(A legend read to those in the home of Mary Baker Eddy.)
Once the river flowed free and easy over its rocky bed, but one night the temperature of the river dropped a dozen degrees or so, and continued dropping all the next day and night, and formed a thin coating of ice, under which the river flowed. Accepting the best of it, the river flowed on under the ice, but that night the coat thickened, crowding the activities of the river farther down. This went on until the river was a frozen mass.
"Oh, dear," said the river as it tried to move and couldn't, "Was it ever possible that I was free and could move, and will that day ever come again?" A south wind passed by and said, "If the sun would shine on you it would help you." And the next day the sun did shine on the river, and the river was glad and full of appreciation, "Now I SHALL FLOW AND BE FREE."
But after shining hard all day nothing happened, and that evening the river was very despondent. But the sun, who was more persistent than the river, came again and shined all day-but nothing happened. And so this little drama went on day after day, and week after week and the river became very discouraged and almost knew it would never flow again,-never be free again. But the sun kept on shining and one day the river felt a little loosening. It couldn't tell just what, but that night it was solid again, and the river lost hope. But the sun came again the next day and it loosened again, and again at night it was frozen stiff.
"How disgusting," said the river. "Every time I gain a little bit, immediately lose it." But the sun kept on shining. At last the ice broke up into great chunks and floated away. How easily it all had departed.
So with the obstinate case. The first day's treatment may not melt the ice, nor the second, nor the third; and at night (in doubt and anxiety) it may freeze up again. But when faithfully followed, and the sunlight of love is applied untiringly, the change does take place.
Judge not from appearances. Neither the first day nor the last melted the river. It took them both, and all the days in between to overcome the condition that had been growing for months and years.
It took seven times around the wall of Jericho to reduce them to dust, and who shall say which was the most effective trip-the first or the last? Spiritually man is already free- and if he can get this established firmly in his mind and hold to it, regardless of appearances, the demonstration is made.