Mansion Building

While tramping through a wonderful section of country in western Massachusetts, on a glorious autumn day, the writer came quite unexpectedly upon the almshouse of the town. On stopping to ask for a drink of water, she was invited in to call upon two old ladies, the only inmates of the place. As she disliked to seem ungracious, the invitation was accepted, with the result that, when she left an hour later with a deep sense of humility and gratitude, there came to mind the words which Jacob spoke when he awakened from sleep, "Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not." One old lady seemed quite satisfied and not to need anything beyond what she had; the other, however, a sweet-faced, silver-haired gentlewoman, needed a recognition of kinship and an expression of love, even human love, through which alone, sometimes, one can appreciate and comprehend the divine. After a brief conversation, this lady said, quite calmly but appealingly: "Will you kiss me, child? You seem like my very own, somehow." Thereupon her "very own" knelt down beside her, in thanksgiving that she had been so chosen; and then the thought of mansion building came up, born of a desire to blot out sad thoughts as to location.

She offered to be the dear lady's achitect, recommending, however, that she choose her own building materials (explanation being given that this was to be a mental, spiritual dwelling). Of course, the first thing must be a foundation,—and what should it be? With smiling, uplifted face, almost instantly came the answer, "Why, love, of course;" and so the building began. Truly the house had a sure and firm foundation, for we looked well to the quality of our material, recognizing it as the one Love that never fails, never forgets, never is exhausted, never wavers. The walls were of truth, through which no poisoned darts of scorn or unkindness could penetrate, and so high that the occupant would be lifted far above the earth shadows into perpetual sunlight. The windows were of spiritual understanding, which the owner should prayerfully seek to keep clear and shining, that the radiance of that light which "never was, on sea or land," might flood her dwelling. Round about the house a wondrous garden was made, and the flowers of hope, faithfulness, peace, trust, and their kind, bloomed there, and so close together that no weeds could find a space in which to take root.

March 21, 1914

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