If a nation is truly christianized, it will be shown in the superior and elevated condition of her people - in the equality of her citizens and the amount of physical, mental, and spiritual happiness they enjoy.
No nation can be under the influence of christianity where slavery exists. No nation can be governed by Christian principles where wealth increases and with it poverty vice and crime. No nation can claim christian principles, which protect itself and the (so called) rights and interests of its people by partial unchristian means - means which violate the great and laws of christian justice, which recognize in every human being, of whatever name, condition, color and clime, a brother and a friend.
The same reasoning applies with equal force to individuals. The amount of spirituality a person possesses will be portrayed by outward deeds; circumstances duly considered. If a man is a true christian he will be just in his dealings with his fellows. He will be willing they should enjoy the same privileges he claims for himself, and will take no measures to aggrandize himself at their expense. True religion does not consist in mere professions or the strict observance of forms and ceremonies. “Pure and undefiled religion does not consist in being a constant attendant at church on the Sabbath, or in observing with pharisaical devotion the doctrines and creeds of men. That religion which does not reveal itself in the every day walks of life, is not founded upon the spiritual nature of man, and when you are obliged to learn by oral means only, that a man belongs to the church, you may well conclude that his religion is like the broken branch which receives no nourishment from the fountain of life and brings forth no blossoms of Spring, or fruits of Autumn. We would not be understood as opposed to your attending church, or observing forms, but these alone, are of no avail - hypocrites are great formalists and give strict adherence to creeds and outward appearances, even to the paying of riches.
Society has sanctioned a fatal wrong in allowing religion to become divorsed from our social and industrial relations, thereby fellowshiping professed christians in practicing injustice in their business, social and political capacities - in accentuating wealth by defrauding others; because they are strict observers of church regulations and make large donations for benevolent purposes. Remember that the “widows ‘mite” is more acceptable than the oppressor’s millions. Do not consider this ostentatious, mistaken charity, christian benevolence. As pure religion increases, this kind of charity will vanish because it exists only where Justice does not prevail -
Were our country influenced by christian principles, the condition of the people would not continue to grow more depressed because “righteousness exalteth a nation.” Were our city under the influence of christian principles, sectarianism would not constitute the highest grace in the churches, and railing proscription their holiest zeal, men women and children, would not be found toiling from 12 to 14 hours per day and prematurely wearing out their existence in these cotton prison houses, and intemperance, licentiousness, and crime rift in our midst, - because christianity abhors the causes from whence such direful evils arise and religiously regards the natural rights of all men.
Young men, religion should be made an everyday business. You should not only be religious on the Sunday, but Monday and through the week. You should not only be religious at church, but in your work-shops, your stores or wherever you may be. Genuine religion is no fitful eblution which passes over the mind like some mysterious paroxism, leaving the person a victim to superstition and error; but a growth in rational spirituality, and as it continues to increase the become perfected, it will not fail to product corresponding effects upon the lives and conduct of men. As men progress in religion or spiritually, their views of life and its duties will become enlarged, they will discover a divinity in every thing that is useful - they will learn lessons of love and adoration in their shops and fields - mysticism and confusion will be exchanged for order, design and harmony and the Author of their existence will be served in all things.
Before such influences, idleness, fraud, both legal and illegal, will disappear, and crime, oppression and misery leave the abodes of men. This young men, is our work - your happiness demands it. Obey the dictates of your better impulses, be governed by reason philosophy and revelation, and leave sectarianism, mysticism, tradition and periodical religion to those “blind leaders of the blind,” who fat upon the ignorance and errors of mankind. We have now briefly and imperfectly spoken at your social, industrial, political and religious duties - that you may profit thereby is our only object.