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At the same time it is essential that justice should be done to the grand principles which have been upheld by the Church of England, and by none more heartily and earnestly than by the Evangelical members of it. It is right that those who are separated from us should know the reasons why Evangelical men cling with love and affection to the Church of their fathers, and find in its ordinances unspeakable comfort and profit to their souls.
Standing, as the Christian Observer ever has done, in a position of perfect freedom, and seeking not gain, but the dissemination of the truth, we feel we occupy a vantage-ground which we are loath to relinquish, and in which we think we ought to be maintained by those to whom the Church of England, as "a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ,” may be dear. It will be, therefore, the aim and object of those to whom the management of the periodical is confided, if spared through the course of the coming year, not to swerve from the old paths so warily trodden by their predecessors, and with so much blessing and advantage to the Church, and we would fain hope also to the best interests of our common Christianity.
We have to return hearty thanks to many friends and to valued correspondents for the continued support which they have afforded us; and although not without anxious thoughts as to the responsibility devolving upon us, yet in the humble confidence that “the Lord is on our side,” and that we are seeking to be on His, we would gird ourselves up again to the task which lies before us, pleading with those who have been with us in times past to go forth with us once more to the battle "against the mighty."
rature of the Israelites......
Navy in connection with
the Chaplain's Work ...... • 111
THE NEW YEAR. It is very difficult to say anything new upon the subject of the New Year. Happily, however, it is not absolutely neces. sary for us to do so in writing such a paper as this. There is a value about old truth which may well excuse recurrence to it. We aim at no ignoble mark when we endeavour to deepen impressions which, if left to themselves, might be only too apt to fade away. And perhaps we may hope to benefit ourselves and others, by calling to remembrance once more the lessons so often suggested to so many minds by the close of one year and the beginning of another.
We may be sure that a certain amount of sad and serious thoughts will cluster round this time. A whole twelvemonth can hardly have gone without leaving behind it changes to remind us, somewhat painfully, that the fashion of this world passeth away, and that we have here no continuing city. Friends, it may be, have been taken from our side. The prosperity of others has begun to wane. Here dark clouds are gathering round some beloved household; life is threatened, for the months as they sped away have sown the seeds of in. corable disease; and there a blight has come over the fair promise of the spiritual harvest; and the disciple, long prayed for, long and anxiously watched over, has turned away from the Divine Master, and refuses to walk any more with Him. Added to this, the thoughtful Christian cannot but be saddened, because he cannot but be dissatisfied with himself, when he looks back over the long period which has just come to a close. What has he to show that is at all commensurate with the opportunities he has enjoyed ? He is not in the spiritual position which he feels he ought to occupy, and might have occupied,
Vol. 70.--No. 397.