An Allegory | Plainfield Christian Science Church, Independent

An Allegory

From Miscellaneous Writings by


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         PICTURE to yourself “a city set upon a hill,” a

3     celestial city above all clouds, in serene azure and

         unfathomable glory: having no temple therein, for God is

         the temple thereof; nor need of the sun, neither of the

6     moon, for God doth lighten it. Then from this sacred

         summit behold a Stranger wending his way downward,

         to where a few laborers in a valley at the foot of the moun-

9     tain are working and watching for his coming.

         The descent and ascent are beset with peril, priva-

         tion, temptation, toil, suffering. Venomous serpents hide

12    among the rocks, beasts of prey prowl in the path, wolves

         in sheep’s clothing are ready to devour; but the Stranger

         meets and masters their secret and open attacks with

15    serene confidence.

         The Stranger eventually stands in the valley at the

         foot of the mountain. He saith unto the patient toilers

18    therein: “What do ye here? Would ye ascend the moun-

         tain, — climbing its rough cliffs, hushing the hissing

         serpents, taming the beasts of prey, —and bathe in its

21    streams, rest in its cool grottos, and drink from its living

         fountains? The way winds and widens in the valley;

         up the hill it is straight and narrow, and few there be that

24    find it.”


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1     His converse with the watchers and workers in the

         valley closes, and he makes his way into the streets of a

3     city made with hands.

         Pausing at the threshold of a palatial dwelling, he

         knocks and waits. The door is shut. He hears the

6     sounds of festivity and mirth; youth, manhood, and age

         gayly tread the gorgeously tapestried parlors, dancing-

         halls, and banquet-rooms. But a little while, and the

9     music is dull, the wine is unsipped, the footfalls abate,

         the laughter ceases. Then from the window of this dwel-

         ling a face looks out, anxiously surveying him who waiteth

12    at the door.

         Within this mortal mansion are adulterers, fornicators,

         idolaters; drunkenness, witchcraft, variance, envy, emu-

15    lation, hatred, wrath, murder. Appetites and passions

         have so dimmed their sight that he alone who looks from

         that dwelling, through the clearer pane of his own heart

18    tired of sin, can see the Stranger.

         Startled beyond measure at beholding him, this mortal

         inmate withdraws; but growing more and more troubled,

21    he seeks to leave the odious company and the cruel walls,

         and to find the Stranger. Stealing cautiously away from

         his comrades, he departs; then turns back, — he is afraid

24    to go on and to meet the Stranger. So he returns to the

         house, only to find the lights all wasted and the music

         fled. Finding no happiness within, he rushes again

27    into the lonely streets, seeking peace but finding none.

         Naked, hungry, athirst, this time he struggles on, and

         at length reaches the pleasant path of the valley at the

30    foot of the mountain, whence he may hopefully look for

         the reappearance of the Stranger, and receive his heavenly

         guidance.


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1     The Stranger enters a massive carved stone mansion,

         and saith unto the dwellers therein, “Blessed are the

3     poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” But

         they understand not his saying.

         These are believers of different sects, and of no sect;

6     some, so-called Christian Scientists in sheep’s clothing;

         and all “drunken without wine.” They have small con-

         ceptions of spiritual riches, few cravings for the immortal,

9     but are puffed up with the applause of the world: they

         have plenty of pelf, and fear not to fall upon the Stranger,

         seize his pearls, throw them away, and afterwards try to

12    kill him.

         Somewhat disheartened, he patiently seeks another

         dwelling, — only to find its inmates asleep at noontide!

15    Robust forms, with manly brow nodding on cushioned

         chairs, their feet resting on footstools, or, flat on their

         backs, lie stretched on the floor, dreaming away the

18    hours. Balancing on one foot, with eyes half open,

         the porter starts up in blank amazement and looks at

         the Stranger, calls out, rubs his eyes, — amazed beyond

21    measure that anybody is animated with a purpose, and

         seen working for it!

         They in this house are those that “provoke Him in

24    the wilderness, and grieve Him in the desert.” Away

         from this charnel-house of the so-called living, the Stranger

         turns quickly, and wipes off the dust from his feet as a

27    testimony against sensualism in its myriad forms. As

         he departs, he sees robbers finding ready ingress to that

         dwelling of sleepers in the midst of murderous hordes,

30    without watchers and the doors unbarred!

         Next he enters a place of worship, and saith unto them,

         “Go ye into all the world; preach the gospel, heal the


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1     sick, cast out devils, raise the dead; for the Scripture

         saith the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath

3     made you free from the law of sin and death.” And they

         cast him out.

         Once more he seeks the dwelling-place of mortals and

6     knocks loudly. The door is burst open, and sufferers

         shriek for help: that house is on fire! The flames caught

         in the dwelling of luxury, where the blind saw them not,

9     but the flesh at length did feel them; thence they spread

         to the house of slumberers who heeded them not, until

         they became unmanageable; fed by the fat of hypocrisy

12    and vainglory, they consumed the next dwelling; then

         crept unseen into the synagogue, licking up the blood

         of martyrs and wrapping their altars in ruins. “God is a

15    consuming fire.”

         Thus are all mortals, under every hue of circumstances,

         driven out of their houses of clay and, homeless wan-

18    derers in a beleaguered city, forced to seek the Father’s

         house, if they would be led to the valley and up the

         mount.

21    Seeing the wisdom of withdrawing from those who

         persistently rejected him, the Stranger returned to the

         valley; first, to meet with joy his own, to wash their

24    feet, and take them up the mountain. Well might this

         heavenly messenger exclaim, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,

         thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which

27    are sent unto thee, . . . Behold, your house is left unto

         you desolate.”

         Discerning in his path the penitent one who had groped

30    his way from the dwelling of luxury, the Stranger saith

         unto him, “Wherefore comest thou hither?”

         He answered, “The sight of thee unveiled my sins, and


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1     turned my misnamed joys to sorrow. When I went back

         into the house to take something out of it, my misery

3     increased; so I came hither, hoping that I might follow

         thee whithersoever thou goest.”

         And the Stranger saith unto him, “Wilt thou climb

6     the mountain, and take nothing of thine own with thee?”

         He answered, “I will.”

         “Then,” saith the Stranger, “thou hast chosen the

9     good part; follow me.”

         Many there were who had entered the valley to specu-

         late in worldly policy, religion, politics, finance, and to

12    search for wealth and fame. These had heavy baggage

         of their own, and insisted upon taking all of it with them,

         which must greatly hinder their ascent.

15    The journey commences. The encumbered travellers

         halt and disagree. They stoutly belay those who, hav-

         ing less baggage, ascend faster than themselves, and

18    betimes burden them with their own. Despairing of

         gaining the summit, loaded as they are, they conclude to

         stop and lay down a few of the heavy weights, — but

21    only to take them up again, more than ever determined

         not to part with their baggage.

         All this time the Stranger is pointing the way, show-

24    ing them their folly, rebuking their pride, consoling their

         afflictions, and helping them on, saying, “He that loseth

         his life for my sake, shall find it.”

27    Obstinately holding themselves back, and sore-footed,

         they fall behind and lose sight of their guide; when,

         stumbling and grumbling, and fighting each other, they

30    plunge headlong over the jagged rocks.

         Then he who has no baggage goes back and kindly

         binds up their wounds, wipes away the blood stains, and


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1     would help them on; but suddenly the Stranger shouts,

         “Let them alone; they must learn from the things they

3     suffer. Make thine own way; and if thou strayest, listen

         for the mountain-horn, and it will call thee back to the

         path that goeth upward.”

6     Dear reader, dost thou suspect that the valley is hu-

         mility, that the mountain is heaven-crowned Christianity,

         and the Stranger the ever-present Christ, the spiritual

9     idea which from the summit of bliss surveys the vale of

         the flesh, to burst the bubbles of earth with a breath of

         heaven, and acquaint sensual mortals with the mystery

12    of godliness, — unchanging, unquenchable Love? Hast

         not thou heard this Christ knock at the door of thine own

         heart, and closed it against Truth, to “eat and drink

15    with the drunken”? Hast thou been driven by suffer-

         ing to the foot of the mount, but earth-bound, burdened

         by pride, sin, and self, hast thou turned back, stumbled,

18    and wandered away? Or hast thou tarried in the habita-

         tion of the senses, pleased and stupefied, until wakened

         through the baptism of fire?

21    He alone ascends the hill of Christian Science who

         follows the Way-shower, the spiritual presence and idea

         of God. Whatever obstructs the way, — causing to

24    stumble, fall, or faint, those mortals who are striving

         to enter the path, — divine Love will remove; and up-

         lift the fallen and strengthen the weak. Therefore, give

27    up thy earth-weights; and observe the apostle’s admoni-

         tion, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and

         reaching forth unto those which are before.” Then,

30    loving God supremely and thy neighbor as thyself, thou

         wilt safely bear thy cross up to the throne of everlasting

         glory.




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