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A holy and useful life does not purchase heaven for a christian, but prepares him for heaven.

JOHN THORNTON, Maxims and Directions for Youth

If you keep your eyes so fixed on Heaven that you never look at the Earth, you will stumble into Hell.

AUSTIN O'MALLEY, Keystones of Thought

Heaven may have happiness as utterly unknown to us, as the gift of perfect vision would be to a man born blind. If we consider the inlets of pleasure from five senses only, we may be sure that the same being who created us, could have given us five hundred if he had pleased.


They that are reconciled unto God, in the frame and temper of their minds, that live according to the Law of Heaven (the everlasting and immutable rule of goodness, righteousness and truth) may truly be said to have begun Heaven while they are upon the earth.

BENJAMIN WHICHCOTE, Moral and Religious Aphorisms

The light of Heaven isn't light, exactly -- it's a radioactive bludgeoning of purity; a bright, punishing ubiquity. It doesn't illuminate so much as incinerate: burning away darkness, and shadow, and ambiguity.

RAMSEY SHEHADEH, "The Diner on the Edge of Hell," Weird Tales, Summer 2011

The problem is, even if there is a Heaven how can there be one we can stand forever?

JOHN UPDIKE, Rabbit is Rich

To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven; the same key opens the gates of hell.


Heaven and Hell make no sense if the majority of humans are a complex mixture of good and evil. There's no reason to receive a reward if you're 57/43—why sit around forever in an elevated version of Club Med? That's almost impossible to contemplate.


Heaven is not reached at a single bound;
But we build the ladder by which we rise
From the lowly earth to the vaulted skies,
And we mount to its summit round by round.


Were there a country on earth uniting all that is beautiful in nature, all that is great in virtue, genius, and the liberal arts, and numbering among its citizens the most illustrious patriots, poets, philosophers, philanthropists of our age, how eagerly should we cross the ocean to visit it! And how immeasurably greater is the attraction of heaven! There live the elder brethren of the creation, the sons of the morning, who sang for joy at the creation of our race; there the great and good of all ages and climes; the friends, benefactors, deliverers, ornaments of their race; the patriarch, prophet, apostle, and martyr; the true heroes of public, and still more of private, life; the father, mother, husband, wife, child, who, unrecorded by man, have walked before God in the beauty of love and self-sacrificing virtue. There are all who have built up in our hearts the power of goodness and truth, the writers from whose pages we have received the inspiration of pure and lofty sentiments, the friends whose countenances have shed light through our dwellings, and peace and strength through our hearts. There they are gathered together, safe from every storm, and triumphant over every evil; and they say to us, Come and join us in our everlasting blessedness; come and bear part in our song of praise; share our adoration, friendship, progress, and works of love.


Heaven and Hell are man's hopes and his fears extended beyond the grave.

ABRAHAM MILLER, Unmoral Maxims

He whose son is obedient to him, whose wife's conduct is in accordance with his wishes, and who is content with his riches has his heaven here on earth.

CHANAKYA, Vridda-Chanakya

Amid the discords of this life, it is blessed to think of heaven, where God draws after him an everlasting train of music; for all thoughts are harmonious and all feelings vocal, and so there is round about his feet eternal melody.


This is Heaven, when pain and evil cease, and when the Benignant Principle, untrammelled and uncontrolled, visits in the fulness of its power the universal frame of things. Human life, with all its unreal ills and transitory hopes, is as a dream, which departs before the dawn, leaving no trace of its evanescent lines.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, "Essay on Christianity"

The Son of the Carpenter made the door of heaven so low that you must either take off your plumes or stoop humbly to enter it.

AUSTIN O'MALLEY, Keystones of Thought

When the world frowns, heaven smiles.


Few for heaven would care,
Should they be ever happy.

THOMAS DEKKER, The Noble Spanish Soldier

Jesus knew — knew — that we're carrying the Kingdom of Heaven around with us, inside, where we're all too goddam stupid and sentimental and unimaginative to look? You have to be a son of God to know that kind of stuff.


Heaven and hell seem out of proportion to me: the actions of men do not deserve so much.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, attributed, Borges Verbal

Heaven must be an awfully dull place if the poor in spirit live there.

EMMA GOLDMAN, "The Failure of Christianity," Mother Earth, Apr. 1913

I dare not think that any supercelestial heaven, or whatsoever else ... was increate and eternal. And as for the place of God before the world created, the finite wisdom of mortal men hath no perception of it; neither can it limit the seat of infinite power, no more than infinite power itself can be limited; for his place is in himself, whom no magnitude else can contain.

SIR WALTER RALEIGH, The First Part of the History of the World: Intreating of the Beginning and First Ages of the Same, from the Creation unto Abraham

Heaven will be inherited by every man who has heaven in his soul.


Heaven breathes thro' ev'ry member of the whole
One common blessing, as one common soul.


The way of Heaven and Earth may be completely declared in one sentence: They are without any doubleness, and so they produce things in a manner that is unfathomable.

CONFUCIUS, The Doctrine of the Mean

To emphasize the afterlife is to deny life. To concentrate on heaven is to create hell.

TOM ROBBINS, Skinny Legs and All

The Saviour said He was going to prepare us a place. How wonderful it will be is beyond human computation. Remember that in six days Christ made the heavens and earth and all that in them is.... If He made so many wonders in six days, then what beauties and marvels He has surely prepared during these 1900 years in which He has been preparing our mansions in the Father's House!

JOHN R. RICE, Bible Facts about Heaven

See you in heaven, if you make the list.

R.E.M., "Man on the Moon"

You will say, how can one reach heaven to lay anything there? I will ask you also another question. How can a man being in France reach into England to lay anything there? By exchange.... You know that to avoid the danger of pirates and the inconvenience of foreign coin not current at home, it is the use of merchants to pay it there, to receive it here. Such a thing is there in this "laying up." We are here as strangers; the place where we wish ourselves is our country, even paradise--if so be we send our carriage thither before; if not, I fear we intend some other place, it is not our country.

LANCELOT ANDREWES, Ninety-six Sermons

Already in the sacred bowl
I've quaff'd oblivion, and my rapturous soul
Heav'n's harbour gains full sail!

ALPHONSE DE LAMARTINE, "The Dying Christian", Poetical Meditations

Of all the inventions of man I doubt whether any was more easily accomplished than that of a Heaven.


What, after all, is Heaven but a transition, from dim guesses and blind struggling with a mysterious and adverse fate, to the fullness of all wisdom.

EDWARD BULWER-LYTTON, The Student: A Series of Papers

A man dies and goes to heaven. He is being shown around by an angel. Everything is just so sweet and gentle, the total golden tender presence of God everywhere, a pond over there, a beautiful field there, and some hills for people who like to hike, and this expansiveness in every direction of sky and light and physical beauty. And there is this section separated from the rest; it has beautiful high walls. The man who's just come to heaven says, "What's over there?" The angel says, "That's for the fundamentalists. They don't consider it heaven if anyone else got in."

ANNE LAMOTT, "Jesusy Anne Lamott", Christianity Today, Jan. 1, 2003

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Read William McEwen's essay: On the Happiness of Heaven


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