The Hidden Line (The Destiny of Men)
by Joseph Addison Alexander (1809-1860)
There is a time, we know not when,
A point we know not where,
That marks the destiny of men
To glory or despair.
There is a line by us unseen,
That crosses every path;
The hidden boundary between
God’s patience and his wrath.
To pass that limit is to die–
To die as if by stealth;
It does not quench the beaming eye
Or pale the glow of health.
The conscience may be still at ease,
The spirit lithe and gay;
That which pleases still may please,
And care be thrust away
But on that forehead God has set,
Indelibly a mark
Unseen by men, for men as yet
Are blind and in the dark
And yet doomed man’s path below
May bloom as Eden bloomed;
He did not, does not, will not know,
Or feel that he is doomed
He knows, he feels that all is well,
And every fear is calmed;
He lives, he dies, he wakes in hell,
Not only doomed, but damned.
Oh, where is this mysterious bourn
By which our path is crossed;
Beyond which God himself hath sworn,
That he who goes is lost.
How far may we go on in sin?
How long will God forbear?
Where does hope end, and where begin
The confines of despair?
An answer from the skies is sent,
"Ye that from God depart,
While it is called today, repent,
And harden not your heart."
- Joseph Addison Alexander -