And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. Psalm 119:45.
There are some who talk in a regretful way concerning the restraints that the religion of the Bible imposes upon those who would follow its teachings. They seem to think that restraint is a great disadvantage, but we have reason to thank God with all our heart that He has raised a heavenly barrier between us and the ground of the enemy. There are certain tendencies of the natural heart that many think must be followed in order that the best development of the individual may result, but that which man thinks essential God sees would not be the blessing to humanity which men imagine; for the development of these very traits of character would unfit them for the mansions above. The Lord places men under test and trial that the dross may be separated from the gold; but He forces none. He does not bind with fetters and cords and barriers; for they increase disaffection rather than decrease it…. Genuine religion does not have a narrowing influence; it is a lack of religion that cramps the faculties and narrows the mind.34Manuscript 3, 1892.
Religion is an active, working principle, and furnishes a stamina sufficient for the stern realities of life…. Religion ever imparts power to its possessor to restrain, control, and balance the character and intellect and emotions. It has a power to persuade, entreat, and command with divine authority all the ability and affections. Religion—oh, I wish we all understood its workings! It lays us under the weightiest obligations. As we connect ourselves with Christ we solemnly pledge ourselves to walk as Christ walked.35Letter 25, 1882.
It is our privilege to show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light…. The Lord’s way must be kept, and His way is exalted in righteousness. Christians, in their manner and words and character, are to reveal their heavenly extraction. We are never to apologize to the world for being Christians and daring to be right.36Letter 31a, 1894.
Pure religion brings peace, happiness, contentment; godliness is profitable to this life and the life to come.37Letter 1b, 1873.