As a gentle rebuke to a growing misconception amongst his disciples and in answer to a question which was asked, Jesus, the master Christian, made some very arresting statements on the subject of children which must have helped his disciples to express more humility, a quality they seemed at the moment to lack.

The question Jesus was asked is (Matt. 18:1), "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" The following is the recorded account of the way in which Jesus answered it (Matt. 18:2–4, 6, 10): "Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. ... But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. ... Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven."

The Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key tothe Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, throws great light upon this passage. In the Glossary we find the metaphysical interpretation of the word children, and it is thought-provoking. It reads in part (p. 582): "Children. The spiritual thoughts and representatives of Life, Truth, and Love." Even slightly to understand this passage compels us to lift thought into a purely spiritual realm, the realm of perfect spiritual ideas. One definition of "idea" is "an image in Mind; the immediate object of understanding." This spiritual definition of children helps us to appreciate Jesus' thought of them and to understand why he spoke so definitely about them. It must have been because the treasured the natural goodness, happiness, purity, love, the genuine innocence and humility, of the true child thought, of which the little figure he tenderly held before his disciples was but a counterfeit.

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May 3, 1952

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