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Death and Life of a Soldier: 12

CHAPTER FIVE     THE PLAN BEGUN

“First of all we will take you to the Hall of Reception to meet your angels again,” I explained. “Then they will take you to the Gates so that you can see the exact state of your robe.”

“That is awful, isn’t it?” Reg asked with a pitiful look.

“It is not easy,” I admitted, ” but think! Whether you see your robe or not does not alter the fact of the stains. If you are humble enough to face them you have taken the first step towards the cleansing.”

“Yes, I see that… Then what happens?”

“Well, after you have seen, as it were, a review of all the faults and offences of your whole life the angels have a conference with you. They go carefully into each and decide what can be done to give good for evil. Thus, if there is a man you have wronged, you go to the Hall where he is and there offer him your services or do him some kindness. When you have made what amends you can, you have ‘used the water in the pool’ (to go back to our early illustration). Then the stain is washed from your robe.”

“Suppose the man is not in one of the Halls? Suppose he is still on earth?”

“I thought you would ask that. Well, then the man angel, who is called the ‘earthguide’, goes to earth and imparts an angelic benediction in place of the good you wish to do.”
“Oh! Then what if the man is very advanced and has gone beyond the Halls?”

“You are thinking hard,” Janet put in approvingly.

“Well, I have already talked a little with the angels and with Gordon.”

“In the case you mention,” I replied, “the woman angel, who is called the ‘Heavenguide,’ visits the man in your stead. Usually, the Heavenguide goes with you through the Halls on your Term of Reparation, but, in gratitude to the angels, I have offered to take you myself.’

“I say, that is good of you! Somehow, I have grown so used to you; and then, having that feast in your house and the grand swim afterwards, has made me feel that I belong.”

“So you do,” Janet agreed. “You are our own special charge, and we feel privileged to be able to serve you.”

“Why?”
I could not help admiring his humility and said:

“We have not forgotten that you willingly laid down your life for your friends on the battlefield.”

“Oh, I was not the only one,” Reg protested, and Janet said quickly:

“No; and every one of them will be rewarded. ‘Love covereth a multitude of sins’.”

“That is what the angels said.”

“You are going to be so happy!”

“What, while I am on the Term of Reparation?”
“I felt just as surprised, but you shall see! Remember that a penitent one is a very beautiful sight to Heaven eyes. The text says, ‘There shall be joy in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth.’ Oh, you are going to be happy indeed and your joy will grow and grow!”

Reg relaxed then and mused smilingly on all that was to be. Janet and I respected his silence and we did not speak again until the great sweep of the Hall of Reception was visible beneath our feet. Gradually, the river, which had appeared like a mere thread, lay broad and shining across the valley, and with my extended Heavensight, I could clearly see the angels waiting to welcome us.

“Here we are.” He looked around eagerly and we began to walk across the grass.

“How familiar it seems, yet how far I have travelled since I saw it last,” he exclaimed, adding with a twinkle, “I mean that I have travelled in learning as well as in distance!” Laughing, we came up to he two angels.

“Greetings!” They clasped us each. on the shoulder in turn, and then, while we walked among the flowers up the gentle slope out of the valley, I told them that I had prepared Reg and would leave him in their charge.

“Aren’t you coming too?” he asked a trifle wistfully.

“No, old man. Janet and I are going visiting, but the instant you are ready for me, I shall come to you.”

“I know how you will get the message!” he laughed. “By thought. I have learned about that.”

“Splendid!” I gave his shoulder a friendly squeeze, and Janet hugged him.

“It won’t be long,” she whispered. “Remember you have all eternity to enjoy the happiness that is to come.”
“I know. I am just beginning to realise that.” He set off with his angel guides.