As the mind is hereby fixed on the consideration of sin, so a sense of sin must also be fixed on the mind, — that is the conscience and affections. A bare contemplation of the concernments of sin is of little use in this matter. The Scripture principally evidences this work of conviction, or placeth it in this effect of a sense of sin, in trouble, sorrow, disquietment of mind, fear of ruin, and the like: see Acts ii. 37
The mind of man, in the state of childhood and youth, puts itself forth in all kinds of vain actings, in foolish imaginations, perverse and froward appetites, falseness in words, with sensible effects of corrupt inclinations in every kind. Austin’s first book of Confessions is an excellent comment on that text, wherein the “vanity of childhood and youth” are graphically described, with pathetical self-reflecting complaints concerning the guilt of sin which is contracted in them. Some, perhaps, may think light of those ways of folly and vanity wherein childhood doth, or left alone would, consume itself; — that there is no moral evil in those childish innocencies.