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Members of the Established Church.
THE YEAR 1858.
It has been our habit, when entering on the task of preparing the Preface for the expiring year, to seat ourselves on some imaginary Pisgah, where we might take a sort of bird's-eye view, both of the certain past and of the possible future. It is of importance to look in both directions : on the one hand, that we may gather lessons of gratitude and self-humiliation ; and on the other, that we may clothe ourselves in appropriate armour for the come. We now once more return to our mountain height of observation, and casting our eye behind and before, wish humbly to place the result of our examination before our readers.
The past year has been prolific in public events of considerable interest. A horrible attempt has been made to assassinate the Emperor of the French, with weapons forged by foreigners in our own country, and has resulted in the downfall of the Palmerston Administration. The last spark of the Indian mutiny has been nearly trodden out. The war with China has come to an end ; and a treaty signed and sealed, by which three hundred millions of immortal, but, as yet, isolated human spirits are to be brought into communion with their fellow-men. At the same moment, with all the rapidity of a movement in a Pantomime, a treaty of commerce has been made with Japan, whereby a country hitherto sealed to the world has been laid open to the merchants and adventurers of our own and some other nations.
Such is the brief history of a few of the leading political events of the year. And what is the probable future with regard to them ?' In the first place, the settlement of India may prove a more difficult task than its subjugation; and the servants of God may have a stouter battle than ever to fight with men of Lord Ellenborough's spirit, for the more effectual planting of the Cross in that land of deep and bloody superstition. The treaty with China again involves the risk arising out of the residence of a small band of English merchants in the midst of the uncounted millions of a treacherous people.—The treaty with Japan may, or may not, be followed by the prevalence of the religious over the mere commercial element of our nature, and the consequent endeavour to complete the prosperity of that apparently favoured