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[283] have these words spoken peace! How many failing hearts have gathered strength from them to pass through the dark valley of shadows!

Yet we should not forget that ‘the kingdom of heaven is within;’ that it is the state and affections of the soul, the answer of a good conscience, the sense of harmony with God, a condition of time as well as of eternity. What is really momentous and all-important with us is the present, by which the future is shaped and colored. A mere change of locality cannot alter the actual and intrinsic qualities of the soul. Guilt and remorse would make the golden streets of Paradise intolerable as the burning marl of the infernal abodes; while purity and innocence would transform hell itself into heaven.

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