Not always those who walk on steadily,
In the straight path, where martyr's feet have trod,
Whose raiments seem of spotless purity,
Not always are they most beloved of God.
Although he sees, and knows their righteousness,
And from his throne, with loving eyes, looks down,
And hovers near, to comfort and to bless,
And holds for each fair brow a starry crown--
Yet there are those, who sometimes wander out
Into forbidden paths of sin, and grief,
Who sometimes hover on the brink of doubt,
Crying, "Oh God, help thou mine unbelief!"
Whose lives are one long battle with their sins,
Who long for righteousness, yet cling to earth;
And he who battles thus, and battling wins,
God holds, and prizes, as of truer worth.
For greater is he, fighting this good fight,
Falling repeatedly, and prone to wrong,
Than he who walketh calmly in the light,
And never falls, because he is so strong.
Who never sins, because sin tempts him not.
To him who fights temptation one by one,
How sweet God's words when the last fight is fought,
"Beloved servant, well, and nobly done."
Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
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