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“Built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself
AND BENJAMIN L. GREEN.
Tne Past. We have now, for the fifth time, to address our readers in a preface, and looking back on these years of our infancy, we may well be thankful for an annual growth which, avoiding the dangers of precocious development, has shewn, nevertheless, a vigorous constitution. Our readers and their servants (for Christ's sake), the Editors, have been encouraged by each year doubling the circulation of the preceding one, till we reached this year the number of 17,000 monthly. Not less than £850 has the Denomination seen fit to spend, in pence, this year, in support of our efforts to serve it !* We have felt deeply responsible for doing our best, as the just response on our part to such a hearty welcome. And if, taking the common calculation, we reckon our readers at nearly 100,000, well may we even exclaim, "Who is sufficient for these things?" It has been truly with feelings of this kind that we have prosecuted our task through the year. While wishing to encourage freedom of thought on all subordinate topics, we have been anxious not to be the means of circulating so extensively any views of which we feared the moral consequences. It has not been, and will not be, always easy for conscientious Editors, on the one hand, to avoid being, as they fear, the "ministers of sin," and, on the other, to carry out fully the Protestant principle of the " right and duty of private judgment." We have endeavoured to shun the former, and yet not to violate the latter. As Editors, we only hold ourselves bound to exclude articles whose tendency on the whole, appears to us injurious. For particular expressions and minor opinions of our correspondents, our readers must hold them responsible; we thankfully hope, however, that our circulation itself is evidence that we have not failed to benefit and gratify them.
The Editor's task in a Penny Magazine, is not what it would have been fifty years ago. Thanks to our Sunday schools, and other schools to which they have given birth, a large proportion of our younger members especially, require a higher style of thought and expression than formerly. We have, accordingly, to'aim at interesting two classes, intellectually very different from each other, even amongst the poor themselves. In a uninersally higher state of education, there is no reason that a Penny Magazine should be behind a half-crown one, in its intellectual character. Indeed, we conceive that even now sanctified genius could not find a nobler task, than being the prophet of the many. If Jesus washed the feet of his poor disciples, wherein could Genips, Talent, Learning, more happily imitate their Master, than in purifying, enlightening, and refreshing the minds of his poor disciples?
Common abilities can no more write an interesting tract than an interesting volume. Our pages, during the past year, have been enriched by the contributions of some of our best writers. And we are tharJtful, as the new year will shew, that we shall have aid from some who have not helped us yet.
Tne Future, Hitherto, as we have remarked, our circulation has doubled annually. Is there not room in the Denomination for it to double its present number in 1849?
Many whole churches, perhaps some districts even of the kingdom, do not yet know of it by sight. An advertisement gives no idea of a hook. When it has been seen we have found the effect surprising. Many individuals in churches have not yet seen it; here, then, are the fields which our friends may cultivate for us.
s This large result from such small contributions, should encourage our Missionary penuy-a-week contributor!. What a handsome addition to our Mission funds, if each reader of "The Ctiuitih" contributed a penny for oar Missions too!