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DEVOTED TO THE IMPARTIAL AND DELIBERATE DISCUSSION OF
IMPORTANT QUESTIONS IN
RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY, HISTORY, POLITICS,
SOCIAL ECONOMY, ETC.,
AND TO THE PROMOTION OF SELF-CULTURE AND GENERAL
MAGNA EST VERITAS, ET PRÆVALEBIT."
VOLUME III.-THIRD AND ENLARGED SERIES.
HOWEVER greatly polemical writers may differ in their opinions, they generally admit the importance of careful research and impartial examination. The duty of proving “all things" is now theoretically admitted by most, though still practically ignored by many. Unsatisfactory as this state of things must be, it is an advance upon that in which free inquiry was dreaded, and calm discussion was impossible. A great point is always gained when we have a duty admitted, because, with every true-hearted man, it will be followed by an effort for that duty to be discharged. Hence the intimate connection between truth in theory and truth in action ; and in the majority of cases where we discern the former, we may hope, ere long, to discover the latter. It is therefore the source of Do small satisfaction to us, in continuing to devote our time and attention to the arduous labours connected with the conduct of this serial, to know that we are thus not only carrying out universally admitted principles, but adopting the surest means of promoting mental enlightenment, and, with it, moral improvement.
It will be perceived, on examining the contents of this, the Twelfth Volume of the British CONTROVERSIALIST, that there is no diminution in the importance of the questions which are here discussed, and no lack of ability in their treatment. In both these respects the present will, we believe, bear favourable comparison with any previous volume. In Theology, we have a debate on a question which involves the fundamental point of difference between the two great sections of the Christian world; and this debate is sustained by bonâ fide Catholic and Protestant writers, who have brought to bear upon it deep earnestness, extensive erudition, unmistakeable talent, and an unexceptionable spirit. In Politics, the subject of the Opium Trade, in relation to the British Government, is very fully debated by men who have given much attention to it, and some of whom have formed their opinions from personal observations made in the distant empires of India and China. The question of Trades' Unions, as discussed under the bead of Social Economy, is of vital importance in the present day, and demands the careful consideration of all who are in any way connected with the great manufacturing interests of this country; and while in these pages intelligent workmen have met, on equal terms, with extensive employers, all have, “without let or hindrance," made their statements, brought forward their arguments, and now appeal for a verdict from thoughtful men of every class.
The purely literary portion of this volume requires but little special notice ; suffice it to say, that we believe it will be found to contain many articles replete with instruction, and inducive of thought. The sombre, funereal character of some of these papers, remind us that death has been unusually busy among the great and good. Rarely has it fallen to the lot of writers for the periodical press to have in so short a space of time to chronicle the decease, and to embalm the virtues, of so many illustrious men. These facts read their own homilies to all respecting earnest efforts and active lives ; but they speak to the young, with more than ordinary emphasis, about solemn obligations, and lofty destinies. And as there is many a vacant space on the muster-roll of Truth, and many an unoccupied position in the world's broad field of battle,” we would urge the ardent spirits with whom we rejoice to be associated,
“ In youth to stand upon the mountain's brow,
Burning to fell the hundred-handed foe." But we must check our prelective tendency, and with warm and heartfelt thanks to those who have assisted us to make this volume what it is, we commend it to the attention of all inquiring and truth. loving men.