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and life towards us here below. He causes that there shall be greater joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Were it not for Christ, the grand powers of magnificent spirits, ascending ever upward in circles and spirals of rising thought, aspiring towards God evermore, might lift them away from sympathy with our low condition. Above, as below, Christ represents the harmonizing element which is his peculiar gift from his Father. He counteracts and balances the ascent of aspiration with the descent of sympathy, the love of God with the love of man. He prepares a place for us by awakening in the spirits above a sympathy like his own for the spirits below. His grace and truth penetrate the celestial spheres, as they have leavened the earthly ones. Thus with the great law of progress, by which souls ascend upward more and more, is joined Christ's law of love, by which the first becomes last, the highest archangel descending to the humblest work of sympathy. And thus is set aside forever that doubt which intrudes so often into loving hearts, whether those who were so dear to us in this life may not in their upward ascent have soared far
from our communion. “Can we be anything to them," we ask, 6 there ?”
Yes. For when Christ prepares a place for us, he comes to us to receive us to himself. And what Christ does, that do all those who belong to Christ and are like Christ. Jesus does not soar away out of sight, and disappear forever from human knowledge in a lonely flight to the lonely God. No; but his ascent is also condescension ; his progress is outward into an enlarging sympathy to all, downward into a more profound pity and tenderness for the lost ones, as well as upward into greater knowledge of God. His progress is not in one direction only, but in all three directions. And similar is the progress of all Christianized spirits. They
do not go away from us by their progress, but come nearer to us. They do not lose their love for us, but have more of it, deeper, tenderer, larger, as they advance along the ascending highway of being. As Jacob in his dream saw on the ladders of heaven the angels of God not only ascending but also descending, so for ever do the good and true come down into a greater sympathy while they go up into loftier purity.
The next words confirm wholly this truth, if it needs confirmation. “I will come again, and receive you into myself, that where I am, there may ye be also." Christ wishes us to be with him. It is not enough that he is happy in his place, and we in ours; we must be happy together. True, we cannot go to him. He is so high above us, his life so much more profound, his love so divine, that his home is probably far above ours, inaccessible to our feeble virtue. But though the lower cannot go up to the higher, the higher can come down to the lower. He can and he will come to us, and receive us to himself.
This, then, is the beautiful and divine truth taught in this passage-that where law divides, love reunites. Separate mansions, but the same home. Each soul its own place, work, opportunity, but each in union with the highest soul which loves it. The love of the pure and holy spirit brings it down into communion with the lower spirit. So all things are ours, whether Paul or Apollos or Peter; all the great and noble souls, Milton and Fenelon and Luther; the noble men and women of all times ; they all belong to us. If our faces are turned upwards, they descend to us, Socrates and i'lato, Washington and Aristides, Cowper and Wordsworth, and those who have helped us here. There we may hope to meet again Channing, and Theodore Parker, and Henry Ware, and John Andrew, and Ellis Gray Loring, all the noble men, and saintly women,
and darling children, whose lives have taught us what life is worth, and who have gone up before us leading our hearts upward where they have gone. The love of Christ constrains them to be with us.
Sometimes in dreams we have the foretaste of this heaven. Sometimes in dreams we feel ourselves visited by the noblest and grandest natures, who come and talk with us familiarly as friends. The barriers of condition, circumstance and character seem removed. We are at home with these immortal and divine spirits. Magnificent in wisdom, glowing with the glory of the skies, they yet treat us as the mother treats her child ; they make us at home with them ; they raise us into the same sphere as their own. I have h.id dreams of such superior essences, whom I seemed to know well and intimately, and who seemed to know me better than I knew myself. And this is my idea of heaven. To every one his own place, his own work, his own position, exactly fitted to his character, but every one visited from on high by these perpetually descending souls from more celestial spheres, taking us momentarily into their own peace and light and purity.
Mrs. Browning, a modern prophet, because deeply inspired by the Holy Spirit of truth and love, has thus written in a strain like that of John in the Apocalypse.
God reigns above, he reigns alone,
For us, whatever's undergone,
I praise thee while my days go on,
NOT UNCLOTHED, BUT CLOTHED UPON.
“ NOT THAT WE SHOULD BE UNCLOTHED, BUT CLOTHED UPON, THAT
MORTALITY MIGHT BE SWALLOWED UP OF LIFE.”
HE doctrine of this text is that we do not wish to be dis
Tembodied spirits herealitet, but to have another higher
body superinduced on this. I think the phrase indicates a desire for a process of gradual development instead of a sudden change, and that death shall not mean that the soul has lost its body, but that a finer and more spiritual one shall be developed around the soul.
The body, in this passage, is first compared to a tabernacle — that is, a tent - and then to a building. The Apostle means to say that the present body is like a tent, which is a mere transient residence; the body which is to . he is like a house or temple, meant to stand for a hundred or a thousand years. Perhaps there flitted through his mind the idea of the Jewish Tabernacle, or church tent, which they carried with them through the wilderness sort of travelling church, a movable chapel, where they had their 'sacrificial worship every day — which was so made that it could be taken to pieces, and put up again. The present body is like that; the body to come is like the Temple of Solomon on Mount Moriah, built of solid marble, immovable, incorruptible, undecaying ; glittering white like a glacier in the morning sun, glowing rosy in the evening twilight - a beauty and a wonder of the world.