“WHAT IS MAN?”
“I will teach you of life,” said the Ruby Angel.
We were sitting in a field set high among the hills – Janet and I. Our favourite angel was with us, and so we were deeply content. I drew up my knees and clasped my arms around them, looking out over the seemingly endless range of hills, climbing steadily into the blue sky.
“You mean eternal life, I suppose? ” I said dreamily.
“All life is eternal,” he answered. “Do you not recall this teaching? Earth is not one place-like a box – and Heaven a place like another box. Earth-life and Heaven-life flow into one as water is one. When you watch the foam-tipped waves, whipped by a stiff breeze, you see first one wave and then another rise up in sparkling glory, but you do not say ‘these two waves are entirely separate’. You know that it is but an illusion, that beneath, the water is all one. The apparent separation of earth-life and Heaven-life is an illusion also. Men may live a Heaven-life while still on earth, or an earth-life when they have passed death’s door. Therefore, I teach you of life, both of earth and Heaven.”
“How can we use your teaching of earth-life since we are beyond death’s door? ” Janet’s voice was puzzled. We had travelled so far with our angel-guides and learned so many secrets that the world seemed very far away. The Ruby Angel smiled.
“The link between earth and Heaven is always there, within the heart of man. Absorbed as he is as a rule, with the passing sensations and scenes of the world, he does not see it. That is all. You two have turned, sometimes, to look within your own hearts, saying; ‘What is man? Who am I? Why do I dwell in this exile of earth?’ In these questionings you have found the link, lying like a winding mountain road deep down within. That is how you came to be here. No, neither of you have died. You have yet to return to the shadowed earth…”
“Yet to return!” I broke in. “Oh Angel!” And Janet said wistfully: “We thought all that was over.”
“You were allowed to think so,” our teacher said tenderly, “for you had much to learn in these higher realms, but now you must learn to live it in the world, to learn by living – you see? It is for this that I say to you, ‘I will teach you of life.’ I would give you the armour of wisdom. No man can keep anything for himself. Therefore you must go back to the world to speak of Heaven to the blind, the deaf and the fearful. Remember that ‘He that loseth his life shall save it,’ and so you must lose your Heaven-life to save it for eternity. Remember that no man is saved by knowing. He may be the wisest in the world, but if he does not live his wisdom, piling up one wise action on another as the moments of life pass by, he cannot be saved.”
“What do you mean by ‘saved’?”, Janet asked.
“There are men in the world who are not of the world,” the angel explained. “To them, the scenes and sensations of life are like clouds floating by the mountain-peaks. The ‘mountain’ is eternal life, and, holding fast to this, they are no longer swayed by every breath, by flattery and fame, by riches and pain, by every emotion of pleasure and sorrow. It is from this that they are ‘saved’. They live in Heaven while still on earth, for life is all one-one, continuous stream flowing onward to the sea of All-Knowing, flowing to the Heart of God! Others there are, who are not ‘saved’ (in this sense) though they have passed through death’s door. These are the slaves of emotion, fettered by every sensation of mind and sense. These cling to the earth-life, carrying its blindness through the door of death, so that their life beyond is not very different from their life in the world. No, I would not have you ignorant. It is for this that I would give you the wisdom of Angels, that you may live in the world as ‘saved’ from the world, that you may find Heaven and earth!” Janet and I exchanged a long look, and then she said: We are ready for your teaching, dear Angel.”