Possibility of the Soul's Recovery
1 Kings 8:30
And listen you to the supplication of your servant, and of your people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place…

If Kant emphasised the starry heavens and the moral law, if Daniel Webster emphasised the thought of personal responsibility to God, Hawthorne believed the greatest thought that can occupy the human mind is the thought of justice and its retributive workings through conscience. Doubtless there are a thousand problems that compete for the attention of youth; but for men grown mature and strong life offers no more momentous question than this: Can the soul, injured by temptation and scarred by sin, ever recover its pristine strength and beauty? Is there no place of recovery, though men seek it long with tears? "I do not know," answers the old Greek, "I do not know that God has any right to forgive sin." But Dante, having affirmed that man cannot forgive himself, thinks that sin may be consumed, and therefore makes the transgressor walk up a stairway of red-hot marble that pain may consume his iniquities. Hawthorns felt that somewhere life holds a fountain divine for cleansing the dust from the soul's wing. Therefore, at the very gates of the jail into which the prisoner enters, Hawthorne makes a rose-bush grow, with thorns indeed to typify the sharp pains that society inflicts upon the wrong-doer, but with blossoms, too, offering fragrance to the prisoner as he goes in, and suggesting that if the petals fall through the frosts of to-day, these falling petals, passing into the roots will reappear in me richer blossoms of to-morrow. As if another life might recover the disasters of this; as if, no matter what man's harshness, great nature and nature's God hold a wide, deep pity that can atone, forgive, and save.

(N. A. Hillis, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.

WEB: Listen to the supplication of your servant, and of your people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place. Yes, hear in heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.

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