(Reprinted, at the request of a reader, from Vol. I. of "The Light of Reason")
Slowly I toiled upward, for the way was steep, and the hot sun poured upon my head by day, and the damp, chilly dews, of the night clung to my garments, making them cold and heavy about me, and ever and anon my feet stumbled upon the mountain pathway.
The hill I climbed was called the Hill of Life, and I was not alone, for many another traveled the same way, with the same end in view, for we had all received an invitation to see The King in his Beauty.
I was tired—very tired, for life for me had not been all sunshine and happiness, and I yearned with a great yearning to reach my journey’s end ; and often I had fainted by the way did not the thought of the rest and peace awaiting me cause me to hasten my steps and press forward.
And as I climbed up the steep pathway I passed one that was blind, and he stumbled in his darkness, and I heard him cry, "Will someone take my hand? I cannot see. The King has called for me, but my poor feet stumble in the darkness. Will someone help"?
But I passed on and left him, for I was, already late, and I was very weary, and moreover, I did but do what others did, for what was this blind man to me?
Presently I came to one who crouched down beside the pathway, and as she hid her face in her mantle she cried, saying, "Alas, I am fallen, fallen," but all those who climbed gave her a wide berth and hurried by. Then, as l approached she lifted her head for one moment, and I met the sad, stricken eyes, and their anguish smote upon my heart, so I stayed my steps for a brief moment,—but, what was she to me, and why should I stay? My heart was very weary, and the way was long,—so I passed quickly on my way, and I heard her voice as it died away in the distance, and she cried, "No one has pity!"
After a time I came to where the way grew very steep and rugged, and there, right across my pathway one lay upon his face and wept, and as he wept he cried aloud in tones of bitter agony and despair, "My feet slipped," he cried, "when I thought not, and my besetting sin hath overtaken me; woe is me, I shall never see the King!"
Then I put my fingers in my ears and ran, for surely this did not concern me; he had walked faster than I and had outstripped me in the way, and had well-nigh reached the goal, and yet, he had fallen! He must bear his own sorrow. So I quickened my footsteps and passed on.
And now the shadows were falling upon the mountains, and the deep valleys up out of which I had come were full of the dark night mists,—but, I had reached the portals of the Home Door, and my heart was glad, for, just a moment, and I should hear the voice I had loved and longed for,—I should see the King in His Beauty!
My hands trembled with joy as I knocked upon the portal, and slowly the great door swung back upon its hinges, and there, in the open doorway stood one with a calm stem face, but he did not bids me enter. Then I trembled exceedingly and I said, "I have come to see the King, may I not enter?"
"Nay, He is not here," said the porter, "did you not see Him by the way? Go back again and look for Him."
Slowly and with bitter tears I descended the pathway up which I had come, a strange pain and disappointment filling my heart, for after all, I had missed Him by the way.
After many days of weary travel I came to where he lay who had fallen by the wayside, and still he cried out in his anguish; but, somehow, this time I could not pass him by, and leaning down I put my arms around him and lifted him up, saying, "Come, my brother, I too have missed Him, let us seek Him together." Then he wept with joy, and clung to my garments like a little child, and so we two passed on together.
By and by we came to where she lay whom I had passed by and left to her shame and sorrow. Then I looked into the eyes of my companion, and we understood each other; so we took her hands, and we whispered, "Arise, sister, and we will seek Him together." Then she arose and dried her tears, and drew her mantle around her. And we three passed on, hand in hand to find Him.
After many days we came to him who groped his way in the darkness and cried aloud for some hand to lead him, and with common consent we stayed our steps and gathered around him. We took his hands, saying, "We will be sight for you, my brother, come, we will seek Him together."
Then a voice close beside us spake, saying, "My children, here am I" And I turned to see Him whom I had sought so long. My eyes beheld a Light, a Form, a Glory—and I awoke. But I knew that in my dream I had found The King in His Beauty.