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The completion. of the Third Volume of the LOCAL PREACHERS' MAGAZINE is an event which its enemies predicted would never take place; but they have proved false prophets, and we can now congratulate our friends on its successful accomplishment.
To the members of the Mutual-Aid Association it is chiefly owing that we have thus far succeeded ; and we rejoice, with them, that our united efforts have not been in vain. We have been enabled to produce a periodical of general usefulness, exhibiting specimens of the ability of Local Preachers, and proving a means of great benefit, as the organ of our beloved Association. The immense diversity and contrariety of tastes which obtain among several thousand readers, renders it difficult to please every one ; but a magazine, containing, as it does, a great variety of matter, is admirably adapted to afford pleasure and profit to all, and it is gratifying for us to acknowledge, that numerous letters have reached us expressing satisfaction with, and thanks for, our past labours. As the work becomes better known, we confidently anticipate a more extensive circulation, and shall then realise a considerable revenue by its sale.
For the next year, arrangements have been made which will place us in a better position than we have hitherto occupied; and we trust that all who desire our prosperity will put forth vigorous efforts to increase the number of subscribers.
To those kind friends who have furnished literary contributions, we feel under deep obligation. We know the disinterestedness of their motives, and have felt nerved to duty by their co-operation.
It may appear ungracious on our part to press them to renew and increase their exertions in this “ labour of love;" but, conscious of our dependence on them, and the value of their contributions, we must again ask them to prove themselves faithful, “ by patient continuance in well doing."
To those who have the ability, but who have not hitherto rendered us any assistance, we say, Come and help us—“ Ye have the power, if ye but had the will." Sanctify your talents! Let your pens be employed in this service, and help to sustain your character as unpaid labourers in the Lord's vineyard.
To our fair friends we look with expectation to enrich our miscellaneous department. Give us every gem of thought, every literary bouquet, every brilliant sentiment you can procure, that our pages may be adorned, and sparkling rays shine forth to the delight of many.
Let all who can, help us in every way they can. Those who may not be enabled to write an elaborate essay, can furnish scraps, incidents, or illustrations full of beauty and interest. Remarkable events in personal experience, or in the lives of others; happy circumstances connected with the introduction of Methodism in towns, districts, or villages; in the history of the Sabbath-school, or in the preaching of God's word,—all such subjects are worth our notice; and, if written with brevity and simtlicity, will be “ for the profit of many."
We have been surprised that our Temperance page has not been supplied with more testimonials in its favour from the experience of our brethren, many of whom we know are staunch abstainers. We ought to have a refreshing and continuous stream of these.
Grateful to the Giver of all good for what has already been accomplished, we afresh dedicate ourselves to His service, and rejoice that the future opens before us with so many promises of usefulness. We look for countenance, co-operation, and support.
7, College Street, Islington,
LOCAL PREACHERS' MAGAZINE
CHRISTIAN FAMILY RECORD.
Essays, Scripture Illustrations, fr.
THE COMING YEAR. There is something cheering in the idea that after a year of remarkable providences we once more stand upon the threshold of a new epoch of time. The wrecks of the past are beneath our feet, and before us spreads the wide, the unbounded future. From the former we can receive no benefit, save in the way of warning and instruction. Our regrets will not recall our wasted hours, nor improve our vanished opportunities; but if they induce renewed resolution for the duties of the coming year, like beacons on the shore of time, they may light us on our way to a glorious and happy eternity. With the past we cannot deal, but the future is our own, to mould and fashion to our individual and collective purpose. We write to those of whom Paul said, “ All things are yours.” The past alone was excepted in this comprehensive phrase. With this exception, to those who are Christ's,—that is, Christians,-things present, and things to come are ministering, and will minister. “Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death,” all may be pressed into the service of those who now, on this First of January, 1853, are standing the living monuments of the divine forbearance and mercy.
We wish all such “A happy new year !” “To all the living there is hope.” To the living in Christ, however, there is a certainty, an assurance of growth and usefulness. To each and every one of the numerous and increasing family which owns Jesus Christ as its head, the words are more applicable now than in any preceding year of the world's history. "Belold, I have set before you an open door.” We sometimes bemoan, and justly, the remaining indifference and practical infidelity which disgrace our country ; but let us not overlook the great wonders which have been wrought in our behalf. The latter day glory is approaching; already scintillations of its blessed and soul-cheering light are gilding the mountains and penetrating the valleys of our native land. Many are running to and fro, and knowledge is increasing. There is a renewal of the early days and of the primitive love which characterised the Christians in the first ages of the church; and whatever unthankful and fault-finding hypochondriacs in the fold may assert to the contrary, there is a mightier leaven of truth at work among all classes in the British empire than at any former period of the world's history.
We speak not now of any sectional or merely localized movement. Everywhere there is a shaking among the dry bones of fallen humanity in these lands. From the Queen to the ragged beggar, the leaven of Christianity is working; the old fences of bigotry, superstition, and caste are being taken down, or are fast mouldering away; and the time is approaching, if it be not already come, when every man may, in his own tongue, among his own people, or with strangers, in spite of or assisted by bishops and dignitaries, belonging to or opposed by the establishment, not only hear, but proclaim, as far as he knows and feels them, the wonderful works and the blessed word of the true and living God. And this is a glorious privilege, the possession of which opens up prospects to a majority of our readers aud subscribers which they would not barter for the richest jewel in the royal diadem of England's Queen. “How beautiful,” said the ancient prophet, as he contemplated the days in which we live, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of them that publish good tidings of peace!" The prophetic vision is become a blessed reality, and from the dens and caves, into which vice and ignorance had driven the masses of our countrymen and countrywomen, are heard voices of joy and gladness. They are hailing the light of the glory of God with tears of reverent joy; and though yet but as the sheaves of the early harvest, they give happy earnest of that vast ingathering when the field shall shake like Lebanon, and the ransomed earth shull shout, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our God and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever!"
It is with feelings such as these we would hail the coming year, and nerve ourselves afresh to duty and to diligence. We would fain also herald our brethren to theirs : for it is no light or temporary work we have undertaken to accomplish. Neither is it, we rejoice to say, a work of isolated or individual effort merely. From the humblest and most obscure village preacher to the veteran and accomplished soldier of the Cross, whose experiences extend over half a century, all are engaged in the same great business to which our energies of mind and body are for the coming year devoted. To raise the ignorant, to illumine the obscure, to reform the vile, to reclaim the lost, to justify the ways of God to man, and, by the influence of His Holy Spirit, to warn, instruct, exhort, admouish with all wisdom and longsuffering every man, everywhere, to be reconciled to God:—this is a glorious privilege! But it is an awful duty, effectually to accomplish which requires an amount of union and purpose the realization of which is only dawning upon us.