In the King’s Service: Chapter 10
Before our dazzled eyes there appeared an oval of golden light. It seemed to rotate with rapidity, sending out spears of shining rays, and then, as I looked intently, the focus of my vision changed and I saw an angel standing in the midst. He was tall, and of great beauty, his eyes flashing dark in his creamy skin. His brow had a narrow band across it, holding in the flaxen hair that fell to his shoulders.
The points of his wings rose up many feet above him, and the feathered edges extended far on either side so that their rainbow fabric appeared to enfold him in a dazzling mist. His eyes, luminous in their strength of tenderness, sent a sweeping glance over us all, while his lips curved in a smile. How eagerly I gazed upon hi! I thought he must he one of the highest order, but when I reached out for the information I knew he was only of the third. In his hands he held a scroll. Beside him, a man stood, also holding a scroll. He, too, was tall. His robe was gold, heavily embroidered and laced with silver and on his head there blazed five golden stars.
Amid the reverent hush I could clearly hear the crackling of the angel’s scroll as he unrolled it. He glanced up for a moment and then dropping his eyes to the parchment, began to read: ‘Brethren, we give thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light; who hath delivered us from the powers of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His Love.’ Here he raised his eyes and swept us once more with a burning glance. I knew then that he was speaking on behalf of men and not of angels. . .
‘Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature, for in Him were all things created in Heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers. All things were created by Him and in Him. And He is before all, and by Him all things consist. That mall things He may hold the primacy; because in Him it hath well pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell; and through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself.’
Once more he paused, this time to beckon a number of angels from the front rank on the right of us. They came and stood beside him and his ringing voice continued:
‘It is the will of the King of Heaven that these angels of the, first order shall be raised to the second order, and shall henceforward serve as messengers between the lower planes and the higher!‘ Again he beckoned, but this time I could see nothing but a great light blazing on his left, and he cried out: ‘These two angels of the sixth order are to be raised to the seventh order, henceforward to serve as attendants before the eternal Throne!’
The angel stepped back and the man came forward, unrolling his scroll. As soon as he began to speak I was reminded of the training in the Hall of Orators, for his voice went ringing over the heads of the multitude, each word and syllable being clear and perfectly formed. From the outermost fringes at one side even to the other, his voice rang pure and strong, and yet each tone was a miracle of music!
Praise ye the Lord! Praise ye the Name of the Lord!’, he cried.
‘Praise Him, 0 ye servants of the Lord. Ye that stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God, Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing praises unto His Name, for it is pleasant!’
Then all the angels took up the strain, chanting their praises to the Creator of all.
‘For He hath made us from the lowest to the highest,’ they sang. ‘The birds that fly in the air, the creatures that move upon the face of the earth, the fish that dwell on the ocean bed, all are His handiwork; He made them all … Therefore do we sing and praise His holy Name, and bow down in worship in the sight of His Throne on high!’
There was a pause, and then one angel stood up in the midst. He lifted up his voice and began to sing in a tone so beautiful, so haunting in its sweetness that I cannot describe it. I only know that his tender, yearning tones roamed over the vast Hall like the splendour of a strong north wind over the face of the sea. His voice throbbed on its lingering high notes, and sank into a reverent caress on the strong, low ones, and all the while his music seemed to invade the heart and set it beating high. Never has a voice thrilled me as did this one. I melted out of my consciousness of self, into an instrument upon whose strings the melody throbbed its sweetness and love. Those around me were quite forgotten. I lived but to be an instrument of honour, of glory in the ears of my God. Afterwards I learned that Janet had experienced it too; yes, and Reg, Greig and Rose still spoke of it reverently, long after the voice was still.
Kneeling there, gazing out over the rim, I lived each word of the angel’s song from the very depths of my being.
‘He is our God, an invisible God,’ he chanted, ‘The measure of our vision is the measure of our love. Therefore will we open our eyes with love and take away the veils which stand betwixt us! We will pay homage to our God and light shall break forth in the midst of our hearts … the light of perfect charity. Oh come, Oh come..’ He invited, his voice rising to an impassioned plea, ‘Come and look upon your God with the measure of your love! His Throne is set on high, the Throne eternal, and angels ever worship at this Throne. It is set around with light, the light of His glory … Oh come and see Him with the measure of your love ! He is our God, our God invisible, and yet our love can see Him, if we will.’
The glorious voice went on, chanting, pleading, praising, teaching and now I gazed high over the rim, through the colourful mist of the angels’ wings. In an ecstasy I saw the golden light blaze high, and in the midst a vast scale of spiral steps appear, up which a throng of angels climbed. And at the top of the steps a great, gold Throne, blazing with jewels, and in the midst of the Throne was . . . Love
Ah, how else can I describe the drawing of That which was in the midst of the Throne? Only can I say that my whole being melted in its burning rays and flew to join the angels in their endless praise. Love … Love … Love poured out and encompassed me; and with the Love a wisdom, a knowing of bliss that penetrated wholly into my heart and lives there still. Then suddenly I ‘found myself’ kneeling, for the exquisite song had ceased.
Again the man with the five stars lifted his scroll.