Published in the 1846 collection Poems By Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell under Anne's nom de plume 'Acton Bell'.
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 neighbour do--
The weak, the strong, the enlightened, and the blind--
As you would have your neighbour 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 clip of wrath is drained,
The metal purified,
They'll cling to what they once disdained,
And live by Him that died.