Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON THE MEANING OF THE WORD 'WRATH' AS APPLIED TO GOD IN SCRIPTURE, by JOHN BYROM



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ON THE MEANING OF THE WORD 'WRATH' AS APPLIED TO GOD IN SCRIPTURE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: That god is love is in the scripture said
Last Line: Not to love him, who first lov'd us so well.
Subject(s): Bible; Love; Saints


THAT God is love is in the scripture said;
That He is wrath—is no where to be read;
From which, by literal expression free,
"Fury (He saith himself) is not in me;"
If scripture, therefore, must direct our faith,
Love must be He, or in Him; and not wrath.

And yet the wrath of God, in scripture phrase,
Is oft express'd, and many diff'rent ways:
His anger, fury, vengeance, are the terms,
Which the plain letter of the text affirms:
And plain, from two of the apostles' Choir,
That God is love—and a consuming fire.

If we consult the reasons that appear,
To make the seeming difficulty clear,
We must acknowledge, when we look above,
That God, as God, is overflowing love:
And wilful sinners, when we look below,
Make (what is call'd) the wrath of God to flow.

Wrath, as St. Paul saith, is the treasur'd part
Of an impenitently harden'd heart:
When love reveals its own eternal life,
Then wrath and anguish fall on evil strife;
Then lovely justice, in itself all bright,
Is burning fire to such as hate the light.

If wrath and justice be indeed the same,
No wrath in God—is liable to blame;
If not; if righteous judges may and must
Be free themselves from wrath, if they be just,
Such kind of blaming may, with equal sense,
Lay on a judge the criminal's offence.

God, in Himself unchangeable, in fine,
Is one, eternal Light of love divine;
In Him there is no darkness, saith St. John,
In Him no wrath—the meaning is all one;
'Tis our own darkness, wrath, sin, death, and hell,
Not to love Him, who first lov'd us so well.





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