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right. "All flesh had corrupted his way before God ;' whilst, blessed be God! you have still instances enough of piety to keep you in countenance. While you lament that the world seduces you, (for every one has a little world of his own,) your world perhaps is only a petty neighbor. hood, a few streets and squares; but the patriarch had really the contagion of a whole united world to resist; he had literally the example of the whole face of the earth to oppose.
The "fear of man" also would then have been a more pardonable fault, when the lives of the same indi. viduals who were likely to excite respect or fear was prolonged many ages, than it can be in the short period now assigned to human life. How lamentable then that opinion should operate so powerfully when it is but the breath of a being so frail and so short-lived,
That he doth cease to be,
Ere one can say he is. You who find it so difficult to withstand the individual a). lurement of one modish acquaintance, would if you had been in the patriarch's case have concluded the struggle to be quite ineffectual, and sunk under the supposed fruitlessness of resistance.
” would you not have said? or at most my little family of eight persons can never
hope to stop this torrent of corruption ; I lament the “ fruitlessness of opposition; I deplore the necessity of :66 conformity with the prevailing system; but it would be **“ a foolish presumption to hope that one family can effect 1 66 a change in the state of the world." In your own case,
however, it is not certain to how wide an extent the hearty $ union of even fewer persons in such a cause might reach :
at least is it nothing to do what the patriarch did ? was it nothing to preserve himself from the general destruction? was it nothing to deliver his own soul? was it nothing to rescue the souls of his whole family !
A wise man will never differ from the world in trifles. It is certainly a mark of a sound judgment to comply with it whenever we safely can; such compliance strengthens our influence by reserving to ourselves the greater weight of authority on those oceasions, when our conscience obliges us to differ. Those who are prudent will cheerfully conform to all its innocent usages ; but those who are Chrisa tians will be scrupulous in defining which are really inno
cent previous to their conformity to them. Not what the world, but what the Gospel calls innocent will be found at the grand scrutiny to have been really so. A discreet Christian will take due pains to be convinced he is right, before he will presume to be singular: but from the instant he is persuaded that the Gospel is true, and the world of course wrong, he will no longer risk his safety by follow. ing multitudes, or his soul by staking it on human opinion. All our most daogerous mistakes arise from our not constantly referring our practice to the standard of Scripture, instead of the mutable standard of human opinion, by which it is impossible to fix the real value of characters. For this latter standard in some cases determines those to be good who do not run all the lengths in which the notori. ously bad allow themselves. The Gospel has an universal, the world has a local, standard of goodness: in certain so. cieties certain vices alone are dishonourable, such as covetousness and cowardice; while those sins of which our Savivur has said, that they which commit them "shall not “ inherit the kingdom of God," detract nothing from the respect some persons receive. Nay, those very characters whom the Almighty has expressly declared “He will “judge,”* are received, are admired, are caressed, in that which calls itself the best company.
But to weigh our actions by one standard pow, when we know they will be judged by another hereafter, would be reckoned the height of absurdity in any transactions but those which involve the interests of eternity.
readest thou ?" is a more specific direction than any comparative view of our own habits with the habits of others : and at the final bar it will be of little avail that our actions have risen above those of bad men, if our views and principles shall be found to have been in opposition to the Gospel of Christ.
Nor is their practice more commendable, who are ever on the watch to pick out the worst actions of good men, by way of justifying their own conduct on the comparison. The faults of the best men, "for there is not a just man
upon the earth who sinneth not,” can in no wise justify the errors of the worst : and it is not invariably the ex. ample of even good men that we must take for our unerring
* Hebrews xiii. .
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 prin. ciples and good habits; by the predominance of holiness, and righteousness, and temperance in the life, and by the power of humility, faith, and love in the heart.
On the leading doctrines of Christianity. The corruption
of human nature. The doctrine of redemption. The necessity of a change of heart, and of the divine influ. ences to produce that change ; with a sketch of the Christian character.
The anthor having in this little work taken a view of the false notions often im bibed 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 de. clare plainly what she humbly conceives to be the source whence all these false notions, and this wrong conduct re. ally proceed : The prophet Jeremiah shall answer : "It is “because they have forsaken the fountain of living waters, "and have hewn out to themselves cisteros, broken cisterns " that can hold no water.” It is an ignorance past belief, . of what 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 an. derstood 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 ир
" 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, manner, the mutual dependence of one doctrine upon another, and the influence which these doctrines have upon the heart and life, so 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 differ.
cnt kind : the plant itself is different, it comes from a different root, and grows in a different soil.
It will be seen how the humbling doctrine of the cor. ruption of human nature, which has followed from the cor. ruption of our first parents, makes way for the bright dis. play of redeeming love. How from the abasing thought
we are all as sheep going astray, every one in his (own way:" that "none can return to the Shepherd of our (souls, except the Father draw him:" that the natural "man cannot receive the things of the Spirit, because they "are spiritually discerned:” how from this humiliating view of the helplessness, as well as the corruption of human na. ture, we are to turn to that animating doctrine, the offer of divine assistance. So that, though human nature will appear from this fiew in a deeply degraded state, and con. sequently 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 66 that is mighty.”
We should observe then, that the doctrines of our Sav. iour
are, if I may so speak, like his coat, 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 erect. ed, a wise builder will dig deep, and look well to the foun. dations, knowing that without this the fabric will not be likely to stand. The foundation of the Christian religion,