The Policy of Providence.
"Has there ever been a child like Eva? Yes, there have been; but their names are always on grave-stones, and their sweet smiles, their heavenly eyes, their singular words and ways, are among the buried treasures of yearning hearts. In how many families do you hear the legend that all the goodness and graces of the living are nothing to the peculiar charms of one who is not. It is as if heaven had an especial band of angels, whose office it was to sojourn for a season here, and endear to them the wayward human heart, that they might bear it upward with them in their homeward flight."—Uncle Tom's Cabin.
We think that Mrs. Stowe suggests a beautiful and true interpretation of the ways of providence in this little episode of her story; and that there is more truth than poetry in the idea that God attracts human affections upward and inward, by attaching them to some gift that he bestows, and after resumes. Death, when it singles out the bright and beautiful, is sometimes treated as a monitory dispensation, warning us of the uncertainty of human prospects; or it is supposed to be the remedy for idolatry, by taking away the objects that seduce us. But the best idea is, that God is bent on turning inward the human heart and he carries out his policy by tranferring to the invisible world continually those in whom affection is bound up. We can conceive that he has spiritualized the world in this way a good deal; and that there is now a great stream of human affection flowing into the spiritual world, under the power of the concentrated attraction there.
The history of Christ may be taken as an interesting example of this policy, and corresponds literally with the poetical idea of Mrs. Stowe. He came from heaven and endeared himself to a circle of friends, won their hearts entirely, and then returned whence he came, transferring the whole treasure of their affection within the vail. The angels found his disciples gazing up into the cloud that had received them out of his sight—and that was the attitude of their hearts till they saw him again. They never withdrew their gaze. Their eyes never rested upon the earth again—they kept looking where Christ had gone and forgot the earth on which they stood.
Such was their love that they ceased not to long for his personal presence. They bent all their endeavors to reach him, by fellowship with his sufferings, desiring even to be made conformable to his death, that they might know the power of his resurrection, and attain to his glory. 'We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is,' was the inspiration of their life. This attraction worked, and became more and more intense, and was communicated to the whole church. The consummation was, that those who thus lived as seeing him that was invisible, became themselves invisible, and ascended where Christ was, there to be ever with him.
We have interpreted Mrs. Cragin's removal on this principle. She was a central object of affection, and it is impossible but that the hearts of her friends should follow her where she has gone, and take the liveliest interest in all that concerns her present state. This affection and interest all goes to turn us inward toward Christ, who is Lord both of the living and the dead, and the true medium between the two. At the same time it turns our attention toward the truth concerning Hades, with an earnestness that is calculated to lead into much discovery.