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suits of secular Life, it might possibly attract a degree of notice from persons similarly circumstanced, which they might not bestow on the more able writings of Divines by profession; -— and he was willing also, at a time when the advantages of Revelation seem to be undervalued, by many sensible and amiable characters, (who do not however question its divine origin,) to bear his humble testimony to this important truth, the result of his experience and observation through life: namely, that genuine Christianity (by which he means the simple Christianity of the New Testament) is the surest Nurse of Virtue, -the Parent of Peace, –and the source of all that is most pleasurable, as well as most dignified in human life.
MY DEAR FRIEND;
In the long course of our friendship we have had abundant occasion to acquire an intimate knowledge of the characters of cach other; of tlre motives which have governed our general conduct, as well as of that conduct itself, in all the variety of circumstances which our situations in life have successively presented. -- While I have traced and admired the warm benevolence, the spotless integrity, the ardent, laborious zeal for the promotion of public and private good, which have distinguished your useful life; I have also, you know, in our discussions on the motives to good conduct, always attached a peculiar degree of importance to Religion, as a direct rule of life. With my general ideas on this head you are not altogether unacquainted ; and I believe they are pretty much in unison with your own; but from what has occasionally passed between us, I think a detail in writing of my notions on the subject will not be uninteresting to my friend.
Whether we contemplate the stupendous system of the universe at large, or confine ourselves to the globe we inhabit, and to the material and intellectual state of Man in particular, we every where perceive traces of power, intelligence, and order; which compel us to recognize in them the work of a Divine and Almighty Agent. Though much is incomprehensible, this conviction remains irresistible ; inasmuch as our experience of cause and effect will not suffer us to ascribe order and system to chance, nor something to nothing, without involving an incomprehensibility tenfold deeper, and contradictions at which the understanding revolts.