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WESLEYAN-METHODIST MAGAZINE.

JANUARY, 1868.

TO THE READER.

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“Rest and be thankful” would hardly be a suitable motto for a guild of editors. However often they may acknowledge themselves to "be thankful,” their opportunities of “rest” are few. From glancing through the Index of our last volume we pass at once to the preparation of its successor.

We confesa to doing this with some solicitude. To provide for the pages of a religious periodical is, in these days, a work of growing difficulty. The strife of church parties, the revival and spread of the great heresy, the advance of infidelity under the pretentious banner of science, the confusion of creed with faith, the sub. stitution of vague sentiment for principle, the observance of ritualistic ceremonies as an equivalent for personal religion: these things, not to speak of sweeping political and social changes, involving issues which even to the keenest eye are uncertain, may well cause occasional perplexity in the counsels of those who are "set" either for the defence or for the exposition of the truth. The best friends of Christianity are under the necessity of placing their hope—it is their one hope--not only with childlike trust, but with a childlike feeling of their own helplessness, in the "word” which is “settled in heaven for ever.” The wisest man is the most ready to admit that he cannot "discern” the "signs of the times” in which our lot is cast; except, indeed, as he is instructed by the eternal “ Wisdom," that, in view of all hum in contingencies and commotions, “hath builded her house ” and “hewn out her seven pillars.” Yet solicitude is not despondency. Every Christian believer knows whence to draw strength, whatever his task, whatever the aspect of passing events, to

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Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot
Of heart ur hope ; but still bear up and steer

Right onward," till the light,” which is neither “clear nor dark,” shall give place to the revelations of the promised open day.

At the commencement of a new volume, following the custom of bonoured predecessors, we tender our cordial thanks both to VOL. XIV.- FIFTH SERIES.

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WESLEYAN-METHODIST MAGAZINE.

JANUARY, 1868.

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tion of its successor.

TO THE READER. “Rest and be thankful" would hardly be a suitable motto for a guild of editors. However often they may acknowledge themselves to be thankful,” their opportunities of “rest” are few. From glancing through the Index of our last volume we pass at once to the prepara

We confess to doing this with some solicitude. To provide for the pages of a religious periodical is, in these days, a work of growing difficulty. The strife of church parties, the revival and spread of the great heresy, the advance of infidelity under the pretentious banner of science, the confusion of creed with faith, the substitution of vague sentiment for principle, the observance of ritualistic ceremonies as an equivalent for personal religion: these things, not to speak of sweeping political and social changes, involving issues which even to the keenest eye are uncertain, may well cause occasional perplexity in the counsels of those who are set" either for the defence or for the exposition of the truth. The best friends of Christianity are under the necessity of placing their hope-it is their on, hope—not only with childlike trust, but with a childlike feeling of their own helplessness, in the “word” which is “settled in heaven for ever.” The wisest man is the most ready to admit that he cannot "discern” the "signs of the times” in which our lot is cast; except, indeed, as he is instructed by the eternal “Wisdom,” that, in view of all human contingencies and commotions, “ hath builded her house” and “hewn out her seven pillars." Yet solicitude is not despondency. Every Christian believer knows whence to draw strength, whatever his task, wliatever the aspect of passing erents, to

“argue not Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot Of heart ur hope; but still bear up and steer

Right onward,” till the “light,” which is neither“ clear nor dark,” shall give place to the revelations of the promised open day.

At the commencement of a new volume, following the custom of honoured predecessorf, we tender our cordial thanks both to

VOL. XIV,-FIFTH SERIES,

B

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“correspondents" and“ subscribers ” who take an interest in our prosperity. Of the former, it will not, to any Methodist, seem invidious, if we name but one, the venerable Thomas Jackson, who commenced a long editorial course more than forty years ago, but who still lingers among us, a Nestor

“Whose sons around him mild obeisance pay." The valuable aid of other veterans is not wanting to us; nor, in fact, a pen for any special critical or literary task that may be required. Yet why may not our circle of contributors be considerably extended ? A higher privilege can scarcely be found than that of addressing the many thousands, to whom the one of our periodicals which has the least circulation gives a writer access. There are in the Connexion ripe theologians, men of letters, students of particular subjects, essayists given to “intermeddle with all wisdom,” who could easily, if so inclined, render us invaluable help in the work we strive ever to keep in view,—that of providing what shall both profit and please, and at the same time edify our readers. Surely as high a reward, though perhaps only to be conferred “ openly” in the "great day," may be secured in this department of Christian activity as in any other, the pulpit excepted. Our space, however, is limited; and short papers, if not too short,

, are usually of the most service to us. That voice, too, is heard first, of course, which speaks most clearly; that pen is preferred which most skilfully arrays old truths in new forms, and which, in setting forth what is proffered as new, combines grace with strength and utility.

Memoirs of godly men and womer, judiciously written, and adorned with such attractions as spring naturally from the subject, are always welcome, and cannot but prove useful. Papers on almost every theme connected with the

common salvation,”— doctrines, duties, evidences, history, expositions, appeals,-anything, indeed, short of what is common-place, unnecessarily recondite, or merely speculative,-may consistently appear in our pages. Even controversy, when really needful, is not excluded; and the tendencies of modern thought are such as indicate that we shall, ere long, be called upon to set ourselves in firm array, and “speak with the enemy"the enemy of all Protestant churches—" in the gate."

To advert for a moment to practical matters, it may be of service to remind here and there a novice, that our work is not the collecting of a number of articles which by some occult word of command fall into sheets and pages in due rhythm and order. The initiated at least know better ; they know, moreover, how many contributions on a given topic must be read, not seldom re-read and re-weighed, before the one appears which can be freely stamped and circulated as true metal; how, at times, a promising paper, after long pains taken with it, has at last to

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be reluctantly laid aside-like the gem that, revealing a flaw only on coming into the hand of the cutter or polisher, disappoints the merchant, and that must be split, if it is to be used at all, into fragments of comparatively small value. Even friendly critics seem to lose sight of the high price which, ever and anon, has to be paid for the luxury of a good conscience in the discharge of editorial responsibilities. The " excellent oil” of the "righteous" has not unfrequently to be accepted in silence, when, if all the attendant circumstances could be known, words would perhaps be spoken that, as "ointment and perfume," would " rejoice the heart.” Our aim is to be just and courteous to all.

Thanks are all the more due to our subscribers, if it be the fact that, in our own community, as we happen to know is the case in other churches, there are those who neglect, not without some affectation of a slight which were better hidden, the publications on which the denominational seal is set. With such good people we can of course do nothing, as they have no knowledge of our doings, or visible sympa. thy with our objects. To our friends we may suggest the desirableness of extending the influence of this and our other magazines, by lending them, distributing them gratuitously, or inducing others to purchase them. Our ministers, in particular, may here find no unimportant auxiliary in their great work. The writer does not speak without experience. Thousands of our publications has he carried to the secluded hamlet, the homestead on the skirta of dreary moors, the village school; content with the thought that the sermon from the pulpit on the Sabbath might thus be strengthened by an hour's wholesome reading in the week,—that it was no light gain to preoecupy the minds of the people, to the disadvantage of the hawker's Liscellaneous pack, in which Byron lay side by side with Bunyan, an assortment of novels with a stray copy of the Life of Fletcher or Wesley. True, the saddle-bags are gone ; but the railway now often carries ministers in ease, where their predecessors plodded wearily enough ; and in many Circuits, that is done which ought, indeed, to be done everywhere, -would be done if people and congregations were fully awake to their own interests ;-conveyances are provided by which distant places are reached, so as to allow the energies of both mind and body to be fully exerted on a minister's legitimate work. This growing facility of locomotion and carriage, in most parts of the ecuntry, should be made to contribute to the furthering of a purpose which is just as important to-day, as it was in the time of our laborious foresathers. In short, the stealthy approach of infidelity, the inroads of Popery upon the Protestant faith, the loose views of inspiration, the prevalence of a spurious charity in place of “ the love of God shed abroad in the heart," the irreverent mingling of frivolous tales with the most solemn truths of our holy religion,--apparent in so many

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