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THE

SOCIAL CONDUCT OF A CHRISTIAN

CONSIDERED

IN

DISCOURSES

ADDRESSED TO AN INDIVIDUAL.

BY THE

REV. C. GIRDLESTONE, A. M.

SECOND EDITION.

OXFORD

PRINTED BY W. BAXTER,

FOR J. PARKER;
RIVINGTON, si PAUL'S CHURCH YARD, AND

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WATERLOO PLACE, LONDON.

1828.

660

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PREFACE.

THAT the design of these Discourses may be the better understood it seems desirable to state briefly the occasion on which they were written. The author was applied to by a much-valued friend to assist in giving advice to a third person, , altogether unknown to him. The case was that of a young lady of good understanding, who was described as having fallen into a melancholy state of mind, through erroneous impressions on the subject of religion. The nature of those impressions may be collected from the tenour of the following Discourses designed to remove them. No advice was requested on matters of doctrine. That

branch of the subject is therefore as far as possible avoided. Points of practical difficulty in the conduct of social life were principally adverted to in the application for advice. The author was requested to enforce the social duties of Christianity, to shew that the spirit of our holy religion requires no gloomy austerity, justifies no captious exceptions to the conduct of others, permits no unkind neglect of relations and friends, no self-willed defiance of parental authority. It was his object to convince the individual he addressed that ber views of Christian duty were mistaken; not so much that they were too exalted or too strict, as that they were uncharitable or, which is the same thing, unscriptural. No views can be too exalted, no zeal too fervent, no obedience too strict, in a

case where eternal happiness is at stake, and the will of Almighty God is graciously revealed for the instruction of man. Let not then the worldly minded reader imagine that these pages are designed to justify his indifference, or to palliate the lukewarmness of his faith. They were written for the advancement of true piety in a mind earnestly seeking the truth; they are made public in the hope that they may be useful to others in the same situation. They may be thought perhaps to be directed against a class of professing Christians who separate themselves from the general society of the world. But they are directed against principles, not against persons;

and it is trusted that individuals of that class will not object to having their principles enquired into, and tried by God's word, so it be done in fairness and good temper. Their principles may be objected to, esteemed unchristian, and most carefully avoided, by one, who, though no convert

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