In a post of January 2013, on Philosophy of Education (Volume 6), chapter 3, I wrote this: "[Charlotte Mason] believed that Christian thought had previously over-emphasized the issue of personal salvation, to the neglect of concern for 'the community, the nation, the race.'"
In Ourselves Book II (Volume 4), Chapter XI "Freewill," she sends that message home loudly and clearly. She has been talking about the need for mature adults (not young children who are still developing "the way of the will") to doeverything deliberately, even if everything just means choosing which habits you acquire.
She scolds not only those who swallow current "intellectual and moral fallacies," but those who settle for "commonplace respectability which never errs, because every act conforms to the standard of general custom; not by choice of will, but in lazy imitation."
"And this reverence must be paid even to those sinners whose souls seem to be dead, because it is Christ, who is that life of the soul, who is dead in them: they are his tombs, and Christ in the tomb is potentially the risen Christ. For the same reason, no one of use who has fallen into mortal sin himself must ever lose hope..." -- Caryll Houselander, A Rocking Horse Catholic (quoted in Elizabeth Goudge, A Book of Comfort)
"Therefore, Christ ate with publicans and sinners, and pronounced woes against the respectable classes because the sinners might still have a Will which might rise, however weakly, at the impact of a great thought, at the call to a life outside of themselves." -- Charlotte Mason, OurselvesSo much for the sinners: what of the respectable, impeccable ones she was talking about before? She uses the word "unconscious," referring to quick and unthinking decision making vs. using the Will, but "unconscious" can also refer to that state of lifelessness that she saw in those who did not consider themselves sinful. In outright sinfulness, there was at least the potential for repentance; complacency seemed more difficult to fight against.
In her theology, salvation was important (vital); but the aim of the Christian life was to serve God.