As Children

As a Christian Scientist stood one day looking down into the sweet face of a little child, there flashed into her thought Mrs. Eddy's definition of "children" in Science and Health (p. 582), "The spiritual thoughts and representatives of Life, Truth, and Love." Yes, surely; no wonder we love the children. Then the definition continues: "Sensual and mortal beliefs; counterfeits of creation, whose better originals are God's thoughts, not in embryo, but in maturity." Here the Scientist stopped, startled, asking herself: "Are there, then, no children as we know them in God's spiritual universe? Can it be that in the kingdom of heaven these dear little ideas we call babies, children, boys and girls, will all be mature ideas? A world without children would be a strange world indeed." Almost instantly these words of Zechariah answered the question: "And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof." Of course there must be children in that holy city, "whose builder and maker is God."

Continuing to ponder the matter, the Scientist realized that man, the only man, God's man, is and always has been a mature, complete, and perfect idea. She saw, too, that even from a human standpoint this child, whose baby sweetness she loved so much, would grow and develop in a few years into a mature man. "And yet there are children in 'the streets of the city,'" she went on to herself. Why did she want them there? What would be missing if they were not there? Quickly she saw that it was not the dimpled hands, or the curly hair, or the tiny bodies; these were not what she loved the children for, but for the spiritual qualities they expressed. She could hear the echo of her own voice asking a Sunday school class that very question: "Do we love our mothers and fathers because of the color of their eyes or hair? Is it what we see with our eyes that makes us love them?" A little one had replied, her face shining with love, "It can't be that, because my mamma's hair used to be brown and now it's white, and I love her just the same." They were very sure that the real man, the man they loved, was not the one the eye beheld. "The real man is not the man we see, but the man who thinks good thoughts," they had told her. "So then," she continued, "the real child is the child who thinks pure, childlike thoughts. That is why we love the children, and that is why Jesus "took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.'"

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