THE FREEDOM OF THE STARS
When we came to ourselves in the Broad Field our angel was sitting beside us with his wings drawn around his head. We sat silent for we knew that he was in meditation. Janet and I had much to occupy our thoughts. We went over all our meetings with our King, repeating to ourselves all He had said. When, therefore, our angel began to speak, he merely continued our thoughts.
‘”A little while”,’ he murmured, quoting from the earth words of the Lord which endure for ever in Heaven’s realm, ‘”and ye shall not see Me and again a little while and ye shall see Me, because I go to the Father… I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice and your joy no man taketh from you.”‘
‘Is it so with angels, too?’ I asked softly.
‘Yes,’ he answered very low. ‘We of the lower orders cannot follow Him everywhere for we are not free of the highest planes as are those of the exalted order of angels. Thus it is that He speaks into our hearts also, saying: “A little while and ye shall not see Me, and again a little while and ye shall see Me because I go to the Father.” It is then, when He goes to the Father, uniting with and merging with the might of Him, that we cannot follow.’
Suddenly I remembered our talk in the Plane Between. I pressed my thought into Janet’s mind and she answered me by asking:
‘Is that what is meant by that wonderful text, “The King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see”!’
‘It is even so.’ There was a reverent pause. Then he added: ‘If we of the lower order of angels cannot reach Him, how can men?’
‘Yet in the exalted order of angels-‘ I broke off, not daring to voice my question, but our teacher understood.
‘We do not know,’ he whispered. ‘Sometimes they go from us but when they return we dare not look into their faces because of the brilliance of light revealed. Veiling our eyes, our lips also are sealed. It is too holy, even for angel-speech.’
Presently Janet ventured: ‘You can follow Him a long way?’
Our guide smiled, then, in that tender, ‘giving’ way of our King:
‘Yes, I enjoy the freedom of the stars. Quite apart from my journeyings in the planes which interpenetrate one another and which may be reached by the Causeway of Consciousness, I can travel as I will among the stars and planets-.’
‘Those very stars and planets we saw from earth?’ I broke in amazedly.
‘You glimpsed but a small minority of them. Far beyond earth and all the lower planes of Heaven, a vast expanse of voids is broken here and there by spheres unknown to men.’
‘Does He visit them?’ Janet asked.
‘Did He not create them? “All things were made by Him and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” Yes, He is ever careful of that which is His.’
‘Who dwells on these unknown spheres?’ I queried. ‘Do tell us all about them.’
Our guide laughed deeply then.
‘All about them!’ he echoed. ‘If 1 were to do that all eternity would not be sufficient. Besides, I too have not learned more than a drop of the vast ocean of knowledge concerning the spheres.’
‘Then tell us a little,’ Janet pleaded.
‘I will do more than this, children. Have you not followed Him through the lower planes? I will take you under my wings. You, too, shall enjoy, for a while, the freedom of the stars.’
We were so amazed and thrilled by this prospect that we could do nothing but gaze wordlessly at our angel-guide. He looked deeply into our eyes and that now familiar drowsiness began to creep upon us. The light seemed to grow dim, the Causeway to drop swiftly out of sight. A strange, whirling sensation filled my mind…
Presently I became aware that I held to the angel’s side, that his left wing overshadowed me. I knew that Janet was on his right side and for a time I rested in a peaceful security.
When at last I opened my eyes it was dark. At least, it seemed so at first. But gradually my vision grew accustomed to it and I could see. Below us an occasional glow lit the void. It was strange to be looking down on them instead of upwards to the stars.
‘Those are some of the spheres we have already passed,’ explained our guide.
‘Then we must have been travelling for a long time?’ Janet asked.
‘Yes,’ was all he said.
Far to our felt another great sphere shone out of the void, and above us we saw a host of them, some seeming to be quite near, others mere points of light an immeasurable distance away. From time to time chariots of angels passed us, some looking like falling stars, others like a streak of brilliant flame. All this time we had no sense of movement but the angel said we were travelling rapidly. He explained that we could not realise it because there was nothing nearby with which to measure our speed, but that when we drew near to one of the spheres we would see how rapidly it appeared to grow larger. Once, a chariot of many angels passed close to us and then it was no more than a lightning flash.
‘We are moving just as swiftly as they,’ our angel said.
‘Can you tell us the names of any of the spheres?’ I asked.
‘If I did you would hear nothing.’
‘Are they named in the Heavenly language then?’
‘They are like our own names, for most of these spheres are inhabited by our higher orders. Men who come to the lower planes of Heaven see only those angels who have contact with men and they think those are all. However, there are higher orders who never contact men at all, even the highest of them.’
‘What do they do?’ Janet asked.
‘It is not necessary to do, but to be. How hard it is for men to realise that! Those great ones exist in the power of the Father, absorbing His light and pouring it upon us-.’
‘Upon men?’ I interrupted.
‘No, upon the angels who are of a lower order. We lesser ones-lesser brethren if you like,’ he broke off, smiling down at us – ‘visit these spheres to bask in the benediction-ray of the great ones-.’
‘Just as we men bask in your benediction-ray,’ said Janet.
‘Yes. We consult the higher orders, too, concerning life on the lower planes, and they give us of their wisdom…’
His voice died away and we felt a thrill pass through his arms. Looking up, we suddenly saw a great light appear in the void, growing rapidly larger. It sent out such piercing rays that they seemed to light up vast pathways in all directions. The luminous shining of a distant sphere grew pale in comparison; a passing chariot of angels were revealed in every line and detail. Brighter grew the light until Janet and I tried to cover our eyes but the angel stopped us.
‘I will veil you.’
Swiftly he drew some portions from the neck of his robe and bound it about our foreheads so that a thin covering dropped over our faces. Instantly the glare of the light was made less and we were able to look about us once more. The great shining had come to rest behind a far-off sphere, bathing it in its radiance. It was a wonderful sight! The sphere glowed like fire while the beams of light cut through vast tracts of surrounding darkness.
‘What is it?’ I whispered at last.
‘Children,’ our angel murmured, ‘you are blessed indeed. The King has gone to visit the Paradise of Saints.’
‘Then it is not an angels’ sphere?’ Janet asked.
‘No, it is used by some of the Holy Ones among men. You little ones may not enter but I will take you near that you may behold a little of its glory.’
Tightening his hold upon us, he winged his way toward the Great Shining.