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TO CORRESPONDENTS AND SUBSCRIBERS.
In sending forth the December Number of this Serial, the Editors offer thanks to Almighty God for His help most graciously afforded to them during the year now far-spent. If the papers supplied from month to month have conduced to the edifying of readers, let them also give praise to the FATHER OF Lights, from whom every blessing comes down.
The literary friends who have contributed to the enriching of these pages are entitled, in the next place, to our respectful acknowledgments. Nor can we forget what we owe to a large and increasing body of Subscribers. Many and influential testimonies of approval cheer us in our toil; and to these we make reference, in order to convey thus to our Correspondents an assurance that their exertions are appreciated.
Among the features of the Volume for 1859 is an ususual amount of Religious Intelligence, including many details of that wide-spread “Revival” which commands all but universal attention. Our selections have been made with care, and drawn from many sources.
It cannot be unbecoming to express a sentiment of deep and grateful joy, as we hear from a thousand other lips the very phrases and syllables which have been familiar to us from the beginning. “Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion : for great is the Holy ONE of Israel in the midst of thee."
For the future, it is proposed to continue in the path already marked out. Let a host of friends help us by their prayers, counsels, and contributions. To the Divine favour we anew commend the work of our hands. “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it : except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”
City-Road, London, November, 1859.
JUSTIN MARTYR, THE FATHER OF CHRISTIAN
APOLOGISTS. The first notable ecclesiastical name, after the apostolical Fathers, is that of Justin, philosopher and martyr. For all our knowledge of his personal history we are indebted to the autobiography which is interwoven with his apologetic writings, --confirmed in all respects, and in some supplemented, by notices scattered in the historical works of the next century. A few sentences will give the sum of that knowledge.
He was a Samaritan by birth, but of Greek extraction, and educated in Heathenism. The first fifteen years of his mature life were spent in the study of Grecian philosophy, which excited only to baffle bis inquiries after God and truth. Providence, under the guise of accident, then sent him a teacher, who weaned him from Plato, and directed his mind to the sublime revelations of the Hebrew Prophets : these pointed him onward to Christ and the New Testament. Converted and baptized, he travelled up and down the Roman empire, in the garb of a philosopher, but with the spirit of an evangelist, preaching and teaching the Lord Jesus. During this period he was the fearless apologist of Christianity, defending the truth, both by public discussions and writings, against its three leading enemies in that age-political Heathenism, Judaism, and the Gnostic heresics. At the verge of old age, after about thirty years spent in unwearied labours, be publicly confessed his Master before a Roman tribunal, and suffered martyrdom.
But in all these notices we discern the elements of a representative character :-viewed in that light, each will bear profitable expansion, and the whole will give the reader the materials of an important chapter in the history of the church. 1. His conversion represents a large class of the early triumphs of Christianity; those, namely, which it won from the expiring philosophy of the ancient world. 2. His itinerant labours point us to a very significant and interesting development of the activity of the church in the second century. 3. His writings in defence of the faith place him at the head of Christian apologists. 4. His writings generally, and as a whole, have a pre-eminent representative character, as among the earliest testimonies to Christian doctrines and usages after the apostolical age. And, 5. His martyrdom gives him, as his name in the church's annals might indicate, a final representative distinction.
Flavins Justinus was born about the commencement of the second