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With these views and hopes, the Editors "commit themselves and their work to Him with whom is the residue of the Spirit, praying that he may lead them into all truth, prevent them from injuring religion by their manner of defending it, and crown their endeavours with that blessing, without which, the most splendid exertions must be ineffectual; but with which, the feeblest services may be productive of the most impor tant effects."
THE singular advantage and influence of pe
riodical publications have been generally acknowledged and felt. Under various names, as Newspapers, Magazines, and Reviews, they have been employed, more especially within the last ten or fifteen years, both by the enemies and the friends of religion and human happiness, with extensive and astonishing success. While one species of these publications, conducted by unprincipled and designing men, have administered poison to the publick faith and morals; another, conducted by the wise and the good, have circulated the antidote. One has been an engine to throw the world into convulsions; the other God hath probably ordained to be an instrument of hushing it into peace. The wrath of man has been made remarkably to praise the Lord, by awakening extensively the active zeal of the friends of evangelical truth, and by prompting them to make uncommon exertions to diffuse, throughout christian and heathen nations the saving influence of the gospel. While the enemy, armed with a specious and subtle philosophy, by secret marches were pouring in like a flood upon the christian world, and threatening it with moral desolation; the Spirit of the Lord, in the fervent prayers, the vigilance and active exertions of the faithful followers of the Lamb, hath marvellously lifted up a standard against them.
Though the seat of this portentous warfare has been on the other continent, our own country has sensibly felt its effects. Here too the faith of christians, with vast la
bour and industry, has been insidiously and openly attacked by the enemies of the cross of Christ; and though these enemies have been valiantly resisted, and their machinations unveiled and disconcerted; yet they are still on the field and in force, imbittered by disappointment, and by various artifices and methods of attack are continually endeavouring to accomplish their demoralizing schemes, and to effect the overthrow of the christian religion.
In times of peace and outward prosperity, the church is always in imminent danger. Such seasons, ecclesiastical history informs us, have always been fruitful in errours. Carnal security is ever the offspring of worldly ease and affluence. While men are thus asleep, the ever wakeful and busy enemy sows his tares. Prosperity corrupts the heart, and warps the understanding, and thus prepares the way for a dislike, hatred, and rejection of the pure and humbling doctrines of the gospel. In these circumftances, and with these views, if men professedly embrace the christian religion, it is in a form, adapted to their vitiated tastes, and combining the service of GoD and Mammon. If they cannot stoop to embrace the sublime mysteries of the gospel, they ingeniously explain them away. If they cannot rise to the pu rity and strict requirements of christian morality, they reduce it to a standard, formed by corrupt inclination and perverted reason.
If, then, in our own times of peace and overflowing wealth, we witness effects, like these, visibly increasing among us; it should not surprise us, as though some new or strange thing had happened. Such appearances, however, plainly indicate that it is the duty of the friends of evangelical truth and christian morality, to be " up, and