(J. A. James, "The Young Man Leaving Home" 1844)
True religion is . . .
It is a thing of the heart—and not merely
external religious forms.
True religion is a living principle in the soul . . .
influencing the mind,
alluring the affections,
guiding the will,
directing and enlightening the conscience.
True religion is a supreme—not a subordinate matter.
It demands and obtains the throne of the soul. It guides
the whole character—and requires the whole man and all
his conduct to be in subordination.
True religion is not an occasional thing—but habitual.
It takes up its abode in the heart—and not merely
visits it at certain times and at particular seasons.
True religion is not a partial thing—but universal.
It does not confine itself to certain times, places,
and occasions—but forms an integral part of the
character—and blends with everything we do.
True religion is noble and lofty—not an abject,
servile, and groveling thing. It communes . . .
True religion is a happy—and not a melancholy thing.
It gives peace that passes understanding, and joy that
is unspeakable, and full of glory!
True religion is a durable—and not a transient thing. It . . .
passes with us through life,
lies down with us on the pillow of death,
rises with us at the last day, and
dwells in our souls in heaven as the very element of eternal life!
Such is true religion—the most sublime thing in the
world—sent down to be our comforter on earth—and our
guide to everlasting life through all this gloomy valley!