In human belief, individual experience is very largely shaped by family relationships. Not only do hereditary influences and parental example determine the disposition and course of the young, but the helpful or harmful intimacies of the home, and later perchance of married life, supply motives and ends in large part for the more mature, and thus fashion character and conduct through the whole span of human life.

While many have the sweetest memories of much that home and kindred have meant to them, there are relatively few who do not trace their deepest regrets and griefs to the unidealities—past or present—of family relations or conditions, or who do not feel that their greatest handicap of habit or impulse is a direct outcome of them. The skeleton in the home closet explains unnumbered heartaches, and one cannot overemphasize the need of having such a right apprehension of family relations as will enable us to profit by all that pertains to them of good, and escape from all that may pertain to them of ill. Hence the question of how this realm of the hearthstone may be cleansed and ennobled, is vitally significant to us all.

Like everything human, kinship bears the hall-mark of belief in both good and evil. It prompts the finest heroisms and the most selfish brutalities; it brings the sweetest joys and the most poignant griefs; it gives expression both to tender affection and to bitter hatred, so that the fireside may become the rendezvous either of angels or of devils, and like all else, its redemption can be effected only through the spiritualization of thought.

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Lectures in Suburbs of Boston
January 16, 1915

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