The False Way, and the True

by , from the August 1894 Christian Science Journal

A child once stood at the door of a beautiful palace. To her wondering gaze it looked like magic within—all lights, and color and flowers. A desire seized her to go in, and catch the odor of all that world of bloom. A voice from within urged her to enter,” Look at the lilies,” it said, “the lotus, the orange-flowers. The perfume will lift you into ecstacy. Come.” Just as she was about to enter, another voice, gentle and firm, from without whispered,”. Do not yield to that desire. In the heart of every flower is an adder, and you will be wounded. There is no real joy there.”

The child paused, but a strain of music caught her ear, and she darted in. All round her the beauty and light seemed perfect, and the flowers waved her a welcome. She turned to a bed of glowing blossoms, and stooped to inhale the delicious fragrance, when quickly, from beneath the leaves, flashed the glitter of a serpent, and the child recoiled in terror and pain. “You chose the wrong flower” said the voice, “go on to others. There are no more serpents.”

“All will harm you,” came the soft voice from the doorway, “Oh! do not go farther.” But on and on she wandered; ever a moment of hope that the next flower would hide no adder-thrust, ever a pang of sorrow, pain and disappointment. Ever the voice within, with fair promises, urged her to go on,— ever the voice at the door, though growing fainter, besought her to return.

The lights grew dim, the color faded, the flowers drooped, and in the gathering dusk, an aged form wrinkled, and sad, and worn passed out of the door, to the sound of a mocking laugh from the voice within.

As she painfully crept down the marble steps, lo! a Woman stood before her, and her face shone like the face of an Immortal. The weary outcast stretched out her hands and touched her shining garments; she heard again that voice of ineffable sweetness, and her youth returned, and the pain was gone, and the fear-filled clouds of night rolled away. “Who art Thou, oh glorious Revelation!” she cried. In accents of glowing tenderness came the answer, “My name is Science. I wait for thee in Love. Yonder is the palace of Human Belief. When thou didst desire to enter it, I warned thee, but when thou couldst not believe me, thou didst go on to find for thyself that all therein is false. If thou couldst have listened to my word this pain would have been spared thee. The flowers are self-will, self-love, personality, passion, flattery, ambition, admiration, pride, vanity, pleasures of sense. If thou stoop to inhale the atmosphere of any of these, thou must feel the sharp sting of betrayal, pain, wounds and disappointment. Oh! henceforth place thy hand in mine, thou child of God, and I will show thee the secret place of the Most High. ‘Set not thy mind on things on the earth.’ Spirit fills thy desires, and before thee is spread all the fairness of thy Creator’s universe, if thou wilt but lift thy gaze above matter into the eternal sunshine of Mind’s celestial day. Waste not one thought on the illusions of time, sense and mortality. Not one of their pleasures is real, but I, Divine Science, if thou follow me, will show thee that man is the image of his God, and that ‘all things are put under his feet.’ Under the rays of Infinite Truth, thou shalt see thy sorrow, thy self, thy sin, thy pain melt away, and thou shalt know that thy disappointed desire was only an illusive dream, for Love has supplied all thy need.”

“Truth crushed to earth will rise again,
The eternal years of God are hers;
But error wounded writhes in pain,
And dies amid her worshippers.”—Bryant.

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