The Bishop was lying upon his bed, and had sent for me to give me a last exhortation and blessing, before I went to the old magician. As I entered the room he smiled faintly, and after having indicated that he wanted me to sit by his bed side he began to talk slowly and quietly,—
"You see, my son, that the years of this body are beginning to tell. The spirit that animates it, is becoming too powerful for it, and the time of separation draws near...Not many days hence I shall enter the eternal place that awaits me. There is much work to be done. Hitherto I have worked through my fleshly casket—this body which I have ever regarded as a temporary abiding place for my spirit. Hence-forward I work unfettered by flesh limitation. I go to join the immortals whose service is more powerful because of their freedom. The mysteries of today will be the knowledge of tomorrow.—You remain. Know, therefore, and be sustained by the knowledge, that we who have passed beyond, are coworkers with you in the endless scheme of things. Remember that very often apparent failure may really be success. Although you, as a priest-initiate, will be able to see success where ordinary men see only disaster, there will come to you experiences which will test your knowledge and faith well nigh to breaking point. Let not Sense perception grow so strong as to dominate your power of spiritual apprehension. Human existence is a period of temporary limitation—a time of discipline, intended to enhance the value of that perfect self expression which we shall achieve when we return to the Great Source of All.
Our life may be likened to the wandering of a pilgrim, in a palace of wonders. He passes on from corridor to chamber through opening doors which represent the removal of difficulties. His entry into each chamber leads him to behold new wonders, and as he passes on, new mysteries are revealed. The palace of wonder is the mystery of life, and its chambers are stages in its revelation. Many people have forgotten that life is a mystery, and therefore, they try to find contentment without revelation which means that they cannot be vehicles of expression for the Divine.
As I lie here, I visualize the palace of wonders which is part of the halls of life—How many doors there are? I am approaching the door of Death, which opens into the chamber of Immortality. I have passed thro' the doorways of Decision, into the chambers of Resignation and self mastery, and I see that there are many doors leading from the chamber of Immortality into many more glorious rooms of wonder beyond. There is a longer pilgrimage in front of me—a continuous revelation—an endless progression in knowledge. I cannot see the end —and am content. These eyes will soon close, and I shall behold you no more as I see you now, but their closing will enable me to see beyond •the sealed doors. And you, when your work is done, will follow me. Till then, my spirit will be at your service, as you will it to be so...To you will be vouchsafed a joy which has been denied me—a joy of knowledge I have not yet attained. You enter as a youth into my advanced labors. Draw near that I may bless you."
I knelt by his bed side. He placed his right hand upon my head, it rested heavily as if all muscular power had gone. Then he uttered words I could not understand—I supposed they were Coptic. Then in Arabic he said—"May eternal light flood your being bringing radiance to all whose lives are clouded. May the Source of Light-—Glorious and Ineffable—The shining of Love Supernal—draw you ever into intimate union with himself; and through your labor, exalt others to His perfect bliss."
A curious and in expressible thrill affected me, as if power were passing from him to me, through his hand now no longer inert and heavy. It seemed to tone up all my nerves, and to tingle every corpuscle of blood in my body. Then again the hand became inert and seem to slide from my head.
Rising from my knees, I looked at him, his eyes were closed, the worn and haggard look had gone, giving place to an expression of serenity. His face resembled old ivory, wondrously beautiful. The hand that had rested upon my head was hanging loosely by the bed side. I lifted it tenderly, and reverently,—for I felt I was in the presence of Holiness—and placed it in a more comfortable position. A faint smile came to his face, his lips moved, and, bending that l might hear, I heard the words "Salaam, lakum" (peace be unto you)." Then I left him—a picture of ineffable calm which will never fade from my memory.
From "Halls of Life"