Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/110

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or its blue eyes shone more brilliant through tears, it was beautiful. It was beautiful because it was innocent. And care-worn and sinful men admired, when they beheld it. It was like the first blossom which some cherished plant has put forth, whose cup sparkles with a dew-drop, and whose head reclines upon the parent stem.

Again I looked. It had become a child. The lamp of reason had beamed into its mind. It was simple, and single-hearted, and a follower of the truth. It loved every little bird that sang in the trees, and every fresh blossom. Its heart danced with joy as it looked around on this good and pleasant world. It stood like a lamb before its teachers—it bowed its ear to instruction—it walked in the way of knowledge. It was not proud, nor stubborn, nor envious, and it had never heard of the vices and vanities of the world. And when I looked upon it, I remembered our Saviour’s words, “Except ye become as little children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven.”

I saw a man, whom the world calls honourable. Many waited for his smile. They pointed to the fields that were his, and talked of the silver and gold which he had gathered. They praised the stateliness of his domes, and extolled the honour of his family. But the secret language of his heart was, “By my wisdom have I gotten all this.” So he returned no thanks to God, neither did he fear or serve him. As I passed along, I heard the complaints of the labourers, who had reaped his fields—and the cries of the poor, whose covering he had taken away. The sound of feasting and revelry was in his mansion, and the unfed beggar came tottering from his door. But he considered not that the cries of the oppressed were continually entering into the ears of the Most High. And when I knew that this man was the docile child whom I had loved, the beautiful infant on whom I had gazed with delight, I said in my bitterness, “Now, have I seen an end of all perfection!” And I laid my mouth in the dust.