"Out of the mouth of babes"

It was the morning before Christmas, and presents had already begun to arrive. Although nothing had come as yet addressed to the little five-year-old Christian Scientist, with the arrival of each new package the child's excitement increased, and it was quite evident to the lookers-on that the little fellow's cup of bliss would not hold very much more. Then he suddenly astonished them all. "Mama," he said, "I'm so happy! I think I'll go down-stairs and talk to God a little bit." Down the stairs he went, entered the empty living-room, and climbed up into the big chair where he had so often seen his father sit to study the Lesson-Sermon and then silently "talk to God." Up went the little hand over his eyes, and for several minutes he sat perfectly still. At length those watching from the hall heard the baby voice softly repeating the Lord's prayer, and then he jumped down, his face beaming. He had talked to God and was satisfied.

Truly, "out of the mouth of babes ... thou hast perfected praise." How simply and naturally that pure child-thought turned to God in its moment of extreme happiness! Quite different was the early training of those who witnessed the little scene, and of some, perhaps, who may read this story. In our early days, if we remember rightly, except for the nightly prayer at our mother's knee, we seldom talked to God unless we were in trouble. The appearance of the Bible on a week-day was generally the harbinger of something wrong in the household, and we regarded it with the same uncomfortable feeling as if we heard the call, "Icebergs ahead!" We talked to God only when we wanted something or when things somehow went wrong and we were sad, afraid, or discouraged. When baby was sick, mother read the Bible and prayed a good deal, and even father picked the book up once in a while, which made us very uneasy; but as soon as baby was well, the Bible went back to its old place in the bookcase, and the whole family cheered up.

But to this little Christian Scientist, untrammeled by false education, knowing nothing from his babyhood but "the simple verities" which Mrs. Eddy says make children "happy and good" (Science and Health, p. 236), it was a perfectly natural thing to want to "talk to God" just because he was so happy. And if we had been privileged to hear that baby prayer, we might have bowed our heads in reverent humility and learned much; for crude though its phrasing must have been, it surely found its way to the great listening heart of the all-Father, for it was winged with the vital essence of true prayer,—gratitude, sincerity, and love.

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Childhood and Christian Science
September 20, 1913

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