"As a little child."

IN moments of doubt and despondency, men often express the wish that they might again possess the simple faith of their childhood, and the general thought of the impossibility of its fulfilment renders this longing deeply pathetic. Such a heart-hunger was disclosed recently in a communication to the editor of a prominent religious weekly which lies before us. The writer tells the old story of early religious impulse and enthusiasm, followed by a reaction that led first to the darkness of doubt, and later to a cold, critical intellectualism which now thinks of the Bible as interesting literature and of God as but an abstraction,—that knows neither peace of mind nor comfort of heart. He says, "I crave for the faith of my boyhood days; I have struggled for it on my knees . . . but it has not come back to me."

Replying to this, the editor says in effect that it is impossible for us to recover the lost faith of our childhood. He who boasts of such a faith gives evidence that while he has grown physically and intellectually he has not grown in religious experience. "A childhood faith is a dwarfed and stunted faculty in a man or woman; it is unquestioning, and therefore unreasoning"! Thus reading, there comes the query: If all this be true, what of Jesus' declaration, "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein"? These words surely indicate that he placed a high value upon the child-thought. They declare it to be essential to a saving faith; that heaven "doth lie all about us in our infancy."

Analyzing this faith, all will agree that simplicity is one of its characteristics, and the desirability of this feature will not be questioned by those who have tried to find their way through the tangled undergrowths of religious teaching. Further, its "unquestioning" is also characteristic, and no less desirable. True, it is grounded in the assumed truthfulness of religious teachers rather than in "reasoning," but that such belief may ripen into faith, and faith into a spiritual understanding which is yet more sure and "unquestioning," is joyful and unhesitant testimony of a great crowd of witnesses, who through Christian Science have found a solid basis of witnesses, who through Christian Science have found a solid basis for conviction, and that content of heart for which the troubled sigh. The mathematician may look out upon vast ranges of as yet unexplored territory, but he understands every step of his way hither, and the farther he advances the more "unquestioning" his faith in mathematical law becomes. This is the normal order of spiritual progress as well, and it is realized as each step of our advance is proved through practical demonstration. Thus and thus only is the childlike assurance maintained and augmented. On page 297 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy calls attention to the naturalness and necessity of that divine order in which belief grows into faith, into the understanding of Truth whose fruitage is joy and peace,—

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Letters to our Leader
February 17, 1906

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