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“Built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself
BENJAMIN L. GREEN.
ADDRESS TO OUR READERS.
The time has again returned for Editorial acknowledgments, statements, and requests. A Preface, in any other sense, to such a miscellany as a Religious Magazine, seems impossible.
To all our contributors, then (whose labours for the common good are, like our own, quite gratuitous), it is only fair that we should tender thanks not only for ourselves but for our readers also. To the friend who has supplied the Notes of the late John Foster's Village Sermons, and preserved from oblivion thus far, so many striking thoughts, all classes will feel much indebted. A few more of these interesting sketches remain; we have also one valuable discourse of greater length in Mr. Foster's own handwriting. We may add, that though we have not room for lengthened articles of Intelligence, yet we shall feel obliged, on the part of our readers, for all facts affecting our congregations and public men. Thousands can know of changes of ministers, new chapels, important meetings, and deaths of denominational interest, &c., only through the medium of the Penny Magazine. On the other hand, to record every baptism, death, or marriage, appears less suitable for a magazine than for a newspaper. The latter we only wait for the repeal of the taxes on knowledge, to commence in earnest. The Denomination ought to have a weekly organ. This we suppose is not to be hoped for while seventeen millions a-year are spent on soldiers and sailors in time of peace, and ten millions a-year on our established Popery.
With regard to the future, we have now a sufficiently long past to appeal to to save us the necessity of any explanations. Our views on all points remain the same; though the Baptismal Regeneration controversy 'must have increased, were it possible, our conviction of the importance of evangelical christians relinquishing a practice so auxiliary to the worst errors, and so at variance with their own view's,' as Infant Baptism; while Churchrate persecutions, Government proceedings, even Interment bills, with the assumptions and avarice of bishops, and the cruelties of country clergymen, have not tended to lessen our zeal in behalf of the great Reform for the times, the abolition of the Compulsory Church.
We have felt compelled reluctantly to advert more than once to the unparalleled proceedings of a sister evangelical and voluntary denomination; or, rather, of its domineering ecclesiastics. To us the conduct of the Wesleyan Conference has appeared a blot on evangelical Voluntaryism, similar to that which Slavery is on American Republicanism. But it is to be remembered that the power of Conference to tyrannize over christian men, is due to the Establishment principle in it,- to a Trust - deed, through which the Wesleyan Clergy have acquired sole and irresponsible power over every Wesleyan, and which makes them, like Anglican Ecclesiastical courts, judges in their own cause, and puts immense property into their hands. Conference cruelties should be viewed as a warning to all Trust-deed makers, not as a stigma on Voluntaryism. Indeed, the only hope of putting an end to these cruelties lies in the Voluntary system. “Stopping the Supplies" is the only means left of preventing the originally glorious institution of John Wesley from becoming an evil only second in magnitude to the Established Church. It is in connection with events actually occurring around them, that the many can best be taught the value of pure and scriptural ecclesiastical principles.