The Curious Dish – A TEST

You have often read in your Bibles how that

God gave to Adam and Eve a right to all the

trees of the garden, save one. These trees

were pleasant to the sight, and their fruit was

good for food. Without that particular tree

which was the tree of the knowledge of good

and evil Adam and Eve had all that they

needed for comfort and support. This one

tree, perhaps, was not much different from the

rest, it might be no more pleasant to behold,

and its fruit not more delicious to the taste;

but it was the test-tree. That is, eating of its

fruit or letting it alone decided their characters,

whether they were obedient or not, whether

they were good or bad. You all know how

unhappily our first parents were deceived

how they forfeited their beautiful paradise home

and became sinners. I once read a story which

seems to be a fitting illustration of the manner

in which God dealt with our first parents in the

garden of Eden. I will relate it.

A man once had several children who seemed

to be very obedient and obliging when in his

presence. He always found them ready to

obey him, but still he was not fully satisfied.

He wished to know if they were as dutiful in

his absence as when he was with them. To

accomplish this purpose he at last bit upon a

plan by which to test them.

He caught a little mouse and put it under a

basin or dish in the center of the table, and

then placed on the table fruits, candies,

 sweetmeats, &c., of every description, and all

 that they could wish. He then took his children

into the room and told them the contents of

the table were all theirs, but that they must

not disturb or even touch a particular dish

the one that contained the mouse. To this

they all consented, and the father left them

alone while they gathered around the table to

enjoy the repast. Great indeed was their

pleasure for a while, for they had everything

that their hearts could wish. After they had

fully satisfied themselves with the fruits and

nice things on the table, they began to wonder

what was in that curious dish which their father

had commanded them not to touch. And

they all began to reason like this: "Why is it

that father don't want us to move that dish?

I don't see what harm there could be in just

lifting it up?" Pretty soon their curiosity was

wrought up to such a pitch that they thought,

"Well, it really won't do any hurt just to peep

under the edge, and besides, father will never

know it." But ah! They forgot that that would

be disobeying their good father who had

 commanded them to let it alone. Pretty soon

 they lifted the edge of the dish, when, lo, out

 jumped the little mouse and ran off while they

 were left standing with their disobedience and

 unfaithfulness fully exposed.

Now, dear young friends, you will readily

see what I mean. Adam and Eve in the garden

had their table full of sweets. Yes! A

garden full, but they also had their dish with

the mouse under it, by which the Lord might

test them in his apparent absence whether they

were faithful or not. The "tree of knowledge

of good and evil" was their dish with the mouse

under it. It surely could do no harm to lift

the dish, and perhaps it looked strange that

that tree was not as free of access as the rest,

but God had forbidden it. This they seemed

for a time not to realize, and they venture to

raise the dish; but instead of an innocent mouse

jumping out, sorrow, disease and death, with

all its terrors, were entailed upon the race of

man. You see at once that the Lord by this

means placed a test before man, and although

man in the hour of temptation fell, yet God is

merciful, and even now he places a similar test

before us, to see if we, with Adam's example

before us, will do any better than he. Temptation

and sin are before us, and the question

now to be decided by us is, whether or not we

will touch the dish, whether we will fall under

temptation and thus raise the dish and be

 victims to the second death, or obey our

 heavenly Father and live. The Lord help us to 

be faithful and keep free from the path of sin.