Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Are there books in Heaven?

When we get to heaven, will we be floating on clouds in white robes while stroking harps and blowing bubbles? We will continue on learning in heaven? Will we study? Will we read? Will the desire for "higher knowledge" still be within us?

This is an excerpt from Intra Muros (also published as 'Into the Light', 'My Dream of Heaven', 'Within the Gates', 'Within Heaven's Gates', and 'Within the Walls') by Rebecca Ruter Springer. The book was published in 1898, so it is well over 100 years old, and Rebecca herself lived from 1932 - 1904. As she suffered a long and agonizing sickness, she felt "the close blending of the two lives" she was given an in-depth vision of heaven. She does not know if it was a dream or a visitation, she simply considers her book to be "an imperfect sketch of a most perfect vision".

Led around Heaven by her beloved brother-in-law, he introduced her to her new heavenly life, including the home he had eagerly prepared for her there. The following excerpt is part of the conversation she recorded having taken place in the library of her heavenly home, which she describes as "a glorious apartment - the walls lined from ceiling to floor with rare and costly books."

"My first sensation upon entering the room was genuine surprise at the sight of the books, and my first words were:

"Why, have we books in heaven?"

"Why not?" asked my brother. "What strange ideas we mortals have of the pleasures and duties of this blessed life! We seem to think that death of the body means an entire change to the soul. But that is not the case, by any means. We bring to this life the same tastes, the same desires, the same knowledge, we had before death. If these were not sufficiently pure and good to form a part of this [heavenly] life, then we ourselves may not enter.

What would be the use of our ofttimes long lives, given to the pursuit of certain worthy and legitimate knowledge, if at death it all counts as nothing and we begin this [new, heavenly] life on a wholly different line of thought and study? No, no; would that all could understand... that we are building for eternity during our earthly life!

The purer the thoughts, the nobler the ambitions, the loftier the aspirations, the higher the rank we take among the hosts of heaven. The more earnestly we follow the studies and duties in our [earthly] life of probation, the better fitted we shall be to carry them forward, on and on to completion and perfection here [in heaven]."

"But the books - who writes them? Are any of them books we knew and loved below [on earth]?"

"Undoubtedly, many of them. All, indeed, that in any way helped to elevate the human mind or immortal soul. Then, many of the rarest minds in the earth-life, upon entering on this higher [heavenly] life, gain such elevated and extended views of the subjects that have been with them lifelong studies, that, pursuing them with zest, they write out for the benefit of those less gifted, the higher, stronger views they have themselves acquired. Thus, they remain leaders and teachers in this rarer [heavenly] life, as they were while yet in the world.

Is it to be expected that the great soul who has so recently joined our ranks, whose 'Changed Life' and 'Pax Vobiscum' [author Henry Drummond] uplifted so many lives while on earth, should lay his pen aside, when his clear brain and great heart have read the mystery of the higher knowledge? Not so. When he has conned his lessons well, he will write them out for the benefit of others, less gifted, who must follow. Leaders there must always be, in this divine life, as in the former [earth] life - leaders and teachers in many varied lines of thought. But all this knowledge will come to you simply and naturally as you grow into the new [heavenly] life."

PS- You can read the book online here.

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