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How To Make Friends With Mammon
by [?]

He dreamed that he was very sick in bed, that the doctor came and went, and that he grew sicker and sicker. He was going to die. He saw his wife sitting weeping by his pillow–his children standing by with pale and frightened faces; all things in his room began to swim, and waver, and fade, and voices that called his name, and sobs and lamentations that rose around him, seemed far off and distant in his ear. “O eternity, eternity! I am going–I am going,” he thought; and in that hour, strange to tell, not one of all his good deeds seemed good enough to lean on–all bore some taint or tinge, to his purified eye, of mortal selfishness, and seemed unholy before the ALL PURE. “I am going,” he thought; “there is no time to stay, no time to alter, to balance accounts; and I know not what I am, but I know, O Jesus, what THOU art. I have trusted in thee, and shall never be confounded;” and with that last breath of prayer earth was past.

A soft and solemn breathing, as of music, awakened him. As an infant child not yet fully awake hears the holy warblings of his mother’s hymn, and smiles half conscious, so the heaven-born became aware of sweet voices and loving faces around him ere yet he fully woke to the new immortal LIFE.

“Ah, he has come at last. How long we have waited for him! Here he is among us. Now forever welcome! welcome!” said the voices.

Who shall speak the joy of that latest birth, the birth from death to life! the sweet, calm, inbreathing consciousness of purity and rest, the certainty that all sin, all weakness and error, are at last gone forever; the deep, immortal rapture of repose–felt to be but begun–never to end!

So the eyes of the heaven-born opened on the new heaven and the new earth, and wondered at the crowd of loving faces that thronged about him. Fair, godlike forms of beauty, such as earth never knew, pressed round him with blessings, thanks, and welcome.

The man spoke not, but he wondered in his heart who they were, and whence it came that they knew him; and as soon as the inquiry formed itself in his soul, it was read at once by his heavenly friends. “I,” said one bright spirit, “was a poor boy whom you found in the streets: you sought me out, you sent me to school, you watched over me, and led me to the house of God; and now here I am.” “And we,” said other voices, “are other neglected children whom you redeemed; we also thank you.” “And I,” said another, “was a lost, helpless girl: sold to sin and shame, nobody thought I could be saved; every body passed me by till you came. You built a home, a refuge for such poor wretches as I, and there I and many like me heard of Jesus; and here we are.” “And I,” said another, “was once a clerk in your store. I came to the city innocent, but I was betrayed by the tempter. I forgot my mother, and my mother’s God. I went to the gaming table and the theatre, and at last I robbed your drawer. You might have justly cast me off; but you bore with me, you watched over me, you saved me. I am here through you this day.” “And I,” said another, “was a poor slave girl–doomed to be sold on the auction block to a life of infamy, and the ruin of soul and body. Had you not been willing to give so largely for my ransom, no one had thought to buy me. You stimulated others to give, and I was redeemed. I lived a Christian mother to bring my children up for Christ–they are all here with me to bless you this day, and their children on earth, and their children’s children are growing up to bless you.” “And I,” said another, “was an unbeliever. In the pride of my intellect, I thought I could demonstrate the absurdity of Christianity. I thought I could answer the argument from miracles and prophecy; but your patient, self-denying life was an argument I never could answer. When I saw you spending all your time and all your money in efforts for your fellow-men, undiscouraged by ingratitude, and careless of praise, then I thought, ‘There is something divine in that man’s life,’ and that thought brought me here.”

The man looked around on the gathering congregation, and he saw that there was no one whom he had drawn heavenward that had not also drawn thither myriads of others. In his lifetime he had been scattering seeds of good around from hour to hour, almost unconsciously; and now he saw every seed springing up into a widening forest of immortal beauty and glory. It seemed to him that there was to be no end of the numbers that flocked to claim him as their long-expected soul friend. His heart was full, and his face became as that of an angel as he looked up to One who seemed nearer than all, and said, “This is thy love for me, unworthy, O Jesus. Of thee, and to thee, and through thee are all things. Amen.”

Amen! as with chorus of many waters and mighty thunderings the sound swept onward, and died far off in chiming echoes among the distant stars, and the man awoke.