Saturday, June 09, 2007

Children and Angels

'There is nothing,' cried her friend, 'no, nothing innocent or
good, that dies, and is forgotten. Let us hold to that faith, or
none. An infant, a prattling child, dying in its cradle, will live
again in the better thoughts of those who loved it, and will play
its part, through them, in the redeeming actions of the world,
though its body be burnt to ashes or drowned in the deepest sea.
There is not an angel added to the Host of Heaven but does its
blessed work on earth in those that loved it here. Forgotten! oh,
if the good deeds of human creatures could be traced to their
source, how beautiful would even death appear; for how much
charity, mercy, and purified affection, would be seen to have their
growth in dusty graves!' [Chapt. 54]

She was dead, and past all help, or need of it. The ancient rooms she had seemed to fill with life, even while her own was waning fast -- the garden she had tended -- the eyes she had gladdened -- the noiseless haunts of many a thoughtful hour -- the paths she had trodden as it were but yesterday -- could know here no more.

'It is not,' said the schoolmaster, as he bent down to kiss her on the cheek, and gave his tears free vent, 'it is not on earth that Heaven's justice ends. Think what it is, compared with the World to which her young spirit has winged its early flight, and say, if one deliberate wish expressed in solemn terms above this bed could call her back to life, which of us would utter it!' [Chapt. 71]

-- Charles Dickens, The Old Curiousity Shop


JMG said...

Nice prose, but do you really think that children become angels when they die?

Tony Arnold said...

I don't know, don't have a clue. But it sure is a nice way to deal with things and I don't see a downside.

The reason for the post was that I loved the sentiment. I was not trying to make any theological implication.

If God wants to make them angels, they will be angels.

I just love the way Dickens always used a view of love and peace to deal with a very harsh time in history. The world would be better if we all took this view.


JMG said...

I never read much Dickens. I was always more interested in American Lit.

Tony Arnold said...

I love the way he writes and I am just getting through the depth of his work. His depth of characters and emotion, his wry sense of humor in describing them is fun to read.

Most of us only get exposed through movies, cartoons, etc of his themes rather than directly from his own words.

Tony said...

Dickens' words make wonderful sermons! Wouldn't the quote you posted make a great funeral message?

What does it matter whether God makes children angels? Sometimes our memories of loved ones who have died offer guidance to us in life just as guardian angels are said to guide us.

Tony Arnold said...

Good thoughts, PPM.

JMG said...

Tony, did you hear that Doug Marlette died in a car accident yesterday?