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The completion of another volume of this work, reminds the Editors of the duty of addressing a word or two to their readers in the form of a Preface. Two difficulties at once present themselves as to the right execution of this task. One is the finding of suitable topics that are not the most veritable common place, and the other is, the conquering of the apprehension that what is written in a Preface is seldom perused. Hence, it is, we conceive, that so many leading organs of public opinion either omit this labour altogether, or curtail their addresses to very narrow limits. They usually content themselves with paying their friends the compliments of the season, and assuring them that the principles of their works shall not be abandoned, nor the editorial assiduity which has obtained public favour relaxed. The more graceful parts of this editorial conduct we cheerfully follow, and thus repeat our good wishes and sincere promises to our readers and friends.
There is one event of general interest, which, though not properly within the range of a religious and denominational periodical, suggests a train of thoughts of no common character. The funeral obsequies of England's great Duke, now just completed, invite our thoughts to the past, and to the singular and eventful period which his career embraced, and in which he was often a prominent actor. The extending of our dominions in the east by his arms, opened wide fields for the labour of the christian missionary; the sanguinary conflicts in the west, which overturned thrones, and convulsed and ruined nations, were brought to a close by his prowess and skill; and the unprincipled and talented destroyer and scourge of mankind, was sent into exile that the world might have peace. By a most marvellous course of events, after the lapse of thirty-seven years, the shade of Napoleon, with words of peace on his lips, is now elevated to his throne ; and, flattered by the popish priesthood, and protecting the papal usurpation, he seems to be opening a new chapter in the history of the world. What may await Europe and the world is of course hid from mortal ken ; but it will be well if the people of God, learning wisdom from the past, hold fast to their holy calling, and do not abate their zeal in the advancement of the cause of their glorified Lord. The period now terminated has been remarkable for the religious zeal and activity of the church of God. The Bible, Tract, Foreign and Home Missionary Societies all, or nearly all, date their origin within its limits, and during the past sixty years have been diffusing blessings around the world. This nation, though oppressed with the burdens entailed by past wars, has for a long time enjoyed the benefits of peace; and improvements in the arts, discoveries in science, and a more liberal course of public policy, have tended to the elevation and comfort of all classes.
It is hoped, moreover, that there are no manifest signs of weakness or decay in the general aspect of the various religious bodies in this country. The Wesleyans have had a rent-but this has quickened both sections to zealous efforts. All denominations seem to be at work in good earnest, and their example has stimulated the Established clergy and their supporters to increased vigour and exertion. The attempt to revive the active powers of the Convocation, and the addresses of the prelates and others on the occasion, give evidence of this fáct, in addition to what our readers must have remarked in every locality. No doubt the progress of dissenting communities may be somewhat impeded by this activity, but it is hoped that, in the end, it will tend to good. There is a vast mass of our population yet under no religious influence.
In our own Denomination, though our limits are narrow, there are signs of progress. Our places of worship are being occasionally enlarged --our Sabbath Schools are increasing,ếour tract, and sick-visiting societies are not inoperative,-and our public institutions both for the education of young ministers, and for the conversion of the heathen are in efficient operation. Much more, doubtless, might be done in all these departments if there was an increase of zeal. The most devoted sometimes need the admonition to "work while it is called to-day."
While it is certain that the number of ministers among us possessing a good measure of learning and education, is greater than at any former period, it is a fact that will be hailed with pleasure by our readers that a considerable number have engaged to contribute the productions of their pen to the pages of this, our denominational periodical. We trust that by this means its general interest and value will be increased. While we thus remind our friends of their engagement, we would invite our ministers generally, and our junior ministers especially, to cultivate an interest in our work, and make it a "repository " of their thoughts and studies. Let every one contribute his portion for the general edification and improvement.
Renewing our request to our agents and friends to supply us with early and condensed intelligence of all the more remarkable transactions and events which occur in their respective localities, and repeating our thanks to them all for all their services rendered to this work, we conclude by assuring them and our readers that no pains shall be spared to meet their reasonable wishes, and to render this miscellany conducive to the unity, purity, and prosperity of the denomination to which it belongs. Νου. 19, 1852.