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DIVINE LOVE; THE ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTIC OF TRUE RELIGION, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Religion's meaning when I would recal
Last Line: A heav'n within, in other words, above.
Subject(s): Love; Religion; Religious Education; Theology; Sunday Schools; Yeshivas; Parochial Schools

RELIGION's meaning when I would recal,
Love is to me the plainest word of all;
Plainest: because that what I love or hate
Shews me directly my internal state:
By its own consciousness is best defin'd,
Which way the heart within me stands inclin'd.

On what it lets its inclination rest,
To that its real worship is address'd:
Whatever forms or ceremonies spring
From custom's force, there lies the real thing:
Jew, Turk, or Christian, be the lover's name,
If same the love, religion is the same.

Of all religions if we take a view,
There is but one that ever can be true;
One God, one Christ, one Spirit, none but He;
All else is Idol, whatsoe'er it be;
A good that our imaginations make,
Unless we love it purely for His sake.

Nothing but gross idolatry alone
Can ever love it, merely, for its own:
It may be good, that is, may make appear
So much of God's one goodness to be clear;
Thereby to raise a true, religious soul,
To love of Him, the One Eternal Whole;

The one Unbounded, Undivided Good,
By all his creatures partly understood:
If therefore sense of its apparent parts
Raise not his love or worship in our hearts,
Our selfish wills or notions we may feast,
And have no more religion than a beast.

For brutal instinct can a good embrace,
That leaves behind it no reflecting trace;
But thinking man, whatever be his theme,
Should worship Goodness in the Great Supreme;
By inward faith, more sure than outward sight,
Should eye the Source of all that's good and right.

Religion then is Love's celestial force,
That penetrates thro' all to its true source;
Loves all along, but with proportion'd bent,
As creatures further the divine ascent;
Not to the skies or stars; but to the part
That will be always uppermost—the Heart.

There is the seat, as holy writings tell,
Where the Most High Himself delights to dwell:
Whither attracting the desirous will
To its true rest, He saves it from all ill;
Gives it to find, in his abyssal love,
A Heav'n within, in other words, above.

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