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FOR THE YEAR 1810.
THE NINTH VOLUME.
PRINTED BY ELLERTON AND HENDERSON,
Johnson's Court, Fleet Street;
PUBLISHED BY JOHN HATCHARD, BOOKSELLER TO HER MAJESTY, 190, PICCADILLY;
SOLD ALSO IN LONDON, BY SEELEY, FLEET STREET; AND SHERWOOD, NEELY, AND JONES, PATERNOSTER
ONE of the Greek philosophers instructs his disciples, at the
close of each day, thrice to review his actions since the sun last rose upon him. This sagacious rule may be beneficially extended from individuals to corporate bodies; and the Conductors of the CHRISTIAN OBSERVER desire to pause at this point of their career, and both to institute a scrutiny into their past conduct, and to expose the results of it to their readers.
It is not, however, either upon the merits or defects of our work that we are chiefly disposed to dwell. Of the former, it is not for us to speak. The only praise, indeed, which we are disposed to arrogate to ourselves is, that of having acted honestly and independently in the discharge of what we conceived to be our duty. With regard to our defects, we are most ready to avow them to have been numerous. But as these have arisen from infirmity rather than design, and as no title to infallibility has been asserted, and no man has been required to assent any further than he was convinced, we trust that neither our deficiencies nor excesses will be remembered in anger by any of our readers. Something also, we trust, will be allowed to the peculiar nature of our task. It is not easy, in a feverish state of society, to preserve one's-self from occasional heat, It is not easy to manage the gas and ballast of the machine, when assailed by the blasts of invective, or tossed in the storms of controversy. It is difficult to come, as it were, without passions, to the discussion of a subject which is, perhaps, hurrying the pulsation of half the world. The duty, indeed, is obvious; but still our readers will acknowledge, if they know any thing of themselves, that it is one of arduous performance; and, although we are far from bringing this forward as extenuating the evil of those failures with which they may justly charge us, we think it ought to be admitted by them as a good ground on which, at least, to abate the severity of censure.
This personal scrutiny, however, as we said, is not the point to which we are most anxious to call the attention of our readers. In looking from the point of our present elevation upon the past stages of our career, one circumstance forcibly strikes us; and this is, the favourable state of some of the enterprises undertaken by the CHRISTIAN OBSERVER. Let us not be thought to arrogate to ourselves the merit of this success; but let the facts, nevertheless, be fairly estimated.
The grand object, then, of this publication, was to extend the dominion and multiply the subjects of true Religion in the land. It would be impossible to form an accurate estimate of the degree in which this design has been accomplished. But still it will be admitted, by all who have attentively considered the subject, that the influence of true Religion, during the last ten years, has become much more widely prevalent.
A further object was, to rectify the views and ameliorate the character of the more religious members of the Church of England; to guard them against the errors incident either to an isolated and persecuted sect, or to a body, advancing in wealth and literature. Upon this design also the blessing of God appears to us to have rested. It cannot be denied, that in some of those excellent and venerated men, who were the means, during the last century, of reviving the dormant spirit of religion in the Church, there was mach which was of at least dubious tendency their designs and intentions were not always as judiciously executed, as they were piously conceived. The men who may be considered as now occupying their station in the Church of CHRIST, for the most part, not only mean well, but write and speak and act well; and perhaps there is no period in the history of that Church when, speaking generally, the banner of the Cross has been unfurled by a body of Clergy more true to its interests, or more wisely bold in its service. Among other things, the CHRISTIAN OBSERVER has had it much at heart to reconcile the different members of this body to each other; while every fair opportunity should be embraced of obviating the unfounded prejudices conceived against them by other respectable members of the Establishment. The Church has hitherto been divided against herself. It has been, for a succession of ages, the misfortune, if not the crime, of Calvinists and Arminians to mistake one another; for Calvinists to deny that