Thursday, May 24, 2007
One of My Favorite Books
I strongly recommend this book for anyone feeling the loss of a loved one. "Within the Gates" by Rebecca Springer is one of my favorite books and it was given to me as a Christmas present a few years back. This book is a revised (contemporary) condensed version of the original book written during the Victorian era which was called "Intra Muros" by Rebecca Springer.
I loved the condensed version so much that my friend found a first edition of the Intra Muros for me and gave it to me for my birthday. The contemporary condensed version is published by Christ for the Nations and I ordered 50 books from them (bulk prices) right after I finished reading it. I have given the condensed book to friends, family, my Lifeline clients and some hospital patients. I almost always carried some with me. I only offered the book if I felt an opening because they expressed their grief over losing a loved one. (Actually to friends and family -I just gave them the book because I thought it was so neat!) I tried to be sensitive to their needs as I would never want to offend anyone. No one ever refused it. They always seemed grateful.
I also gave this book to our Pastor and his wife and they liked it so much that they ordered a slightly different version (still contemporary - not as condensed) for the church bookstore because they deal with a different company. This version is called "Within Heaven's Gate" by Rebecca Springer and is published by~ Whitaker House.
Rebecca lived more than 100 years ago and took suddenly and seriously ill when she was visiting someone far from home. She was at death's door and it was during this time that she was given a vision of what we can expect in heaven.
"The vision emphatically teaches that there is a continuity between this life and the next, and the idea that heaven is a place fundamentally different from earth is wrong. Of course, as far as environment is concerned, all is perfect there. Nevertheless, heaven is a place where its inhabitants continue to learn and develop."
In the vision, Rebecca's brother-in-law said: "What strange ideas we mortals have of the pleasures and duties of the blessed life. We seem to think that the death of the body means an entire change of the soul. But that is not the case by any means. We bring to this life the same tastes, the same desires, the same knowledge we had before death. If these were not sufficiently pure and good to form a part of this life, then we ourselves may not enter. What would be the use of our oft-times long lives, given to the pursuit of certain worthy and legitimate knowledge, if at death it all counts as nothing, and we are to begin this life on a wholly different line of thought and study? No, no, would that all could understand, as I said before, that we are building for eternity during our earthly life. The purer the thoughts, the nobler the ambitions, the loftier the aspirations, the higher the rank we take among the hosts of heaven. The more earnestly we follow the studies and duties in our life of probation, the better fitted we shall be to carry them forward, on and on to completion and perfection there."
I tell people that even if you don't believe this really happened that this vision does magnify Christ and the things she speaks of do line up with Biblical scriptures and you can still look at it as a type and shadow of what is yet to come.
"If there is one great central truth that the book teaches, it is that human friendships made in this world are enduring in the second."
May anyone reading this book be filled with awe and comfort about our Eternal Home.