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The Ministration Of Our Departed Friends.–A New Year’s Revery
by [?]

It is strongly in confirmation of this idea, that in the transfiguration scene–which seems to have been intended purposely to give the disciples a glimpse of the glorified state of their Master–we find him attended by two spirits of earth, Moses and Elias, “which appeared with him in glory, and spake of his death which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.” It appears that these so long departed ones were still mingling in deep sympathy with the tide of human affairs–not only aware of the present, but also informed as to the future. In coincidence with this idea are all those passages which speak of the redeemed of earth as being closely and indissolubly identified with Christ, members of his body, of his flesh and his bones. It is not to be supposed that those united to Jesus above all others by so vivid a sympathy and community of interests are left out as instruments in that great work of human regeneration which so engrosses him; and when we hear Christians spoken of as kings and priests unto God, as those who shall judge angels, we see it more than intimated that they are to be the partners and actors in that great work of spiritual regeneration of which Jesus is the head.

What then? May we look among the band of ministering spirits for our own departed ones? Whom would God be more likely to send us? Have we in heaven a friend who knew us to the heart’s core? a friend to whom we have unfolded our soul in its most secret recesses? to whom we have confessed our weaknesses and deplored our griefs? If we are to have a ministering spirit, who better adapted? Have we not memories which correspond to such a belief? When our soul has been cast down, has never an invisible voice whispered, “There is lifting up”? Have not gales and breezes of sweet and healing thought been wafted over us, as if an angel had shaken from his wings the odors of paradise? Many a one, we are confident, can remember such things–and whence come they? Why do the children of the pious mother, whose grave has grown green and smooth with years, seem often to walk through perils and dangers fearful and imminent as the crossing Mohammed’s fiery gulf on the edge of a drawn sword, yet walk unhurt? Ah! could we see that attendant form, that face where the angel conceals not the mother, our question would be answered.

It may be possible that a friend is sometimes taken because the Divine One sees that his ministry can act more powerfully from the unseen world than amid the infirmities of mortal intercourse. Here the soul, distracted and hemmed in by human events and by bodily infirmities, often scarce knows itself, and makes no impression on others correspondent to its desires. The mother would fain electrify the heart of her child; she yearns and burns in vain to make her soul effective on its soul, and to inspire it with a spiritual and holy life; but all her own weaknesses, faults, and mortal cares cramp and confine her, till death breaks all fetters; and then, first truly alive, risen, purified, and at rest, she may do calmly, sweetly, and certainly, what, amid the tempests and tossings of life, she labored for painfully and fitfully. So, also, to generous souls, who burn for the good of man, who deplore the shortness of life, and the little that is permitted to any individual agency on earth, does this belief open a heavenly field. Think not, father or brother, long laboring for man, till thy sun stands on the western mountains,–think not that thy day in this world is over. Perhaps, like Jesus, thou hast lived a human life, and gained a human experience, to become, under and like him, a savior of thousands; thou hast been through the preparation, but thy real work of good, thy full power of doing, is yet to begin.