Lessons from a Mirage

One afternoon when I was motoring in the San Joaquin valley in California with two of my young sons, our attention was drawn to what seemed to be a great body of water covering the road ahead and extending over a wide stretch of country on both sides of it. We viewed the phenomenon with interest. Although to the senses we were impassably cut off from our home, the boys felt no fear, as they had previously had experiences with a mirage, and knew that in such experiences all that it is necessary to do is to keep right on, just as if the mirage were not there, and that it would vanish on our approach.

The experience had, however, a deeper significance for me. I knew that the appearance was merely an illusion, but I also knew that Christian Science proclaims all material appearances to be illusions, because they are the reverse of spiritual reality. My train of thought was somewhat as follows: Jesus gave us the rule by which we are to obtain our freedom from all illusions; it is for us to know the truth,—and the promise is that the truth will make us free. Make us free how? By destroying our belief in the material illusion; by healing us of our false sense. We all know that a mirage is an illusion; we know this absolutely. We do not have to work to realize this. Then, it may be asked, why does it not disappear? In this case I was realizing with great certainty of conviction that the mirage was an illusion, a false sense; but there it was, just as real to my senses as when I first saw it. Then personal sense argued, If you cannot handle something which you know with all your heart and soul to be an illusion, what hope have you ever to handle claims of evil, of sickness, of misfortune, which for so many years you have regarded as real, and which mortal sense and physical experience have always conceded to be very real, and often terrible indeed?

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July 13, 1918
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