Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:–
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?” – The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still: and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great awakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.
There is not much that I can add to that wonderful poem. Maybe just this. The poet’s theme should be very clear: loving your fellow man, your neighbor, is a requisite sign of your love for God. And by implication, not having compassion for and loving your fellow man estranges you from God and deprives you of knowing the blessing of God’s love for you.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, let our names and the names of all whom we love and all who love You, be written in that Golden Book.