“The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
“I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
“When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
“Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
“While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
“When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
“When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
“When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
“Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.”—Prov. 8:22-30.
“Where was thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?… When the morning stars sang together, and all the Sons of God shouted for joy?”—Job 38:4,7.
The hosts of heaven—sons and daughters of God—were assembled. The many voices mingling, rose and fell in one great murmur like the rising and falling of waves about to sink to rest. Then all tumult ceased, and a perfect silence reigned.
“Listen,” said one to another by his side, “Father’s will is heard.”
A voice thrilled the multitude. It was clear as a crystal bell, and so distinct that every ear heard, so sweet, and so full of music that every heart within its range beat with delight.
“And now, children of God,” were the words, “ye have arrived at a point in this stage of your development where a change must needs take place. Living, as ye have, all this time in the presence of God, and under the control of the agencies which here exist, ye have grown from children in knowledge to your present condition. God is pleased with you—the most of you, and many of you have shown yourselves to be spirits of power, whom He will make His future rulers. Ye have been taught many of the laws of light and life, whereby the universe is created and controlled. True, ye have not all advanced alike, or along the same lines. Some have delighted more in the harmonies of music, while others have studied the beauties of God’s surrounding works. Each hath found pleasure and profit in something; but there is one line of knowledge that is closed to you all. In your present spiritual state, ye have not come in contact with the grosser materials of existence. Your experiences have been wholly within the compass of spiritual life, and there is a whole world of matter, about which ye know nothing. All things have their opposites. Ye have partly a conception of good and evil, but the many branches into which these two principles sub-divide, cannot be understood by you. Again, ye all have had the hope given you that at some time ye would have the opportunity to become like unto your parents, even to attain to a body of flesh and bones, a tabernacle with which ye may pass on to perfection, and inherit that which God inherits. If, then, ye ever become creators and rulers, ye must first become acquainted with the existence of properties, laws, and organization of matter other than that which surround you in this estate.
“To be over all things, ye must have passed through all things, and have had experience with them. It is now the Father’s pleasure to grant you this. Ye who continue steadfast, shall be added upon, and be permitted to enter the second estate; and if ye abide in that, ye shall be further increased and enlarged and be worthy of the third estate, where glory shall be added upon your heads forever and ever.
“Even now, out in space, rolls another world—with no definite form, and void; but God’s Spirit is there, moving upon it, and organizing the elements. In time, it will be a fit abode for you.”
The voice ceased. Majesty stood looking out upon the silent multitude. Then glad hearts could contain no more, and the children of God gave a great shout of joy. Songs of praise and gladness came from the mighty throng, and its music echoed through the realms of heaven!
Then silence fell once more. The Voice was heard again:
“Now, how, and upon what principles will your salvation, exaltation, and eternal glory be brought about? It has been decided in the councils of eternity, and I will tell you.
“When the earth is prepared, two will be sent to begin the work of begetting bodies for you. It needs be that a law be given these first parents. This law will be broken, thus bringing sin into the new world. Transgression is followed by punishment; and thus ye, when ye are born into the world, will come in contact with misery, pain, suffering, and death. Ye will have a field for the exercise of justice and mercy, love and hatred. Ye will suffer, but your suffering will be the furnace through which ye will be tested. Ye will die, and your bodies will return to the earth again. Surrounded by earthly influences, ye will sin. Then, how can ye return to the Father’s presence, and regain your tabernacles? Hear the plan:
“One must be sent to the earth with power over death. He will be the Son, the only begotten in the flesh. He must be sinless, yet bear the sins of the world. Being slain, He will satisfy the eternal law of justice. He will go before and bring to pass the resurrection from the dead. He will give unto you another law, obeying which, will free you from your personal sins, and set you again on the way of eternal life. Thus will your agency still be yours, that ye may act in all things as ye will.”
A faint murmur ran through the assembly.
Then spoke the Father: “Whom shall I send?”
One arose, like unto the Father—a majestic form, meek, yet noble—the Son; and thus he spoke:
“Father, here am I, send me. Thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.”
Then another arose. Erect and proud he stood. His eyes flashed, his lip curled in scorn. Bold in his bearing, brilliant and influential, Lucifer, the Son of the Morning, spoke:
“Behold I, send me. I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that not one soul shall be lost; and surely I will do it; wherefore, give me thine honor.”
Then spoke one as with authority:
“Lucifer, thy plan would destroy the agency of man—his most priceless gift. It would take away his means of eternal advancement. Your offer cannot be accepted.”
The Father looked out over the vast throng; then clearly the words rang out:
“I will send the first!”
But the haughty spirit yielded not. His countenance became fiercer in its anger, and as he strode from the assembly, many followed after him.
Then went the news abroad throughout heaven of the council and the Father’s proposed plan; of Christ’s offer, and Lucifer’s rebellious actions. The whole celestial realm was agitated, and contention and strife began to wage among the children of God.
Returning from the council chamber of the celestial glance through the paths of the surrounding gardens, came two sons of God. Apparently, the late events had affected them greatly. The assembly had dispersed, and, save now and then a fleeting figure, they were alone. They were engaged in earnest conversation.
“But, Brother Sardus,” said one, “how can you look at it in that light? Lucifer was surely in the wrong. And then, how haughty and overbearing he was.”
“I cannot agree with you, Homan. We have a right to think and to act as we please, and I consider Lucifer in the right. Think of this magnificent offer, to bring back in glory to Father’s presence, every one of His children, and that, too, without condition on their part.”
“There! He, and you with him, talk about your rights to think and act as you please. Have you not that right? Have you not used it freely in refusing to listen to Father’s counsel? Do not I exercise it in that I listen and agree with Him? But let me tell you, brother, what your reasoning will lead to.”
“I know it—but go on.”
“No, you do not; you do not seem to understand.”
“Perhaps you will explain,” said the other haughtily.
“Brother, be not angry. It is because of my love for you that I speak thus. It is evident that we, in that future world of experience and trial, will retain our agencies to choose between the opposites that will be presented to us. Without that privilege, we should cease to be intelligences, and become as inanimate things. How could we be proved without this power? How could we make any progress without it?”
“I grant it all.”
“Then, what would Lucifer do? He would save you from the dangers of the world, whether you would or not. He would take away any need of volition or choice on our part. Do what we would, sink as deep into sin as we could, he would save us notwithstanding, without a trial, without a purging process, with all our sins upon us; and in this condition we are expected to go on to perfection, and become kings and priests unto God our Father, exercising power and dominion over our fellow creatures. Think of it! Evil would reign triumphant. Celestial order would be changed to chaos.”
The other said not a word. He could not answer his brother’s array of arguments.
“Dear brother,” continued Homan, “never before have I received such sorrow as when I saw you follow that rebellious Son of Morning. Henceforth quit his company. I fear for him and his followers.”
“But he has such power over me, Homan. His eloquence seems to hold me, and his arguments certainly convince me. But I must go—and brother, come with me to the assembly which we are to hold. Many will be there from far and near. Will you come?”
“I cannot promise you, Sardus. Perhaps I may call and see what is said and done.”
Then they parted.
Homan went to the gathering of which Sardus had spoken, and as had been intimated, he met many strange faces. Everywhere in the conversation, serious topics seemed to be uppermost. The singing was not as usual. The music, though always sweet, was sadder than ever before, and a discord seemed to have crept into the even flow of life’s sweet strain. Homan had no desire to talk. He wandered from group to group with a smile for all. Sardus was in a heated discussion with some kindred spirits; but Homan did not join them. Under the beautiful spread of the trees and by the fountains, sat and walked companies of sons and daughters of God. Ah, they were fair to look upon, and Homan wondered at the creations of the Father. No two were alike, yet all bore an impress of the Creator, and each had an individual beauty of his own.
Strolling into an arbor of vines, Homan, did not observe the fair daughter seated there until he turned to leave; and then he saw her. She seemed absorbed in thought, and her eyes rested on the shiftings throngs.
“A sweet face, and a strange one,” thought he, as he went up to her and spoke:
“Sister, what are you thinking about?”
She turned and looked at him, and then a pleased smile overspread her face.
“Shall I tell you?”
“Do, I beg of you. May I sit here?” He seated himself opposite.
“Yes, brother, sit. My thoughts had such a strange ending that I will tell you what they were. I have been sitting here looking at these many faces, both new and old, and studying their varied beauties; but none seems to me to answer for my ideal. So I have been taking a little from each face, putting all together to form another. I had just completed the composition, and was looking admiringly at the new form when you came and—and—”
“Drove away your picture. That I should not have done.”
“No; it was not exactly that. It is so odd.” She hesitated and turned away her head. Then she looked up into his face again and said: “My dream face seemed to blend with yours.”
They looked at each other strangely.
“Do you often make dream pictures?” asked he.
“Yes, of late; but I sometimes think I should not.”
“Because of them any great events that are taking place around us daily which need our careful thought and consideration. I have been trying to comprehend this great plan of our Father’s in regards to us. I have asked Mother many questions, and she has explained, but I cannot fully understand—only, it all seems so wonderful, and our Father is so good and great and wise;—but how could He be otherwise, having Himself come up through the school of the eternities?”
Her words were music to Homan’s ear. Her voice was soft and sweet.
“Yet it is very strange. To think that we shall forget all we know, and that our memories will fail to recall this world at all.”
“Yes, it is all strange to us, but it cannot be otherwise. You see, if we knew all about what we really are and what our past has been, mortal experiences would not be the test or the school that Father intends it to be.”
“That is true; but think of being shut out, even in our thoughts, from this world. And then, I hear that down on earth there will be much sin and misery, and a power to tempt and lead astray. O, if we can but resist it, dear brother. What will this power be, do you know?”
“I have only my thoughts about it. I know nothing for a certainty; but fear not, something will prompt us to the right, and we have this hope that Father’s Spirit will not forsake us. And above all, our Elder Brother has been accepted as an offering for all the sins we may do. He will come to us in purity, and with power to loose the bands of death. He will bring to us Father’s law whereby we may overcome the world and its sin.”
“You said the bands of death. What is death?”
“Death is simply the losing of our earthly tabernacles for a time. We shall be separated from them, but the promise is that our Elder Brother will be given power to raise them up again. With them again united, we shall become even as our parents are now, eternal, perfected, celestialized beings.”
As they conversed, both faces shone with a soft, beautiful light. The joy within was traced on their countenances, and for some time it was too deep for words. Homan was drawn to this beautiful sister. All were pleasing to his eye, but he was unusually attracted to one who took such pleasure in talking about matters nearest his heart.
“I must be going,” said she.
“May I go with you?”
They wandered silently among the people, then out through the surrounding gardens, listening to the music. Instinctively, they clung to each other, nor bestowed more than a smile or a word on passing brother or sister.
“What do you think of Lucifer and his plan?” asked she.
“The talented Son of the Morning is in danger of being cast out if he persists in his course. As to his plan, it is this: ‘If I cannot rule, I will ruin.'”
“And if he rule, it will still be ruin, it seems to me.”
“True; and he is gaining power over many.”
“Yes; he has talked with me. He is a bewitching person; but his fascination has something strange about it which I do not like.”
“I am glad of that.”
She looked quickly at him, and then they gazed again into each other’s eyes.
“By what name may I call you?” he asked.
“My name is Delsa.”
“Will you tell me where you live? May I come and talk with you again? It will give me much pleasure.”
“Which pleasure will be mutual,” said she.
They parted at the junction of two paths.
Categories: English Literature