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160
FIRESIDE EDUCATION.
advise him to change it upon deliberate con­sideration. I would commend it to every per­son of mature age to adopt a religious creed, and to attach himself to some religious society. and, if he can conscientiously, to become a member of a church. Aside from motives which may be deduced from the injunctions of Scripture, it may be remarked that by these means a person fortifies himself against unbe­lief; that he draws around him religious friends, who may strengthen his faith in those times of doubt which sometimes beset every mind ; and, furthermore, that he subjects himself to the wholesome watch of a community whose inter­est and duty it is to deal frankly with his foibles and his frailties.
There is no more false or dangerous doctrine than the one often heard on the lips of the in­considerate, that it is of little or no consequence what a man believes. Creeds are opinions, and opinions the basis of action. The moral character must in general conform to, or at least be greatly influenced by, the religious doc­trines which a man embraces. As the stream never rises higher than the source, so a man's conduct is seldom better than his principles. If his religious faith is loose, his life will be so too; if he adopts a faith which presents high motives
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