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In his sermon yesterday before a Memorial Church filled to capacity (at least 50 people standing), despite the disagreeable weather, Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick of the Riverside Church in New York City emphasized the value of the dependable character, a "fixed point in a changing age."
"The first of the obstacles to a dependable character," said Dr. Fosdick, "is a sense of guilt. Most of the types of mental derangement are due to this. We do evil secretly and then are afraid that we will be found out publicly. Our evil accumulates an increasing sum of dominance's over us. We who are so free to start are not free to stop.
"I wish the psychiatrist no harm, but if great religions could have more hold on the people, there would be less use for them. Vital religion aids one in ridding oneself of this sense of guilt.
"Those who never fail at all are in a non-existent fairyland. We all fail. But for millions of people great religion has brought victory after moral failure.
"The gaining of a steady, dependable character is, however, much more than recovery from failure. No man has stability of character until he has become a real person' with god and useful ambitions.
"We are rich today, poor tomorrow; we are popular today and the world cries for our heads tomorrow. Sooner or later to every man, like all great religious experiences. comes some provocative occasion that requires his soul. The outward standards of success are so glamorous that a man can be horribly humiliated unless he lives up to them. But every man in his home and within can be a real man.
"The chief business of great living is to develop standards. Even with regard to the details of right and wrong he is an unwise man who surrenders to temporary standards and forgets others. 'Trust not one night's ice.' Give us stable, reliable, and predictable characters for everybody's sake!
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