A Layman's Confession Of Faith
by Theodore Tilton
As other men have creeds, so I have:
I keep the holy faith in God, in man,
And in the angels ministrant between.
I hold to one true church of all true souls
Whose churchly seal is neither bread, nor wine,
Nor laying on of hands, nor holy oil,
But only the anointing of God's grace.
I hate all kings, and caste and rank of birth
For all the sons of men are sons of God;
Nor limps a beggar but is nobly born;
Nor wears a slave a yoke, nor czar a crown,
That makes him less or more than just a man.
I love my country and her righteous cause:
So dare I not keep silent of her sin;
And after Freedom, may her bells ring Peace!
I love one woman with a holy fire,
Whom I revere as priestess of my house;
I stand with wondering awe before my babes,
Till they rebuke me to a nobler life;
I keep a faithful friendship with my friend,
Whom loyally I serve before myself;
I lock my lips too close to speak a lie;
I wash my hands too white to touch a bribe;
I owe no man a debt I cannot pay --
Except the love that men should always owe.
Withal, each day, before the blessed Heaven,
I open wide the chambers of my soul,
And pray the Holy Ghost to enter in.
Thus reads the fair confession of my faith,
So crossed with contradictions by my life,
That now may God forgive the written lie!
Yet still, by help of Him who helpeth men,
I face two worlds, and fear not life nor death!
O Father! lead me by Thy hand! Amen.
Source:The Sexton's Tale, And Other Poems.
Sheldon And Company, New York.