As God is ever-presence, our truest friend is never absent. The flitting shadows of sense in no way affect this eternal verity of Soul. Mortals may come, and mortals may go, but the true man reflects God forever. And so true friendship exists forever. A dear one is not necessarily here when he or she is personally present; nor is a friend separated from us by his or her personal absence. Human loss and separation are the falling petals of the transient blossom whose fading out points to the fruitage which is imperishable and spiritual. Friendship and true relationship exist not in mortal mind or in the flesh; they are not the fruits of human personality; but they obtain in spite of personality, as evidence and proof of Principle. The sun shines, not by reason of the cloud, but in spite of it.

Jesus said: "If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you." Here the Master teaches plainly that consolation comes not from any personal presence, and that even the most Christly person must give place before the dawning of the consciousness of the Comforter that shall abide; namely, the Christ-principle. A friend is a friend only in so far as he or she represents Principle instead of self; and such a friend can never be absent, for to use the Master's words: "Though he were dead, yet shall he live." The immortality of true friendship is attested in that no human circumstance, condition, or relationship can affect it.

Earth's pressure of evil beliefs may seem to force the pilgrim to a crucial point of experience, as a phantom frightens into swooning the timid child, and this human crisis in the way heavenward may seem to the unspiritual to be death; but as to God there is no death, so in Science to man there is none. What seems to be death is apparent only to the lookers-on. The individual who knows and loves God, in the transition supposed to be dying may be more than ever living, living more in Mind and less in matter. When the so-called dead have passed the rubicon of suffering which is supposed to kill them, and to human sense they are seen to be dead, they are not dead; and, as to the Arctic explorer who has reached the pole, or the point on the earth farthest north, there is no north and he can only look every-where south, so the to-our-sense dead, having passed the highest point of possible human suffering, find that there is no death, but instead only the dawning of a new and divinely enforced sense of Life.

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