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its love of sin and aversion to holiness,—its froward self-will and impatience of the restraints of authority,-its fondness for all that gratifies its pride, and its disrelish of all that is humbling;-believing this verdict on the character of human nature, I cannot but hold the conviction, that in the bosom of every son and daughter of Adam there exists a predisposition against the gospel,—against› the truth of God, and the God of truth,against the Lord, and against his Christ.

By some, I am aware, the eloquent propounder of the sentiment under discussion, is conceived to have meant no more by it, than the trite and common maxim, that every man's faith depends upon his country and his parentage,-that every person will be what he is taught and trained to be,- a Mahometan, a Pagan, or a Christian; and that, this being the case, no man can be accountable for the place of his birth, or the circumstances of his education.-I can hardly imagine, that such a man would announce an opinion so old and so ordinary, with so much

of the pomp of recent discovery, and the emphasis of pre-eminent importance. But let me suppose this his meaning:-I would answer, without entering at large into the various questions connected with the opinion

In the first place, Granting its general truth, (and it would be foolish to dispute it,) it surely cannot be considered as in the least degree invalidating the obligation to examine the evidences of what is presented to us as a communication from Deity,—to weigh the grounds of its claim to our acceptance. This obligation lies imperatively on all, without exception, to whom such a record comes, And then the simple question, connected with our present subject, comes to be, precisely what has been already stated-whether there be, or be not, in the state and character of the human heart in general, or of the heart of the individual in particular, any thing that predisposes either for or against it, and that thus goes to bias the mind in the

examination of its evidence, and in the denial or acknowledgment of its truth.

Secondly: The manner in which the opinion is stated, so exceedingly vague and undefined in the meaning of its terms,-only serves to discover the sadly inadequate and erroneous conceptions, so extensively prevalent, of what it is to be a christian ;-conceptions, which form not the least of the unavoidable and pernicious effects of the nationalizing of christianity, by which the designation christian, from having been a definite term of spiritual character, distinguishing the few from the many, has degenerated into a mere line of geographical partition; or a shade of colouring, by which, in a map, one region of the globe is marked off from anothér. It is perfectly true, that men may be, -that they are most likely to be,—or, put it as strongly as you please, that they certainly will be, christians in this sense, according to their country or their parentage, in the same manner as they would be Hindoos or Mussulmen. But that every one who is born of

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christian parents, and taught christian truth, will be a christian in the true scriptural acceptation of the name, is a far different proposition, a proposition as certainly false, as the other is true. Every truly christian parent feels and laments the difficulty, of instilling the truths of God so as to procure for them a cordial acceptance, and to bring the affections, passions, and desires under the regimen of the principles of spiritual and vital christianity. The whole process of really christian education develops to such parents the strength of the hostile predisposition, and impresses the necessity of an influence superior to parental for effectually overcoming it.

By others, the sentiment of which I have ventured thus to express my disapproval, has been understood as amounting to no more than the metaphysical axiom, that belief must necessarily correspond with the perception of evidence, it being in the nature of the thing impossible that the mind should believe, or disbelieve, otherwise than as evidence is,

or is not, discerned.-Now I am far from intending to question the truth of this axiom. It is quite entitled to the designation, being a self-evident and indisputable truth. But this admission does not, in the smallest degree, affect our conclusion as to moral responsibility; for one very obvious reason,—that it is precisely on this point, the perception of evidence, that the predisposing causes referred to are apt most powerfully to operate. That in the examination of any question, the perceptions of the mind are affected by the previous state of the inclinations, both in the discernment of the bearings of proof, and in appreciating the value of its different items, is, as I have before observed, true even to a proverb. It is so certain, so universally understood and admitted, that writers on the constitution of the mind, and on moral evidence, insist on the necessity and importance of guarding against such sources of biassing prepossession,-those IDOLS,-(to use the designation given them by Lord Bacon)which entice the mind from an uncorrupted

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