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His particular views of Christian doctrine may be gathered from his work on that subject-they were evangelical, wise, moderate on doubtful questions, and eminently practical. He was no Calvinist, if by that be meant a strong opinion on predestination, and the order of the divine decrees ; but he was a sound, heart-felt believer in the revelation of the gospel, according to the articles and homilies of the Church of England, of which he was, through life, a sincere member. I remember, only a few years since, his walking with me up and down his drawing-room, some time beyond midnight, discoursing on some of these subjects. His figure is now in my mind-his benevolent eye-bis kind, considerate manner of speaking-his reverence for scripture-his address the pauses he made in his walk, when he had any thing emphatic to say. I recollect one sentiment was, that the passages so frequent in scripture, importing the unwillingness of the Almighty that the sinner should perish, the invitations addressed to him to return, the remonstrances with him on his unbelief, &c. must be interpreted strictly and literally, or they would appear to be a mockery of man's misery, and to involve the most fearful imputations on the Divine character. Evasions of the force of such passages were, he thought, highly injurious, and went to sap the whole evidence and bearing of the Christian revelation.—Christian Keepsake, for 1836.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN
I am too well informed of the difficulties of editorship, in such a work as yours, to express surprise that you should have admitted such an article as the Memoir of Annie. I know how much the soundest judgment will be sometimes at fault, amid the variety of contributions that pour in, perhaps in the last hurry of compilation, and under names that justly carry weight. The discriminating good sense which usually characterizes your own writings, separating what is real from what is factitious in religion, assures me that you could not, on consideration, approve of such a statement. The fact that the article is without a signature, removes the fear of giving personal offence; that it is owned by nobody lessens my embarrassment in condemning it ; and I am not speaking my own sentiments only, but those of all with whom I have conversed on the subject, when I venture to express the greatest regret that it should be found in your pages.
If what is stated of Annie at eight months old were true, which nobody ought to believe on the testimony of another, it was a miracle, because it is in nature physically impossible. If I might jest with you on so grave a subject, I should ask if you
do not feel alarmed at this symptom of the Romish miasma, the diffusion of which you so much apprehend, that it is thus beginning to infect our pious story tellers. That an infant of eight months should know the nature of prayer, though she might have been taught its attitude; or the contents of a Bible, though it is just possible she might have been taught to put her hands together at the sight of some particular book, or even be quieted by it, if it had been used as a plaything for that purpose ; implies a miraculous inspiration, since the knowledge could not have been communicated through the medium of her rational faculties. The remaining particulars require neither miraculous nor gracious influences—they are perfectly accountable in a child of a naturally sweet temperament, with perceptions prematurely developed perhaps, from the nature of her disease, and certainly prematurely exercised by the not always judicious treatment of those about her. Are we to attribute it to divine inspiration, or to the discretion of her nurses, that an infant under three years of age knew the nature of drunkenness and recognised its effects? And surely every mother knows, that had it been any other article on the breakfast-table instead of the Bible, to which the child's attention was daily called, which she was made to notice, and taught to consider an object of interest and pleasure, she would have missed it, and asked for it the first time it was not there.
Such, madam, is my well-considered opinion of the facts narrated in this story. Of the inferences drawn from them, and the reflections made by the narrator, I cannot give my opinion without infringing the principle I advocate, of not provoking disputation by remarking upon the expressed sentiments of others. Without further allusion, therefore, to the remarks of your correspondent, I shall confine myself to the expression of my own opinion. It is a subject of touching interest to parental love. Would I take from Annie's parents, the blessed assurance of their cbild's felicity ? No; but I would put it upon a safer ground—a ground that would make them as sure for Annie's twin-sister, who never saw the light, as for this engaging object of their prolonged concern. It is a subject too, of consequence : at a time like the present, every thing is of consequence ; and never was it so necessary for those who have the honour of Christ's religion at beart, to take heed what they say. On the one side we have to meet the bold eye of incredulity, no longer dazzled with names, or dimmed by prejudice, or withheld by deference for God or man, from exposing whatever is factitious and unreal in any thing; truth must now be presented pure, for it will be examined naked. On another side, there is a too manifest desire to bring fiction to the belp of truth ; to bring signs and wonders once more on the field, and walk again by sight instead of faith: to encumber the doctrines of the cross with human additions, and the witness of the Spirit with evidences of man's devising. This is no time to amuse ourselves, or hope to instruct each other, with vain babblings and old wives' fables, any more than with science, falsely so called. It is time rather to clear the deck for battle, and move every thing away that is not essential to the maintenance of the truth.
does believe that children dying in infancy, before the age of moral responsibility, are saved in Christ. The taint of original sin, derived from the first Adam, being removed by the atonement of the second Adam, and a robe of righteousness wrought for them, of his merits, no actual sin committed, or offer of grace refused, we consider it impossible that one of these little ones should perish. It is true we do not know, and it is better that we should not, at what age actual guilt is contracted, or belief in Christ becomes necessary to a participation in his merits; but we are sure it cannot be till the mental faculties are considerably developed. In human legislation it has been necessary to fix an age at which children shall become amenable to the laws; we may be sure the period of spiritual responsibility is to the divine mind as definite, although we know it not. We need not know it. The parent who must not lose a moment in endeavouring to bring the child to a knowledge of God, and instruction in all righteousness, lest it should survive the time at which it will become accountable, if that child dies in infancy, ought to be satisfied of its salvation, simply on the ground of Christ's atonement, not on any fancied or fallacious evidences. We know how many a soul has groped in darkness through all its life below, in search of evidences for what ought to have been believed on the plain word of God, preferring a doubtful sign to a most sure promise. I do not believe there are any evidences of grace at the early age referred to in this memoir. If there are, they are of no value, because they are superfluous-the very fact of their rarity, when we believe all infants to be saved, establishes their superfluity. Annie's parents ought to have