beloved child. At last, utterly worn out, he threw himself upon the bed and fell asleep.
In his slumber, he dreamed that he stood beside a dark river. He saw a beautiful land on the far side. As he gazed across the river, he saw children coming toward him. One fair child came forth, whom he recognized as his little daughter. She was beckoning to him and calling, “come over here, Father! Come over here.” He awoke and burst into tears. He gave up his rebellion against God, accepted Christ, and prepared to meet his child in the fair land beyond the river.
There are voices of loved ones who have gone before calling, “come over here, Father;'' “come over here, Son; “come over here, Husband;” “come over here, Wife.” Accept Christ at once and gain the right to enter heaven and live there forever.