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earth who'sinneth not,” can in no wise justify the errors of the worst; and it is not, invariably, the example of even good men that we must take for our unerring rule of conduct: nor is it by a single action that either they or we shall be judged; for in that case who could be saved ? but it is by the general prevalence of right principles and good habits, and Christian tempers: by the predominance of holiness, and righteousness, and temperance in the life, and by the power of humility, faith, and love in the heart.
The author having in this little work taken a view of the false notions often imbibed in early life from a bad education, and of their pernicious effects; and having attempted to point out the respective remedies to these — she would now draw all that has been said to a point, and declare plainly what she humbly conceives to be the source whence all these false notions and this wrong conduct really proceed: the prophet Jeremiah shall answer : “ It is because they have forsaken the fountain of living waters, and have hewn out to themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” It is an ignorance past belief of what true Christianity really is: the remedy, therefore, and the only remedy that can be applied with any prospect of success, is RELIGION, and by Religion she would be understood to mean the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It has been before hinted, that religion should be taught at an early period of life; that children should be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The manner in which they should be taught has likewise with great plainness been suggested; that it should be done in so lively and familiar a manner as to make Religion amiable, and her ways to appear, what they really are, “ ways of pleasantness.” And a slight sketch has been given of the genius of Christianity, by which her amiableness would more clearly appear. But this, being a subject of such vast importance, compared with which every other subject sinks into nothing; it seems not sufficient to speak on the doctrines and duties of Christianity in detached parts, but it is of importance to point out, though in a brief and imperfect manner, the mutual dependence of one doctrine upon another, and the influence which these doctrines have upon the heart and life, sa that the duties of Christianity may be seen to grow out of its doctrines : by which it will appear that Christian virtue differs essentially from Pagan: it is of a quite different kind: the plant itself is a different, it springs from a different root, and grows in different soil.
It will be seen how the humbling doctrine of the corruption of human nature, which has followed from the corruption of our first parents, makes way for the bright display of redeeming love. How from the abasing thought that “ we are all as sheep going astray, every one in his own way:" that none can return to the Shepherd of our souls, 66 except the Father draw him;" that “the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit, be
cause they are spiritually discerned;” — and how from this humiliating view of the helplessness, as well as the corruption, of human nature, we are to turn to that animating doctrine, the offer of Divine assistance. So that, though human nature will appear from this view in a deeply degraded state, and consequently that though all have cause for humility, yet not one has cause for despair; the disease, indeed, is dreadful, but a Physician is at hand, both able and willing to save us: though we are naturally without “ strength, our help is laid upon one that is mighty.”. If the Gospel discover to us our lapsed state, it discovers also the means of our restoration to the Divine image and favour. It not only discovers but impresses this image: it not only gives us the description, but the attainment of this favour; and while the word of God suggests the remedy, his Spirit applies it.
We should observe, then, that the doctrines of our Saviour are, if I may so speak, with a beautiful consistency, all woven into one piece. We should get such a view of their reciprocal dependence as to be persuaded that without a deep sense of our own corruptions we can never seriously believe in a Saviour, because the substantial and acceptable belief in Him must always arise from the conviction of our want of Him; that without a firm persuasion that the Holy Spirit can alone restore our fallen nature, repair the ruins of sin, and renew the image of God upon the heart, we never shall be brought to serious humble prayer for repentance and restoration; and that, without this repentance, there is no salvation : for though Christ has died for us, and consequently to him alone we must look as a Saviour, yet he has himself declared that he will save none but true penitents.
ON THE DOCTRINE OF HUMAN CORRUPTION.
To come now to a more particular statement of these doctrines. When an important edifice is about to be erected, a wise builder will dig deep, and look well to the foundations, knowing that without this the fabric will not be likely to stand. The foundation of the Christian religion, out of which the whole structure may be said to arise, appears to be the doctrine of the fall of man from his original state of righteousness; and the corruption and helplessness of human nature, which are the consequences of this fall, and which is the natural state of every one born into the world.
To this doctrine it is important to conciliate the minds, more especially of young persons, who are peculiarly disposed to turn away from it as a morose, unamiable, and gloomy idea.' They are apt to accuse those who are more strict and serious of unnecessary severity, and to suspect them of thinking unjustly ill of mankind. Some of the reasons which prejudice the inexperienced against the doctrine in question appear to be the following:
Young persons themselves have seen little of the world. In pleasurable society the world puts on its most amiable appearance; and that softness