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By pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left; through honour and dishonour, through evil report and good report; as deceivers and yet true. 2 Cor. vi. 6-8.
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RELIGIOUS MAGAZINES are now become so general in this country, that any attemp to explain their nature, or point out their tendency, is rendered unnecessary: and it is equally so, to enter on a formal vindication of their utility and great importance. If religious knowledge be now more generally diffused among us than at any former period, no one that has properly considered the subject will deny, that it is in a great measure owing to the increase of those periodical publications which are immediately devoted to the diffusion of divine truth. Some, indeed, may ask, "Is not the field already so completely occupied by the number of Magazines now extant, as to render an additional one wholly inexpedient?" It is true, that on this question different persons will think differently; but the Proprietors of the New Evangelical Magazine, after mature deliberation, have, for themselves, presumed to answer that question in the negative: and the following are their reasons.
The persons who may be considered as particularly interested in works of this kind, naturally divide themselves into-those who write, and those who read. With regard to the former, it may be confidently affirmed, that additional sources for communicating to the world the productions of their pen, and the fruits of their study, are not unnecessary. For who that has had any acquaintance with that interesting part of the religious community, the various classes of young ministers and students, hath not heard their complaints often repeated, that pieces, which have cost them much time and labour in the composition, and which, after having been transmitted to their favourite Magazine, have lain for months, or years, concealed from publication, not because undeserving of notice, but because the confined limits of the publication precluded the opportunity of inserting them? To all such, THE NEW EVANGELICAL Magazine will be open, and they are invited to embrace it, as an eligible medium of conveying their sentiments to the world.
With regard to those who merely read works of this nature, the question may certainly be so stated as to receive a different answer. That the Magazines already in a course of publication, may be obtained without difficulty, no one will deny; but is their execution so superlatively excellent as to admit of no improvement? Let the question be fairly taken up in that point of view, and it is humbly presumed that it will no more admit of dispute than the former. And as there is no fact better established by the experience of ages, than that monopolies of all kinds are injurious to the public interest, so it may be confidently affirmed, that a generous emulation is always productive of good. Between rival cardidates for the same object, and especially when that object is the instruction and consequent happiness of mankind, there should be no enmity; and between those who are ambitious to equal and excel one another, there ought to be no envy. If the work now announced is found to possess no advantage over its competitors, it will of course sink into its merited oblivion: but if it happily excels them in any important respects, it cannot fail to obtain from a generous Public that share of patronage to which it is fairly entitled.
Such are the general grounds on which the Proprietors of THE NEW EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE presume to appear at the bar of the public tribunal. Supported by the animating principle of conscious rectitude, they respectfully solicit the cordial cooperation of all classes of their fellow Christians. Their work is undertaken with no party views, for they own themselves to be of no party but that of truth. And as the avowed object of their publication is the furtherance of the cause of pure and undefiled religion, so they consider the only legitimate means of effecting that, to be the dissemination of scriptural knowledge. Their work will consequently consist of ESSAYS on the Doctrines of Religion--ILLUSTRATIONS of the Evidences of Christianity, adapted to stem the torrent of infidelity on the one hand, and to confirm the faith and hope of Christians on the other—BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS of persons whose lives have adorned their professions, and furnished examples worthy of our imitation-ELUCIDATIONS of the more obscure parts of Scripture, calculated to make the Bible better understood-REVIEWS of important Theological publications, pointing out their various excellencies or defects and INTELLIGENCE, religious and literary, particularly in reference to the progress of the gospel at home and abroad, by means of Bible and Missionary Societies.
Before a period is put to this address, it may be proper to offer a few remarks on the subject of the Title which the Proprietors have adopted for their publication. They are aware that some, may think an apology requisite, on the ground of its interfering with another popular Journal: but although, were it necessary, they are not unprepared to plead important precedents in their justification, in the present instance they deem it altogether superfluous to avail themselves of that mode of defence: for the reader is entreated to remember that their publication, though a rival, is not an enemy to any former work of the kind: it has the same benevolent object in view: it desires to be regarded as a fellow-labourer in the same harvest: and only hopes to surpass it in the career of true glory-the glory of promoting more extensively the prosperity of Zion, and the increase of the Redeemer's kingdom in* the world.