A man without religion or spiritual vision is like a captain who finds himself in the midst of an uncharted sea, without compass, rudder and steering wheel. He never knows where he is, which way he is going and where he is going to land.
The spirit of true religion breathes gentleness and affability; it gives a native, unaffected ease to the behavior; it is social, kind, cheerful; far removed from the cloudy and illiberal disposition which clouds the brow, sharpens the temper, and dejects the spirit.
We walk, and our religion is shown (even in the dullest and most insensitive person) in how we walk. Or to put it more accurately, living in this world means choosing, choosing to walk, and the way we choose to walk is infallibly and perfectly expressed in the walk itself. Nothing can disguise it. The walk of an ordinary man and of an enlightened man are as different as that of a snake and a giraffe.
Whoever undertakes a long Journey, if he be wise, makes it his Business to find out an agreeable Companion. How cautious then should He be, who is to take a Journey for Life, whose Fellow-Traveler must not part with him but at the Grave; his Companion at Bed and Board and Sharer of all the Pleasures and Fatigues of his Journey; as the Wife must be to the Husband! She is no such Sort of Ware, that a Man can be rid of when he pleases: When once that’s purchas’d, no Exchange, no Sale, no Alienation can be made: She is an inseparable Accident to Man: Marriage is a Noose, which, fasten’d about the Neck, runs the closer, and fits more uneasy by our struggling to get loose: ‘Tis a Gordian Knot which none can unty, and being twisted with our Thread of Life, nothing but the Schyth of Death can cut it.
The great duty of God’s children is to love one another. This duty on earth takes the name and form of the law of humanity. We are to recognize all men as brethren, no matter where born, or under what sky, or institution or religion they may live. Every man belongs to the race, and owes a duty to mankind... Men cannot, by combining themselves into narrower or larger societies, sever the sacred, blessed bond which joins them to their kind... The law of humanity must reign; over the assertion of all human rights.
A religion giving dark views of God, and infusing superstitious fear of innocent enjoyment, instead of aiding sober habits, will, by making men abject and sad, impair their moral force and prepare them for intemperance as a refuge from depression or despair.
Men must beware of looking upon religion as an ideal to be yearned for, it should be an ideal to be applied.
The best religion is the most tolerant.