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mercy of their saviour, Jesus Christ, and the church that mediates i his saving grace.

Not all Christians were prepared to go all the way with Augustine. As we will see in Chapter 4, Eastern Christianity did not accept Augustine's belief in the total corruption of human beings. In the West, too, there were some theologians, including Thomas Aquinas, who argued that 'post-lapsarian' (after the Fall) human beings still retained the ability to discern the existence of God and distinguish basic right from wrong (see Chapter 3). Nevertheless, Christianity across the ages tended to accept the main thrust of an Augustinian interpretation by endorsing the view that humans are ultimately powerless to save themselves. If we are not to live wretched lives on earth, and still more wretched lives in the hell that awaits us after death, we require the assistance of a heavenly saviour.

38tr|Mira fcsw ft'ir ZtaJ»* Ji.'Tf.'n uui fur [in (wnffi h w> Nj Hf«T nu PWwliIrt; Jrtt ift-fii |i{ fin m iff iiftrn.Vtufi

K-i.ru i* if ir ^fcorfn HHP fi.m i u ]|,i i tjbrtt till H^n 3(?i>l i:rf<bi:.

38tr|Mira fcsw ft'ir ZtaJ»* Ji.'Tf.'n uui fur [in (wnffi h w> Nj Hf«T nu PWwliIrt; Jrtt ift-fii |i{ fin m iff iiftrn.Vtufi

K-i.ru i* if ir ^fcorfn HHP fi.m i u ]|,i i tjbrtt till H^n 3(?i>l i:rf<bi:.

4. The Way of Good and Evil, American woodcut (1826). This allegory depicts the few who pass through the cross of Christ to heaven, and the many who walk into the fires of hell.

Even as late as the 19th century, Christians were still producing paintings, sermons, tracts, fiction, and hymns that depicted the 'bad news' in the most vivid fashion. Some gave expression to the total depravity and unutterable wickedness of 'the heart of man', whilst others depicted the torments that awaited the unrepentant sinner in lurid terms. Even though depictions of hell have become less common in Christian circles today, the belief in human sinfulness remains. Most liturgies (the written scripts of worship services) still begin with a confession of sinfulness, and many hymns continue to reinforce the message.

The saviour

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