F r• C. C. Martindale, S. .1 . sinIMMRS1401:4.7 THE loveliest vision of Heaven (and all creation is someday to be "heavenly") is in St. John's Apocalypse (21-22:5); and, since I cannot here write all I should like to, I venture to refer to my small book "St. John and the Apocalypse"; pp. 129-134 (Sheed and Ward, 1958).
St. John sees that there is to be a "new" heaven and a '.'new" earth, for the holy City, the New Jerusalem, comes down from God, adorned as a bride for her husband. This "wedlock" does not annihilate, but completes and transforms.
There is a fusion of two metaphors here: the Jews thought of God's union with His People as a wedlock—for us too the Church is the Bride of Christ: but they could too identify Jerusalem with the People, or as its vital centre, or the centre of the world itself.
John pictures it most vividly: you enter its high protecting walls through twelve gates of pearl, that are the prophets: you climb by paths like transparent gold, terrace by terrace, their foundations encrusted with a rainbow glow of jewels—the soft dark green of jasper, then blue green, a clearer green, a green like the peacock's tail; then emerald. Then suddenly sardonyx shows white mixed with
transparent rose; then, rose deepening to crimson; changing back to yellows and golden green, and then the glorious blues of sapphire melting into the violet of amethysts.
At the summit, there is no temple nor altar, for sacrifice is finished with: and the Lord and the Lamb are the source of the radiance that floods the City; and from their throne streams the Holy Spirit. cascading down through the groves of the Tree of Life, continually fruitful, whose very leaves are for the healing of the nations.
However brilliant the colouring, human imagination must see the spires and towers of this heavenly City only through a silver-golden mist, for we are not there yet altogether.
But from St. John are derived the long series of sublime hymns —Urbs Caelestis (about 700 Asa); "Towards the fount of life eternal" (St Peter Damian: C. 1060); "Carried forth beyond the gate", part of a hymn by Hildebert of Mans, C. 1100; to our exquisite "Jerusalem! my happy home!" (probably by an Elizabethan priest-prisoner); to the lovely Anglican "Jerusalem the Golden" and "For thee, oh dear, dear country—mine eyes their vigils keep!" We have nothing to equal these.