« السابقةمتابعة »
A Mourner, 376.
J. B., 160.
J. C., 96.
J. G., 352.
John Cennick, 63.
J. S., 223.
Once an Atheist, 30.
R. H., 288.
FEEBLE CHRISTIAN'S SUPPORT.
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled."-Matt. v. 6.
"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."-2 Tim. i. 9.
"The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded."-Rom. xi. 7.
"If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.-And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.—In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."-Acts viii. 37, 38; Matt. xxviii. 19.
ADDRESS TO OUR READERS.
The principles of the GOSPEL STANDARD, and the motives by which we are actuated in conducting it, we have not now for the first time to lay before our Readers. They have been repeatedly declared in our. Addresses, and, we trust, embodied in our pages. How far indeed our professions and our practice have agreed, and how far each month has redeemed the pledge given at the commencement of the year, we will not attempt to decide. Self-love too often blinds the eyes of parents to the defects of their offspring; and it may be that we are unfit judges of our own work. And yet, though self-love may partially blind us, so far as we may possess any measure of spiritual discernment, or any tenderness of conscience, we shall perceive and feel the sin and infirmity that is mingled with this work of our hands, as with every other thing that proceeds from us.
But it is needful that our readers should bear in mind, that the conducting of the Gospel Standard necessarily comprehends two distinct branches each requiring far more wisdom and grace than we are possessed of. These two distinct branches are, 1. Examining, deciding upon the insertion, and subsequently revising the communications of our correspondents; and 2. Our own Reviews of books sent to us for that purpose, and occasional answers to Inquiries.
Of these two distinct branches we need hardly say that we consider the first the most important, and the proper province of the Gospel Standard. The latter is of secondary importance, and, as it were, subsidiary to the former. A few words on each of these branches may be desirable, and we desire to speak them in simplicity and truth.
One great defect then, as it strikes us, in the communications, is the want of Original Pieces. Our readers must have observed that our pages are generally filled with letters. These indeed are a most valuable medium of communicating gospel truth; and their very freedom, and the absence in the writer of any idea of publication, give them an ease and a reality which more formal pieces rarely possess. Indeed, were we compelled to make our choice between our publication consisting wholly of pieces, or wholly of letters, we should at once, and without hesitation, prefer the latter. But there are many interesting and profitable subjects which letters do not usually touch upon, they being chiefly private correspondence, which we think might be handled in pieces with much advantage.
Not indeed that pieces are not sent us for insertion. Far from it. We receive such frequently, but they rarely satisfy us. A dryness and deadness, a coldness and formality usually characterize them. They do not appear to gush freely from the heart as the "well of water that springs up into everlasting life." The writer does not seem to "speak that he may be refreshed;" (Job xxxii. 20;) nor "his heart," like David's, to be " bubbling up a good matter." (Ps. xlv. 1, margin.) Barrenness, therefore, and death are the consequence.
But there are other pieces sent us for insertion which are written with such a measure of simplicity and feeling as would induce us to lay them before our readers, but from want of clearness in thought, or expressiveness in language, they are beyond measure confused, tedious, and wearisome. Pieces that combine simplicity and feeling with clearness, conciseness, and strength, are what we want for our pages. Learning or eloquence, flowery language or wellturned periods, we want not. But originality, truth, power, unction, clearness of judgment, perspicuity of expression, and a heavenly warmth running through the whole, all tending to enlighten the mind, touch the heart, move the conscience, fire the affections, and quicken the obedience of the reader these, or rather a measure of these invaluable and almost indispensable qualities we wish to see in pieces marked for insertion in our Periodical.
Of the letters with which we have chiefly filled our pages we need say but little. But for our work, many letters full of sweetness and power (the names of the writers we need not particularize) would, humanly speaking, have been lost to the church of God. They would have been confined to the individual to whom they were addressed, or to a small circle of his personal friends. But through the medium of our pages they have become widely read by the living family; and how many drooping spirits they have cheered, how many cast down they have comforted, how many ignorant they have instructed, how many falling hands they have lifted up, or feeble knees have strengthened, may not be known till that day when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed. In this point we consider the chief if not the only value of the Gospel Standard lies. Our Reviews may have been carnal, defective, prejudiced, partial, violent, prolix, or full of such faults as our friends may deplore, or our enemies condemn; and all through our conducting our periodical the clearest traces of weakness and incompetency may have been visible; and yet it cannot be denied that there have appeared from time to time in our pages letters on which the dew of heaven has rested, and which have been blessed to many souls.
And now a few words with respect to that part of our labours which may be called more peculiarly our own, and which, if attended with peculiar responsibility, is also attended with peculiar invidiousnesss; we mean our Reviews, and Answers to the inquiries of correspondents.
Feeling, as we do, that every thing that passes from our hands is tainted with the sin and infirmity of the creature, we willingly acknowledge the defects and imperfection of our Reviews. Our design in writing them is to aim at the glory of God and the edification of the church. But we find that we are not sufficient for these things, and that sin and self will intrude, and mingle themselves with this, as with every other work of our hands. Nor do we usually perceive how large a share those twin associates have had in our work until the printing press has indelibly stamped it upon paper, and the first of the month has witnessed it in the hands of our readers.
Yet, though conscious of their many defects, we would claim for them two things, or rather we would claim one thing, and disclaim another.
1. We would claim, then, impartiality in our expressed opinion of the works submitted to us for review. Our discernment
may be denied. We may have blamed the good and approved of the bad, acquitted the guilty and condemned the righteous. Or we may have laid too much stress upon unimportant points, and with needless criticism may have found fault with incidental expressions, and dwelt too much upon an author's style and other mere verbal matters, without paying sufficient attention to his general drift and intentions. In these and other points we may have erred, and shall probably err again. But so far as our intention is concerned we have not erred willingly. Impartiality, however, we trust we may claim; and this the more earnestly, as it has been at the risk of wounding highly-esteemed friends, which we would most gladly have avoided could we have done so, and still preserved our impartiality.
2. But as we lay a claim to the attempt at impartiality, so must we disclaim any setting up of ourselves in our passing a judgment upon the works of others. Because a man may pronounce a judg ment upon a work, it does not thence follow that he could himself write as good a one. Many a hearer will pass a sound judgment upon a sermon, who, were he in the preacher's place, might not be able to stammer forth one of five minutes' duration. So we might be very unable to write as well, or handle things as experimentally as some whose works we review, and yet be able to form some judgment upon them. We must positively disclaim any such assumption as that we constitute ourselves superior to those whom we may review. On the contrary, we often feel, painfully feel, our inferiority; and were it our persuasion that, in reviewing the works of others, we thereby constituted ourselves their superiors, we would never touch a pen in that department of our work again.
But it is time to draw to a close. We cannot, then, make any promises for the future that we will reform all that is amiss, and
perfect all that is lacking.
We are unprofitable servants, and never expect to be otherwise. We are ignorant and helpless, and can do nothing aright unless the Lord work in us to will and to do of his good pleasure. But we purpose, with his help, and in his strength, still to go on issuing our monthly publication, and we call upon our spiritual friends to render us their aid, either by furnishing us with experimental pieces of their own composition, or by favouring us with such spiritual letters as may fall into their hands, and by the perusal of which they think that the church may be edified, and the Three-One God glorified.