Ann sat quite still; she had a feeling that if she moved to make any other sound, however slight, than that of speech some spell would be broken. In the darkness Bart had awakened out of the stupor of his injury; and although Ann could not have expressed it, she felt that his voice came like the speech of a soul that is not a part of the things we see and touch. It was so strange to her that he did not ask her where he was. For a few minutes more at least she did not want to bring the least rustle of material surroundings into their talk. She was still incredulous; it is only a very weak mind that does not take time to grow into a new point of view.
“Bart, was God with father when he tried to kill you and tied you to the tree?”
“How do you know?”
“You can’t think of God being less than something else. If God was not in your father, then space is outside God’s mind. You can’t think that God wanted to save your father from doing it and didn’t, unless you think that the devil was stronger than God. You can’t think that you are more loving than God; and if He is so loving, He couldn’t let any one do what wasn’t just the best thing. I tell you, it’s a love that’s awful to think of that will go on giving men strength to do wrong until through the ages of hell they get sick of it, rather than make them into machines that would just go when they’re wound up and that no one could love.”
“Do they know all this in church, Bart?” Ann asked. It had never occurred to her before to test her beliefs by this standard, but now it seemed necessary; she felt after tradition instinctively. The nakedness of Bart’s statements seemed to want tradition for a garment.
Bart’s words were very simple. “When I was fastened on that log and saw all this, I saw that Jesus knew it all, and that that was what all His life and dying meant, and that the people that follow Him are learning to know that that was what it meant; it takes them a long, long time, and we can’t understand it yet, but as the world goes on it will come clearer. Everybody that knows anything about Him says all this in church, only they don’t quite understand it. There’s many churches, Ann, where the people all get up and say out loud, ‘He descended into hell.’ I don’t know much, for I’ve only read the Bible for one year; but if you think of all that Jesus did and all that happened to Him, you will see what I mean. People have made little of it by saying it was a miracle and happened just once, but He knew better. He said that God had been doing it always, and that He did nothing but what He saw God doing, and that when men saw Him they would know that God was like that always. Haven’t I just been telling you that God bears our sins and carries our sorrows with us until we become blessed because we are holy? We can always choose to be that, but He will never make us choose. Jesus never made anybody do anything; and, Ann, if there