Mary Hays to Matilda Mary Hays (c. 1842) [fragment]
One more observation on the letter to which I allude, I must also add. Beware how you adopt the religious cat, the false theology, which become so prevalent in the present day, and which has on weak minds so pernicious an effect. Let your homage to the Supreme Being be that of your understanding and your heart – the offspring of love, not of fear. Confide in Him as your wise and kind Father, whom you most honor by obeying, and by fulfilling the duties to which you are called. It is easy to observe forms, to make professions of creeds and dogmas, which have little effect upon the conduct and less upon the temper. But love to God and to your fellow-beings, justice, benevolence and humility – these form the essence of a true and saving faith.
Taken from "Memoir of Mary Hays: With Some Unpublished Letters addressed to her by Robert Robinson, of Cambridge, and Others." Christian Reformer 11 (September 1844), 813-20. Most likely the niece to whom this note is directed was Matilda Mary Hays (1820-97), in whose home Hays lived from 1832-c. 1840 and, in regards to her niece's education, Hays was instrumental in shaping her opinions about religion, society, and women's education and other social issues.