>“A Word To The Calvinists”
 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 earthborn souls in Heaven to shine.
But is it sweet to look around and view

Thousands excluded from that happiness,

Which they deserve 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, O! 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 sinner’s 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.

(On this Five Hundredth anniversary of John Calvin’s birth, many of us who proudly claim his tradition would want to repudiate the doctrines of double predestination and limited atonement so closely linked to his legacy.  Here Anne Brontë, the parson’s daughter, graciously does so in verse.)

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