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RELIGION.
155
themselves conspicuous. And the mischief that has been done by such people to the cause of religion itself, by attaching to it their own disa­greeable characteristics, is very great.
But there is one remedy for this evil in the hands of parents. Let them teach their chil­dren at the proper age to discriminate between religion, and the faults, follies and foibles of those who assume its sacred garb: teach them to discriminate between vulgarity of maimers and errors in principle. It must be admitted that the Christian character seldom approaches perfection: that, if we look to individuals, we shall find that the best of men are still fallible. The purest heart, when closely scanned, dis­covers the strands of selfishness, braided in with piety or benevolence. Instead therefore of looking to individual professors of Christianity as perfect mirrors of religion, or instead of refer­ring to any one sect for a full reflection of it, we should look to its fruits, as displayed by the whole body of Christians. Instead of testing religion by a reference to particular persons or particular creeds, we should regard the great results of the whole system. If you judge the tree by its fruit, it should be by the average of what it yields, and not by a single speci­men. And in this way, Christianity will stand
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