There are few women who have charge of servants or of children, in the family and school, who do not suffer anxiety and perplexity, and sometimes remorse, in attempts to perform their duty as chief ministers of religion in the family state. The following suggestions may aid in diminishing these difficulties:

The main foundation of these troubles is the endless diversities of instruction as to what is right in character and conduct, and especially as to what is taught in the Bible on these points. For there are few practical questions on which persons of equal intelligence and moral worth are not in antagonism as to what is the right; and all the Christian sects are in equal controversy as to what are the teachings of the Bible. And yet every housekeeper, every mother, and every teacher, practically, must decide these questions for herself and her dependants, when, in the kitchen, nursery, and school-room she teaches what actions and feelings are right or wrong, or when she decides to what religious denomination she, and those she can influence, shall belong.

There is one consoling consideration in view of these conflicting opinions, and that is, that nothing tends more directly to cultivate both the intellect and moral feelings, than the study, reflection, and discussion resulting from this trying dilemma. For, were every human being infallibly directed by a superior mind as to every step and every decision, it would greatly diminish mental effort, and the moral discipline of life. All would remain as mere children, guided and upheld at every step. Instead of this, the whole moral and intellectual world is kept vigorous, earnest, and bright by conflict and discussion, while many moral virtues are cultivated by this turmoil.

The difficulties thus encountered may be much reduced by gaining clear ideas as to what it is which constitutes voluntary action right. To settle this more clearly, we introduce again a portion of Chapter XXV (On The Right Use Of Time And Property)., with additional considerations. The definition of right, in its widest use, is "any rule or method which will best accomplish any plan or design." It is a fact, also, that there is a created intuitive belief in all rational minds that happiness-making on the largest scale possible is the end or purpose for which all things are made.

This is proved by the fact that whenever men perceive that a given course will secure the most and the best good for both the individual and for society, all decide that it is right. The main difficulty is in discovering what is the best for all concerned.

There are two ways in which mankind learn this. The first is, by the trial of experience. Man learns "to know good and evil" by good lost or gained, and evil suffered. This experimenting has been going on in all ages, each generation gaining by the experience of the past. The other mode is, by revelations from God made in human language, and to be interpreted by the common rules of the language employed.

But one distinction is very important, and that is, the two relations in which an action is to be judged as right, viz., first, with reference to the action as best for all concerned, and next in reference to the motive or intention of the actor. For it is best and right that every mind should choose what it believes to be right; and thus it often happens that the same action is right as to motive or intention, and wrong as to actual result. So, also, an action may be right in tendency and result, while it is wrong as to motive. There is often much confusion from not recognizing this distinction.

There are many cases where experience will not avail in deciding what is best for all, especially in reference to our prospects after death, and our relations and duties toward our Creator. For all this we are dependent on revelations made in human language, to be interpreted by the rules of language. And as almost all words have more than one literal meaning, and are also used sometimes in a literal, and sometimes in a figurative sense, the chief labor in gaining God's teaching is in applying rightly the laws of language.

One difficulty in this attempt is the fact that the true interpretation of language depends greatly on the habits of thought, the prejudices of education, and the influence of excited feelings and wishes. So strong are these influences in the common affairs of life, that it has been a maxim of courts that a man is not qualified to testify where his own interests are concerned. And in all daily affairs, men always make allowances for deviation from a true judgment in what greatly interests the feelings. This accounts for the fact that such a variety of interpretations are put on the plain and natural meaning of the Bible, when such a meaning controverts favorite opinions or interferes with important plans or hopes. It is not because it is difficult to interpret the Bible correctly by the proper use of those rules men employ in daily life; it is because men's feelings, prejudices, and wishes interfere. No less is it the case that the bias of feeding constantly sways the judgment of men in deciding what is right and best, where experience and reason are the chief guides.

Another embarrassment in gaining the true teachings of the Bible is the fact that the doctrines of churches and creeds have consisted extensively of philosophical theories to explain the how and the why of the facts made known by revelation; and men have been educated to believe that these theories should be accepted as authoritative, the same as the revealed facts, and thus feeling and prejudice interfere. For example, that the sacrifice and death of Jesus Christ was needful to secure redemption to our race from sin and its penalties, is the revealed fact. Why it was needed, and how it avails to save men, is a question which men have invented various theories to answer and explain, and belief in these theories has been deemed as sacred and obligatory as if they were matters of revelation.