Ambassador of Reconciliation
12/28/13 at 10:05 PM 91 Comments

A Word to the "Elect"

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From time to time I reprint on my blog the public domain works of authors from the past. This poem is by Anne Brontë, the youngest of the famous Brontë sisters. It was first published in 1846 in Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, a collection of poems by Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë, using pseudonyms because of the prejudice against female writers at the time. Anne’s life was cut short by tuberculosis in 1849 at age 29, within ten months of the death of her brother Branwell at age 31 and her sister Emily at age 30. The work expresses poetically Anne’s response to the Calvinist-Arminian debate. If she were alive today, what would you say to her?

A Word to the “Elect”
by Anne Brontë

You may rejoice to think yourselves secure;
You may be grateful for the gift divine—
That grace unsought, which made your black hearts pure,
And fits your earth-born souls in Heaven to shine.

But, is it sweet to look around, and view
Thousands excluded from that happiness
Which they deserved, at least, as much as you,—
Their faults not greater, nor their virtues less?

And, wherefore should you love your God the more,
Because to you alone his smiles are given;
Because he chose to pass the many o’er,
And only bring the favoured few to Heaven?

And, wherefore should your hearts more grateful prove,
Because for ALL the Saviour did not die?
Is yours the God of justice and of love?
And are your bosoms warm with charity?

Say, does your heart expand to all mankind?
And, would you ever to your neighbor do—
The weak, the strong, the enlightened, and the blind—
As you would have your neighbor do to you?

And, when you, looking on your fellow-men,
Behold them doomed to endless misery,
How can you talk of joy and rapture then? —
May God withhold such cruel joy from me!

That none deserve eternal bliss I know;
Unmerited the grace in mercy given:
But, none shall sink to everlasting woe,
That have not well deserved the wrath of Heaven.

And, oh! there lives within my heart
A hope, long nursed by me;
(And, should its cheering ray depart,
How dark my soul would be!)

That as in Adam all have died,
In Christ shall all men live;
And ever round his throne abide,
Eternal praise to give.

That even the wicked shall at last
Be fitted for the skies;
And, when their dreadful doom is past,
To life and light arise.

I ask not, how remote the day,
Nor what the sinners’ woe,
Before their dross is purged away;
Enough for me, to know

That when the cup of wrath is drained,
The metal purified,
They’ll cling to what they once disdained,
And live by Him that died.

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