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WA Y TO DO GOOD:
CHRISTIAN CHARACTER MATURE.
THE SEQUEL TO
YOUNG CHRISTIAN AND CORNER-STONE.
BY JACOB ABBOTT.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1836, by
WILLIAM PEIRCE, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
STEREOTYPED BY T. G. WELLS & Co.
PRE FAC E.
Upon the Corner-Stone of faith in Jesus Christ, as the atoning sacrifice for sin, there is reared the superstructure of holy life and action; and a holy life, is one which, from the impulse of love to God, is occupied in doing good to man. The Young Christian was intended to introduce the reader to the first steps of the Christian life ; the Corner-Stone to explain some of the simpler elements of revealed religion; and now this work is intended to close the series, by giving the reader some general directions in respect to the great work which God has given him here to do.
In thus bringing this series of Illustrations of Christianity to a close, I cannot but express my acknowledgments for the favorable manner with which the community has received these humble attempts to divest religion of its theological and scholastic garb, and to present it in its simplicity, to the common classes of society. I have been indebted to the criticisms which the former volumes have called forth, for many valuable suggestions, of which I have availed myself in the later editions of those volumes, and sometimes in the trains of thought pursued in this. Now, however, although I bring the series to a close, the reader must not expect to find that the whole ground is explored, nor complain if he finds many important subjects wholly omitted. To go over the whole field of religious truth and duty, as minutely as I have examined those particular
views of it which are brought forward in this work, would require a hundred volumes instead of three. I hope, therefore, that the critic will not charge me with culpable omissions, even if he should find some important subjects not treated of in these volumes.
There is one subject to which I wish the above remarks to be especially applied. I mean the great subject of progress in personal holiness I should be very sorry, if, by devoting my concluding volume to instructions on the Way to Do Good, I should convey the idea that the proper performance of outward acts of benevolence constitutes the sole, or even the principal work of the Christian life. To describe the believer's inward conflicts with sin, his trials, and temptations, and struggles; his fears, and hopes, and joys; to delineate, in a word, the road by which he finds his way from step to step, to the highest degree of personal sanctification attainable here, is a task of a very far higher character than any which I have attempted in these volumes. That road is one which can be described only by one who has travelled it; and years of extended Christian experience, or else very uncommon spiritual qualifications, could alone justify the attempt.
Though these works are thus necessarily limited in respect to their range, I have endeavored to exhibit nothing in them but truth. I have endeavored to exhibit that truth too, which is most obvious, and most important in its bearings; and which may have the most immediate and direct influence upon the feelings of the heart, in promoting intelligent, devoted and happy piety.