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LETTERS

ON THE

EVIDENCES, DOCTRINES, AND DUTIES,

OF THE

CHRISTIAN RELIGION.

LETTER XII.

Introductory Letter on the Leading Doctrines of the

Christian Religion.

MY DEAR FRIEND,

It is much more easy for you to conjecture, than for me to describe, the pleasure I received from learning that you are now fully persuaded of the truth and Divine authority of the Christian Religion: and I cheerfully accede to your renewed request that this series of letters shall be extended until I have furnished you with a view of the principal doctrines proposed in Scripture for your belief, and of the grand duties which we are called upon as Christians to discharge. Had I not, however, a decided conviction of your supreme love of truth, and of your stedfast determination to follow it whithersoever it may lead you, I

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should be somewhat apprehensive that, in performing this second part of the task your friendly deference to my opinions has assigned me, my efforts will be attended with less success than they have been in what I have already attempted. The truths which lie at the basis of the Christian system are so humiliating to human nature, so revolting to the sentiments of those who have too exalted ideas of the powers of reason, and who cherish erroneous conceptions of the dignity of man, that though they are so plainly stamped in the universal character and conduct of mankind, that he “ who runs may read ;" yet they require to be asserted repeatedly in the Word of God before they receive our assent: and after all we yield that assent more reluctantly than to any other truths ever presented to the mind.

Still, when a person admits, as you do, that the Holy Scriptures are a collection of books whose authors were divinely inspired, were led into all necessary truth, and preserved from all doctrinal error by the superintendence of God himself, he at once sees the necessity of studying those sacred treasures under different feelings, and with different intentions, from those with which he turns to the perusal of

any

other work. that there are two points known to God, the inspirer of the Scriptures, which man cannot comprehend; that is

" the secrets of the heart, and the succession of times." He therefore interprets the Bible with that entire submission of his own understanding to the divine teaching, which such a persuasion is calculated to produce; and proceeds to the study of Theology

He is aware

to say,

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