You have the child’s character in these four things—Humility, Faith, Charity and Cheerfulness. That’s what you have got to be converted to. "Except ye be converted and become as little children." You hear much of conversion nowadays; but people always seem to think they have got to be made wretched by conversion—to be converted to long faces. No, friends, you have got to be converted to short ones; you have got to repent into childhood, to repent into delight and delightsomeness. You can’t go into a conventicler but you hear plenty of talk of backsliding. Backsliding, indeed! I can tell you, on the ways most of us go, the faster we slide back the better. Slide back into the cradle if going on is into the grave; back, I tell you; back out of your long faces and into your long clothes. It is among children only, and as children only, that you will find medicine for your healing and true wisdom for your teaching. There is poison in the counsels of the men of this world; the words they speak are all bitter, the "poison of asps is under their lips," but "the sucking child shall play by the hole of the asp." There is death in the looks of men. "Their eyes are privily set against the poor:" they are as the uncharmable serpent, the cockatrice which slew by seeing. But "the weaned child shall lay his hand on the cockatrice den." There is death in the steps of men: "Their feet are swift to shed blood," they have compassed us in our steps like the lion that is greedy for his prey, and the young lion lurking in secret places; but in that kingdom, the wolf shall lie down with the lamb, and the fatling with the lion, and "a little child shall lead them."
—Nathaniel Langdon Frothingham
—H. L. Payne
More from John Ruskin
- Born on February 8th, 1819 in London, England and died on January, 20th 1900
- A prominent social thinker and philanthropist