« PreviousContinue »
At the commencement of every volume of a periodical work the common practice of editors has sanctioned the propriety of making an address to the public. We gladly avail ourselves of this opportunity to state several considerations, which seem peculiarly appropriate at the present time.
When the intelligent and well-informed Christian looks around bim, he beholds many consoling evidences that the period in which he lives is, in several respects, a happy one. Although tyranny and infidelity are desolating the earth; although the pillars of the moral world seem to tremble, and the foundations of the great deep of human wickedness are broken up, still there are scénes on which the eye, weary with exhibitions of guilt and misery, can refresh itself, and prospects on which it can dwell with pure and heavenly transport. The last twenty years have been crowded with events, which concern the religious state of mankind, and which are in themselves not less wonderful, and in their consequences vastly more important, than the astonishing political changes which have filled the world with terror and dismay. Christians have extensively, and openly in the sight of mankind, more justly appreciated the value of their religion than had been the case before; they have also awakened to a course of beneficent exertions, in some good degree corresponding with their professions and their hopes. The multiplied associations for the propagation and support of religion, which are almost daily increasing in numbers and strength, are glorious proofs of this assertion; as are, also, the almost innumerable instances of private charity directed to the poblest cnd, the conversion of the soul.
Among the auspicious occurrences of the present day, perhaps the most important are the establishment and wonderful progress of Bible Societies. The good which these institutions have already produced is incalculable, and suited to call forth expressions of joy and gratitude; but when we contemplate them as admirably fitted 10 co-operate in bringing forward the millennium, and as able from their extent and probable resources to assist powersully hereafter in translating, the Scriptures into all langllages, we are prompted to exclaim, What hath God wrought? This is the Lord's doing, and it is murvellous in our cyes. Of the same nature is the general persuasion of the duty and utility of
VOL. V. Nero Series.
translating the Scriptures into all languages. If the attempts of this kind should increase for years to come, as they have increased in a few years past, it is impossible to foresee into how many populous nations of the heathen world the word of God will soon be spread.
The engagedness of Christians in supporting missions among the heathen, and among the poor and destitute in Christian countries, is worthy of particular attention. Without missions, the Gospel never has been, and therefore we niay safely affirm never will be, promulgated among the heathen; without the Bible, missions cannot be expected to produce any great and permanent effect. Missionaries should therefore go with Bibles in their hands, and Bible Societies should avail themselves of Missionary Socie. tics in order the most effectually to promote all the objects of their institution.
Missions are now supported in many places in each quarter of the globe, and their various success has abundantly proved that the blessing of God attends them, and sufficiently refuted the cavils by which ignorant and irreligious men have assailed them. Let the Christian world awake to å still more animated pursuit of the transcendently great and glorious object, the conversion of the whole human race. A great and effectual door is opening, by which multitudes, it is hoped, will enter, and proclain the glad tidings of salvation to perishing millions.
It ought to be likewise observed, that real Christians throughout the world are more and more convinced of ile importance of those great and peculiar doctrines of Christianity, which alone have produced a reformation of morals, or a salutary change of character in heathen or Christian countries. And while uniting in these doctrines, they are less disposed to dwell upon minor differences which have too often made a line of separation between those, who were in reality engaged in the same cause and partakers of the same grace. A spirit of genuine catholicism is gaining friends and advocates, and is practically exhibited by a very large portion of those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.
With these things in view, many a devout Christian has exclaim. ed Ilhat a blessed day is this! A blessed day, indeed, it is to all who make a wise use of the privileges which every where exist. It is a day in which every wise man lives not for himself alone, nor for his family, vor for his country, but for the whole human race, wherever sin has brought its baleful consequences, and wherever pardon and saivation are offered through the Redeemer's sacrifice, Who will not rejoice that he lives in this enlightened day; and that he is permitted to engage as a Christian soldier in that glorious warfare which is waged under the grcal Captain of salvation against Satan and his strong holds of idulity and delusion; a warfare which will not cease uill the power of the great cucmy of souls is taken from him, and the kingdom of Christ cstablished in every part of the globe. Let every man, who has ally regard to the best interests of the human family, take a spirited part in this great controversy; let him cheerfully devote his time and his property as they are needed, and his fervent prayers which will always be needed, to the beneficent purposes which have been described.
Should it be said, that our national calamities throw a discouragement in the way of all public spirited exertions; perhaps it will be fo:ind on consideration, that these very calainities furnish an unanswerable reason for immediate and vigorous efforts. The wealthy men of our country, who have acquired their property by successful business, now experience in how many ways their designs may be frustrated. They may learn the uncertainty of world. ly possessions, and may be justly anxious to save a considerable portion of their remaining wealth, by applying it to the promotion of that religion, which of course promotes and secures human happiness. Money thus cxpended can never be lost; it is witho'it the reach of any possible change or misfortune. Though the immediate object for which it was given may fail, yet, if given with good intentions, it shall not lose its reward.
It is remarkable that the beneficence of Christians in Great Britain has regularly increased, notwithstanding the pressure of national calanities. And who can tell how much these calan.ities have been mitigated, and how many national judgments have been suspended, on account of the excellent spirit which has been shewn by a considerable portion of the people? Who can tell how much the prayers and beneficent actions of Christians in this country, may contribute towards removing the evils which our country feels, and the still greater evils whica we fear? Let the experiment be be made; and let all classes of persons attempi to do good to them, selves and their country by doing good to mankind at large, and by exercising those mild, meek, and Lenevolent dispositions which the Gospel inculcates. Such an experiment will certainly succeed. While the Lord is dushing the nations in pieces like a potter's vessel, how desirable it is, that tbere should be some in every nation, who cry unto Him witb carnest, eflicacious, and unceasing prayer, and whose conduct proves them to be sincere in their professions.
Beside che favorable appearances above detailed, and which are seen in every part of the Christian world, there are several signs which augur well for this country in particular. Among them are the following:
First, a disposition to look to God as the only deliverer from national or individual calamities. Though the pious have always had more or less of this disposition; it is nevertheless believed, that they feel it now more than ever, and that the conviction of the important truth that God is the ruler of nations is producing great and practical effects. It is uniting the wise and good, without any other distinction of sect or party, in supplications for the Divine interposition in favor of their anxious and afflicted country. It is teaching the considerate and reflecting, that in order to expect the Divine favor they must obey the Divine commands. It is admonishing us all, that from national reformation alone can any confident anticipations of national prosperity be formed.
Secondly, a persuasion that united and manly exertions to put down vice and immorality in our country are loudly called for; and that a respectable portion of the community have virtue and courage enough left to make the attempt. We are inclined to think that this persuasion is pretty extensive, and that the connexion between a corruption of manners and national chastisement is clearly seen and explicitly admitted
Thirdly, a great number of reflecting people, and nearly all faithful ministers of the Gospel, depend for lasting good on the plain doctrines of Scripture, illustrated in a pl.in manner. ANI other means of doing good have had their inefficacy sufficiently displayed.
These things have appeared to us to deserve a distinct notice in this address to our readers. As our great object is the promotion of genuine piety, nothing which has a direct or more remote reference to that end is improper to be recommended in our pages. Happy will it be for us, if our labors shall be in any degree instrumental in the production of holiness in the heart, and virtue in the life. That such is our intention we know; that this intention may be accomplished we anxiously desire.
While the editors of religious magazines endeavor to encourage others, and to stimulate their readers to love and good works, there are few persons who stand more in need of encouragement than themselves. Those of our friends, therefore, who think our efforts in any measure successful and deserving of encouragement, will feel the propriety of lending their influence towards making our work permanent, so far as an increased patronage will have that effect. The cessation or continuance of our labors must de. pend on the patronage of the public. Persuaded, as we are, that religious periodical publications are absolutely necessary to the success of any great purpose requiring the continuud aid of a multitude of persons, it would be with unfeigned regret that we should consider ourselves obliged to give up a work, which wa hope is not altogether unsuited to its professed design.
EVANGELICAL EXERTIONS IN ed a new and glorious era in the Asia.
Christian Church. The institu.
tion of the Baptist Missionary No. III. Containing an outline of the Bap- ed as the first public event in
Society in 1792, may be regard. tist Mission in Bengal, with a view of the present number of furnished new occasions of won.
that splendid series, which has Protestant Ministers in the
der and joy to the Church, and 'East.
needs only to be continued 10 The Mission which is to be the give the Redeemer the heathen subject of this number, introduc. for His inheritance, and the plier,