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TO OUR READERS.
In announcing to our readers that the Gospel MAGAZINE has, during the last month, been transferred into other hands, we feel that a few words are due from us, in order to explain our reason for discontinuing the second title of the work. It is simply this: --that we may not offend a large number of Christians by giving the work, at first sight, the appearance of an exclusive character. By calling the Magazine THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND ADVOCATE, many, or probably most, would suppose it advocated the cause of the Church of England only, whereas the doctrines the GOSPEL MAGAZINE has ever advocated, during the very many years of its existence, and which we trust it will still, for as many years henceforward, continue to advocate, extend beyond the pale of the ESTABLISHMENT. We rejoice that there have been men who have ventured forth as propagators of that blessed Gospel we profess to espouse, who received not their commission from their fellow-men; and yet shall we presume to say, that they were not blessed in their work ? we dare not-we should sin against the light of our consciences did we say so. We believe of such there have been hundreds, and even thousands, whom, at the last great day, the Judge of all the earth will own as His stewards and husband
No. V. Vol. I.—New Series.
Yes, and we believe likewise that even in this day of glaring profession, there are some men-though in number comparatively few-who are blowing the Gospel trumpet with a certain and not with an uncertain sound ;—who have received the banner of the Cross at the hands of the Great Captain of their salvation, and are commissioned by Him to go forth, and shamelessly and valiantly unfurl it in His most glorious cause.
It is to such we hold out the right hand of fellowship; and while in minor points we differ, and agree to differ, we would bear in mind, or at least desire and endeavour so to do, the injunction of the ancient patriarch Joseph, when, after having been privileged by an interview with his brethren-during which, instead of reproaching them with their cruelty and total want of affection in selling him as a slave, and exposing him, for aught they knew, to untold horrors, he talked to them of the good hand of his God—how it had led him, and fed him, and protected him ;-he fell upon their necks and embraced them with the sincerest brotherly affection; and then at parting made use of that ever-memorable, never-to-be-forgotten language, “SEE THAT YE FALL NOT OUT BY THE WAY, FOR YE ARE BRETHREN.” Oh! what an example! How like that of his Lord—and we trust our Lord—who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; and whose favourite doctrine to his disciples corresponded with the sacred principle for which He left his eternal throne, and sojourned here below-it was LOVE-LOVE.
But while we thus write, let not the reader misunderstand us; let him not suppose we are endeavouring to advocate a principle miscalled Love, or CHARITY, which, in the present day, stalks about to an almost incalculable extent, under this specious garb, divested of which it proves to a demonstration to be nothing more than the most deep-rooted enmity in disguise. This CHARITY SO called is gone forth into the world, and has taken up her abode in every city, in every town, and in almost every heart; and while she sits there professing to disseminate the spirit and doctrines of our most blessed Lord, she is directly opposed to that spirit and those doctrines. She is endeavouring, and fain would accomplish, a task which, blessed be God, she will never perform—to reconcile God and Mammon, Christ and Belial. This CHARITY is the devil's counterpart of true and vital godliness, his crafty purpose in which is to harmonize all religions. Hence it is that thousands upon thousands, both in the Church of England and out of the Church of England, are shaking hands with Popery and Arminianism, and a variety of other systems which may be classed under these two. Do our readers suppose, then, for a moment, that it is to this Charity we offer the right-hand of fellowship? Oh, no! no! we differ from her and her views as far as light differs from darkness—as heaven from hell. We feel its working,
that we may
more or less, in our treacherous and deceitful hearts ; but we trust the Lord of life and glory has given us just sufficient light to discover Satan's subtlety and craft in this his masterpiece; and, God helping us, though it may expose us to the charge of bigotry, of ignorance, superstition, and a thoroughly bad spirit, yet will we venture to declare our opinions, and pray
grace given us to follow, be it at ever so remote a distance, the steps of Him, who said, “I came not to send peace on earth but a sword.” In this respect even the Saviour himself made war. He saw that the honour of Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in this respect, was at stake, and therefore he hesitated not to direct his anathemas against every system which professed to be of God, but which, on the contrary, savoured only of men.
Shall we not, then, whether in the Establishment or out of the Establishment, seeing our numbers are comparatively so few, contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints strengthening each other's hands—bearing each other's burdens, and so fulfilling the law of Christ?
Before we conclude, however, we cannot but express our conviction of the importance of the work we have undertaken, and the consciousness of our own incompetency to such an engagement. We think of those highly-favoured men of ever blessed memory, who formerly either conducted or contributed to the Gospel MAGAZINE-we contemplate the character and attainments of a TOPLADY, and others equally valiant for the truth; we turn to our little library, and while we glance for a moment at the volume upon volume which has issued from their pens, and which, with the exception of our Bible, we recognise as the most valuable of our little collection—we direct our thoughts towards that blessed resting-place at which, having finished their labours in this vale of tears, each and all of them have arrived; we think of them as having met there many, very many, both of the former correspondents and readers of this Magazine; we see the mysteries which, while here, they “knew but in part, and prophesied but in part,” now fully and delightfully unfolded to their astonished view; we see all the differences of opinion which here they entertained (and which, alas ! were too frequently the cause of bickering and strife) now fully harmonize ;—in a word, we behold them, though but with a faint glance, now joining in one delightful melody-one unceasing song of praise and glory to Him to whom all eyes are directed with untiring admiration and wonder, even unto Him who sits upon the throne; and lastly, we look within, and ask ourselves the question, “ Can we venture to up
the pen they have laid down; to turn over the future pages of a Magazine they have left unturned ?" And we should unhesitatingly reply in the negative, were not our hearts encou,