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and this brought down an inspiring vigour on the exercises of the closet, as well as on the duties of their public and daily walk. It is thus that a devoted personal Christianity appears in almost every paragraph of the volumes which they have left behind them—those weighty products of great power and great piety—having in them a fragrancy and a force which now are seldom exemplified; and in virtue of which, they have not only been instrumental for the conversion of thousands in the days that are past, but still continue to shed a blessing of the highest order on the churches and families of our present generation.

INTRODUCTORY ESSAY

TO

THE IMITATION OF CHRIST;

IN THREE BOOKS.

BY THOMAS A KEMPIS.

We have sometimes heard the strenuous argumentation of the author of the following Treatise in behalf of holiness, excepted against, on the ground that it did not recognise sufficiently the doctrine of justification by faith. There is, in many instances, an over-sensitive alarm on this topic, which makes the writer fearful of recommending virtue, and the private disciple as fearful of embarking on the career of it—a sort of jealousy lest the honours and importance of Christ's righteousness should be invaded, by any importance being given to the personal righteousness of the believer : as if the one could not be maintained as the alone valid plea on which the sinner could lay claim to an inheritance in heaven, and at the same time the other be urged as his indispensable preparation for its exercises and its joys.

It is the partiality with which the mind fastens upon one article of truth, and will scarcely admit the others to so much as a hearing_it is the intent

ness of its almost exclusive regards on some separate portion of the divine testimony, and its shrinking avoidance of all the distinct and additional portions—it is, in particular, its fondness for the orthodoxy of what relates to a sinner's acceptance, carried to such a degree of favouritism, as to withdraw its attention altogether from what relates to a sinner's sanctification,—it is this which, on the pretence of magnifying a most essential doctrine, has, in fact, diffused a mist over the whole field of revelation; and which, like a mist in nature, not only shrouds the general landscape from all observation, but also bedims, while it adds to the apparent size of the few objects that continue visible. It is the same light which reveals the whole, that will render these last more brightly discernible than before ; and whether they be the prominences of spiritual truth, or of visible materialism, they are sure to be seen most distinctly in that element of purity and clearness, through the medium of which the spectator is able to recognise even the smaller features and the fainter lineaments that lie on the ground of contemplation.

It is true, that the same darkening process which buries what is remote in utter concealment, will, at least, sully and somewhat distort the nearer perspective that is before us. But how much more certain is it, that if such be the grossness of the atmosphere as to make impalpable the trees, and the houses, and the hillocks of our immediate vicinity—then will the distant spires, and mountains, and villages, lie buried in still deeper and more hopeless obscurity. And so it is, with revealed

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