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A M ER I CAN
PUBLISHED BY THE
BOARD OF MANAGERS
BAPTIST GENERAL CONVENTION.
LINCOLN & EDMANDS, 59 WASHINGTON-STREET.
THE commencement of a new volume of the Baptist Magazine awakens diversified recollections, many of which are of a peculiarly interesting character. During a quarter of a century this miscellany has paid its regular visits to the abodes of its numerous patrons, fraught with intelligence on the most important subjects. Standing, as on an eminence, we survey the past, and those venerable men who commenced the publication, rise in pleasing review before
We think of their talents, their piety, their zeal, their limited means, and their encouraging success, till our bosoms are fired with ardor to prosecute the enterprise they so happily commenced. The faithful missionaries, who amidst trials and privations traversed the wilderness, and whose labors by a divine blessing transformed it into a fruitful field, also fix our attention. With grateful emotions, and thanksgivings to God and the Lamb, we witness the contrast which our country now presents. The trees, among which they wandered, have been fashioned into edifices of worship; and the solitary places have blossomed, and borne the rich fruits of grace.
The first conductors of this work, the zealous and devoted missionaries whose toils they detailed, and multitudes who with devout and joyful minds perused its pages, have successively finished their labors, and been dismissed from earth. While by faith we discern them mingling in elevated society above, a voice emphatically addresses us, Be ye followers of them, who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Whatever success may have attended past efforts, there remains yet much land to be possessed. Indeed the fields of labor are
perpetually expanding, and invite renewed action in their cultivation. The nations are given to the Redeemer for his inheritance, and his order is unrepealed, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” On his people devolves the high privilege of executing his will.
The volume for the last year spread before its readers the cheering success and exhilarating prospects of the Burman Mission, and the progress of truth in various other lands, by the efforts of Christian benevolence. It narrated many of the gracious visitations with which our churches were favored. The traits of excellence which marked the characters of departed worthies were recorded for the imitation of survivors. Attention was directed to interesting publications, and their defects and excellencies pointed out; and many doctrines and duties of Christianity were discussed. The perusal of the work, it is hoped, has cheered the hearts of many, and excited them to increased activity.
In commencing a new volume, the Committee of the Board, who have in charge its publication, cherish a deep sense of responsibility; and they will aim to render it still deserving of extended patronage. They invite communications from their friends in the different States, comprising biographical sketches, biblical discussions, literary notices, accounts of revivals, and general religious intelligence. They also solicit the patronage of the churches generally in the United States, to this official organ of the Baptist Foreign Mission, and indulge the belief that the friends of Missions will be excited to enlarge the list of subscribers, and to give permanent and increasing support to the American Baptist Magazine.
BOSTON, JAN. 1, 1830.
IT has been said, by one of the most original and sublime of the English poets,
66 'Tis greatly wise to talk with our past hours,
And ask them what report they bore to Heaven.” One of the purposes for which the faculty of memory was given us, is, to enable us to recal the events which are past, to derive pleasure from the recollection of hours spent in useful toils, or innocent pleasures ; to be instructed by the lessons of experience; and to be humbled before God, by the remembrance of our sins.
The power of recollection, it is probable, belongs to man alone, among the inhabitants of our earth. The inferior animals undoubtedly exercise memory, and some of them in a very surprising degree. But there is a difference between memory and recollection. Simple memory is passive. It retains impressions, but requires the recurrence of the object, or some other external cause, to awaken the ideas, which it has treasured up. But recollection implies a power in the mind of directing its attention to past scenes, and bringing again before it the events, actions and feelings, which it has witnessed or experienced. It is a noble and useful faculty. We owe to it much of our happiness. Without it, we should rise very little, in point of intellectual power, above the ingenious ape, or the "half reasoning elephant."
This faculty, however, like all our other powers, is perverted. We are disinclined to use it at all, for any useful purpose. The present and the future fill our minds. If we glance at the past, it is usually with a rapid and superficial survey. As the act is voluntary, we exclude from our observation, whatever it is painful to us to recollect. Our sins, therefore, we are prone to forget; and the favors which we have received, are often forgotten, or reluctantly remembered, because the sense of obligation is unwelcome to our minds.