Songs of Innocence|
Copy T, Plate 10
Blake's use of the child in the condition of innocence is the image of the ideal man living in harmony with God and his brothers. The child does not stand in judgment of his fellows. He does not refuse the company of Jesus. He does not expect to understand everything that he encounters. He savors the love and care that comes his way. He sees his life as preparation for a life of greater independence and freedom. He accepts the gift of being part of the Divine Family.
A childlike attitude represented to Jesus the appropriate preparation for entering into the Kingdom of God. The child's simple trust deserves recognition as a reflection on the faith which connects man to man, and man to God. Turning away a child is failing to seek the truth of the community of believers. Seeing oneself as a child of God, related to him as one nurtured and loved and brought up with benevolent care, gives one the sense of living in the world of Eternity which extends beyond time.
Songs of Innocence, SONGS 9, (E 9)
"The Little Black Boy.
My mother bore me in the southern wild, And I am black, but O! my soul is white; White as an angel is the English child: But I am black as if bereav'd of light. My mother taught me underneath a tree And sitting down before the heat of day, She took me on her lap and kissed me, And pointing to the east began to say. Look on the rising sun: there God does live And gives his light, and gives his heat away. And flowers and trees and beasts and men recieve Comfort in morning joy in the noon day. And we are put on earth a little space, That we may learn to bear the beams of love, And these black bodies and this sun-burnt face Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove. SONGS 10 For when our souls have learn'd the heat to bear The cloud will vanish we shall hear his voice. Saying: come out from the grove my love & care, And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice. Thus did my mother say and kissed me, And thus I say to little English boy; When I from black and he from white cloud free, And round the tent of God like lambs we joy: Ill shade him from the heat till he can bear, To lean in joy upon our fathers knee. And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair, And be like him and he will then love me." A Cradle Song, (E 12) "Sweet babe in thy face, Holy image I can trace. Sweet babe once like thee, Thy maker lay and wept for me SONGS 17 Wept for me for thee for all, When he was an infant small. Thou his image ever see, Heavenly face that smiles on thee. Smiles on thee on me on all, Who became an infant small, Infant smiles are his own smiles. Heaven & earth to peace beguiles."Annotations to Berkeley, (E 664)
"Jesus supposes every Thing to be Evident to the Child & to the Poor & Unlearned Such is the Gospel"
 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
 And 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.
 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
First John 3
 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.