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THE editors of the Panoplist, and Missionary MAGAZINE, respectfully address their numerous readers and patrons, at the close of the second volume of this united work. It is now seven years since the Magazine, five since the Panoplist, and two since the joint labors of the Editors of the former works, have been in circulation. It is reasonable to suppose, that these labors have procured for themselves, in the minds of those whom we are now addressing, an estimation, which will not be materially affected by any thing which the present occasion would authorise us to say of our intentions or objects. Still we are unwilling to lose this annual opportunity of casting a retrospective glance upon our pages, and of looking forward to the commencement of new exertions.
The great object at which we have uniforinly aimed, is the promotion of unadulterated Christianity. In the pursuit of this object, we have considered a correct view of the doctrines of the Bible as the only basis of a Christian life ; and have endeavored, as far as we have been able, to enforce, explain, and defend these doctrines. Regarding with deep concern the propagation of latitudinarian opinions which tend to subvert all vital religion, we have been anxious to resist them. Such opinions as substitute the vain dogmas of reason for the hallowed mysteries of revelation, and would
introduce a code of morals scarcely above the standard of Gentile Philosophy instead of those fruits of the Spirit which adorn the Christian character, are attended by most of the mischiefs of open Infidelity, and by some peculiar to themselves. Against such opinions it is the obvious duty of those who have any influence with the public, to guard their readers. While defending the great doctrines of the Bible, it has always been an object near our hearts to unite in one common cause all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. All evangelical truth is undoubtedly precious ; yet we cannot help recognizing it as a plain dictate of prudence, that fundamental truths are to receive a principal share of attention, because fundamental errors are more pernicious, and the man who is right in points of importance, will more easily become correct on subordinate subjects.
How far our intentions have been accomplished, and our hopes realized, it becomes not us to decide. A due respect for the Christian public, however, requires us to believe, that our work would not have received so cordial and extensive a support from the friends of religion, unless it had been found to answer, in some measure, the purposes for which it has been published. Nor can we help declaring, in justice to our own feelings, that a consciousness of having intended well for the interests of Zion, and a belief that our exertions have not been altogether useless, will ever be an abundant compensation for the sacrifices which the continual calls of a monthly publication have demanded.
We consider the present time as fraught with events of incalculable importance to the American churches. A judicious, firm, and active co-operation of all the friends of truth is necessary to oppose the errors in doctrine and practice, which are industriously propagated.
At such a crisis, it is with peculiar satisfaction, that the Editors are able to assure their readers, that new and vigorous exertions will be made to support this work, and to render it deserving of patronage. While our Correspondents are requested to accept our thanks for their disinterested labors, and earnestly invited to continue them, we have the pleasure of announcing that our list of stated contributors of original matter for the ensuing volume is considerably augmented.
The public are also informed, that new arrangements have been made in the Editorial department, which, it is apprehended, will be of material service to the interests of the publication. These arrangements have been made with the entire approbation of the Editors; and the work will be continued on the same principles, and under the patronage of the same Missionary Societies, as heretofore.
These principles, as briefly expressed in the address to the public in the first number of this united work, are as follows :
“That the public may entertain no doubts concerning the religious faith of the Editors, or what doctrines and views of Christianity they mean to support, they explicitly avow their firm adherence, generally and for substance, to what have been called the Doctrines of the Reformation. These doctrines, with
modifications, and retrenchments, which affect not their essence, are recognized in the articles of the Church of England, in the confession of the Presbyterian churches in Scotland, and the United States of America, in the Assembly's Shorter Catechism, and by the great body of the New England churches. These doctrines constituted the religious faith of our venerable forefathers; and by the Editors are embraced, as the truths of God, revealed in the Holy Scriptures. Nothing manifestly inconsistent with these doctrines, can ever be admitted into this publication.”
We conclude with supplicating that all who may hereafter furnish original matter for our readers may be under the Divine direction. May they consider that they are responsible to God, for the opinions which they disseminate, and the influence which they exert; and may these opinions and this influence be such as to afford joy and consolation in time and through eternity. May the period speedily come, when truth shall gain a final triumph over its enemies, and the glorious beams of the Sun of Righteousness illuminate the remotest corners of the world.