In keeping with St. Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, 4:1-7, while we but obey the law God has laid upon us, without knowing the heart of the Father whence comes the law, we are but slaves—not necessarily ignoble slaves, yet slaves; but when we come to think with him, when the mind of the son is as the mind of the Father, then is the son of the Father, then are we the sons of God.
Children we were; true sons we could never be, save through The Son. He brothers us. He takes us to the knees of the Father, beholding whose face we grow sons indeed. Never could we have known the heart of the Father, never felt it possible to love him as sons, but for him who cast himself into the gulf that yawned between us. In and through him we were foreordained to the sonship: sonship, even had we never sinned, never could we reach without him. We should have been little children loving the Father indeed, but children far from the sonhood that understands and adores. “For as many as are led by the spirit of God, these are sons of God;” “If any man hath not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” There is no unity but having the same spirit. There is but one spirit, that of truth.
A Poem by George MacDonald
I Would I Were A Child
I would I were a child,
That I might look, and laugh, and say, My Father!
And follow Thee with running feet, or rather
Be led thus through the wild.
How I would hold thy hand!
My glad eyes often to thy glory lifting,
Which casts all beauteous shadows, ever shifting,
Over this sea and land.
If a dark thing came near,
I would but creep within thy mantle's folding,
Shut my eyes close, thy hand yet faster holding,
And so forget my fear.
O soul, O soul, rejoice!
Thou art God's child indeed, for all thy sinning;
A trembling child, yet his, and worth the winning
With gentle eyes and voice.
The words like echoes flow.
They are too good; mine I can call them never;
Such water drinking once, I should feel ever
As I had drunk but now.
And yet He said it so;
'Twas He who taught our child-lips to say, Father!
Like the poor youth He told of, that did gather
His goods to him, and go.
Ah! Thou dost lead me, God;
But it is dark; no stars; the way is dreary;
Almost I sleep, I am so very weary
Upon this rough hill-road.
Almost! Nay, I do sleep.
There is no darkness save in this my dreaming;
Thy Fatherhood above, around, is beaming;
Thy hand my hand doth keep.
This torpor one sun-gleam
Would break. My soul hath wandered into sleeping;
Dream-shades oppress; I call to Thee with weeping,
Wake me from this my dream.
And as a man doth say,
Lo! I do dream, yet trembleth as he dreameth;
While dim and dream-like his true history seemeth,
Lost in the perished day;
(For heavy, heavy night
Long hours denies the day) so this dull sorrow
Upon my heart, but half believes a morrow
Will ever bring thy light.
God, art Thou in the room?
Come near my bed; oh! draw aside the curtain;
A child's heart would say Father, were it certain
That it did not presume.
But if this dreary bond
I may not break, help Thou thy helpless sleeper;
Resting in Thee, my sleep will sink the deeper,
All evil dreams beyond.
Father! I dare at length.
My childhood, thy gift, all my claim in speaking;
Sinful, yet hoping, I to Thee come, seeking
Thy tenderness, my strength.