This is considered to be one of the best of Burne Jones's pictures.
What are we to make of these figures?
Their white gowns and naked feet suggest their heavenly character. Yet the environment in which they walk seems to plain; it is in the open air, with pidgeons nesting in the rather ramshackle-looking roof tiles.
As Christians we walk through a world that groans and creaks at the seem. Yet we are indwellt by the Holy Spirit and have the power to live like Christ, representing to men our heavenly saviour.
Notice that each of the ladies in the picture has a different musical instrument in their dainty hands. Likewise each of us has been given a different gift by the Holy Spirit. We are all called to exercise ministry in different ways.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.
Note also that we do not see where the ladies have come from and we do not see clearly where they are going.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
The Christian life begins by the working of the Holy Spirit. The redeemed sinner has been drawn by the Holy Spirit and is born again by the Spirit. She is a new creation. The Christian life is not merely a change of conduct, but a change of person and idenity; it is a supernatural change in a person.
It is by the Holy Spirit's work that we display those virtues that should characterise the child of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 ¶ If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
It is only through the Spirit's power that we can perservere and overcome this world. We need to walk in the Spirit, by faith in Christ's sanctifying work.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can show ourselves to be as beautiful and pure as the young women in this picture.