"They have wandered away from the truth." (2 Timothy 2:18, The Message).
A few years ago I was rummaging through the books in an antique store and came upon a small volume entitled The Hyacinth: or Affection’s Gift, by Henry F. Anners. The book, published in 1845, is a collection of poems and short stories aimed at youth to provide moral inspiration and practical instruction. I was intrigued by the little book so I bought it and took it home. Perusing through its pages I came upon this wonderful poem entitled The Boy and the Fire-flies.
An inexperienced boy, one night through lonely paths returning,
Had taken to guide his steps aright, a lantern brightly burning.
And safe he traveled by its ray, until, before him glancing,
He saw, along the doubtful way, the sparkling fire-flies dancing.
Then he discarded with disdain his lantern calmly beaming,
To follow this resplendent train, in fitful radiance gleaming.
But, ere a second step he took, he found his folly humbled:
The flying lights his path forsook, and in a ditch he tumbled.
Then bitter anger he expressed against these guides beguiling;
Who thus the simple boy addressed: “Nay, cease this vain reviling!
The blame remains with you along; and half the ills men reckon,
proceed from leaving lights well known, to follow some false beacon.”