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TO HIM from whom every good descends, to the Father of Lights and Fountain of Mercies, our first acknowledgments are due, for the continued prosperity with which he hath favoured this little Work. Our grateful obligations are now the more sensibly felt, since it hath pleased the All-wise Disposer of human affairs to withdraw from the midst of us our much-beloved and much-respected brother, the late Rev. JOHN EYRE, who, for ten years, conducted this Work with so much reputation to himself, and satisfaction to the public. We respect his memory, as the principal projector of this Magazine; and we owe to his indefatigable labours its first establishment. He spared no pains to execute the plan which his ingenious and pious mind had formed; and often, at the hazard of his health and life, persisted to attend the meetings of the Committee. More than once (when he had less assistance in the work than of late years) he has sat up in his sick-bed, with an aching head and a trembling hand, to prepare the needful papers for the press. But the Lord, whom he faithfully served with all his power, and for whose glory he was devising new plans of usefulness, was pleased to call him up to his presence; he rests from his labours, his works follow him, and his name will long be fragrant in the British Churches.
The Trustees have thought proper to invite the present final Editor to succeed Mr. Eyre: their invitation he has accepted with diffidence, yet with a zealous resolution to imitate his worthy predecessor, and to exert his best endeavours to prosecute the original plan: in doing which he respectfully and earnestly intreats the renewed assistance of his Re
verend Brethren and others, whose able and united labours cannot fail, under the Divine blessing, to secure the continued patronage of the candid public.
It affords a high degree of delight to the Committee, to reflect, that the Evangelical Magazine has contributed so largely to the formation and support of some of the most useful institutions of our times. The MISSIONARY SOCIETY, in particular, will not refuse to this work the honour of having assisted in its formation and its Funds, by the notoriety which it has had the privilege to give to its proceedings, and the wide diffusion of that Foreign Intelligence, with which the Directors have constantly favoured the Editors, and which it has been their practice promptly to publish throughout the British Empire, and to many distant parts of the Christian world. In this point of view, our Work may claim a decided superiority above every other periodical pamphlet, as it forms a copious Body of Spiritual Information, such as our godly forefathers longed in vain to see, and which we rejoice to think will furnish the future historians of the Church with ample and authentic materials. Many thousands, probably, of the Lord's people, whose daily prayer is," Thy kingdom come," are almost every month gratified with the cheering news of the triumphs of the cross, or with the pious correspondence of our dear associates in the Lord's work in Europe, Asia, America, or Africa. What unusual sensations of holy joy have we lately felt in hearing of the conversion of multitudes of the children of Ham, and in perceiving Ethiopia again stretching out her hands unto God! This joy has been greatly enhanced in the metropolis by the new spectacle of three Evangelized Hottentots, unexpectedly appearing in our assemblies, and, with a good portion of spiritual wisdom and sweet simplicity, declaring what God has done for their souls: and we hope to lay before our readers farther interesting information from the South of Africa.
The Institution of the RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY, is another event on which we reflect with pleasure, and which has far exceeded the expectations of its first promoters. As we were forward to announce its formation, and have hitherto traced its progress, we shall gladly continue to gratify our readers, by recording the pleasing instances of the Divine blessing which attends the distribution of these de. tached papers, one of which appears in the Obituary of the present Number.
The HOME-INTELLIGENCE, which is given every month, of the Progress of Religion in our own island, of the Ordination of Ministers, the Opening of Chapels,-and the Operations of County Societies, for the Spread of the Gospel among our peasantry, is highly pleasing to most of our readers, both Ministers and private Christians. It is grateful to those who long for the true prosperity of Britain, to learn that their friends, their relations, their fellow-students, in different parts of the kingdom, are actively employed in the work of the Lord; it excites the same zeal in others, and occasions many an offering of praise. We regret that this branch of our work should prove distasteful and offensive to any good men. Pious persons, of every denomination, will surely rejoice in the instruction of the ignorant, in the introduction of the Gospel into dark and wicked villages, and in the conversion of notorious sinners: nor need these efforts of holy zeal create the least alarm in the loyal breast, as if any political scheme were secretly pursued: we can affirm, with unblushing confidence, that our honoured brethren of the County Associations, have no other object in view than the glory of God in the salvation of immortal souls, unconnected, totally unconnected, with worldly or even party views. And it would afford the Editors equal pleasure to announce to the Christian world the successful efforts of apostolic zeal among any other description of Evangelical Preachers; for it shall be our sedulous endeavour to avoid a sectarian and party spirit; and we are happy to repeat, after a lapse of ten years, what was asserted in the Preface to the First Number of this Work:"Bigotry gradually diminishes, and good men, of all denominations, laying aside party distinctions, begin to embrace each other with fraternal affection; and we hope the present Work will accelerate the destruction of that contracted disposition, which checks the benevolent current of true godliness. The Editors are composed of Churchmen and Dissenters of different denominations, uniting their efforts in one common cause, who will endeavour to diffuse liberal sentiments wheresoever the providence of God may direct this little confluence of Christian doctrine and Catholicism to wind its peaceful course."On this plan we have acted, and will continue to act; and while we do so, indulge the hope of retaining the favourable opinion of the great body of candid Christians throughout the united kingdom.
We beg leave to notice another favourite branch of the work,- -THE OBITUARY. We know that this is read with avidity and profit by the most pious of our readers. Here every heart feels interested; and the timid believer derives encouragement from the numerous instances
recorded of the goodness of God to his dying people. We wish, how. ever, to hint, that it is necessary that our corespondents, who favour us with these accounts, should take care they are not too long, and that they are authenticated by the name of the person who sends them.
The Editors commenced their labours with a resolution to renounce all pecuniary reward, and with a hope that the sale of the Work would enable them to alleviate the distresses of the Widows of their deceased brethren This their hope has been realized,-far, very far beyond their expectations. They have had the happiness of applying more than Taree Thousand Pounds to this benevolent object. Our humane readers will partake of the joy, and reflect with unspeakable satisfaction, that while they are edified with the Essays, amused with the Anecdotes, consoled with the Obituaries, and gratified with the Intelligence contained in every Number, they are at the same moment, and at so very cheap a rate, contributing to the maintenance and alleviating the miseries of many a mournful Relict of the pious servants of Christ. This excellent object of our Work will, we hope, continue powerfully to recommend it to the Christian world.
Thankful, then, for the goodness of God, and the generous approbation of the public, we promise to pursue our labours with renewed diligence, still humbly trusting that God, the Holy Spirit, whose influence we implore, will still vouchsafe to bless a Work, which "originated in an ardent desire of promoting his glory."