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CHAPTER III.

We is not lost, though gone.

It is clearly revealed that God employs the spirits whom he has made, to minister unto those whom he delights to tend with peculiar care. With the mode of angelic or spiritual intercourse, we are not acquainted. That disembodied spirits, the evil and the good, are permitted to reach our minds and exert a power on our spirits, is not to be doubted, though we may be unable to respond to that influence, and, at the moment of its communication, may be unconscious of its presence.

"Millions of spiritual beings walk the earth unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep." And we believe, with many others, that if we were suddenly divested of this mortal, we should find ourselves in a vast amphitheatre, reaching to the throne of God, filled with spirits, the unseen witnesses, the clouds of witnesses with whom we are encompassed continually. There is a place where the Most High dwells in light that no man can approach, where the darkness of exces

sive brightness hangs over and around His throne, making Heaven, as Heaven is not elsewhere in the universe of God. But neither time nor place may with propriety be affirmed of spiritual existence. When Gabriel leaves his throne to execute the high behests of the Almighty, there is no intervening time or space between his departure and his presence, where his work is to be done. We use the terms that are adapted to our mode of existence, and are lost when we attempt to express the life of those whose nature is in another scale and order of beings than our own. It is, therefore, scriptural and rational to suppose that the spirits of our departed friends are around us by day and night; not away from God: his presence fills immensity; he is every where present. If an angel or the soul of a saint should take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, there to be with us or with those we love, even there the gracious presence of God would dwell, and the sanctified would find Heaven as blessed and glorious as in the temple of which the Lamb is the light.

We must be near to one another, to see and be seen, to hear and be heard. Our bodily organs are of necessity restricted, and hence

we have the impression that spirits must be bound by the same fetters. But this is an illusion that vanishes, when we reflect that speech, and sound, and sight, are attributes belonging to spirits only to accommodate us in our conception of communication with them. Thought is the language of the soul. Words are needed to convey that thought through the organs of the body to another soul. If there were no intervening body, I know not that the soul has any need of words. Sympathy is doubtless felt through all the spiritual world, without those channels of intelligence that we must open and explore. There is joy among the angels when a sinner repents, or a saint expires, long before the news is whispered from throne to throne, through the palaces of the skies. The thrill is more than electric. It is instant and every where in the empire of holy mind.

If, then, there is such conscious sympathy among the spirits of the blest, who will deny that they, whose angels do always behold the face of the Father, are also conversant with those whom they have left on earth? The dead are with us and around us, and, though gone, are not lost. Wherever, in the world of spirits, God may have fixed the habitation

of his throne, it is right to believe that his essential presence is every where, and his saints are where they can be the happiest, and best perform his high and holy will.

All this proceeds upon the doctrine, that the souls of infants do immediately pass into glory, when released from the prison of the flesh. This truth is too plainly taught in the Holy Scriptures, and is too firmly rooted in the human heart, to be doubted. "Of such is the kingdom of heaven," was said by Him who said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me." The royal prophet evidently recognized this truth, when he comforted himself by the assurance that he should meet his child again. To me it has always been a delightful truth, that these little ones are, in great kindness, transplanted to a more congenial clime, and spared the ills that they must meet and buffet in a world of sin. So that I have often said, "I thank God when an infant dies." But this is gratitude felt only when the children of others die.

Yet it is a blessed thought, that when one of our children dies in infancy, it sleeps in Jesus. We are sure of one in Heaven. The rest may grow up in sin, and die in sin, and be lost, but one is safe. Thanks to God, the

lost is found, the dead is alive. "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." "They only can be said to possess a child for ever, who have lost one in infancy."

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