“As we have been speaking on the glorious subject of purity”, said our angel, “how would you like to visit the playground of the baby angels?”
Janet and I laughed delightedly at this. It seemed so sudden a contrast to the recent solemnity of our thoughts.
“Is it possible?” I asked.
“But-baby angels?” Janet queried. “Why, I did not know there were any.”
“There are some things you do not know in Heaven’s realm!” (We saw that our guide was teasing us.) “But come-we have a long journey before us.”
As we sped on our way, leaving behind the vast plain and circling high over misty-blue hills the angel explained to us that the atmosphere was so rare in the Angels’ Playground that it was impossible for one man alone to enter.
“What do your mean by ‘rare’?” I asked. “Is it because of its height?”
“It is high, but not in the way you mean. It is high because of its purity.”
“Oh.” We were a little taken aback at this. “Do you mean that we may not enter-perhaps only peep inside?” Janet asked anxiously.
“If you will stop being so impatient,” pleaded our angel, “and let me speak…
We fell silent at once, and he continued:
“As I said, it is impossible for one man alone to enter, but two who walk together for all eternity may. First, there must be a little ceremony in which the minds and hearts of the two are linked. Then for the time being, until the great power of this fusion works itself out these two are most truly one. In this double power they can bear, the rare atmosphere of the higher planes.”
There was a silence, and then Janet asked:
“May we speak now?” And when the angel nodded; “Please tell us when this ceremony is performed. We are so eager to see the baby angels !”
“It will be performed now,” our guide said. “You will both fall into a sleep and you must have no fear. The experiences you will pass through are strange because this fusion induces an expansion of consciousness-one that is experienced habitually by some of the Higher Ones. Just remember that all is well and that I have care of you.’
As we winged our way high above a valley, Janet and I began to feel drowsy. The last thing I remember is the light reflected in a river winding its way beside some bushes far below, and then I felt a strange sensation of growth. I seemed to grow and grow, so that I was mighty, so that my left hand stretched far out to the Hall of Reception and my right hand to the Hall of Orators. My head rested in the Hall of Books, my feet in the Hall of Adventure and my heart in the Hall of Audience, the heart of Heaven’s realm.
In every member was keen intelligence-feeling, hearing and sight-so that I knew all that was taking place in the vast expanse of the realm; and in this great intelligence was activity, so that I appeared to, and walked and talked with many friends in far distant Halls. I watched Stephen talking with a newcomer in the Hall of Reception, walked through a hallway in the Hall of Orators, renewed my friendship with Arthur browsing in the Hall of Books, visited Reg as he struggled up the hillside in the Hall of Adventure and spoke again with the King of Love… And then I knew that I was indeed fashioned in the image of God, as were all men, and that this was but a glimpse of the wonders He had in store for us all… Then, heavy with learning, I groaned, and the angel awakened me.
Janet and I looked at one another, too awed for speech, but her thought pressed itself into my mind:
“This is just a ‘flash’, a tiny spark of light from the vast shining of the wisdom of the Father.”
“Now for the time you are each called ‘Bernard-Janet’ ” said our angel, “and here we are in the Angels’ Playground.”
At this moment we alighted on to a vast, moss-covered field of brilliant green. My first impression was of brightness, as though a great many suns were shining, and then I saw that this was indeed so. Poised high in the air were scores of tiny suns, or day-stars, all flashing and twinkling gaily. Around us, trees studded the mossy field, their great branches swaying darkly against the intense blue of the sky. In the far distance I caught a glimpse of a lake with a narrow stream winding its way out of it and then hiding itself in a clump of close-growing trees. (As yet I have said nothing of the angels, for if I had not described the surroundings first, that description would never have been given!)
At the angels Janet and I gazed and gazed. Little chubby, rosy angels absorbed in their play, flying, leaping, swinging and jumping and filling the air with their musical laughter! They looked about the size of children from two to four, but they were plumper than little ones of earth, and their faces shone with a joy that could only have been born in Heaven. One of the infants who had been dancing up and down close to me, suddenly leapt high in the air and sitting on one of the day-stars, rocked triumphantly.
“Many baby angels ride upon the stars,” said our guide. “It is their favourite game. The stars were set up there by one of us. We are always thinking of some new joy for the children and have only to breathe upon the creative substance until it is formed into whatever we desire. We made them a new moon, too, but the little rascals decided to use it for a boat! One of them flew up and brought it down. Now they keep it to play with on the lake.”
I asked incredulously:
“Can these be angels? Are they not pure and innocent children?” (I voiced the thought for Janet, too.)
“No,” said our guide. “These are the happy little earth-guides of babies who have died before they were old enough to commit the smallest fault. Earth-guides are babies, too, and grow with their charges, while the Heaven-guide is already mature… And so, while the babies from earth meet their mothers or live their happy childhood in the Hall of Children, their earth-guides come to the Angels’ Playground.”
“Is their work, then, finished?” Janet asked. “Because their little charges have died and come to Heaven so soon?”
“Finished!” laughed the angel. “Oh no. Angels have a great deal of work to do for the Father, unconnected with earth. A long time hence, these infants will be Throne Angels.”
For a long time we watched these precious children at their play. They were completely unselfconscious in their little “birthday suits” and Janet was charmed with their friendly manners. Whenever she smiled at one, the child ran to her, winding plump arms round her neck or sitting on her lap. In their games their courtesy to one another was exquisite. No small one was ever pushed aside, nor a place taken “out of turn”. All was good-humour and gentleness, mingled with
“You see now,” said our guide, answering our thoughts, “that these are not ordinary children.”
“Yes,” we breathed.
One of the most popular of their toys was a great, crystal ladder sweeping up as high as the eye could see in a wide curve, like the outside of a giant ball. Up the rungs, skipping lightly, sped the rosy infants, their faces eager and their eyes gleaming bright. Gay shouts came to our ears, and excited squeals as the top was reached. Then each one poised for a moment, spread his absurd little wings like glossy fans, dived cleanly into the air and began the long descent.
As we watched, one mischievous baby pushed the “diver” before he was ready and he went hurtling down. Janet cried out in consternation, but our guide merely chuckled.
“You watch,” he said. “They love to be surprised like that.”
The plunging one began to slow down, to turn over and over, catching his toes until he formed a circle and spinning like a ball, then stretching out to land neatly on the ground. Instantly he was at the foot of the ladder again, waiting his turn.
Another of their games reminded us of a gymnasium on earth. One angel stood squarely on the ground; then another took a running leap and landed on his shoulders. He was at once followed by another, and so the “tower” grew high until at last it began to sway. One more angel leapt and tried to take his stand, but the shoulders rocked beneath him and the “tower” collapsed For a few moments the air seemed full of flying babies and then they were on the ground, pink and breathless with their play.
“It is all so amazing,” Janet said at last. “We have never thought of angels playing.”
“Not even baby ones?” smiled our guide. “And would it be Heaven without baby angels when the King of Love cared so much for the little ones of earth? And why should they not play,” he continued. “Remember that these infants have perfect, forever-unstained purity. Is that not enough to make them glad? There is one measure of enjoyment in Heaven’s realm, and that is the measure of purity. As men grow more and more purified, so all their capacity for happiness grows. Their senses become keener, their understanding wider and their hearts more charged with wisdom. Above all they draw close to Him.” He paused for a moment of solemn thought. “Is it any wonder that these pure infants laugh and play?”