Mrs. Dexter continued looking earnestly into the face of Mrs. De Lisle.
“Does your thought follow me?” asked the latter.
“Yes,” was all the answer.
“If true marriages are for eternity, each of the partners must be born into spiritual life; and that birth is always with pain. The husband, instead of being a mere natural and selfish man, must be a lover of higher and purer things. He must be a seeker after Divine intelligence, that he may be lifted with wisdom coming from the infinite Source of wisdom. And the wife, elevating her affections through self-denial and repression of the natural, must acquire a love for the spiritual wisdom of her husband before her soul can make one with his. Do you comprehend this?”
“Dimly. He must be wise in heavenly love; and she a lover of heavenly wisdom.”
“There must be something more,” said Mrs. De Lisle.
“No two masculine souls are alike, and heavenly wisdom is infinite. The finite mind receives only a portion of the Divine intelligence. Each, therefore, is in the love of growing wise in a certain degree or direction. The feminine soul, to make conjunction perfect, must be a lover of wisdom in that degree, or direction.”
“You bewilder me,” said Mrs. Dexter.
“Let me rather enlighten. The great truth I wish to make clear to you is that there can be no marriage in the higher sense without spiritual regeneration. By nature we are evil—that is selfish; for self love is the very essence of all evil—and until heavenly life is born in us there can be no interior marriage conjunction. It is possible, then—and I want you to look the proposition fairly in the face—for two who are created for each other, to live very unhappily together during the first years of their married life. Do you ask why? Because both are selfish by nature; and self seeks its own delight. I have sometimes thought,” continued Mrs. De Lisle, “in pondering this subject, that those who are born for each other are not often permitted to struggle together in painful antagonism during the stern ordeals through which so many have to pass ere self is subdued, and the fires of Divine love kindled on the heart’s altars.”
“Meeting life’s discipline apart, or in strife with an alien,” said Mrs. Dexter.
“As you will. But the lesson, I trust, is clear. Only they who bear the cross can wear the crown. The robes must be made white in the blood of the Lamb. And now, dear friend! if you would be worthy of an eternal marriage, take up your cross. If there is a noble, manly soul to which you would be conjoined forever, set earnestly about the task of preparation for that union. The wedding garment must be wrought; the lamps trimmed and burning. Not in neglect of duty; not in weak repinings, or helpless despondency is this work done; but in daily duty. The soul of your husband is precious in the eyes of God as your own. Never forget this. And it may be a part of your heaven-assigned work—nay, is—to help him to rise into a higher life. May you grow angel-minded in the good work!”