NED and I've wondered all day whatever we could have done last night that made papa hurry us off to bed so. We's just askin' him to splain about Dr. Good's "God Plan;" cause we couldn't see, for the life of us, if 'twas all planned out already, as he told us, why God got so angry about it, 'cause how could Adam and everybody help it? Grace said she thought "it 'ud been gooder for God to ve cut down e tree, or killed 'e snake, or else unmade Adam, than to been so drefful cross at him and everybody, like Dr. Good said."
Papa said we couldn't 'spect, bein' children, to understand such deep truths, for it had taken Dr. Good his life-time, studying about them, to find out, and he was sure it was the safest way for us to just 'cept them as Dr. Good told them to us.
I couldn't hardly breathe when papa said that; I can't explain it, but it feels as if all the sunshine and the air were going 'way out of the world when folks talk like Dr. Good did yesterday. I guess Ned and Grace felt so, too; 'cause Ned said it felt awful good to get out doors and breathe again; and Grace said, "It seemed 's if God staid out doors mostly on Sundays."
While papa was talking to us that way, Ned sat so still,
and Aunt Joy was upstairs with mamma, and I wished I could feel sure that God was like he seemed when Aunt Joy talked 'bout him.
After awhile Ned told papa he couldn't see why, if God really knew and didn't change his mind — he had made a man and said he was "very good," and then set a trap to prove he wasn't.
"For, you see," said Ned, "if Dr. Good had only 'splained that God hadn't had the 'sperience when he made Adam, we could see how it all happened; but he told it as if God had planned it all beforehand and then wouldn't have any mercy on Adam or anybody, nor forgive 'em till Jesus just coaxed him so and told him he'd come and live for us and bear everything, and even be murdered to make him get over being mad at everybody on Adam's account, and God let him do it, and that's why God can bear with us now. Why, papa, you're lots better 'an that, 'cause I remember once when Mike got drunk and drove Beauty to death (Beauty was our horse), and you were so angry about it, you drove Mike away, and told him never to show his face about here again. We children were so sorry for Mike we went and hunted him up after a good while and found 'im most starvin'; and we cried and coaxed you to just try him once more for his children's sake, and when you saw what a hard time they were having, you forgave him, and trusted him again, and he's been awful good ever since, you know, papa."
"And oh, papa," said Grace, "s'posin' you wouldn't let him come back wivout we'd all offered to been killed to make you get over bein' mad at poor Mike, and you'd let
us; wouldn't you been an awful man, though, papa?"
Then papa sent us right off to bed; I'd like to know why.
We didn't feel a bit happy. Our pretty room seemed cold and all the bright-cheery was gone out of it. After Maggie had put us in bed and was gone, Grace said she guessed Dr. Good's kind o' God was there, 'cause she didn't feel 'im soft and warm. She wished Aunt Joy would come and chase him away, 'cause he'd no business in little girls' rooms, and she was sure he'd let the bug'oos in, too. Aunt Joy didn't come, and Grace went to sleep, but I couldn't get to sleep for such a long time, for thinking about the dreadful things Dr. Good told us, and wondering if they were true, and if God wasn't a loving Father after all, like Aunt Joy said.
It scared me so that I covered up my head and cried and wondered if I ever would be happy again. Then I dreamed that Dr. Good caught me and shut me up in a dark room, and when I tried to scream for help a dreadful voice spoke out and said, "No use to scream, you're shut up here forever." Then I shook all over and cried, and I asked the voice-of-the-dark why Dr. Good had shut me up and what I had done wrong, but it only said: "A-d-a-m, A-d-a-m, A-d-a-m."
After 'while I thought of Jesus, and then I cried out: "O Jesus Christ, please let me out," and the door flew open, though I could see Dr. Good trying to hold it shut, but he couldn't do it, and then I heard Aunt Joy's voice calling, "Come on out, Trixie." Then I woke up and found Aunt Joy sitting beside me with Grace asleep in her arms. She said Grace and I had both been crying in our
sleep and she had heard us and came in. She looked just like an angel to me, and when 1 told her my awful dream, she just kissed me and said:
"Jesus Christ always opens the doors out of dark places, Trixie, dear; if you'd only remembered to have called to him before you and Grace went to sleep, he would have opened the door of happy thought, which had been closed by doubts and fears you had made your bed-fellow."
She said that Dr. Good in my dream only stood for the thought that God could be anything but a loving Father to his children, and that such thoughts, held to for ever so short a time, would close the Christ-door and leave us alone with the Adam or fleshly mind, that believes in all kinds of evils.
Then Aunt Joy put Grace back in bed, and told me to ask the dear Christ-Spirit to open all the doors of my heart and let in the dear Father's love and I would never get scared any more. I went off to sleep so happy then, and this morning it all seems like a dream.
Today we told Aunt Joy how dreadful that sermon made us feel yesterday; and about our talk with papa last night. I saw the tears come into her eyes, but she brushed 'em right out again and said: "'As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive' (I Cor. 15:22). When we understand what this means, we understand 'God's plan.' "
"But, Aunt Joy," said Grace, "how can mens die in Adam, 'cause if Adam's been such fousands of years died, he's nuffin but dirt now, is he?"
Aunt Joy laughed and told her she ought to ask Dr. Good that question. Ned said he guessed it must mean
just Adam's influence over folks. Aunt Joy told us then that "Adam" stood for a state of mind that eats of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil." She says that believing a thing real hard is just like eating it, 'cause it becomes a part of us. She asked us if we didn't take a little taste of this "good-and-evil-knowledge" yesterday, and have the sad experience of being turned out of our happy consciousness of the dear Father's loving presence. Grace jumped up and said:
"Yes, Aunt Joy, and I fought somefin' drefful was after me and I couldn't feel 'e soft-warm of God at all."
"But God was there with you, just the same. It was your own doubt of his all-present love that shut you outside of the happy feeling of him," said Aunt Joy.
Then Ned asked if that was the way the "sure-enough" Adam got out of Eden. Aunt Joy said it was always just as it is now; that God is the same loving, unchangeable fountain of life and good, world-without-end; and the only possible way for man to get away from him is to believe in some other cause or some other power outside of Life and Love and Good. She said that "as in Adam all die" means that the fruit of this believing in the power of evil is always sorrow and pain and want and death; that the Christ-mind is man's unmixed faith in the wisdom and love and all-power of God alone. She said, "Even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
"He that hath seen me [the Christ-mind] hath seen the Father."
Ned looked up with his face all a-shine, and said: "Oh, I know I saw the Father, then, the night I was healed."