HEAVEN. The final abode of the blessed.

n. A place where the wicked cease from troubling you with talk of their personal affairs, and the good listen with attention while you expound your own.

The Gates of Heaven; Or, the Law of Salvation in All Worlds

HEAVEN, in the crude fancy of mankind, has generally been conceived as a definite, exclusive, material abode; either some elysian clime on the surface of the earth; or some happy isle beyond the setting sun; or this whole globe, renovated by fire and peopled with a risen and ransomed race; or else some halcyon spot in the sky, curtained with inaccessible splendor and crowded with eternal blessings. It was natural that men should think thus of heaven as a place whence all the evils which they knew were excluded and where all the goods which they knew were carried to the highest pitch, God himself visibly enthroned there in entrancing glory amidst throngs of worshippers.

This was unavoidable, because, in an early age, before knowledge and reflection had trained men to the critical examination and correction of their instinctive conclusions, all the data which they possessed would naturally lead them to imagine the unknown God in the glorified form and circumstances of the most enviable being their experience had yet revealed to them; and to paint the unknown future state of perfected souls under the purest aspects of the most desirable boons they had known in the present state. It being a necessity of their uncritical minds to personify God by a definite picture of imagination, and to portray heaven to themselves as an external place, they could not do otherwise than work out the results by means of the most intense experiences and the most impressive imagery familiar to them. The highest idea they had of man, purified and expanded to the utmost, would be their idea of God; and the grandest and happiest conditions of existence within their observation, enhanced by the removal of every limiting ill, would form their notion of heaven. Both would be outward, definite, local, and, as it were, tangible. Royal courts with their pomp of power and luxury; priestly temples, with their exclusive sanctity, their awe inspiring secrets, their processions and anthems, would inevitably furnish the prevailing casts and colors to the dogmas and the scenery of early religion. For what were the most vivid of all the experiences men had among their fellows on earth? Why, the exhibitions of the sultan with his gorgeous ceremonial state, and of the high priest with the dread sacrifice and homage he paid amidst clouds of incense and rolling waves of song; the admission of the favored, in glittering robes, to share the privileges; the exclusion of the profane and vulgar in squalid misery and outer darkness. Consequently, except by a miracle, these sights could not fail largely to constitute the scenic elements for the popular belief concerning God and heaven. What should men reflect over into the unknown to portray their ideals there, if not the most coveted ingredients and the most impressive forms of the known? The great thing, then, inevitably, would be supposed to be to gain the personal favor of the supreme Sovereign by some artifice, some flattery, some fortunate compliance with his arbitrary caprice, and to get into the charmed enclosure of his abode by some special grace some authoritative passport or magic art.

But as soon as science and philosophy, and a spiritual experience rectifying its own errors by reflective criticism, have created a more competent theology it discredits all these raw schemes. It teaches that God, being the eternal omnipresent power and mystery which foreran, underlies, pervades and includes all things, cannot justly be figured as a man, locally here or there, and not elsewhere. He can be justly thought of only as the almighty Creator of the universe, intelligible in the order of his works and ways, but inscrutable in his essence, absent nowhere, present everywhere in general, and specially revealed anywhere whenever a fit experience in the soul awakens a special consciousness of him. This conception of God the only one any longer defensible as the Infinite Spirit, incapable, except in his various incarnations, of particular local enthronement and uncovering to the outward gaze of worshippers, necessitates a correspondent alteration in the vulgar idea of heaven as an exclusive spot in space.

In every form of being, in any portion of the universe, the central idea of a state of salvation, is the fulfillment of the will of the Creator in the faculties of the creature, the fruition of the ends of the whole in the consciousness of the part, the congruity of the forces of the soul with the requirements of its situation. If this definition be accepted, it is clear that no mere place of residence, however excellent, can be heaven. That is but one factor of heaven, and worthless without a corresponding factor of a spiritual kind. Essentially, heaven is a divine experience, not a divine location; yet constructively it is both of these. Ever so serene and pure a space, perfectly free from every perturbation of ill, and surrounded with all the outer provisions of power and order, would be no heaven, until a prepared soul entered it, furnishing the spiritual conditions for the forces to run into fruition, for the melody of blissful being to play. The material elements of the universe, so far as we know, are unconscious dynamics. However perfectly marshalled, they can by themselves compose no heaven. So the conscious soul, as far as we know, is incapable of an independent and unrelated existence in itself. All its experience, when ultimately analyzed, is the resultant of the mutual relations between its own energies and capacities and the forms and forces of things outside of itself. When there is a right arrangement of right realities in the residence, and a right development of faculties and affections within the resident, and such an adjustment of the spiritual states with the surrounding conditions, that, as these act and react upon each other, the laws of the universe break into conscious harmony, or the will of God is realized in a life of blessedness; that harmony, that blessedness, is what we mean by heaven; and the conditions of its realization constitute the law of salvation.

Such being the true idea of heaven, obviously, it cannot be limited to any particular locality. It may be here, elsewhere, anywhere, everywhere, before death, in death, after death; whenever and wherever the proper conditions meet inward state and outward circumstances so adjusted as to produce an experience which fulfills the will of God and realizes the end of the creation. Hereafter this may be, as we know it now on earth, a spiritual fruition in material conditions, or it may be something altered in accordance with the varying exigences of worlds whose details are as yet inconceivable by us, altogether hidden behind the veil of futurity and our ignorance. But its one fundamental condition, its eternal essence under all circumstances which can possibly happen, must always be the same. Whatever changes await the soul, embodied in a new form in the state after death, or remaining in pure disembodiment; whatever be the relation of the immaterial entity of mind to the circumference and contents of its new home, it can be in paradise, it can command peace and bliss, or any equivalent of these terms, only by the fulfillment of the will of God in its being. Heaven is, therefore, the reconciliation and unison of the soul with its divinely appointed lot, the identification of the ideal and the real.

The will of God is expressed in the soul in the submissive services and virtues of a pure and pious character it is expressed in the outward creation by the unbreakable persistency of his laws through all the aberrations and discords of accompaning evil or limitation. Nowhere can it ever be an impossibility to conjoin these and thus to make a heaven. The one thing which everywhere is variable and evanescent, is evil, or the imperfect adjustment of the creature with the works and designs of the Creator. The one thing which forever stays, and steadily invites the intelligent soul to its embrace, is good, that is, the opportunity to realize the divinely intended correspondence of the relations in the part with the relations in the whole, a serene movement of life through the unison of the soul with its true fate. Now, the one predicate which is essential in all things, without whose presence nothing can be, is the will of God. Even could that will be violated or withstood, still it would be there, upholding, forgiving, wooing Salvation, or a life of conscious harmony, is capable of realization, of course, wherever the means are offered for the performance and enjoyment of the will of God; and the infinity of his attributes necessarily makes that condition an omnipresent possibility in the realm of free spirits. Therefore, heaven is not outwardly limited to one place, or to one period, but may be achieved at any time, and anywhere. This throws light on the fallacy of the current, narrow doctrine of a limited probation. The oriental belief that the action of the present is the fate of the future unquestionably covers a profound truth. Yet, if there is always a future there must likewise always be a present, and the right action in this may forever redeem that. Probation is limited by no decree, only by the duration of free being.

Although the essential element in the idea of heaven is forever the same, it may be regarded in three different aspects, or on three different scales as an individual experience, as a social state, as a far off universal event. Heaven, as a private experience, is the harmonized intercourse of the soul with the divineness in its surrounding conditions. Heaven, as a public society, is the blessed communion of blessed souls, a complete adjustment of the lives of kindred natures. Heaven, as a final consummation, is the publication of the vindicated will of God in the total harmony of the universe, all individual wills so many separate notes blent in the collective consonance of the whole.

But, for all practical purposes, we may overlook this triple distinction and think of heaven simply as the correspondence of the life of the soul with those outward conditions which represent the will of God. And towards this conclusion everything, in its profoundest and most persistent tendency, is bearing. In spite of interruptions and seeming exceptions, it is towards this that the entire confluence of forces and beings gravitates and slowly advances. The universal law of evolution, in which a scientific philosophy has generalized its most comprehensive induction, is but a history and prophecy of the progress towards a moving equilibrium of the totality of worlds and intelligences, which can eventuate only in a universal heaven, or unimpeded completion of the creative design.

Do we not see all creatures tending towards the perfection of their respective types, every improvement selectively taken up and carried on, every deteriorating deviation eliminated, all errors and failures doomed to perish or change into new conditions for more hopeful attempts? This confirms the faith first based on the deeper argument. For, since the will of God is the one persistent reality, the one all evolving and all inclusive power of which evil is only the distorted and shadowy negation, that opposition to the will of God which constitutes sin and misery, that discord with him which generates hell, must prove an ever smaller accompaniment of his plan, a transitory phenomenon ceasing in even degree with the spreading conquests of his almighty purpose, as race on race of creatures, and system on system of worlds, sweep into the victorious harmony, until the boundless realm of being shall be boundless heaven.

Heaven, then, in essence, is not merely a favored locality, not merely a resigned soul, but the result of a combination of these in a just relation. It is not a playing power in the material environment nor an inherent attribute of the spiritual instrument; but it is the music which flows from the instrument when it is attuned to react in coordination with the acting environment. Salvation, consequently, is not simply a divine place of abode, not simply a divine state of soul; but it is these two conjoined. It is the experimental deposit between the two poles of rightly ordered conditions in the realm and rightly directed energies in the inhabitant. Heaven, then, in the best and briefest definition we can give, is the will of God in fulfillment, or the law of the whole in uncrossed action.

Hell is the experience produced by the rebound of violated law. Or, if we hold that, strictly speaking, a divine law is incapable of violation; as every seeming resistance to gravitation is in fact a deeper obedience to gravitation, then we may say, in more accurate phrase, hell is the collision and friction of the limitations of different laws. It is the discord of the part with the whole. It is the antagonism of the soul with God. But the perpetual preservation of a perfectly balanced antagonism with God is inconceivable. It must vary, totter, grow either worse or better. If it grows worse, it will finally destroy itself, the aberrant individuality or malign insurgence vanishing in the totality of force, as the filth of our sewers vanishes purely in the purity of the ocean. If it grows better, its improvement will finally transform the opposition into reconciliation, the evil disappearing in good. Therefore, every being must at length be saved from misery, if not by redemptive atonement then by absolvent annihilation, and one absolute heaven finally absorb the dwindling hells.

The question of chief importance to us in relation to heaven is, How can we gain admission into it. The limitations of language necessitate the use of imagery for the expression of religious ideas: and there is no objection to it if it be recognized as imagery, and be interpreted accordingly. Considering, then, that beatific experience of which heaven consists, under the metaphor of a city, what are its ways of entrance? How can we pass to its citizenship?

The obstacles to our entrance exist not in the city itself. Its gates are never closed. The supreme conditions of redemption are spiritual, and not local or material. If there be within no fatal impediments to the free course of the will of God, all outer obstacles easily give way and cease. If we are ever to know heaven, it is within ourselves that we must find it out. Whatever abolishes that internal rebellion of the soul which makes its experience a purgatory, whatever replaces this confusion with an accord of the faculties, is a road to heaven. Whatever removes vices and inserts virtues in their stead, attuning us to the eternal laws of things, leads us through some gate into paradise. And nothing else can no ceremonial artifice, no external transference, no sacramental exorcism, no priestly dodge.

The same mistake generally committed in regard to the nature of heaven, making it a mere local residence, has been as generally committed in regard to the conditions of admission. They have been made arbitrary, whereas they are intrinsic. They are inwrought with the substantial laws of being. The idea of God being first fashioned after the image of a sultan throned in his palace amidst his courtiers, ruling an empire by his whims, it was but natural that heaven, and the terms of entrance there, should be in a similar manner conceived under the forms of court ceremonial with its capricious favoritisms. Thus it has been supposed that by the atoning sacrifice of an incarnate person of the Godhead satisfaction has been made for the sins of the world, which was hopelessly ruined by its original federal representative, and that thus a pardon was offered to those alone who mentally accept the formula of the correspondent belief.

According to this view, the only open gateway of heaven is faith in the vicarious atonement, a baptismal passage through the blood of Christ. Science explodes this narrow and repulsive doctrine by demonstrating its irreconcilableness alike with physical fact and with moral law, first tracing the affiliated lines of our race back to many separate Adams in the shadows of an indeterminable antiquity, and then showing that the divine method of salvation is through substantial rejection of evil and appropriation of good in personal character, and not through royal proclamation and forensic conformity.

The plan of God for the salvation of men, as its culmination is seen in Christ, is the exhibition of the true type of being, the true style of motive and action, for their assimilation and reproduction: but Calvinism, when fundamentally analyzed, reduces it to a monarchical manifesto and spectacular drama working its effects through verbal terms, acts of mental assent and gesticular deeds. Every sound teaching of philosophy refutes this exclusive and arbitrary creed. In fact, its fictitious and mythological nature is obvious the moment we see that the will of God is represented in those laws of nature which are the direct articulations and embodiments of his eternal mind, and not in those political regulations or priestly and judicial formalities which express the perverted desires and artificial devices of men. The wearing of a certain dress, the bending of the knee, the muttering of a phrase, may flatter an earthly sovereign and gain a seat at his banquets. But it is childish folly to fancy any such thing of God. It is absurd to suppose that he has two schemes of government, one for the present state, another for the future; one for the elect, another for the reprobate; one for those who gaze on the spectacle of the crucifixion and make a certain sign, another for those who do not. His laws, identified with the unchangeable nature and course of the creation, sweep in one unbroken order throughout immensity and eternity, awarding perfect justice, and perfect mercy to all alike, making the experience of all souls a hell or a heaven to them accordingly as they strive against or harmonize with the divine system of existence in which they have their being. The mere acceptance of a technical dogma, the mere performance of a ritual action, cannot adjust a discordant character with the conditions of blessedness so as to reinstate an exile of heaven. To imagine that God will, in consideration of some technical device, place in heaven a man whose character fits him for hell, or, in default of that conventionality, place in hell a man whose character fits him for heaven, is to represent him as acting on an eccentric whim. And surely every one who has a worthy idea of God must find it much easier to believe that men have mixed mythological dreams with their religion, than to believe that the infinite God is capable of despotic freaks or melo dramatic caprices.

The poor, odious figment that baptism with the blood of Christ is the sole entrance to heaven, is rebuked by the sweet and awful imperturbableness with which the laws of being act, distributing the ingredients of hell or heaven to every one accordingly as his vices disobey or his virtues obey the will of God.

In a universe of law where God with all his attributes is omnipresent no trick can ever be the pathway into paradise. The true method of salvation is by the production of a good character through divine grace and the discipline of life. Thus, the real law of salvation through Christ consists not in the technical belief that he shed his blood for our redemption, but in the personal derival from him of that spirit which will make us willing to shed our own blood for the good of others.

There was, not long ago, called to her eternal home, a young woman, who, by the sweet gentleness, the heroic generosity and the unspotted fidelity of her whole life, deserves an exalted place on the roll of feminine chivalry and saintliness. Not a brighter name, or one associated with a more fearless and accomplished spirit, is recorded on the list of those Christian women who volunteered to serve as nurses in the great American war of nationality. No soldier was braver, few were more under fire, than she; still plying her holy work with unfaltering love and fortitude, both in the horrid miasma of camps and before the charge of cavalry and the blaze of cannon. Many a time, the livelong night, under the solemn stars, equipped with assuaging stores, she threaded her way alone through the debris of carnage, seeking out the wounded among the dead, lifting her voice in song as a signal for any lingering survivor who might be near. Many a time she broke on the vision of mutilated and dying men, with the light of love in her eyes, a hymn of cheer on her lips, and unwearied ministrations in her hands, transfigured with courage and devotion, gleaming on their sight through the sulphurous flame of battle or the darkening mists of disease like an angel from heaven. Receiving the seeds of fatal illness from her exposures, she returned home to delight with her noble qualities all who knew her, to make a husband happy, and then to die a contented martyr. Meekly folding her hands, and saying: "Thanks, Father, for what thou hast enabled me to do, and still more for the new home to which thou art calling me now" she was gone. The cruel creed of superstition says: "Since she was a Universalist, having no part, by faith, in the mystic sacrifice of Christ, she is doomed to hell." But every attribute of God, every promise written by his own finger in the sacred instincts of our nature, as well as the cardinal teachings of the New Testament, assure us that as the victorious purity and devotedness of her soul bore her away from the tabernacle of flesh, the welcoming Savior said: "Come, thou blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world." And heaven swung wide its gate for her; and excited fancy conceives that, as she passed in, there was a gratulatory flutter of wings and waving of palms through the angelic ranks.

In distinction from that hypothetical gate of blood, set up by a crude theology in one narrow place alone, what, then, are the real gates of heaven, which stand open throughout the realms of responsible being? All the causes which bring the will of man into consent with the will of God. Truth is the harmony of mind with the divine order; beauty, the harmony of taste with the divine symmetries; good, the harmony of volition with the divine ends. Everything that secures these for us is an avenue into the peaceful city of bliss. To be in heaven is to be a transparent medium through which the qualities of objects, the reflections of phenomena, the vibrations of aboriginal power, pass in blessed freedom, without deflection or jar, and on which the mysterious attraction of the Infinite exerts its supreme spell. To be there in a superlative degree is to have a mind which is an infinitesimal mirror of the All, and a heart responsive to that mind, every perception of truth in the realm of the intellect generating a correspondent emotion of good in the realm of affection. Not any forensic act of faith in atoning blood, but ingrained piety a modest renunciation before the reality of things is the grand gateway of souls to the blessedness and repose of God. Anselm, the great sainted Archbishop of Canterbury, said: "I would rather be in hell without a fault than in heaven with one." Can any defective technicality damn such a man? No; such a spirit carries and radiates heaven is itself heaven. That spirit is God himself in his creature, and can no more be imprisoned in hell than God can be. On the other hand, any professing Orthodoxist who, according to a horrible doctrine of the Calvinists in former days, should hope in heaven to obtain a sharper relish for his own joy by looking down on the tortures of the damned, and contrasting his blissful safety with the hopeless agony of their perdition, would find himself in hell. The infernal scenery, even there, would burst on his gaze, its atmosphere of pain reek around him, and the detestable turmoil of its experience rage in his breast. The selfishness of his character, in steep contradiction to the public disinterestedness belonging to the divine will, must invert every proper experience of heaven. Could any conventional arrangement, or accident of locality, save such a man, while his character remained unchanged? No; such a spirit carries and radiates hell, is itself hell.

A Mohammedan author says of the seventy three sects into which his coreligionists are divided, that seventy two are wrong ways, terminating in eternal damnation; the remaining one alone, in which are the party of salvation, leads through the true faith into the City of Allah. The same unwise bigotry, the same unripeness of judgment, has been generally shown by Christians. It is time they were ashamed of it, and allowed their souls to mature and expand into a more liberal creed in fuller keeping with the hospitable amplitude of the righteousness and goodness of God. Everything that tends to bring the will of man into loving submission to the infinite Father, to mould the structure of character into correspondence with those established conditions of rightful being represented by the moral and religious virtues, is an open highway of salvation. And all the great cardinal ordinations of life do legitimately tend to this result. Therefore all these are gates of heaven. Some pass in through one of them, others through another; and by means of them all, it is decreed in the sovereign councils of the Divinity, as we believe, that, sooner or later, every intelligence shall reach the goal.

First is the gate of innocence. Little children, spotless youths and maidens who have known no malice or guile, the saintly few among mature men and women who by the untempted elevation and serenity of their temper have kept their integrity unmarred and their robes unsullied, enter by this nearest and easiest gate. Borne aloft by their own native gravitation, we see the white procession of the innocent ones winding far up the cerulean height and defiling in long melodious line into heaven.

The second gate is prosperity. Through this enter those to whom good fortune has served as the guiding smile of God, not pampering them with arrogance, nor hardening them with careless egotism, but shaping them to thankful meekness and generosity. Exempt from lacerating trials, every want benignly supplied, girt with friends, they have grown up in goodness and gratitude, obeying the will of God by the natural discharge of their duties, diffusing benedictions and benefits around them. To such beautiful spirits, saved from wrong and woe by the redemptive shelter of their lot, happiness is a better purgatory than wretchedness. The crystal stream of joy percolating throughout the soul cleanses it more perfectly than any flames of pain can. And so the virtuous children of a favored fortune, who have improved their privileges with pious fidelity, move on into heaven.

Then the third gate is victory. This is more arduous of approach, and yet a throng of heroic souls, the very chivalry of heaven, press through it, wounded and bleeding from the struggle, but triumphant. These are they who have endured hardship with uncomplaining fortitude and fought their way through all enemies, seductions and tribulations. These are they who, armed with the native sacrament of righteousness, inspired with a loyal love, would never stoop their crests to wrong nor make a league with iniquity the conquering champions who tread down every vile temptation, ever hearing their Leader say, "In the world ye shall have trouble and sorrow; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Penitence is another gate of heaven. By the instructions of Providence, by the natural progress of experience, the evolution of wisdom, a sinner may become aware of the ingratitude of his disobedience, ashamed of the odiousness of his guilt; be smitten with a regenerating love of truth, beauty, goodness, God; and, without waiting for the lash of an external judgment to drive him the way he should go, by voluntary preference may grieve over his folly and sin, and turn to his duty and his Savior. Then the blessed gate of a spontaneous repentance stands open before him; and through this hospitable entrance multitudes find admission to the divine home.

Death often gives an otherwise unattainable deliverance, and so yields the poor victim of unhappy outer conditions a passage to heaven. It is a thought no less false than it is frightful, which represents death as the vindictive turnkey of the creation, at whose approach probation ends, and the shuddering convict is thrust into hell, the hopeless bolt dropping into its ward behind him. It is rather the divine messenger of deliverance for those who are borne down here under a fate too hard for them. Oh, what myriads of afflicted ones orphan children crushed by brutal treatment; poor seamstresses starving in garrets; men and women ground and grimed almost out of the semblance of humanity, in the drudgery and darkness of coal mines; hapless suicides, who have rashly fled from this step dame world, and whose alabaster forms, purpled with bruises, are laid on the dismal beds of brass in the morgue, where a ghastly light strains through the grates, and the crowd of gazers sweeps endlessly on; unsuccessful men of genius, unappreciated, neglected, cruelly wronged, their extreme sensitiveness making their lives a long martyrdom to these what a blessed angel is death, freeing them, setting them in a new state, starting them on a fresh career, amidst fairer circumstances, in front of better opportunities! To be saved, and in paradise, what is it but to be a pure instrument to echo the music of divine things? When the corruptible parts of the instrument are hopelessly discordant, or the circumstances of its place here are jangled with evils which it cannot overcome, then the disentanglement of the spiritual harp, and the translation of it to some finer sphere; where its free chords may ring their proper music clearly out, are a blessed redemption, making death itself a triumphant gate of heaven.

Retribution is the remotest and most difficult of all the heavenly gates; and yet it is one, and one that is indispensable for many a neglectful, halting, and obstinate child of man. It is an extreme error to think punishment a gate of hell. It is rather a result of being already inside, and it legitimately serves as an outlet thence. Whatever may be the case with imperfect human rulers, in the government of God no punishment is ever inflicted for the sake of vengeance, a gratuitous evil. It is blasphemy to deem God vindictive. He always punishes for the sake of good, to awaken attention, produce insight and sorrow, and cause a reattunement of character and conduct with the laws of right, seen at last to be supremely authoritative and benignant, indissolubly bound up with the truest good of each and with the sole good of all. On every gate of hell may be written. Wherever retribution is actual, salvation is possible, equivalent to the great maxim of jurisprudence: Ubi jus ibi remedium! So, even the dark door of retribution, when men will advance by no other way, leads them to thoughtfulness, regret, and a redemptive readjustment of their passions and acts. Thus it becomes the ultimate gate of heaven. And, alas! what a dismal crowd of sufferers, refusing all shorter and happier ways, wait to be drawn through this torturing passage of remedial mercy! May the number entering by the other gates ever increase, and those entering this dwindle! And yet, may it forever stand open for the unhappy culprits who must be lost unless saved here!

Besides all these gates, and commanding them all, there is one everywhere accessible, and never shut on any soul which has the grace to try it the omnipresent gate of resignation. Remove the conditions of resistance, or friction, by a total surrender of self will and an absolute acceptance of the Divine Will, and, it matters not where you are, the essence of perdition is destroyed in your soul. The utter abandonment of pride, a pious submission to the laws of things, a glad and grateful acquiescence in whatever the Supreme Authority decrees this is the unrestricted way into heaven which waits before the steps of all who will only exhibit the requisite spirit, and enter. Yes, let any being but banish from himself every vestige of personal dictation before God and unexactingly identify his desires with universal good; and, even though he stand on the bottom of hell, heaven will be directly before him through the open gate of resignation. For the organic attitude of a pure and loving submission tunes the discordant creature to that eternal breath of God which blows everywhere through the universe of souls, sighing until they conspire with it to make the music of redemption.