Religion by Jason Whitman

Religion, as introduced to us by our Saviour, attracts our attention and enlists our affections, not by any solemn pomp or formal parade, but by her beautiful and interesting simplicity, her real and intrinsic worth. Nor has she been introduced to us, merely that she may dwell in our temples to be gazed at from a distance and occasionally adored. No. She has been introduced to us, that we might take her familiarly by the hand, conduct her into our houses and seat her by our firesides,—not as an occasional visitor there, but as an intimate friend—perfectly free and unreserved, ever ready to lend her aid in making home the abode of happiness, or to go forth with us and assist in elevating and purifying the pleasures and the intercourse of social life; ever ready to assist in the various labors of life—to guide and cheer the conversation—to bend over the bed of sickness, or to mingle her sympathies with those who are mourning. It is her office to elevate and improve mankind, not by looking down upon them from above, but by dwelling familiarly and habitually among them, restraining, by the respect which her presence inspires, every thing impure and unholy, until she has awakened aspirations after the pure, the holy, the spiritual, the infinite and eternal. Such was the Christian Religion as introduced to us by our Saviour. Would that she might ever remain such, an inmate of our houses, a member of our family circles, whose form and features are familiar to our children, and for whom their attachment grows with their growth and strengthens with their strength. But such have not, it would seem, been the feelings of mankind in regard to her. They, filled with admiration, perhaps, for her excellence, and fearing, lest she might be treated with rude familiarity, have thought to add to her dignity and to increase the respect entertained for her, by enveloping her in the folds of unintelligible mysteries, and by suffering her to be approached only in a formal manner, upon the set days when and the appointed places where she holds her levees. The consequences of this have been such as might have been expected. While there are multitudes of admirers of Religion, as one of a higher order of beings altogether above and beyond themselves, there are few who make her the companion of their daily walk—few who take her to themselves and, in the firm conviction that they were made for each other, leave all things else, cleave unto and become one with her.

Would that we might all embrace Christianity as she is in herself—as she was introduced to us by our Saviour, in all her simplicity—in all her purity—that we might make her the companion of our lives—the friend of our hearts. She is one, who will with readiness accompany us wherever we go—pointing out to us the way of our duty and the sources of our happiness. Are we children she will teach us the duties of children. Are we parents she will instruct us in our duties as parents. In prosperity she will increase our happiness—in adversity she will sweeten our cup—in sickness she will alleviate our pains, and, when called away by the stern summons of death, she will accompany us and introduce us into the society of heaven with which she is intimate—the society of our God—of Jesus our Saviour—and of the spirits of the just made perfect, concerning whom she has often conversed with us, making us acquainted with their principles, feelings and characters, and exerting within us a desire to be with them.