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that character, which entitles its possessor to the denomination of a child of God, But in our high commendation of this excellent Work, it may perhaps be necessary, in one instance, if not to withhold, at least to qualify our eulogium. In the chapter wherein the Author treats of the view which will be taken, by all: true Christians, of the nature of God, it may perhaps be conceived that there may be some danger of making sad the heart of many a truly righteous, though timid and trembling believer. It is not howeyer that the Author is erroneous in his statement; the principles and feelings which he describes are found, suba, stantially, in all real Christians. But besides that all. are not able to take an accurate view of the state of their own hearts, these principles and feelings exist in very different degrees, in persons of different measures of intellect and sensibility. But in all Christians there is a hatred of sin and love of holiness ; there is a genuine and deep humiliation, from a consciousness of disobedience and ingratitude towards God, which necessarily arises out of a deep sense of the infinite perfection of God, and of the moral excellence of his commandments. Thence arises that sense of our disease, as our blessed Saviour terms it, which renders the Physician so acceptable : which so endears the Saviour, not only as the atonement for our sins, and as the means of obtaining the forgivness of them, but as the way also by which we may be delivered from their power, and be conformed to the character and image of Christ. Hence, too we become more suita
biy impressed, (even overwhelmed would be an inadequate name for a feeling which we never can experience in a just degree,) with a sense of the unspeakable mercy and love of God. It is not merely that he pardons those who deserve punishment at his hands : but, if we may presume to use such an expression, in speaking of truths, the grandeur of which exceeds onr limited faculties, He who declares himself to abhor all iniquity, has devised a plan for exercising his lenity, without disparagement to his attribute of justice, by the sacrifice of the only Son of his love, the partaker of his divine nature and glory. But the mercy he showed was to on a scale commensurate with all the circumstances which attended it. It was not merely that the criminals were to be pardoned; they were to be received into favour; into the closest and most intimate union with the infinitely holy God; they were to be purified from their corruptions; the spirit of disloyalty being rooted out, a spirit of willing and grateful obedience was to be substituted in its place: and child-like love and affiance being produced in them they were to be regarded as the children of God, entitled to all the privileges implied in that high relation. Thus, then, is effected that mighty renovation of which our Saviour spoke to Nicodemus, by which to use the language of Scripture, “ we are made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” How forcibly we are reminded of the Scripture declarations, concerning the divine mercy, that 66 God's ways are not as our ways, nor his thoughts as
our thoughts ; but that as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his ways higher than our ways, and his thoughts than our thoughts."
But they who, in the above particular doctrine, or in any other, may not entirely agree with Dr. Witherspoon, will nevertheless find themselves able fully to adopt his practical principles: nor will his work be highly valued only by those who are already far advanced in the Christian course, but by those also, who not having yet so clearly ascertained to themselves a claim to the character of real Christians, are nevertheless desirous of thoroughly scrutinizing their own hearts, and of comparing themselves with the finished model delineated by our Author; and above all, by maintaining a close union with the Redeemer, from whose fulness they are to derive all spiritual blessings, of transfusing into themselves the various graces which they may here contemplate.
Again, this work is likely to be the more useful to all who are in earnest in religion, to all at least who acknowledge the fundameutal doctrines of Christianity, because besides the accurate statements it contains of the genuine principles of the Christian character, it abounds also in those urgent and powerful appeals to the consciences and feelings of men, of the usefulness of which the longer we live the more we shall become sensible. For strange as the assertion might appear, were it not clearly and indisputably established, there no class of objects in pursuit of which we are apt to grow so lukewarm, no description of interest of
which we are so little disposed to be duly watchful, as those of which we are nevertheless fully convinced in our understandings that they are of all others the most valuable and important. Here, in truth, we discover one of the strongest proofs, and most striking, illustrations of human corruption-of that moral obliquity by which we are drawn aside from the line prescribed by our clearest sense of interest, no less than by the most powerful obligations of duty.
The serious study of this little work is eminently calculated to rouse us to a just impression of our critical and alarming circumstances, while in our probationary state. Nor will the perusal of it be less fruitful to those whose views of practical Christianity have hitherto been too superficial, and who, although acknowledging that; the present life is but a journey, have nevertheless been accustomed practically to consider religion as chiefly conversant with the conduct of men towards their fellow creatures. Here they will learn how defective have been their views of Christian doctrine. In no way can we take a more effectual security against sliding insensibly into these erroneous views, than by often raising our minds to the consideration of the essential dignity of the Chris iian character. It is thus, that the venerable apostle, our Saviour's beloved disciple, excites the zeal and elevates the views of the Christians of his day. It was for this end that the Apostle of the Gentiles prayed for his converts, that strong as their faith and ardent as their hopes already were, they might enjoy
still clearer and higher notions of the dignity of their high calling. And our blessed Lord himself, in the prayer which closed the last discourse he held with his disciples, enforced on them the ennobling consideration, that all his people were to be made partakers of a diyine nature : “ Neither pray
I for these alone, but for all them that shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, I in them, and thou in me.” Thus is the heavenly character to be formed; thus are we to be “ made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light" on earth; and it will be the daily business of the true Christian to be rooting out every remaining trace of his natural corruptions, and perfecting the lineaments of the divine image. For this end let him often peruse the sacred volume, and more especially the epistles of St Paul, and the first Epistle of St Peter and St. John, with a view to fix in his mind, and maintain in his lively recollection, a just sense of the nature and extent of spiritual religion, scrutinizing at the same time, the state of his own tempers and affections, that he may ascertain the real state of what is styled so forcibly in Scripture, the inner man of the heart.
But it is only by accompanying our study of the Scriptures, with constant, humble, and fervent prayer, that we can hope to draw down those blessed influences which alone can enable us to feel the truths of Christianity in all their vital power, and can maintain