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WHETHER we survey the events of the past year, or look forward to the prospect now before us, we have equal cause for encouragement and gratitude. The long-desired Peacehas been fully ratified, the Cries of the Poor mercifully heard,
and the Year has been crowned with divine goodness.
The political world exhibits a scene like that of the ocean calmed after a most tremendous tempest. While some of the States of Europe are collecting and dividing among themselves the scattered wrecks of empire, others are beginning, assiduously, to cultivate the arts of Peace, in order to recruit their exhausted strength. France, leaning on her inverted spear, turns a favourable eye towards the Protestant Religion; and we have reason to believe, she will not be displeased at any attempts which may be made for its increase. Britain, by her late happy union with her sister-country, opens an extensive field for the preaching of the Gospel in Ireland; where the language of both Ministers and People is like that of the Men of Macedonia to St. Paul: "Come over and help us.'
Among the Blessings of Peace, with which we have been so mercifully favoured, a more easy intercourse with the other countries of Europe, and of the world, may be not the least. It was thus that the Lord prepared the way for the Propagation of his Gospel in the first ages. The Temple of Janus was shut when the great Messiah came; and while the world was hushed in Peace, the Gospel ran and was glorified, even where the Roman arms, or perhaps the Roman name, had never penetrated. The Lord's hand is not shortened; and we are, at least, encouraged to pray and hope that scenes, in some respects like these, may newed; that the Gospel may be again clothed in its ancient purity and splendor, and spread from country to country, till the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the
waters do the sea."
Among the means of propagating divine truth, we rejoice in the Commencement and Increase of Religious Magazines, in various parts of Germany; and we hope that similar Publications will soon obtain in France and other countries. The establishment of Peace will enable us to procure an early transmission of these works; and we shall be happy to enrich our own Publication with whatever may appear of peculiar in
terest to our Readers: and, to provide room for this additional matter, we have commenced the present volume with a page considerably enlarged.
Early in this colume (which, for the accommodation of new Subscribers, will be kept perfectly distinct from the preceding, so that it may be considered as a new and improved series) we propose to lay before our Readers, a review of the Present State of Religion and Religious Literature in the various parts of Europe, with the exertions now making among various denominations for the support and enlargement of the Kedeemer's kingdom: and in this design, as indeed in every part of our work, we shall be happy to receive the assistance of our Correspondents, and particularly of those tried and faithful friends on whose aid we can always rely, and whose former favours merit, not only annually, but at all times, our gratitude and acknowledgments.
It gives us much pleasure to reflect to how many useful and benevolent institutions the EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE has, since its commencement, given rise, encouragement, and notoriety. The carious means of doing good are not exhausted. The “liberal will still devise liberal things;" and the real friends of Christ will not soon be "weary in well-doing." Plans of this nature are in embryo, which we shall be happy, in due time, to lay before our Readers. Those who recollect what the divine Redeemer has done for them, will never think they can do tos much for him.
We must not conclude our Preface without acknowledging the divine goodness and assistance: "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us!" And, while we remember that not only many noble plans and merciful institutions have originated from suggestions in our work; but that we have also been enabled, from its profits, to distribute some thousands among the Widows of the Lord's Ministers, and others, and hope, by an increasing circulation, to do still more; we cannot help exclaiming, with the royal and venerable Psalmist, “Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name! but who are we, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort! for all things are of thee; and of thine own have we given thee !”