Whittier as Quaker

Trust and The Eternal Goodness

After spring came, Whittier’s health improved, along with his certainty.  He wrote “Trust” to confirm the end of his questioning. Later he wrote “The Eternal Goodness” as a summation and reaffirmation of his religious faith as it had been developing through the years.


Interior Friends Meeting House showing Whittier’s Pew

I have no answer for myself or thee,
Save that I learned beside my mother's knee;
"All is of God that is, and is to be;
And God is good."  Let this suffice us still,
Resting in childlike trust upon His will
Who moves to His great ends unthwarted by the ill.

Full text of "Trust"

Eternal Goodness

He has tried to understand other sects:

O Friends! With whom my feet have trod
The quiet aisles of prayer,
Glad witness to your zeal for God
And love of man I bear.

I trace your lines of argument;
Your logic linked and strong
I weigh as one who dreads dissent,
And fears a doubt as wrong.

But still my human hands are weak
To hold your iron creeds;
Against the words ye bid me speak
My heart within me pleads.

Who fathoms the Eternal Thought?
Who talks of scheme and plan?
The Lord is God! He needeth not
The poor device of man.

Full text of "Eternal Goodness"