Religious Imagination

  • Elizabeth Barrett


One day I omitted a prayer wholly through forgetfulness but having afterwards remembered the neglect I was so impressed with the idea of having offended the God of my salvation that I hardly hoped for pardon. My whole mind was tortured and my prayers that night bespoke the anguish of my heart. It was not the humility of a sinner suing for pardon at the throne of mercy but the violent entreaties extorted by despair from my heart. The next morning I renewed with tenfold ardour my agonising prayers. ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me’ I repeated in a tone of anguish. The morning was dark and a dingy mist floated in the mid air when on a sudden a flood of light rushing from the benignant sun through that vale of loneliness beamed on my prostrate form and seemed to smile upon my prayer! My imagination took fire and I believed that my God had forgiven me. I felt as much awe, as much gratitude, as if the Deity himself had vouchsafed to comfort me and receive me again unto his bosom. So great was the strength of my imagination which is now often too powerful for my control.

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

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  • Elizabeth Barrett

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