The Mirage of Evil

Many years before coming into Christian Science the writer had an experience which, though at the time regarded as only a passing incident, now vividly recurs to thought, teaching a valuable lesson and helping to clear away belief in the reality of evil. While visiting friends one summer, a trip was taken in a motor boat. On the return trip late that night, we were suddenly and unexpectedly confronted by an island, so it seemed, which lay directly across our course. The tide being too low to allow us to pass the island safely on the side near the shore, there seemed nothing else to do but to go around it, which meant turning from our course and putting straight out to sea,—and the longer we gazed at the "island" the blacker and larger it seemed.

Some time passed before we realized that no progress was being made, but that the obstruction seemed to be just as long and just as much in our way as before. At this point one of the party suggested that we get out the map and find our bearings. We did so, discovering by the light of a lantern that there was no such island anywhere on that part of the coast. How simple it was, and how we had been deceived by what was only an illusion! The rest was easy. Knowing the nature of a mirage we resumed our course without a question, sailing right through the apparent obstruction, which vanished in the process, and in due time we arrived safely home.

On page 14 of Mrs. Eddy's Message to The Mother Church for 1901 we find these lines: "We regard evil as a lie, an illusion, therefore as unreal as a mirage that misleads the traveller on his way home." How clear the lesson is! Just so long as we ignorantly accepted the false testimony of the material senses and regarded the appearance as an island, a real obstruction in our way, we were needlessly sailing out to sea in the attempt to get around it, and instead we were virtually taking it along with us. And so it is with the illusion of evil. Just so long as we believe evil to be real, having power and presence in our affairs, looming up black and impassable before us in our ignorance as to sin, sickness, limitation, or death; in struggling to get around it or away from it, we become hopelessly adrift on the "dark ebbing and flowing tides of human fear" (Science and Health, p. 566) and find to our dismay that we are taking fear along with us.

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"Streams in the desert"
January 4, 1919

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