Science and religion, religion and science, put it as I may, they are two sides of the same glass, through which we see darkly until these two, focusing together, reveal the truth.
True religion is not a mere doctrine, something that can be taught, but is a way of life. A life in community with God. It must be experienced to be appreciated. A life of service. A living by giving and finding one's own happiness by bringing happiness into the lives of others.
Protecting something as wide as this planet is still an abstraction for many. Yet I see the day in our own lifetimes that reverence for the natural systems - the oceans, the rain forests, the soil, the grasslands, and all other living beings - will be so strong that no narrow ideology based upon politics or economics will overcome it.
Revenge is a common passion; it is the sun of the uninstructed. The savage deems it noble; but the religion of Christ, which is the sublime civilizer, emphatically condemns it. Why? Because religion ever seeks to ennoble man; and nothing so debases him as revenge.
While men believe in the possibilities of children being religious, they are largely failing to make them so, because they are offering them not a child's but a man's religion - men's forms of truth and men's forms of experience.
Works of charity negligently performed are of no worth.
Religion is not a perpetual moping over good books. Religion is not even prayer, praise, holy ordinances, these are necessary to religion - no man can be religious without them. But religion is mainly and chiefly the glorifying of god amid the duties and trials of the world; the guiding of our course amid adverse winds and currents of temptation by the sunlight of duty and the compass of Divine truth, the bearing up manfully, wisely, courageously, for the honor of Christ, our great Leader in the conflict of life.
I extend the circle of real religion very widely. Many men fear God, and love God, and have sincere desire to serve him, whose views of religious truth are very imperfect, and in some points utterly false. But may not many such persons have a state of heart acceptable before God?
Carry religious principles into common life, and common life will lose its transitoriness. The world passes away. The things are seen as temporal. Soon business, with all its cares and anxieties, the whole “unprofitable stir and fever of the world” will be to us a thing of the past. But religion does something better than sigh and moan over the perishableness of earthly things. It finds in them the seeds of immortality.
See, then, how powerful religion is; it commands the heart, it commands the vitals. Morality - that comes with a pruning-knife, and cuts off the sproutings, all wild and luxuriances; but religion lays the axe to the root of the tree. Morality looks that the skin of the apple be fair; but religion searcheth to the very core.
Ethics is the vital principle of Judaism. Its religion aims to be, and is, moral doctrine. Love of God is knowledge of God, and that is knowledge of the ultimate moral purpose of mankind.
The future of religion is connected with the possibility of developing a faith in the possibilities of human experience and human relationships that will create a vital sense of the solidarity of human interests and inspire action to make that sense a reality.
Grand and manifold as were its phases, there is yet no difficulty in understanding the character of Washington. He was no Veiled Prophet. He never acted a part. Simple, natural, and unaffected, his life lies before us - a fair and open manuscript. He disdained the arts which wrap power in mystery in order to magnify it. He practiced the profound diplomacy of truthful speech - the consummate tact of direct attention. Looking ever to the All-Wise Disposer of events, he relied on that Providence which helps men by giving them high hearts and hopes to help themselves with the means which their Creator has put at their service. There was no infirmity in his conduct over which charity must fling its veil; no taint of selfishness from which purity averts her gaze; no dark recess of intrigue that must be lit up with colored panegyric; no subterranean passage to be trod in trembling, lest there be stirred the ghost of a buried crime.
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