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TO THE READER.
"Rest and be thankful” would hardly be a suitable motto for a guild of editors. However often they may acknowledge themselves to “be thankful,” their opportunities of “rest” are few. From glancing through the Index of our last volume we pass at once to the preparation of its successor. We confess to doing this with some solicitude. To provide for the pages of a religious periodical is, in these days, a work of growing difficulty. The strise of church parties, the revival and spread of the great heresy, the advance of infidelity under the pretentious banner of science, the confusion of creed with faith, the substitution of vague sentiment for principle, the observance of ritualistic ceremonies as an equivalent for personal religion: these things, not to speak of sweeping political and social changes, involving issues which even to the keenest eye are uncertain, may
cause occasional perplexity in the counsels of those who are "set" either for the defence or for the exposition of the truth. The best friends of Christianity are under the necessity of placing their hope—it is their one hope—not only with childlike trust, but with a childlike feeling of their own helplessness, in the “word” which is “settled in heaven for ever.” The wisest man is the most ready to admit that he cannot "discern " the "signs of the times” in which our lot is cast ; except, indeed, as he is instructed by the eternal "Wisdom," that, in view of all hum in contingencies and commotions, "hath builded her house ” and “hewn out her seven pillars." Yet solicitude is not despondency. Every Christian believer knows whence to draw strength, whatever his task, whatever the aspect of passing events, to
"argue not Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot Of heart ur hope; but still bear up and steer
Right onward,” till the “ light,” which is neither“ clear nor dark,” shall give place to the revelations of the promised open day,
At the commencement of a new volume, following the custom of bonoured predecessors, we tender our cordial thanks both to
VOL. XIV.- FIFTH SERIES,