FOR HIM WHO BEST SHALL UNDERSTAND IT.

I know a "righteous Christian,"
    (That is, he thinks he's one,)
He goes to church on Sunday
    And thinks his duty done.
And always at prayer-meeting,
    He sighs, and groans, and prays;
And talks about the sinners,
    And warns them from their ways.

And many of his neighbors,
    He knows are bound for hell;
Although they love their Master,
    And do their duty well.
But they pray within their closet,
    And do not own a "pew,"
And he's sure they'll not be numbered
    Among God's chosen few.

He exhorts men to be careful
    And keep from worldly strife.
And he thinks a race for riches
    The worst thing in this life.
"Do good," he cried, "with money,
    Ye who have aught to spare,"
And he preaches quite a sermon,
    And ends it with a prayer.

Well! he has bonds with coupons,
    And lots of cash on hand,
And when the fierce Fire Demon,
    Went raging through our land,
The neighborhood was canvassed,
    For money, clothes, and food,
To send the starving people,
    And the man who cries, "Do good,"--

My preaching, praying Christian,
    Now boasts, in pride and glee,
"Those begging, sponging rascals,
    Didn't get a cent from me!
I don't believe their stories,
    About the suffering poor,
The thieves were after money,
    And I sent them from my door."

Oh, out upon such a pretense!
    May a curse be upon his gold,
And the cries of an hundred people,
    Hungry, and naked, and cold,
Ring in his ears forever;
    And the words his false lips pray
Fall on deaf ears in heaven,
    From now till the Judgment Day.

Oh "hypocrites, and liars!"
    Your prayers blaspheme God's name!
And if the angels hear them,
    They blush for you in shame,
And, though you deceive your fellows,
    With the pious cloak you wear;
The hosts of heaven look deeper,
    And they know your true worth there.

Poems of reflection. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Chicago, M.A. Donohue & company [c1905].


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