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My design, in the present volume, has been to supply a kind of manual, in regard to the effects of Christianity on the mind of its disciples, considered in the leading diversities of their character and circumstances. In prosecuting this object, I have endeavoured to distinguish between the real effects of the gospel, and those improperly attributed to it. An attempt is also made to shew that there is nothing in the acknowledged imperfections of Christians to furnish a valid objection against Christianity, nor against our anticipations as to the future greatness of believers. Their defects are in a process of removal; and their attainments have the seeds of a moral excellence in them which the future alone can fully develop.
Some years have passed, since it first occurred to me that a work of this nature might be considerably useful. The cases of which it treats are in constant occurrence, and cannot possibly receive all that attention from the Christian pastor which he would willingly bestow upon them. May the silent instruction, which I am anxious the ensuing chapters should convey to the people of my own charge, be shared by others.
With a painful sense of its deficiencies, I commit the work to His benediction whose favour accompanies every sincere and earnest effort in his cause.
August 1, 1832.