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ASHBEL GREEN, D.D.
FOR THE YEAR 1824.
By manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man's
A. FINLEY, N. E. CORNER OF CHESNUT AND FOURTH STREETS.
A preface, it is believed, is seldom written, till the book to which it is prefixed is finished. It then affords to the author a gratifying opportunity of saying some things, which he could not so properly say in any other part of his work: and the gratification would be mingled with far less alloy than it is, if he did not know that the preface is commonly that part of every work, which has the least chance of being read and regarded.
On the completion of the second volume of the Christian Advocate, the editor gratefully acknowledges an addition of patronage in the past year, considerably greater than previous discouragement had permitted him to expect. He now anticipates with a degree of confidence, the permanent establishment of a religious miscellany in the Presbyterian church, in which the doctrines of that church shall be taught and defended, information, important to its members, seasonably communicated, practical piety cherished, religious error exposed and corrected, the cause of evangelical truth advocated, and measures and efforts for extending the gospel announced and inculcated. The hope of being instrumental in establishing such a miscellany-long a desideratum in the church to which he belongs-was the editor's chief inducement to engage in the arduous undertaking, which has occupied the most of his time and thoughts for two years past; and he views the prospect of ultimate success with no ordinary degree of pleasure.
It is not however to be understood, that the patronage of the Christian Advocate at present, is such as to afford much pecuniary remuneration for the labour and expense of conducting it; or to accomplish very extensively its main design, in the advancement of knowledge, truth and piety. The steady, but very gradual increase of subscribers, through the closing year, has been sufficient, and only sufficient, to authorize the expectation that objects but very partially attained as yet, will eventually be more fully coinpassed. Not a fourth part of the number of subscribers has hitherto been obtained, which it is believed might reasonably be expected from the Presbyterian church alone:expected for the support and diffusion of the ONLY publication in our country, in which the transactions of the suprenie judicature of that church are fully detailed, her just pretensions asserted, her character and institutions defended, and the profits of the work itself tythed for the benefit of her charities. Ought not the clergy, and other influential friends of this church, to use some exertions, to extend the circulation of such a publication?
The rapid increase of papers of every form and size, professedly of a religious character, but the chief effect of which is to foster in their readers the Athenian disposition, to "spend their time in nothing else but to tell or to hear some new thing,” has become a very serious evil in the United States. Its tendency is truly alarming. These publications prevent both the patronage and the reading of works, from which doctrinal truth ought to be imbibed, false notions of religion corrected and prevented, right principles radicated in the mind, and right affections cherished in the heart. If the progress of this evil is not arrested, it may reasonably be feared that the next generation, whatever may be its zeal, will abound in religious smatterers and sciolists, fitted unhappily for the reception of every specious delusion and every soul destroying error. It is surely not too much to say, that those who take these lighter publications, ought to take one wbich aims to teach and inculcate “sound doctrine;" and which, at the same time, communicates as inuch religious intelligence, as is sufficient for all useful purposes: and that, if this one cannot be taken without relinquishing news-telling papers, they ought to be relinquished.
The editor will say nothing of the ability with which his work has been conducted. Self praise is worse than useless; and that of partial and inte.