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Sunday, 27 November 2016

Do you remember the last half of Whittier's Answer?

Though God be good and free be heaven,
No force divine can love compel;
And though the song of sins forgiven
May sound through lowest hell,

The sweet persuasion of His voice
Respects thy sanctity of will.
He giveth day—thou hast thy choice
To walk in darkness still,

As one who, turning from the light,
Watches his own gray shadow fall,
Doubting, upon his path of night,
If there be day at all!

No word of doom may shut thee out,
No wind of wrath may downward whirl,
No swords of fire keep watch about
The open gates of pearl;

A tenderer light than moon or sun,
Than song of earth a sweeter hymn,
May shine and sound forever on,
And thou be deaf and dim.

Forever round the Mercy-seat
The guiding lights of Love shall burn;
But what if, habit-bound, thy feet
Shall lack the will to turn?

What if thine eye refuse to see,
Thine ear of heaven's free welcome fail,
And thou a willing captive be,
Thyself thy own dark jail?

O doom beyond the saddest guess,
As the long years of God unroll
To make thy dreary selfishness
The prison of a soul!

To doubt the love that fain would break
The fetters from thy self-bound limb,
And dream that God can thee forsake
As thou forsakest Him!

John Greenleaf Whittier