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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). II. Freedom. II. The Devout Skeptic’s Dying Prayer

John Owen (1836–1896)

Apropos of the Creed: “I believe in God…. Amen.”

AT last I come, O God of Truth, to Thee,

From human error longing to be free;

Earth’s dubious dogmas I have long since scorned,

And, tired of blindly groping, hope to see.

Men call me skeptic—this at least is truth,

Their skeptic I—distrustful of their sooth,

Their clamorous certainties, convictions rash,

Unfounded as the baseless dreams of youth.

I own it, God, my creed I have postponed,

From earth to heaven, with weakness unbemoaned;

I dare not formulate, assert, pronounce,

Until I see Thee, who art Truth enthroned.

My mental tablet I have hence kept razed,

Whereat, with angry wonderment amazed,

Men with their tablets trebly written on,

And crossed and blotted, cry, “The man is crazed.”

No! mine shall be the heaven-inscribèd roll,

Truth’s clear and golden impress on my soul;

No palimpsest, with earth-born error blurr’d

And surface scratched; but new and clean and whole.

Thus then, my doubt to Thee I humbly bring,

A sacrifice to truth—far hence I fling,

With dying breath, beliefs, convictions, creeds,

Mere human baggage—to Thyself I cling.