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vicious course, and the absence of other causes adequate to the production of the supposed change of character.
In my own case, there were many causes to prevent new principles, however erroneous, from producing immediate evil results.—Owing to my uncommon gravity, and certain traits of character which had existed from my earliest years, public opinion had been enlisted, in an unusual degree in my favor. I had been, during every period of my life, highly flattered; and, to some extent, at least, respected. While a mere lad, I had been employed a part of the time, for years, to read the sermons in a small society of Episcopalians who were destitute of a minister; and I was scarcely twenty years of age when I occasionally read the Liturgy—a task usually assigned to people somewhat advanced in life—especially those who are of the laity. These facts are mentioned in order to show that I had a character to sustain by good behavior, or jeopardize by misconduct. Yet in spite of all this we see to what a slight temptation comparatively so, I mean, I yielded.
There is another fact which increases the probability that loose principles led to loose morality in my own case : I allude to the fact that principles gave for a time—as has already been
observed—a new impulse to my feelings ; and led me to estimate myself much higher than before. Now it is well known that, other things being equal, the higher our self-respect, the more likely we are to withstand temptation.
MY PROGRESS IN ERROR.
My views of total depravity &c.—Their obvious absurdity
Further examples of duplicity-I became bolder-Compliments of the “liberal.”
My belief in infantile purity excluded also the doctrine of total depravity. Indeed this last had been given up earlier than the doctrine of eternal punishment. Perhaps I shall be unable to express my views, at this time, in a better manner than by introducing a paragraph or two from some remarks on education, written about that time, which I still carefully preserve as a relic of what I once was. The reader will see how nearly they correspond with the views of some of our new-light men of 1840, and 1841. Besides, they give the best possible account of my progress at this period. The first paragraph is as follows:
" The noble prerogative of being mothers, involves a high and heavenly trust. Receiving the infant being from the hands of a holy God, they
are to preserve it uncontaminated from the world. They have in charge the crystal fountain, before its waters are rendered impure by the stagnated and sickly streams of a depraved world.—They are to guard the avenues to vice, by preserving the rectitude of the senses ;-by eliciting the affections, and directing them to their appropriate objects :--and in a word, by forming holy and heavenly character. A noble prerogative truly ;—that of guiding, as the appointed instruments,—God's noblest work into two worlds, earth and heaven !”
It is obvious that the doctrine of a native innocence and purity” is here recognized; and that the doctrine of evangelical Christians, that a special Divine influence, is requisite, along with our own efforts, in order to secure salvationhowever plainly taught in the Bible, is rejected.
The next paragraph alluded to, is much longer ; and is a strange medley of truth and error.
“ Man is, indeed, in every instance, farther below the Deity in point of perfection than it is either his interest or his duty to be ; and farther off from what the perfection of God's law requires than he would have been if he had properly improved his talents. In this sense, there is none righteous, no, not one;' there is no person so
near God as he might be. Every thought, feeling, action or word, which is less pure, or less perfect, than it might have been, is sinful. All is sin, in this point of view; and mankind are, if you please, in this respect, totally depraved. And the time probably never will come when a single individual of the human race will be any other than totally depraved, in the sense here explained, unless that individual shall become equal to the Deity. For the human soul, considered in its relation to the Creator, is justly said by Addison to be like one of those mathematical lines which may approach each other to all eternity without the possibility of touching.
“ Still I believe that multitudes of the human race do feel, think, speak and act in some degree correctly: that is, in such a manner, that God is better pleased with it than if the manner were different; therefore they are not totally depraved. Those human beings whose depravity has sunk them the lowest, do, in some instances, perform actions which evince that there is a spark of a Divine or spiritual nature latent within them,smothered, indeed, and almost extinguished, but ready to break forth, and burn brighter and brighter unto the perfect day,' when the present barbarous theology shall give place to one which