96. The Religion of Cain

{166}
"Am I my brother's keeper?"

THE time has been, it seem'd a precept plain
    Of the true faith, Christ's tokens to display;
And in life's commerce still the thought retain,
    That men have souls, and wait a judgment-
        day;
    Kings used their gifts as ministers of heaven,
Nor stripp'd their zeal for God, of means which
        God had given.

    'Tis alter'd now;—for Adam's eldest born
        Has train'd our practice in a selfish rule,
    Each stands alone, Christ's bonds asunder torn;
        Each has his private thought, selects his school,
    Conceals his creed, and lives in closest tie
    Of fellowship with those who count it blasphemy.
{167}
    Brothers! spare reasoning;—men have settled long
        That ye are out of date, and they are wise;
    Use their own weapons; let your words be strong,
        Your cry be loud, till each scared boaster flies;
    Thus the Apostles tamed the pagan breast,
They argued not, but preach'd; and conscience did
            the rest.


Off Sardinia
.
June 19, 1833.

 

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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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