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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Verse Musings on Nature, Faith, and Freedom (1889). I. Faith. II. What is Religion?

John Owen (1836–1896)

(After Schleiermacher)

NOT a moral codex taught,

In legal maxims hard and cold,

By legal minds together brought,

From ethic teachers new and old.

Nor yet a mode or form of thought

Of God or man, the world a life;

By various diff’ring systems wrought,

Inducing hate and wordy strife.

Religion is a secret fire,

Kindling spontaneous in the breast,

The soul’s instinctive blind desire

To feel its God and be at rest.

Religion is a sense Divine,

Perception of the Infinite,

The pure heart’s pulse, the only sign,

To mark its being or prove its might.

Above, below, and all around,

In thing without, in thought within,

Is pure Religion’s hallowed ground,

The temple we must worship in.

To lean in trust upon the Power,

Through all the universe made known,

This is the soul’s divinest dower,

This is Religion—this alone.