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The New Dispensation (Continued)

Did it not have the power to do all these things for us, and did we not grow strong? The old dispensation will say, "How strong we grew while we battled and tore down! How we laughed and exulted over the ruins; how glad we were that falsehood and error had been swept away; and, oh, the exultation of having done these things ourselves! We grew upon that which we have demolished, and we grew luxuriantly. We stood beside the cradle and its sleeping babe, and grew aristocratic in a sense of spiritual power. We knew we held the little golden key of life and death for which the Church had long been searching, and in our pride we said: We have no fear of death; Hades has lost its terrors for us; death has lost its sting, for we know that we shall live again."

The infant is gone; it has awakened and stepped forth, leaving only the empty cradle; only this husk of by-gone times, for any new revelation, beating against the walls of heaven, and sending its power down to pierce through the darkness and the sorrow that surrounds mankind, gives first unto those who look at it, proof, material proof, phenomenal proof. The sunset, the glory of the sky, its beautiful colors are but proofs themselves that the sun was there, and through the daylight while it shone so brightly, how proud and glad was the heart of man, and how firmly he trod, for he had proof, demonstrated proof, that the sun was there. So, Spiritualism, the old dispensation, came and gave to mankind proof, regular proof, phenomenal proof, physical proof the cradle, only the cradle; the infant lay sleeping, sleeping.

Who shall find this infant? Let all Spiritualists, let all modern thinkers, let all who are deeply intent upon reading the signs of the times, let all, who hold the welfare of mankind most at heart, let the philosopher, the scholar, the sophist, let earnest men and women everywhere awake to this; that today, even today, and in your midst, the little child hath risen from the cradle, and that which marks the anniversary of today is the bending of Modern Spiritualism over the empty cradle. Every man and woman, every Spiritualist, every one, who has spiritual light, whether in the Church or out of it, must now rise, gird their loins, put on their beautiful garments and start out in search of the little child.

And as you search here and there you will feel where its little garments have been; you will know by the influence left behind that it trailed a long white robe; you will feel, down in the very deepest chambers of your souls, that the little child is, and that you must search for it. They who now love to hold the empty cradle to their bosoms may sit down today and multiply it a thousand times, they may take a spiritual photograph of it, press it to their hearts and say to it, "Thou art phenomena, thou art physical science," still it is an empty cradle. Old dispensation, thou art like the winter or the night; thou hast by many things thou hast done, by the ice-bound phenomena, chilled the blood of true spiritual life, thou hast taken the courage from many hearts, even while thou hast proven immortality. Oh, old dispensation, thou wilt sit and listen yet awhile longer to the echoes; thou wilt multiply to thyself the thunder of the past; thou wilt laugh again at the great, strong, powerful, devastating teacher who came into the midst of men but so little time ago, and who woke the echoes all along from every cradle which he touched, who made the Church quail, and who made Spiritualists stand still and look and see. He doeth the work of this dispensation of ours, and yet he is not among us. And with the memory of this strong presence fresh upon it, the old dispensation looks down again into the empty cradle, and feels that the little one that slept there is gone.

Let us bid farewell to the cradle now. Let us with gladness and thanksgiving turn toward that battered door of Old Theology, and reach out our hands and our hearts to the frightened ones within; and let us step into the gloaming that rests upon them, and leave there the impress of love and mercy and tenderness. Let us with skillful hands bind up the wounds of them that bleed, and pour ointment upon the heads of them that weep. Let us first do these things, that we may fit our spirits to move on in the way the little child is leading while we search for it.

We who prepared and inaugurated this movement, that swept over all the nations, more than forty years ago; we who carried it on to greater blossoming, and to more perfect fruitage, know that the old dispensation has done its full work. To the spirits, who yet thrill with exultant joy; who are yet eager to rush into every battle; who, like the soldiers in your late civil war, have become so imbued with the spirit of battle, that they have come to love fighting; to those who still stand as scouts and sentinels upon the verge of this beautiful new dispensation, ready to battle with the foe, we would say, "There is none there." Approach the church doors and enter. That stream of life that went forth from that sleeping infant, into the hearts of men and women, flowed also into the church, and made its power felt. Nay, nay, there is no longer anything to tear down there, for the doors have been opened by men and women, who have made a passage for this mighty spiritual current to sweep through like a great ocean, and which, like a current that is once set running in the right direction, cannot be stopped, until it has spent its full force.

All honor to these men and women for their perseverance, courage, might and strength, and if they feel this impulse, to battle yet awhile longer, why, then, they must, until the pulses are stilled within them; until the war-cry ceases to ring out for them, and until they can see with their own eyes, which are blinded by the smoke of battle that lingers about them, that life, "full immortal life," breathes as tranquillity inside the doors of the church today as it does outside, among Modern Spiritualists, and it breathes more tranquilly, for there are thousands of noble, warm hearts in the church today who are better fitted to take in the full spirit of what that little child has to give, than the phenomenal Spiritualist of the present, who cares only for the cradle in which the infant was rocked. The truth sinks with deep significance into these hearts, and they will be the ones to gird their loins, and, with faces smiling and triumphant, glide softly past the Modern Spiritualist, who sits clasping his empty cradle to his bosom, and swiftly speed after the trailing garments of the little child. The true churchman who feels the real spiritual impulse of the Master Spirit, who wraps the church about him as a garment because it strengthens him materially and intellectually, and who chooses to remain with the concourse of people because he can gain greater eloquence from their presence he who feels this today, and senses the spirit of the Master, through it will be the one to find this little child that has awakened from its sleep and left the cradle empty.

Let us, in a spirit of great gravity and deep earnestness, look our last upon the cradle. Let us be mourners today in the sense of those who believe that the spirit lives, and who, when the body is laid aside, do not see the body save to pay to it the respect due to that which bore the spirit so beautifully through those experiences which it was necessary for it to gain, but gazing upon the spirit which has left it, feel only deep thankfulness and joy within their hearts that the one who owned that beautiful tabernacle of clay no longer needs it, for it has touched the shores where its garments shall give it greater freedom, and no longer cumber its feet, and where the light of its being shall gain greater radiance and beauty. Such cheerful mourners as these, with smiling faces and happy hearts, shall watch the spirit as it walks into the light, while down into their hearts will creep this thought: We shall miss that presence in our daily life, and the empty chair will seem empty for a long time, for we cannot see the spirit sitting there or hear its joyous voice in our homes; still, we are cheerful mourners, and our hearts are glad.

And after this, in the hush, when the cares of the day have folded themselves, softly and seem not to have been, and in that half light, twixt that which is past and that which is to come, giving forth a tranquil rest, the spirit will sense its freedom, and as you sit in the spirit glowing of your own home there will come this thought to you: Oh, I am so glad it is all past for them the sadness, the burden and the warfare that it is all over. So we sit as mourners around the cradle today, thankful that the necessity for the warfare and the burden and the hate has passed away, and drawing ourselves a little ways apart, not because we feel ourselves better than others, but because we recognize the fact that the cradle is empty, and that we must rest awhile and put ourselves in a condition to follow after the little child, we listen to those, who, from the impulse which the battle has given them, still fight on.

Now, farewell, O little cradle! Thou didst serve us faithfully; thou didst stand the battle and the warfare valiantly, and upon thee no one shall find the dent of a bullet, for, as they struck thee, they glanced aside and fell to the ground, just as perfect in thy outer conformity, just as complete in thy symmetry and purity and beauty dost thou stand today as when we placed thee here. Even the bullets of immorality and of sharp, rasping discords from Spiritualists themselves aimed against thee have left no dent or mark, but fell where they should fall, at the feet of him or her who sent them. And when the church comes forward, as it will, the beautiful, grand old spirit that believed all the prejudice and superstition represented all the original truth, the blessed old spirit that has been lying beneath that old train of dogma and creed since time began, we will say to it: We love thee, we cherish thee, we welcome thee. There are spirits like ourselves, who, while proclaiming the truth of immortality, have claimed certain things that are false and erroneous, but these were those nearest the earth, who, feeling the pulsation of this light which touched all that was human on this planet, walking into deeper power and intelligence all who were prepared for it, spoke with impulsive power this great, rushing tide of truth. When the waters flood the fields, what is first scattered over the land? Debris, ruin. But what follows after that? The clearing air, the sunshine, the beauty of budding flowers, the sweet warbling of birds, the mingling of all nature in a glad, glorious song. And so man, looking over the battlefield of life, glancing at the ruin and the debris, feels his soul lifted above all these things, and he exclaims! "It was but the empty cradle; I must up and away after the little child."

Good-bye, old cradle; we throw over thee no pall, we leave with thee no regret. We are glad from our hearts to separate thee from ourselves. Good-bye, old phenomena, which, in order to waken the world to knowledge of immortality, failed to waken the spirit to the demands of that inner life. Good-bye, old physical manifestation, which, when you proved to the world the might and power of spirit life, failed to waken within the heart any echo of what was most earnestly demanded by the human heart itself. Good-bye, little cradle, incomplete as you seem to us now, you served the one mighty and grand purpose of waking a world to life and truth and grand beauty and power.

We must go after the little child. We spirits, and you mortals with your shining faces, looking through your masks, are just prepared to note that the cradle is empty. Withdraw yourselves from the din and turmoil of the old dispensation and place upon the altar of your being two lamps, faith and trust, and keep the oil within them pure and clear. In the lamp of trust keep the oil of beautiful liberty, honor, justice, and mercy, that the light may shine so clear that the breath of your being, as you look upon it, the breath of your utter love, may not make it flicker or cause it to grown unsteady in its shining. Place it once upon the altar of your being, and we know God will keep it there. Keep yourselves within yourselves; look at the cradle of phenomena no longer, for you have proved it is a cradle; but, sitting down with the little lamp of faith, hold yourselves quiet with only God's triumphant smile to mark the progress of the life within; let the dark world for one brief space glide away; let the calm and peace of our life steal in upon you, and with it will come the power to find the little child.

Lest you grow weary along the way, from too much searching; lest your hearts faint because there is so much to discourage in that which is about you; lest you sink, weary and sad, by the way, let us raise for you the curtain; let us show you that the little child as we behold it; let us prove to you how glad you will be that you have searched for it; let us make your hearts feel how sweet a thing it is to have heard the rustling of its garments and seen it even from afar off, enthroned in shining light, clear and beautiful, with its little feet resting in the palm of the Father's outstretched hand, that palm lowered enough for every steadfast soul, faithful to duty, faithful to that which life called upon it to do; faithful in little things, to see its face, and even to see the hand of the Father that holds it. Standing there, and looking toward you with a love ineffable, it will reach forth its little hand and drop into the hearts of those who behold it, pearls, one by one, as fast as those hearts are ready to receive them: First, that pearl which means rest; rest from the outer while the inner waits; second, that beautiful pearl of trust, which makes all those around rise glorified because of that which is above it; third, that little pearl of harmony, linking the life physical to the life spiritual, and which makes of the body a glorious medium between the neighbor here and the love of God there.

They who cling to the empty cradle, and fold it to their bosoms will miss the risen child, whose second coming is now. The spirit of the new dispensation is upon you; the glory of its pathway is revealed to you; the beauty of its presence shines down in your hearts now; but you must wake to receive it, and you must turn your back upon the past and rise and gaze upon this sun which hath already risen. Every prophet of this new time tells you that there comes ringing forth from our home of spirit the cry of a new Saviour, a new Master, a new Christ, a new what you will; and spirits, gazing down upon you, hear whispers from above, and they ponder and wonder, even as do yourselves, when they tell you of what they hear rising higher, still above themselves. There comes down through the stratum of life the same beauty cry we heard, "We know it is so; it is here; it is coming into our midst; it exists; it is born." But that New Dispensation is not the old cradle of phenomenal Spiritualism; oh, no; not at all; oh, no! It is not for one voice alone to speak of it; it is not for any one man or woman to proclaim it. The ambitious dreams of mediums and of spirits will never be realized for them, for no one Christ, man or woman, no one medium, man or woman, will be the first to step forward into your midst as the great, echoing mouth-piece of this New Dispensation. God, in sending His grandest and best gift for the evolution of the spirit within you is not poverty-stricken in His resources; not at all.

This New Dispensation and Christ power is to seize every heart, in the church or out of it, that is ready for it, or that is even clear enough to note that the little child has risen, and that the anniversary we celebrate today is two-fold in its nature: one filled with glad song and with glad good-bye to the old cradle which has rocked the little one and kept it in a trance-like slumber in order to give it strength; the other, more glorious, filled with hosannas, glad songs, great restfulness and holy rapture that the little child has risen.

Be ready to take this new dispensation by the hand, and remember what we have so often told you; that it holds in its hands millions of pearls, and that into the heart of every man and woman today who is prepared for it, into every heart that is strong and powerful and beautiful in its moral nature and that has awakened to a sense of that which is truest and deepest in life, having done its duty nobly, even though it be sitting by the wayside clad in rags and tatters into such souls as these, who are oftentimes better prepared than any other, the little child will drop the gift of this new power of showing itself unto mortals. Through those men and women who are first to hail the light, then the presence of beauty, then the sweet shadow of the sun, and then the golden mist so clear and beautiful that the heart of him who sits in rags and tatters feels its beauty and dreams heaven is on earth, those who gaze shall know that the New Dispensation hath come.

The old cradle has lost its occupant, and the old Spiritualist may sit still and wait until the angels shall call him to clearer vision, or he may drop the empty cradle and follow the little child. It makes no difference to us who are working, which he may choose to do, only in this: That he misses so much himself. I cannot give you sweeter revealing of the new birth from the old than this: As soon as hearts and souls are ready to gaze into its face and meet the shining of its eyes, tremulous with the new glory of its baptism when they stand unfolded so much from themselves that they do not feel themselves (and it is a task more easily accomplished than you think), the little child, uplifted now where every one must stand and look upward, and not bend over, since it has awakened from its slumber, will drop down into those hearts the pearl which will shine on and on and on, even here upon your earth, and wake to newer and grander shining there. It will supersede the necessity for us as spirits so long gone from you to return to enforce upon you the full meaning of what moral life and noble courage and great strength of spirit can attain.

The little child, the New Dispensation, the risen power from that cradle which was placed here, is in your midst. It will wait for you, it will remain clear and shining until all are ready to receive it. It will grow in greater and newer beauty for every heart that is drawn to it. Yes, it can wait; it loses nothing; it gains everything; for, by its silent waiting it will gain every heart on the face of this beautiful planet of yours, every soul which the Father has created. But can you afford to wait? Can you afford to sit, holding the empty cradle to your bosom when so much is to be done?

Sing a new song, for the glory is here; weep a glad tear o'er the cradle, bend over it without a shadow of fear, for that which he hath promised he is able to do and will do. Wait not, tarry not, linger not, but with hearts brave, earnest, true, faithful, loyal, glad, cheerful, come with us and touch the garments of the little child that trail down over the hand that is holding it within the reach of all. But if you touch that garment with unsteady or unfruitful hand a shadow will be where the shining was, yet you will have forged a link so strong in your chain that it can never be broken, and when you come again with steadier hand, stronger purpose, clearer and better endeavor, forgetful of yourself, and lay your hand upon the shadow where you touched before, the light will return, while a ray of the glory that surrounds that little child will enter your own soul.


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