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According to the author, Charles Hodge, at the time of his writing “The Way of Life,” doubt had begun to enter the minds of Americans concerning the authenticity and infallibility of the Scriptures. He sought to write a defense of this orthodox position in this work, first published in 1841. His stated objective for this book was to answer the questions, “But are the Scriptures really a revelation from God? If they are, what doctrines do they teach? And what influence should those doctrines exert on our heart and life?” The audience he has in mind for this book is primarily young people with religious upbringings.
This brief work begins with an argument for the infallibility of Scripture. From there, Hodge progresses into a chronological walk through the different states of the Christian life. Starting with man's state of being dead in sin, he marches through justification, faith, repentance, and the other aspects of the conversion experience that accompany them. He ends the work with the chapter entitled “Holy Living” wherein he describes the Christian life post-conversion. Opening by stating how many new believers, feeling the true freedom from guilt in their past sin, believe their lives to now be forever made free of the effects of sin, he is quick to remind them of the struggles and trials that await them.
Despite its brief nature and non-academic audience, this book is quite deep, and will cause the student to stop and ponder often the marvels and mysteries of the faith. Although written to an audience somewhat more familiar with the Scriptures than today's layman, this book is beneficial to all. Pastor, professor or simple pew-sitter, the final chapter alone makes “The Way of Life” a worthwhile read.
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Roman numerals for chapters and Bible quotations have been updated to modern numbers. Footnotes have been converted to end notes connected by hyperlinks.