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An essay by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Home Religion

Title:     Home Religion
Author: Harriet Beecher Stowe [More Titles by Stowe]

It was Sunday evening, and our little circle were convened by my study fireside, where a crackling hickory fire proclaimed the fall of the year to be coming on, and cold weather impending. Sunday evenings, my married boys and girls are fond of coming home and gathering round the old hearthstone, and "making believe" that they are children again. We get out the old-fashioned music-books, and sing old hymns to very old tunes, and my wife and her matron daughters talk about the babies in the intervals; and we discourse of the sermon, and of the choir, and all the general outworks of good pious things which Sunday suggests.

"Papa," said Marianne, "you are closing up your 'House and Home Papers,' are you not?"

"Yes,--I am come to the last one, for this year at least."

"My dear," said my wife, "there is one subject you haven't touched on yet; you ought not to close the year without it; no house and home can be complete without Religion: you should write a paper on Home Religion."

My wife, as you may have seen in these papers, is an old-fashioned woman, something of a conservative. I am, I confess, rather given to progress and speculation; but I feel always as if I were going on in these ways with a string round my waist, and my wife's hand steadily pulling me back into the old paths. My wife is a steady, Bible-reading, Sabbath-keeping woman, cherishing the memory of her fathers, and loving to do as they did,--believing, for the most part, that the paths well beaten by righteous feet are safest, even though much walking therein has worn away the grass and flowers. Nevertheless, she has an indulgent ear for all that gives promise of bettering anybody or anything, and therefore is not severe on any new methods that may arise in our progressive days of accomplishing old good objects.

"There must be a home religion," said my wife.

"I believe in home religion," said Bob Stephens,--"but not in the outward show of it. The best sort of religion is that which one keeps at the bottom of his heart, and which goes up thence quietly through all his actions, and not the kind that comes through a certain routine of forms and ceremonies. Do you suppose family prayers, now, and a blessing at meals, make people any better?"

"Depend upon it, Robert," said my wife,--she always calls him Robert on Sunday evenings,--"depend upon it, we are not so very much wiser than our fathers were, that we need depart from their good old ways. Of course I would have religion in the heart, and spreading quietly through the life; but does this interfere with those outward, daily acts of respect and duty which we owe to our Creator? It is too much the slang of our day to decry forms, and to exalt the excellency of the spirit in opposition to them; but tell me, are you satisfied with friendship that has none of the outward forms of friendship, or love that has none of the outward forms of love? Are you satisfied of the existence of a sentiment that has no outward mode of expression? Even the old heathen had their pieties; they would not begin a feast without a libation to their divinities, and there was a shrine in every well-regulated house for household gods."

"The trouble with all these things," said Bob, "is that they get to be mere forms. I never could see that family worship amounted to much more in most families."

"The outward expression of all good things is apt to degenerate into mere form," said I. "The outward expression of social good feeling becomes a mere form; but for that reason must we meet each other like oxen? not say, 'Good morning,' or 'Good evening,' or 'I am happy to see you'? Must we never use any of the forms of mutual good will, except in those moments when we are excited by a real, present emotion? What would become of society? Forms are, so to speak, a daguerreotype of a past good feeling, meant to take and keep the impression of it when it is gone. Our best and most inspired moments are crystallized in them; and even when the spirit that created them is gone, they help to bring it back. Every one must be conscious that the use of the forms of social benevolence, even towards those who are personally unpleasant to us, tends to ameliorate prejudices. We see a man entering our door who is a weary bore, but we use with him those forms of civility which society prescribes, and feel far kinder to him than if we had shut the door in his face and said, 'Go along, you tiresome fellow!' Now why does not this very obvious philosophy apply to better and higher feelings? The forms of religion are as much more necessary than the forms of politeness and social good will as religion is more important than all other things."

"Besides," said my wife, "a form of worship kept up from year to year in a family--the assembling of parents and children for a few sacred moments each day, though it may be a form many times, especially in the gay and thoughtless hours of life--often becomes invested with deep sacredness in times of trouble, or in those crises that rouse our deeper feelings. In sickness, in bereavement, in separation, the daily prayer at home has a sacred and healing power. Then we remember the scattered and wandering ones; and the scattered and wandering think tenderly of that hour when they know they are remembered. I know, when I was a young girl, I was often thoughtless and careless about family prayers; but now that my father and mother are gone forever, there is nothing I recall more often. I remember the great old Family Bible, the hymn-book, the chair where father used to sit. I see him as he looked bending over that Bible more than in any other way; and expressions and sentences in his prayers which fell unheeded on my ears in those days have often come back to me like comforting angels. We are not aware of the influence things are having on us till we have left them far behind in years. When we have summered and wintered them, and look back on them from changed times and other days, we find that they were making their mark upon us, though we knew it not."

"I have often admired," said I, "the stateliness and regularity of family worship in good old families in England,--the servants, guests, and children all assembled,--the reading of the Scriptures and the daily prayers by the master or mistress of the family, ending with the united repetition of the Lord's Prayer by all."

"No such assemblage is possible in our country," said Bob. "Our servants are for the most part Roman Catholics, and forbidden by their religion to join with us in acts of worship."

"The greater the pity," said I. "It is a pity that all Christians who can conscientiously repeat the Apostles' Creed and the Lord's Prayer together should for any reason be forbidden to do so. It would do more to harmonize our families, and promote good feeling between masters and servants, to meet once a day on the religious ground common to both, than many sermons on reciprocal duties."

"But, while the case is so," said Marianne, "we can't help it. Our servants cannot unite with us; our daily prayers are something forbidden to them."

"We cannot in this country," said I, "give to family prayer that solemn stateliness which it has in a country where religion is a civil institution, and masters and servants, as a matter of course, belong to one church. Our prayers must resemble more a private interview with a father than a solemn act of homage to a king. They must be more intimate and domestic. The hour of family devotion should be the children's hour,--held dear as the interval when the busy father drops his business and cares, and, like Jesus of old, takes the little ones in his arms and blesses them. The child should remember it as the time when the father always seemed most accessible and loving. The old family worship of New England lacked this character of domesticity and intimacy,--it was stately and formal, distant and cold; but, whatever were its defects, I cannot think it an improvement to leave it out altogether, as too many good sort of people in our day are doing. There may be practical religion where its outward daily forms are omitted, but there is assuredly no more of it for the omission. No man loves God and his neighbor _less_, is a _less_ honest and good man, for daily prayers in his household,--the chances are quite the other way; and if the spirit of love rules the family hour, it may prove the source and spring of all that is good through the day. It seems to be a solemn duty in the parents thus to make the Invisible Fatherhood real to their children, who can receive this idea at first only through outward forms and observances. The little one thus learns that his father has a Father in heaven, and that the earthly life he is living is only a sacrament and emblem,--a type of the eternal life which infolds it, and of more lasting relations there. Whether, therefore, it be the silent grace and silent prayer of the Friends, or the form of prayer of ritual churches, or the extemporaneous outpouring of those whose habits and taste lead them to extempore prayer, in one of these ways there should be daily outward and visible acts of worship in every family."

"Well, now," said Bob, "about this old question of Sunday-keeping, Marianne and I are much divided. I am always for doing something that she thinks isn't the thing."

"Well, you see," said Marianne, "Bob is always talking against our old Puritan fathers, and saying all manner of hard things about them. He seems to think that all their ways and doings must of course have been absurd. For my part, I don't think we are in any danger of being too strict about anything. It appears to me that in this country there is a general tendency to let all sorts of old forms and observances float down-stream, and yet nobody seems quite to have made up his mind what shall come next."

"The fact is," said I, "that we realize very fully all the objections and difficulties of the experiments in living that we have tried; but the difficulties in others that we are intending to try have not yet come to light. The Puritan Sabbath had great and very obvious evils. Its wearisome restraints and over-strictness cast a gloom on religion, and arrayed against the day itself the active prejudices that now are undermining it and threatening its extinction. But it had great merits and virtues, and produced effects on society that we cannot well afford to dispense with. The clearing of a whole day from all possibilities of labor and amusement necessarily produced a grave and thoughtful people, and a democratic republic can be carried on by no other. In lands which have Sabbaths of mere amusement, mere gala days, republics rise and fall as quick as children's card-houses; and the reason is, they are built by those whose political and religious education has been childish. The common people of Europe have been sedulously nursed on amusements by the reigning powers, to keep them from meddling with serious matters; their religion has been sensuous and sentimental, and their Sabbaths thoughtless holidays. The common people of New England are educated to think, to reason, to examine all questions of politics and religion for themselves; and one deeply thoughtful day every week baptizes and strengthens their reflective and reasoning faculties. The Sunday-schools of Paris are whirligigs where Young France rides round and round on little hobby-horses till his brain spins even faster than Nature made it to spin; and when he grows up, his political experiments are as whirligig as his Sunday education. If I were to choose between the Sabbath of France and the old Puritan Sabbath, I should hold up both hands for the latter, with all its objectionable features."

"Well," said my wife, "cannot we contrive to retain all that is really valuable of the Sabbath, and to ameliorate and smooth away what is forbidding?"

"That is the problem of our day," said I. "We do not want the Sabbath of Continental Europe: it does not suit democratic institutions; it cannot be made even a quiet or a safe day, except by means of that ever-present armed police that exists there. If the Sabbath of America is simply to be a universal loafing, picnicking, dining-out day, as it is now with all our foreign population, we shall need what they have in Europe, the gendarmes at every turn, to protect the fruit on our trees and the melons in our fields. People who live a little out from great cities see enough, and more than enough, of this sort of Sabbath-keeping, with our loose American police.

"The fact is, our system of government was organized to go by moral influences as much as mills by water, and Sunday was the great day for concentrating these influences and bringing them to bear; and we might just as well break down all the dams and let out all the water of the Lowell mills, and expect still to work the looms, as to expect to work our laws and constitution with European notions of religion.

"It is true the Puritan Sabbath had its disagreeable points. So have the laws of Nature. They are of a most uncomfortable sternness and rigidity; yet for all that, we would hardly join in a petition to have them repealed, or made wavering and uncertain for human convenience. We can bend to them in a thousand ways, and live very comfortably under them."

"But," said Bob, "Sabbath-keeping is the iron rod of bigots; they don't allow a man any liberty of his own. One says it's wicked to write a letter Sunday; another holds that you must read no book but the Bible; and a third is scandalized if you take a walk, ever so quietly, in the fields. There are all sorts of quips and turns. We may fasten things with pins of a Sunday, but it's wicked to fasten with needle and thread, and so on, and so on; and each one, planting himself on his own individual mode of keeping Sunday, points his guns and frowns severely over the battlements on his neighbors whose opinions and practice are different from his."

"Yet," said I, "Sabbath days are expressly mentioned by Saint Paul as among those things concerning which no man should judge another. It seems to me that the error as regards the Puritan Sabbath was in representing it, not as a gift from God to man, but as a tribute of man to God. Hence all these hagglings and nice questions and exactions to the uttermost farthing. The holy time must be weighed and measured. It must begin at twelve o'clock of one night, and end at twelve o'clock of another; and from beginning to end, the mind must be kept in a state of tension by the effort not to think any of its usual thoughts or do any of its usual works. The fact is, that the metaphysical, defining, hair-splitting mind of New England, turning its whole powers on this one bit of ritual, this one only day of divine service, which was left of all the feasts and fasts of the old churches, made of it a thing straiter and stricter than ever the old Jews dreamed of.

"The old Jewish Sabbath entered only into the physical region, merely enjoining cessation from physical toil. 'Thou shalt not _labor_ nor do any _work_,' covered the whole ground. In other respects than this it was a joyful festival, resembling, in the mode of keeping it, the Christmas of the modern church. It was a day of social hilarity,--the Jewish law strictly forbidding mourning and gloom during festivals. The people were commanded on feast days to rejoice before the Lord their God with all their might. We fancy there were no houses where children were afraid to laugh, where the voice of social cheerfulness quavered away in terror lest it should awake a wrathful God. The Jewish Sabbath was instituted, in the absence of printing, of books, and of all the advantages of literature, to be the great means of preserving sacred history,--a day cleared from all possibility of other employment than social and family communion, when the heads of families and the elders of tribes might instruct the young in those religious traditions which have thus come down to us.

"The Christian Sabbath is meant to supply the same moral need in that improved and higher state of society which Christianity introduced. Thus it was changed from the day representing the creation of the world to the resurrection day of Him who came to make all things new. The Jewish Sabbath was buried with Christ in the sepulchre, and arose with Him, not a Jewish, but a Christian festival, still holding in itself that provision for man's needs which the old institution possessed, but with a wider and more generous freedom of application. It was given to the Christian world as a day of rest, of refreshment, of hope and joy, and of worship. The manner of making it such a day was left open and free to the needs and convenience of the varying circumstances and characters of those for whose benefit it was instituted."

"Well," said Bob, "don't you think there is a deal of nonsense about Sabbath-keeping?"

"There is a deal of nonsense about everything human beings have to deal with," I said.

"And," said Marianne, "how to find out what is nonsense?"--

"By clear conceptions," said I, "of what the day is for. I should define the Sabbath as a divine and fatherly gift to man,--a day expressly set apart for the cultivation of his moral nature. Its object is not merely physical rest and recreation, but moral improvement. The former are proper to the day only so far as they are subservient to the latter. The whole human race have the conscious need of being made better, purer, and more spiritual; the whole human race have one common danger of sinking to a mere animal life under the pressure of labor or in the dissipations of pleasure; and of the whole human race the proverb holds good, that what may be done any time is done at no time. Hence the Heavenly Father appoints one day as a special season for the culture of man's highest faculties. Accordingly, whatever ways and practices interfere with the purpose of the Sabbath as a day of worship and moral culture should be avoided, and all family arrangements for the day should be made with reference thereto."

"Cold dinners on Sunday, for example," said Bob. "Marianne holds these as prime articles of faith."

"Yes,--they doubtless are most worthy and merciful, in giving to the poor cook one day she may call her own, and rest from the heat of range and cooking-stove. For the same reason, I would suspend as far as possible all traveling, and all public labor, on Sunday. The hundreds of hands that these things require to carry them on are the hands of human beings, whose right to this merciful pause of rest is as clear as their humanity. Let them have their day to look upward."

"But the little ones," said my oldest matron daughter, who had not as yet spoken,--"they are the problem. Oh, this weary labor of making children keep Sunday! If I try it, I have no rest at all myself. If I must talk to them or read to them to keep them from play, my Sabbath becomes my hardest working day."

"And, pray, what commandment of the Bible ever said children should not play on Sunday?" said I. "We are forbidden to work, and we see the reason why; but lambs frisk and robins sing on Sunday; and little children, who are as yet more than half animals, must not be made to keep the day in the manner proper to our more developed faculties. As much cheerful, attractive religious instruction as they can bear without weariness may be given, and then they may simply be restrained from disturbing others. Say to the little one, 'This day we have noble and beautiful things to think of that interest us deeply: you are a child; you cannot read and think and enjoy such things as much as we can; you may play softly and quietly, and remember not to make a disturbance.' I would take a child to public worship at least once of a Sunday; it forms a good habit in him. If the sermon be long and unintelligible, there are the little Sabbath-school books in every child's hands; and while the grown people are getting what they understand, who shall forbid a child's getting what is suited to him in a way that interests him and disturbs nobody? The Sabbath-school is the child's church and happily it is yearly becoming a more and more attractive institution. I approve the custom of those who beautify the Sabbath school-room with plants, flowers, and pictures, thus making it an attractive place to the childish eye. The more this custom prevails, the more charming in after years will be the memories of Sunday.

"It is most especially to be desired that the whole air and aspect of the day should be one of cheerfulness. Even the new dresses, new bonnets, and new shoes, in which children delight of a Sunday, should not be despised. They have their value in marking the day as a festival; and it is better for the child to long for Sunday, for the sake of his little new shoes, than that he should hate and dread it as a period of wearisome restraint. All the latitude should be given to children that can be, consistently with fixing in their minds the idea of a sacred season. I would rather that the atmosphere of the day should resemble that of a weekly Thanksgiving than that it should make its mark on the tender mind only by the memory of deprivations and restrictions."

"Well," said Bob, "here's Marianne always breaking her heart about my reading on Sunday. Now I hold that what is bad on Sunday is bad on Monday,--and what is good on Monday is good on Sunday."

"We cannot abridge other people's liberty," said I. "The generous, confiding spirit of Christianity has imposed not a single restriction upon us in reference to Sunday. The day is put at our disposal as a good Father hands a piece of money to his child,--'There it is; take it and spend it well.' The child knows from his father's character what he means by spending it well, but he is left free to use his own judgment as to the mode.

"If a man conscientiously feels that reading of this or that description is the best for him as regards his moral training and improvement, let him pursue it, and let no man judge him. It is difficult, with the varying temperaments of men, to decide what are or are not religious books. One man is more religiously impressed by the reading of history or astronomy than he would be by reading a sermon. There may be overwrought and wearied states of the brain and nerves which require and make proper the diversions of light literature; and if so, let it be used. The mind must have its recreations as well as the body."

"But for children and young people," said my daughter,--"would you let them read novels on Sunday?"

"That is exactly like asking, Would you let them talk with people on Sunday? Now people are different; it depends, therefore, on who they are. Some are trifling and flighty, some are positively bad-principled, some are altogether good in their influence. So of the class of books called novels. Some are merely frivolous, some are absolutely noxious and dangerous, others again are written with a strong moral and religious purpose, and, being vivid and interesting, produce far more religious effect on the mind than dull treatises and sermons. The parables of Christ sufficiently establish the point that there is no inherent objection to the use of fiction in teaching religious truth. Good religious fiction, thoughtfully read, may be quite as profitable as any other reading."

"But don't you think," said Marianne, "that there is danger in too much fiction?"

"Yes," said I. "But the chief danger of all that class of reading is its _easiness_, and the indolent, careless mental habits it induces. A great deal of the reading of young people on all days is really reading to no purpose, its object being merely present amusement. It is a listless yielding of the mind to be washed over by a stream which leaves no fertilizing properties, and carries away by constant wear the good soil of thought. I should try to establish a barrier against this kind of reading, not only on Sunday, but on Monday, on Tuesday, and on all days. Instead, therefore, of objecting to any particular class of books for Sunday reading, I should say in general that reading merely for pastime, without any moral aim, is the thing to be guarded against. That which inspires no thought, no purpose, which steals away all our strength and energy, and makes the Sabbath a day of dreams, is the reading I would object to.

"So of music. I do not see the propriety of confining one's self to technical sacred music. Any grave, solemn, thoughtful, or pathetic music has a proper relation to our higher spiritual nature, whether it be printed in a church service-book or on secular sheets. On me, for example, Beethoven's Sonatas have a far more deeply religious influence than much that has religious names and words. Music is to be judged of by its effects."

"Well," said Bob, "if Sunday is given for our own individual improvement, I for one should not go to church. I think I get a great deal more good in staying at home and reading."

"There are two considerations to be taken into account in reference to this matter of church-going," I replied. "One relates to our duty as members of society in keeping up the influence of the Sabbath, and causing it to be respected in the community; the other, to the proper disposition of our time for our own moral improvement. As members of the community, we should go to church, and do all in our power to support the outward ordinances of religion. If a conscientious man makes up his mind that Sunday is a day for outward acts of worship and reverence, he should do his own part as an individual towards sustaining these observances. Even though he may have such mental and moral resources that as an individual he could gain much more in solitude than in a congregation, still he owes to the congregation the influence of his presence and sympathy. But I have never yet seen the man, however finely gifted morally and intellectually, whom I thought in the long run a gainer in either of these respects by the neglect of public worship. I have seen many who in their pride kept aloof from the sympathies and communion of their brethren, who lost strength morally, and deteriorated in ways that made themselves painfully felt. Sunday is apt in such cases to degenerate into a day of mere mental idleness and reverie, or to become a sort of waste-paper box for scraps, odds and ends of secular affairs.

"As to those very good people--and many such there are--who go straight on with the work of life on Sunday, on the plea that 'to labor is to pray,' I simply think they are mistaken. In the first place, to labor is _not_ the same thing as to pray. It may sometimes be as good a thing to do, and in some cases even a better thing; but it is not the same thing. A man might as well never write a letter to his wife, on the plea that making money for her is writing to her. It may possibly be quite as great a proof of love to work for a wife as to write to her, but few wives would not say that both were not better than either alone. Furthermore, there is no doubt that the intervention of one day of spiritual rest and aspiration so refreshes a man's whole nature, and oils the many wheels of existence, that he who allows himself a weekly Sabbath does more work in the course of his life for the omission of work on that day.

"A young student in a French college, where the examinations are rigidly severe, found by experience that he succeeded best in his examination by allowing one day of entire rest just before it. His brain and nervous system refreshed in this way carried him through the work better than if taxed to the last moment. There are men transacting a large and complicated business who can testify to the same influence from the repose of the Sabbath.

"I believe those Christian people who from conscience and principle turn their thoughts most entirely out of the current of worldly cares on Sunday fulfill unconsciously a great law of health; and that, whether their moral nature be thereby advanced or not, their brain will work more healthfully and actively for it, even in physical and worldly matters. It is because the Sabbath thus harmonizes the physical and moral laws of our being that the injunction concerning it is placed among the ten great commandments, each of which represents some one of the immutable needs of humanity."

"There is yet another point of family religion that ought to be thought of," said my wife: "I mean the customs of mourning. If there is anything that ought to distinguish Christian families from Pagans, it should be their way of looking at and meeting those inevitable events that must from time to time break the family chain. It seems to be the peculiarity of Christianity to shed hope on such events. And yet it seems to me as if it were the very intention of many of the customs of society to add tenfold to their gloom and horror,--such swathings of black crape, such funereal mufflings of every pleasant object, such darkening of rooms, and such seclusion from society and giving up to bitter thoughts and lamentation. How can little children that look on such things believe that there is a particle of truth in all they hear about the joyous and comforting doctrines which the Bible holds forth for such times?"

"That subject is a difficult one," I rejoined. "Nature seems to indicate a propriety in some outward expressions of grief when we lose our friends. All nations agree in these demonstrations. In a certain degree they are soothing to sorrow; they are the language of external life made to correspond to the internal. Wearing mourning has its advantages. It is a protection to the feelings of the wearer, for whom it procures sympathetic and tender consideration; it saves grief from many a hard jostle in the ways of life; it prevents the necessity of many a trying explanation, and is the ready apology for many an omission of those tasks to which sorrow is unequal. For all these reasons I never could join the crusade which some seem disposed to wage against it. Mourning, however, ought not to be continued for years. Its uses are more for the first few months of sorrow, when it serves the mourner as a safeguard from intrusion, insuring quiet and leisure in which to reunite the broken threads of life, and to gather strength for a return to its duties. But to wear mourning garments and forego society for two or three years after the loss of any friend, however dear, I cannot but regard as a morbid, unhealthy nursing of sorrow, unworthy of a Christian."

"And yet," said my wife, "to such an unhealthy degree does this custom prevail, that I have actually known young girls who have never worn any other dress than mourning, and consequently never been into society, during the entire period of their girlhood. First, the death of a father necessitated three years of funereal garments and abandonment of social relations; then the death of a brother added two years more; and before that mourning was well ended, another of a wide circle of relatives being taken, the habitual seclusion was still protracted. What must a child think of the Christian doctrine of life and death who has never seen life except through black crape? We profess to believe in a better life to which the departed good are called,--to believe in the shortness of our separation, the certainty of reunion, and that all these events are arranged in all their relations by an infinite tenderness which cannot err. Surely, Christian funerals too often seem to say that affliction 'cometh of the dust,' and not from above."

"But," said Bob, "after all, death is a horror; you can make nothing less of it. You can't smooth it over, nor dress it with flowers; it is what Nature shudders at."

"It is precisely for this reason," said I, "that Christians should avoid those customs which aggravate and intensify this natural dread. Why overpower the senses with doleful and funereal images in the hour of weakness and bereavement, when the soul needs all her force to rise above the gloom of earth, and to realize the mysteries of faith? Why shut the friendly sunshine from the mourner's room? Why muffle in a white shroud every picture that speaks a cheerful household word to the eye? Why make a house look stiff and ghastly and cold as a corpse? In some of our cities, on the occurrence of a death in the family, all the shutters on the street are closed and tied with black crape, and so remain for months. What an oppressive gloom must this bring on a house! how like the very shadow of death! It is enlisting the nerves and the senses against our religion, and making more difficult the great duty of returning to life and its interests. I would have flowers and sunshine in the deserted rooms, and make them symbolical of the cheerful mansions above, to which our beloved ones are gone. Home ought to be so religiously cheerful, so penetrated by the life of love and hope and Christian faith, that the other world may be made real by it. Our home life should be a type of the higher life. Our home should be so sanctified, its joys and its sorrows so baptized and hallowed, that it shall not be sacrilegious to think of heaven as a higher form of the same thing,--a Father's house in the better country, whose mansions are many, whose love is perfect, whose joy is eternal."

[The end]
Harriet Beecher Stowe's essay: Home Religion