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to all who have made themselves acquainted with its contents: nor was it by any means intended, by those who adopted the title, that it should ever receive such a construction.
This miscellany has indeed been employed, and it is intended that it shall always be employed, to vindicate and explain, in a seasonable, temperate and candid manner, the Presbyterian system, both as to doctrine and church government. Fairness to all concerned requires this distinct avowal. It is, nevertheless, equally true, that more than nine-tenths of its pages ever have been, and it is designed that they ever shall be occupied, with discussions, information and intelligence, in no respect sectarian; but in which all who hold the great doctrines of the Protestant reformation may, alike, find their favourite sentiments supported, and their minds interested and gratified. It is regarded as a happy and honourable distinction of the Presbyterian system, that it does not unchurch other communions. The Presbyterian Church, while she maintains with decision and firmness what she considers as “ the faith once delivered to the saints," and gives an unequivocal preference to that form of government and discipline which she adopts as the most scriptural, holds, notwithstanding, no exclusive sentiments, in regard to other orthodox Protestant churches; but can cherish toward them all a true and sisterly affection. She, in short, never doubts or abates her claim to be a church, and never speaks of herself, in the language of exclusion, as the church. Accordingly we find that, in laying down the preliminary principles of a form of government, the framers of that form for “ the Presbyterian Church in the United States," after some previous explanation of their views, say in the fifth section
- That while under the conviction of the above principles, they think it necessary to make effectual provision that all who are admitted as teachers be sound in the faith, they also believe that there are truths and forms, with respect to which men of good characters and principles may differ. And in all these, they think it the duty, both of private Christians and societies, to exercise mutual forbearance toward each other.” With a view, then, to prevent a misapprehension, unfavourable to the extensive circulation of this publication, and also to make it known by an appellation more truly indicative of its design than that which it has hitherto borne, it has been determined that its title shall hereafter be, The Chri'STIAN ADVOCATE
a title which, while it is significative, is not known to have been, till now, appropriated.
“Names are things," was a maxim of a shrewd observer of popular opinions and popular publications. Yet the reasons for changing the title of this miscellany should not have been given at so much length, if, in alleging them, it had not been found convenient to state what is intended to be the general scope and true spirit of the work. The change, it is hoped, after the foregoing explanation, will disoblige none of its present patrons, and it may considerably increase their number.
No editor, whatever may be his talents and his industry, can long furnish, in a satisfactory manner, by his unaided efforts, that variety of matter which is necessary in a monthly publication of forty-eight closely printed pages, the greater part of which is to be filled with original composition. The success and permanency of the Christian Advocate, therefore, must ultimately depend on the contributions of literary labour, which it shall receive from the friends of evangelical piety and sound learning
The union of literature with genuine Christianity, at all times important, is peculiarly so at this time, and in this country. The enemies of the truth as it is in Jesus, are using all their endeavours to maintain their cause and extend their influence, by the powerful auxiliaries of erudition and taste; and if the truth be left naked, or appear only in a careless or slovenly garb, it will not be likely to attract the attention and win the hearts of that large and important portion of the community which consists of the young, the cultivated and the aspiring. We know, indeed, that success in inculcating evangelical truth must come from God, and that nothing but his grace will ever change a single human heart. Still we are not to expect miracles—we are only to expect the smiles of Providence, and the influence of Divine grace, in the use of vigorous exertions, and of means naturally adapted to the effects intended to be produced. Whe. the enemies of vital godliness assail it with learning, and wit, and taste, they must be combatted with the legitimate use of the arms which they abuse. In this service the Christian Advocate aspires to take a part; sensible, indeed, that it must be an humble part. It aspires to be somewhat instrumental in preventing the evil effects of literature misapplied, in cultivating and diffusing sound biblical criticism, in exposing misrepresen
tation and sophistry, in clothing the pure doctrines of the gospel in that chaste and attractive dress which may give full effect to their native charms, in endeavouring to cherish the love of learning and a just taste among the younger clergy, and to promote, generally, among orthodox Christians, that tone and aspect of true evangelical piety, which shall demonstrate that it is not hostile but highly favourable to “whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.” If, under the Divine blessing, it shall be found that these results, to any considerable extent, have been produced by this publication, it will have rendered a service in which all who shall have given it their aid will have reason forever to rejoice.
Account or apologize for it as we may, it is still a fact deeply to be regretted, that in our country literary labour has hitherto received no adequate remuneration. This is the real cause that so few books of solid value, of whatever description, have been written and published in the United States: and it is the acknowledged cause that periodical publications have so often been deficient in merit and short in duration. As a matter of justice, then, and believing that in this, as in every other concern, equity and true policy are inseparable, it has been determined that for every composition inserted in the Christian Advocate, the author, unless he voluntarily decline it, shall receive a pecuniary compensation, to the full extent as liberal as the avails of the work will permit.
It must be remembered that the Editor will consider himself as possessing the right to make such corrections as he may judge indispensable, in any paper sent for publication, unless expressly prohibited by the writer. At the same time, it will be distinctly understood that nothing will appear which needs to be materially amended, either in language or sentiment. The new casting of careless composition, is a labour which the Editor cannot undertake, and it is not intended that this miscellany shall be a receptacle for crudities.
It is promised that all communications, suitable for this work, shall be thankfully received, and carefully and candidly inspected; but correspondents will recollect, that the decision on what is really suitable, must remain exclusively with the Editor. It is so manifestly his own interest not to reject any thing which, in his best judgment, he believes might properly be admitted, that it can scarcely be imagined that exclusion should ever be
adjudged from improper motives. Doubtless he may err; but an error which is not the offspring of carelessness or prejudice ought to be without offence. Delay in the publication of a paper must often take place, where rejection is not intended. Variety, in every number of a miscellany, must always be consulted in making up its contents.
'Those who projected, and who have hitherto conducted this work, have always intended that it should ultimately contribute to the charities of the Presbyterian Church. Such contribution it has already made, in full proportion to the profits which have remained, after defraying the actual expense of paper, printing, and distribution. In future, it is intended that it shall contribute a definite sum, proportioned to whatever may be the profits, more or less, of the publication. It is here explicitly stated, that this work shall henceforth be tithed, for the aid of Christian charities--every tenth dollar of clear income, shall go into the treasury of the Lord--it shall help to form a fund, to be appropriated annually, by some members of the Presbyterian church, clergy and laity, impartially selected. And if the work shall merit and receive a patronage which shall only approximate that which some such works are now actually receiving, it will, in addition to its main design of promulgating evangelical truth and intelligence, serve the same sacred cause, by very considerably augmenting the funds destined to that object.
The kinds of matter which this publication will contain, it is not thought necessary to specify in detail. The Editor will have constantly before him the best religious miscellanies, which are published both in Europe and the United States, and will endeavour, as far' as possible, to model and improve his own work, by all the aids which he can derive from these sources. It is only thought necessary to mention particularly, that an attempt will be made to give a condensed and comprehensive view of religious intelligence; that the readers of the Christian Advocate may know the existing state of Bible societies, missions, and revivals of religion, without being at the expense and trouble, which many cannot afford, of purchasing and reading the numerous publications, to which these interesting and important objects have recently given occasion.
It has certainly been a just cause of regret, and we know that it has, by many, been greatly regretted, that although the Pres
byterian denomination of Christians is among the most numerous
Deeply sensible, after all, that no human undertaking, how-