An ingenious man has taken the heavenly furlongs as mentioned in Revelation, and has calculated that there will be in heaven one hundred rooms sixteen feet square for each ascending soul, though this world should lose a hundred millions yearly. But all the rooms of heaven will be ours, for they are family rooms; and as no room in your house is too good for your children, so all the rooms of all the palaces of the heavenly Jerusalem will be free to God’s children and even the throne-room will not be denied, and you may run up the steps of the throne, and put your hand on the side of the throne, and sit down beside the king according to the promise: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne.”
But you can not go in except as conquerors. Many years ago the Turks and Christians were in battle, and the Christians were defeated, and with their commander Stephen fled toward a fortress where the mother of this commander was staying. When she saw her son and his army in disgraceful retreat, she had the gates of the fortress rolled shut, and then from the top of the battlement cried out to her son, “You can not enter here except as conqueror!” Then Stephen rallied his forces and resumed the battle and gained the day, twenty thousand driving back two hundred thousand. For those who are defeated in the battle with sin and death and hell nothing but shame and contempt; but for those who gain the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ the gates of the New Jerusalem will hoist, and there shall be an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord, toward which you do well to keep your windows open.
“And Abimelech gat him up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the people that were with him, and Abimelech took an ax in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it, and laid it on his shoulder.... And all the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them to the hold, and set the hold on fire upon them; so that all the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women.”—Judges ix: 48, 49.
Abimelech is a name malodorous in Bible history, and yet full of profitable suggestion. Buoys are black and uncomely, but they tell where the rocks are. The snake’s rattle is hideous, but it gives timely warning. From the piazza of my summer home, night by night I saw a lighthouse fifteen miles away, not placed there for adornment, but to tell mariners to stand off from that dangerous point. So all the iron-bound coast of moral danger is marked with Saul, and Herod, and Rehoboam, and Jezebel, and Abimelech. These bad people are mentioned in the Bible, not only as warnings, but because there were sometimes flashes of good conduct in their lives worthy of imitation. God sometimes drives a very straight nail with a very poor hammer.