Mis 323:1 by Mary Baker Eddy
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."
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
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
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
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
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
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
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