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| Heard the man of sin reproaching the goodness of Jehovah,
Wherefore, if he be Almighty Love, permitteth he misery and pain ?
I saw the child of hope vexed in the labyrinth of doubt,
Wherefore, O holy One and just, is the horn of thy foul foe so high
And, alas! for this our groaning world, for that grief and guilt are here;
Alas! for that Earth is the battle-field, where good must combat with evil:
Angels look on and hold their breath, burning to mingle in the conflict,
But the troops of the Captain of Salvation may be none but the soldiers of
the cross: And that siender band must fight alone, and yet shall triumph gloriously, Enough shall they be for conquest, and the motto of their standard is
Enough. Thou art sad, O denizen of earth, for pains and diseases and death, But remember, thy hand hath earned them; grudge not at the wages of thy
doings: Thy guilt, and thy fathers' guilt, must bring many sorrows in their com
pany, And if thou wilt drink sweet poison, doubtless it shall rot thee to the
Who art thou but the heritor of evil, with a right to nothing good ?
The respite of an interval of ease were a boon which Justice might deny
Therefore lay thy hand upon thy mouth, O rian much to be forgiven,
And wait, thou child of hope, for time shall teach thee all things.
Yet hear, for my speech shall comfort thee: reverently, but with
boldness, I would raise the sable curtain, that hideth the symmetry of Providence. Pain and sin are convicts, and toil in their fetters for good; l'he weapons of evil are turned against itself, fighting under better
banners: The leech delighteth in stinging, and the wicked loveth to do harm, But the wise Physician of the universe useth that ill tendency for health. Verily, from others' griefs are gendered sympathy and kindness; Patience, humility, and faith, spring not seldom from thine own: An enemy, humbled by his sorrows, cannot be far from thy forgiveness, A friend, who hath tasted of calamity, shall fan the dying incense of thy
And for thyself, is it a small thing, so to learn thy frailty,
That from an aching bone thou savest the whole body?
The furnace of affliction may be fierce, but if it refineth thy soul,
The good of one meek thought shall outweigh years of torment.
Nevertheless, wretched man, if thy bad heart be hardened in the flame,
Being earth-born, as of clay, and not of moulded wax,
Judge not the hand that smiteth, as if thou wert visited in wrath;
Reproach thyself, for He is Justice: repent thee, for He is Mercy.
CEASE, fond caviller at wisdom, to be satisfied that every thing is wrong:
Be sure there is good necessity, even for the flourishing of evil.
Would the eye delight in perpetual noon ? or the ear in unqualified har-
Hath winter's frost no welcome, contrasting sturdily with summer ?
Couldst thou discern benevolence, if there were no sorrows to be soothed :
Or discover the resources of contrivance, if nothing stood opposed to the
means? What were power without an enemy? or mercy without an object ? Or truth, where the false were impossible? or love, where love 'vere a
debt? The characters of God were but idle, if all things around him were per
fection, And virtues might slumber on like death, if they lacked the opportunities
There is one all-perfect, and but one; man dare not reason of His Essence. But there must be deficiencies in heaven, to leave room for progression in
bliss: A realm of unqualified BEST were a stagnant pool of being, And the circle of absolute perfection, the abstract cipher of indolence. Sin is an awful shadow, but it addeth new glories to the light; Sin is a black foil, but it setteth off the jewelry of heaven: Sin is the traitor that hath dragged the majesty of mercy into action ; Sin is the whelming argument, to justify the attribute of vengeance. It is a deep dark thought, and needeth to be diligently studied, But perchance evil was essential, that God should be seen of his creatures: For where perfection is not, there lacketh possible good, And the absence of better that might be, taketh from the praise of it is
well: And creatures must be finite, and finite cannot be perfect; Therefore, though in small degree, creation involveth evil He chargeth his angels with folly, and the heavens are not clean in His
sight: For every existence in the universe hath either imperfection or Godhead: And the light that blazeth but in One, must be softened with shadow for
There is then good in evil; or none could have known his Maker;
No spiritual intellect or essence could have gazed on his high perfections,
No angel harps could have tuned the wonders of his wisdom,
No ransomed souls have praised the glories of his mercy,
No howling fiends have shown the terrors of his justice,
But God would have dwelt alone in the fearful solitude of holiness.
NEVERTHELESS, O sinner, harden not thine heart in evil;
Nor plume thee in imaginary triumph, because thou art not valueless as
Because thy dark abominations add lustre to the clarity of Light;
Because a wonder-working alchemy draineth elixir out of poisons;
Because the same fiery volcano that scorcheth and ravageth a continent,
Hath in the broad blue bay cast up some petty island;
Because to the full demonstration of the qualities and accidents of good,
The swarthy legions of the devil have toiled as unwitting pioneers :
For sin is still sin: so hateful Love doth hate it;
A blot on the glory of creation, which justice must wipe out.
Sin is a loathsome leprosy, fretting the white robe of innocence;
A rottenness, eating out the heart of the royal cedars of Lebanon;
A pestilential blast, the terror of that holy pilgrimage;
A rent in the sacred veil, whereby God left his temple.
Therefore, consider thyself, thou that dost not sorrow for thy guilt:
Fear evil, or face its enemy: dread sin, or dare justice.
Yea, saith the Spirit: and their works do follow them;
Habits, and thoughts, and deeds, are shadows and satellites of self.
What! shall the claimant to a throne stand forward with a rabble rout,-
Meanness, impiety, and lust; riot and indolence and vanity?
Nay, man! the train wherewith thou comest attend whither thou shalt go.
A throne for a king's son, but an inner dungeon for the felon.
For a man's works do follow him: bodily, standing in the judgment,
Behold the false accuser, behold the slandered saint;
The slave, and his bloody driver; the poor, and his generous friend;
The simple dupe, and the crafty knave: the murderer, and—his victim!
Yet all are in many characters; the best stand guilty at the bar ;
And he that seemed the worst may have most of real excuse.
The talents unto which a man is born, be they few or many,
Are dropped into the balance of account, working unlooked-for changes,
And perchance the convict from the galleys may stand above the hermit
from his cell, For that the obstacles in one outweigh the propensions in the other. There be, who have made themselves friends, yea, by unrighteous
Friends, ready waiting as an escort to those everlasting habitations;
Embodied in living witnesses, thronging to meet them in a cloud,
Charity, meekness and truth, zeal, sincerity and patience.
There be, who have made themselves foes, yea, by honest gain,
Foes, whose plaint must have its answer, before the bright portal is
Pride, and selfishness, and sloth, apathy, wrath and falsehood,
Bind to their everlasting toil many that must weary in the fires.
Love hath a power and a longing to save the gathered world,
And rescue universal man from the hunting hell-hounds of his doings:
Yet few, here one and there one, scanty as the gleaning after harvest,
Are glad of the robes of praise which Mercy would fling around the
But wrapping closer to their skin the poisoned tunic of their works,
They stand in self-dependence to perish in abandonment of God.