A Son of Perdition: An Occult Romance
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Alice, who had not taken notice of her surroundings when entering the house, looked out wonderingly. The dark wood had a more cheerful appearance, as many of the trees were budding with spring green, fresh and delicate, while the ever-leafy branches of cedars and stone-pines and yews sparkled with the refreshment of a light shower, so that they also hinted at renewed youth. But the greatest marvel of all was that the space of beaten ground immediately surrounding the house was covered with an emerald carpet of turf, and the golden crocus, the pale snowdrop, and many violets were to be seen here, there, and everywhere like gleams of faint many-coloured fire. Out of doors a new life seemed to burgeon and bloom, while within there was a fresh living atmosphere, charged with creative power and fertile with the promise of glorious doings, noble, unselfish, holy. Quite unable to explain this mystic change from death to life, which made Tremore a centre of joy and abiding tranquillity, Alice turned to inquire mutely how the miracle had come about. Apparently Douglas knew, for Douglas smiled; but he waited for the master to enlighten his wife.
"I have cleansed the house," said Eberstein gravely. "All those forces of hate and destruction, which created so evil an atmosphere, have been broken up and dispersed. They had their source in the selfish thoughts of your father, strongly accentuated by Don Pablo's wicked teaching. Now that the Squire is dead and Narvaez has departed for ever, the shadow has lifted. By the performance of a powerful ceremony I have exorcised the dark elementals. And now – " he touched Alice lightly between the eyes, bidding her use the clairvoyant sense he had thus awakened.
The room was filled with a luminous rosy light, alive with scintillation of diamond brilliancy. And her sight, piercing the walls, beheld the whole house bathed in this celestial radiance, although towards the back, where the servants congregated, the clearness was somewhat dimmed by their ignorant thoughts of self. Life was everywhere, pulsating in great waves, welling up gloriously from the heart of the world, so that, within and without, Tremore was alive with the splendour of unhampered force. Alice could now understand how the beaten ground round the house, formerly rendered barren by hate, was now covered with verdure and many-hued with flowers. Love was in the mansion, love was in the garden, love was in the woodland, and that mighty power had caused the desert to blossom like a rose. The light sang, softly, musical with the murmur of innumerable bees, and the girl felt as though she were in the heart of an opalescent sphere which vibrated with harmony. When her eyes looked again on physical things, the doctor was speaking.
"See that you do not disturb the harmony by any thought or word or deed of self. Here you have a centre of holy power, to which those tormented by the warring forces of the world can come to find peace and heavenly refreshment.Such in the days of old were the shrines, whither pilgrims travelled for the healing of their souls. You and your husband are the guardians of this place, and here many weary men and women will come for solace. See that you send them not empty away. A great trust is reposed in you, my children; a great work is given you to do. Thank therefore the Christ who has chosen you for this service of love."
After this solemn admonition, Eberstein became his usual quiet genial self, and passed a very pleasant evening with the young couple. After dinner he discoursed to them at length, giving many wise counsels, and instructing them how to deal with the future. When they retired to rest he told them to rise at sunrise and meet him in the garden, since it was his intention to leave Tremore before breakfast. Knowing that he had much work to do, Douglas and Alice never thought of pressing him to stay, although they greatly regretted that he could not give them more of his company. They said little to one another, for all that had taken place awed them considerably. But when the east was radiant with the promise of another day, and awaking birds twittered amongst the darkling trees, they came out on to the dewy lawn, to find their guest ready to depart. He was dressed for travelling, his portmanteau was already on a motor, which panted far away at the gate of the avenue, and in the silence of the dawn he came forward to bid them farewell.
Taking each by the hand, Eberstein led them to a small hill towards the back of the house, where the sun could be seen rising over the undulating line of the moorlands. An arc of fire was just showing above the horizon, and a splendour of light was changing the rosy hues of the eastern sky into a golden haze. Silently prayerful, the three stood looking at this aerial magnificence. It was the doctor who spoke first.
"See there the promise of your future," he said quietly. "The darkness of the night has fled away before the glory of the celestial orb. So have the black clouds amidst which you walked of late been dispersed by the Sun of Righteousness, which has risen with healing on His wings. You know what work you are appointed to do?"
"Yes," said Montrose gravely. "Six months in the year Alice and I must live in London, seeking out the lame, the halt, and the blind; both the spiritually sick and the physically crippled. We must give to them money, attention, sympathy, love and instruction, looking on every man as a brother and on every woman as a sister, irrespective of race or creed."
"Just so," said Eberstein, nodding, "because all are one, and you are in others as others are in you, all being in the Father, through the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. And then?" he turned to Alice.
"For six months in the year Douglas and I must live here," she said, equally gravely, "and here we must bring those who need rest and help. We must not pauperise them by indiscriminate charity, but must teach each to become a centre of power, to develop his or her latent faculties. Finally, we must never think of self, but let the Power of Good flow through us unhindered by selfish desire."
"Just so," said Eberstein again, and smiled approvingly. "Remember that to be channels of the Divine power you must surrender all. A single thought of self and the channel is choked. Freely the power is given to you, so freely must you give it to others, and in passing through you on its beneficent mission it will cleanse you both body and soul, strengthening each so that you may be strong, wholesome servants of The Christ. You have learned your lesson well, my children, so it only remains for me to go."
"We shall see you again, I hope?" asked Douglas anxiously.
"Oh, yes," responded the doctor cheerfully. "Every year I shall come and stay with you, for there is much instruction in higher things to be given. By following the Master and living as nearly as possible His gracious life, you will refine your physical bodies to such a degree that in time you will be able to link up with the desire body and the mental body – consciously, that is. Already every night you both work and help in the next world, although you cannot yet remember what you do. But when the time is ripe you will remember, and consciously pass from this world to the other. Afterwards you will pass consciously from the desire world to the mental sphere, and so you will work constantly on three planes as the servants of Him who died on the Cross. Think then, my children, how glorious is your future."
The faces of both brightened, but Douglas spoke rather mournfully. "There is much to do in the physical world alone," he protested. "Look at the unrest that prevails everywhere."
"Be of good courage, my son. This unrest you fear shows how rapidly humanity is progressing. This is the era of individualisation, when each has to think for himself. Is it then any wonder that opposing wills clash, when all are so ignorant? But Chaos must precede Cosmos, and the human race is in a very hot furnace being shaped towards the ends intended by the God of All. The inner teaching is being given out freely to the West and to the East, to the North and to the South, therefore is a new spirit being infused into all religions for the enlightenment of mankind."
"Into all religions?" questioned Alice dubiously.
"Yes! All the great religions are true in their essence, for all worship the One True God in Trinity, or in Duality, or in Unity. What men quarrel over and what they reprobate are only those external things which have been added by the ignorance of man. But the time is at hand when such errors will be dispelled, and then all religions will be unified by the Blessed One. To this nation and that God has spoken in different ways: soon He will speak to all with one mighty voice, and all men will learn that they are the sons of one great Father. Notwithstanding the turmoil of the present, be of good cheer, I say, for 'All things work together for good,' as St. Paul has set forth."
In the glory of the sun, now wholly above the horizon, Alice and her husband walked down the avenue to where the motor-car throbbed as if impatient to start. There was a clean, fresh look about the world, as if it had been newly made, and although husband and wife were a trifle sad at the departure of Eberstein, yet their hearts were singing with joy, and they were filled with gratitude to God for what He had done for them.
"Farewell, and may the Master bless you," said Eberstein, from the body of the car. "When I come again let me find that you have worked in the vineyard as true labourers. And so – " he traced the sign of the cross in the air, and Alice saw it visibly outlined in dazzling light as the motor sped swiftly down the hill, through Polwellin and towards Perchton over the purple moors.
"Dear!" Douglas took his wife in his arms, "do not cry."
"These are joyful tears, I think," said Alice, smiling. "God is so good."
"Let us try to show ourselves worthy of His goodness," replied the young man, with an answering smile. "Come, dear, our work awaits us."
And in the glory of the spring morning, under the budding green of the trees, and across the soft grass of the lawn, they passed into their dear home, no longer the house of hate, but the Mansion Beautiful, wherein great works were to be done by them in their day and generation.
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