from Brian Kingslake, Angel Stories (Worcester, England,  Arthur James, Ltd., 1982)

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The Horizon

Looking down from my house on the hillside, I have always been very conscious of the HORIZON, a straight line cutting right across the landscape. It is the frontier of the world, where earth and heaven meet. Beyond it is nothing, nothing, nothing - only sky. What puzzles me is that the horizon seems to pass right through several farms, and even a few small villages. How awkward it must be for the inhabitants, living right on the boundary of the world; they might fall off at any moment! Another strange thing is that, on a map of the district, the horizon is not marked at all, although obviously it is the main feature of the whole area. In fact, the map purports to indicate an extent of territory beyond the horizon! How absurd!

To settle the matter once and for all, I mounted my horse and rode across country towards the horizon. But for some reason I never actually reached it. As I approached it, it seemed to recede. Arriving at a village which I had observed all my life to be actually situated on the boundary of the world, I found no trace of a boundary. When I enquired of the villagers where the horizon was, they smiled and pointed to another horizon, much further on, beyond which lay nothing but sky. And so I continued my journey, searching for the frontier of the world. But there was no frontier, no boundary, no horizon -just a fresh landscape, stretching on for ever.

So I came to understand that everyone has his own horizon, which he can always extend by enlarging his sympathies. We all tend to believe that the limit of our vision is the end of all things. Some of us remain like this all our lives - insular, self-centered, complacent, scared of new ideas, unable to adapt to new conditions. Life flows around us, exposing exciting new vistas: but no! We take a felt marker and draw a firm straight line across the map. That is our horizon; there is nothing beyond!

But, by putting ourselves in other people's circumstances, with their heredity and upbringing, we can extend our viewpoint indefinitely. The old horizon no longer exists; it forever recedes as we advance towards it. There is, in fact, no frontier to our understanding and sympathy; it can include the whole world. And when we have traveled right round the world and come back to the place where we started, we still have not found any horizon.

I am becoming an old man now, and am fast approaching another kind of horizon - the frontier of DEATH. This surely will be something definite, something measurable. The date of my death will be recorded in official registers, and, if I am lucky, there will be an obituary notice somewhere. Death will surely mark the end of the world for me. Or will it? This world, perhaps! But I have a strong feeling that my transition into the spiritual world will be so smooth and easy that I shall find it difficult to know exactly when it has taken place.

A "horizon" is where earth and heaven meet. From the viewpoint of this physical world, the earth is real and heaven is just emptiness. But, after death, the heavenly landscape will be real, and the earth just emptiness; so everything will be reversed. But, as I also shall be reversed, the reversal won't be noticeable!

The fact is, death is no more real than the horizon is real. It is simply the limit of vision for people on this side of the veil, different for every individual. When we approach it, it will disappear, and we shall pass through to another horizon, which will continue to recede as our spiritual natures expand and develop. There will not even be a long journey involved; merely an extension of vision.

May it come soon!

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