Anger and Love

Discipline

Throw away thy rod,

Throw away thy wrath:

                         O my God,

Take the gentle path.

 

For my hearts desire

Unto thine is bent:

                         I aspire

To a full consent.

 

Not a word or look

I affect to own,

                         But by book,

And thy book alone.

 

Though I fail, I weep:

Though I halt in pace,

                         Yet I creep

To the throne of grace.

 

Then let wrath remove;

Love will do the deed:

                         For with love

Stony hearts will bleed.

 

Love is swift of foot;

Love’s a man of war,

                         And can shoot,

And can hit from far.

 

Who can scape his bow?

That which wrought on thee,

                         Brought thee low,

Needs must work on me.

 

Throw away thy rod;

Though man frailties hath,

                         Thou art God:

Throw away thy wrath

 

John Drury writes “God is just and good. Why, then, is so much that happens bad and unjust?… Herbert felt this discomfort keenly. He did not hesitate to accuse this God, his God of enticing him into grief under false pretences, of being a torturer, of being absent or silent when most needed. The reader of his poem ‘Discipline’ naturally expects that title to introduce a poem about discipline in the life of the Christian. It turns out differently. It is God who needs to behave himself, stop lashing about and learn to love. Interestingly, love is figured in the pagan form of Cupid, the little archer… The crucial reference here – to love which so ‘wrought on’ the deity that brought him low – brings in Christianity’s belief in the compassionate descent of deity to earth in Christ and asserts the primacy of love over Godhead… Tragic misfortune and death were taken into the absolute.”

  • How do you experience God’s ‘anger’?
  • How do you experience God’s ‘love’?

 

 

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