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A Magazine for the People.
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."
A Word to Boys
The Freehold Land Movement..
KIND WORDS TO ALL OUR READERS.-Cover, p. 3.
READER!-Cover, p. 4.
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"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."-1 Thess. v. 21.
It may at once interest and benefit our readers, if we use this page of our Magazine this year to answer, as far as lies in our power, such questions as they may wish to send us. We shall be happy to do so. We only ask, first, That they shall come in a form and spirit befitting the importance, to say the least, of the great subject of religion. And, secondly, That the writer, if anonymous, send us his real name and address (which shall be kept secret if he wish it). The reason of this is, that no periodical, for obvious reasons, engages to notice all anonymous correspondents, and that in some cases we might prefer to write to the questioner privately.
We have ourselves known what it is to doubt the very first truths of natural religion itself, and even the truth and inspiration of the sacred scriptures. We can therefore sympathise with all whose doubting proceeds from anxiety to know the truth, and determination to seek it; and most happy shall we be to aid such enquirers to the utmost of our power.
Many are the practical difficulties too which beset "any one who would live godly in Christ Jesus." "The Appeal” may fall into the hands of readers who would prefer writing to an unknown editor, whose judgment they saw reason to respect, to mentioning their perplexities to any friend or relative; should such be the case with any, we shall be happy to hear from them.
All social questions also, as far as they are connected with the great object of our appeal, we shall gladly attend to. We have, however, a FAVOUR to ask of our Readers. If f you are pleased with the plan and objects of our Magazine, do what you can to extend its circulation among your neighbours. Its cost can hurt no one. Any Bookseller, if you shew him the publisher's name on the cover, can easily procure it for you or your friends. At the year's end, he will stitch or bind them together for you, if you wish it, for a trifle. We know, not only of friends who distribute fifties and hundreds of "The Appeal," but of female servants who always take one in addition to their own, to send to a friend.
Our friends who distribute "The Appeal" as a monthly tract, would do well to send us promptly the remarks made to them, unfriendly as well as friendly ones. The earlier in the month the better,-within the first week if possible.
THE NEW YEAR'S WISH.
66 A HAPPY NEW YEAR."
The old year is gone The days are yet short and dark. Now we have wind, rain, or snow; now gloomy or sunshiny frost. The country is still cheerless; vegetation is still buried or sear; and the songbird is still mute. BUT, the new year is begun. And Hore, the sweetest friend of man; Hope, the precious gift of Mercy, when sin banished him from Eden; Hope, which became incarnate for him in Jesus; "Hope, sweet hope," awaked with the late, cold, wintry dawn of New Year's day; and it whispered to our memory, when we awoke, the heaven-taught words, "A Happy New Year;" and it bid us utter the wish too to all whom we met. Yes, they are Heaventaught words. It was the "happy God" who put within us the desire of happiness, to lead us to himself, the fountain of happiness. And we love this cheerful salutation, these accents of hope, these words of kindness and goodwill. Yes, we do love any thing which thaws our freezing selfishness, and turns our chilling indifference (if but for a moment) into genial warmth; anything which warms our hearts, and brightens our countenances, and sweetens our words with a fellow-feeling for the happiness of all. We therefore, we the Editors of this Poor Man's Magazine,—we wish to join, and to join cordially, in the salutations of the season. We will suppose you gathered into a family circle around the tea-table, out-door work ended, in-door work stopped for a time, and that some of you will kindly take up our "Appeal" and make us one of the family, and say on our behalf to all present, "We wish you, yes, we heartily wish you, a Happy New Year." And now for a little conversation on this our New Year's wish.
"A HAPPY New Year." Happy! This is the first word of it; and what a word! Happy! Where shall happiness be found? Who has found it, and can tell us? Rich man, in thy large and splendid house hast thou found happiness? Nay; I know that thou didst roll home last night in thy carriage, full of mortifications, of cares, and of anxious devisings; and thy richer neighbour is groaning with pains which three physicians cannot soothe. Gay young man, frequenter of the tavern and the dance, hast thou attained it? Canst thou tell us where happiness is to be found? Nay; a disquieting voice within thee says, "The wages of sin is death;" an injured body says, debauchery is the shortest road to the grave; and perhaps an injured wife and darling children wring your heart, in your soberer
moments, with their hunger, rags, and toil. Infidel, have you found happiness? Can you guide us? Answer honestly-Is disbelieving your bible, your God, your Saviour,-is this happiness? No; it is not Happiness. It is a temporary quietus for the voice of conscience; it stops your ears to the thunder of the eternal law. But, like the blaze of the sun when excluded by shutters from a room, so the light of God's law will peer through, and though you close the shutters of your soul will tell you it is there, and you live in dread lest one day the whole blaze of a violated law should glare upon you far more vividly and awfully than the lightnings of Sinai. No, Infidel; you cannot tell us where to find happiness. POOR CHRISTIAN, "rich in faith," can you tell us? "Yes, friends, I can. And I can tell you without faltering; yes, without a shadow of fear that I shall mislead you. Happiness may be found,-may be found by the poorest; for to us Christ preached it, and following Him, I have found it. He taught me where to look for it. I find it in repentance for my sins, and faith in His blood; in pardoned guilt, and in the hope of heaven; in love to God and man for my law; in His blessed Spirit's help for my weakness; and in Himself for my Lord, and my Shepherd, and my Hope of glory in the very day of judgment. In a word, my HOPE makes me happier than all I have, or all I could have, of this world's good." Friends, we can wish you no better happiness than this!
"A Happy New Year." New! This is the second word of our wish, and how much is there in it! It seems to say that the old year was not all we wish the new one to be. If not, why was it not? Why do we not wish to live another year in every respect like it? Why should we not like to live the last year of life, as we did the year just gone? And we did live during a large part of last year under unusual apprehension that it might prove our last. Perhaps the old year deprived you of beloved and invaluable relatives, or of property, or of health, or brought you into serious trouble. Well, can you expect any year to pass without something unpleasing or distressful? In wishing you a Happy New Year, our most ardent hopes cannot picture for you one unruffled flow of agreeable days. Till our faith in God can surmount all trials, we have no solid ground to hope for happiness in a world of trials. Thus sung the Hebrew prophet, (Hab. iii. 17, 18)—
"Although the fig-tree shall not blossom,
The flock shall be cut off from the fold,
I will joy in the God of my salvation."
"Such a man could stand on the ashes of the world and say, I have lost nothing." Friends, if affliction, and the fear of affliction, spoiled the happiness of the old year, we wish you the prophet's faith, as the sure means of a happier new one.
"A happy New Year." It is as much as to say, "I do wish you happiness, and there is a new opportunity for attaining it; all past years we have tried by every means to obtain it, but we have all failed hitherto; yet another chance is afforded us,-may our this year's trial be more successful!" May it be, we add, dear friends. To that end but "ONE THING is needful, choose the better part, and it shall not be taken away from you.'
But we must not overlook the last word-" A Happy New YEAR." We wish each other "good mornings," good days,' good nights ;" but we lay a very different emphasis on our wish for the year; and well we may! It is the largest division of our mortal life. Our fathers before the Flood counted their years by hundreds. They could wish each other "a happy new century." But that time has for ever passed away. Man's heart was too wicked to be intrusted with so long a license; and now but few attain their threescore years and
What portion, younger friends, will a year prove of your existence? A tenth? A twentieth? A thirtieth? How improbable that it will be a seventieth part of your life! Well, then, may we wish so considerable a part of the little total of life to be a happy one! We "know not what a day may bring forth," but a YEAR! It may change every thing. It may change health to sickness, comfort to beggary, life to death; and it may, yes, it may, change an unconverted heart to a penitent, to a believing heart. A change that would be, indeed! one unspeakably greater than all the others. A change, making this year an incomparably happier one than the best of the past. A change, laying a foundation for happiness in every following year, even for a happy death-year, and death-hour too. Nor would the happiness stop there. A new heart is the beginning, and the only beginning, of a happy eternity.
If our New Year's Wish could fill every day of 1850 with worldly happiness, it would do nothing towards ensuring one day of peace for 1851; but if it could lead you from the service of sin to the service of Christ, it would lead you to invest your happiness in His hands who says, "I will never leave thee, no, never forsake thee." It would be at the same time an insurance of the best happiness attainable in this life and for this life, and in the world to come of joy and glory everlasting. Oh, of what worth may a YEAR be to you! Dear friends, we are not alone in wishing you 66 A Happy New Year." God wishes you a Happy New Year. Christ wishes you a Happy New Year. The angels of heaven wish you a Happy New Year. The servants of Christ wish you a Happy New Year. Sunday school children, your teachers wish you a Happy New Year. Hearers of the word, your ministers wish you a Happy New Year. All wish you a REALLY Happy New Year.
*Luke x. 41, 42.