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W. G. (Essex) 260. W. B., 197.
W. Huntington, 151. W.C., 165.
W. S. C., 109. Western Eve, 11.
W. Tiptaft, 138, 191, 273. W. G. Manchester) 17, 106, 188, 276, Y. Z., 224. 305.
E. T., 212.
S. K., 271.
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.”—Matt. v. 6.
“ Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus hefore the world began.”—2 Tim. i. 9.
“ 'The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.”—Rom. xi. 7.
“If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mavest. —And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.-In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”--Acts viii, 37, 38; Matt. xxviii. 19.
AN ADDRESS TO OUR READERS.
“No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”. (Luke ix. 62.) Solemn word to all who have put their hand to the work of the Lord ; and, in a measure, applicable to those, who are engaged, like us, in periodically publishing truth for the benefit of God's quickened family. Unless, then, absolutely stopped, we feel that we must go on as long as the blessed Lord seems to provide us with supplies, and as long as He appears to shine upon our publication. Our feet, indeed, are often blistered and sore with stumbling among the clods; our hands rubbed and galled with holding the stilts; our legs, sides, and back stiff and weary with toiling along through the stiff hard clay; but still on, on must we drive the plough, since we have put it into the furrow, as long as any corn remains in the seed-basket. For many reasons we would fain unyoke, and leave the plough under the hedge, till the share was eaten up with the rust, and the wood mouldered with the rot; but still as the weeks roll round, and our table is spread with communications from all parts of England, we feel ourselves compelled to go on issuing our monthly publication for the profit of the children of God. Not but that we have our sunny moments as well as our cloudy hours, and are sometimes partakers of the fruits as well as drivers of the plough. And, in truth, if it were all bitter and no sweet, all work and no supper, we should soon want to throw our Standard to the moles and to the bats. But that onr spiritual readers may sympathize with us a little in our castings down and listings up, we will set before them a few of our inducements to stop and our inVOL. VI.
ducements to go on; our discouragements on the one hand, and our encouragements on the other. And first for the bitter draught which we have so often to swallow. We will give our readers a taste of the ingredients.
1. We have to suffer from our enemies. We believe from our very hearts that the Standard is too honest and straightforward for the
great bulk of religious professors. Thrust a straight stick into a serpent's crooked hole, and it will not be long before it bitches somewhere. We do not want our Standard to be made of tape to measure round corners, and fit in with every crook and turn, but to be a stiff bit of box that will lie only in a straight line. But such a rigid rule will never measure the way of a serpent upon a rock, nor follow its slimy trail, and this is sufficient to make the whole brood hiss. By our enemies we do not altogether mean the Arminian army, however numerous or however hostile such opponents may be, for we believe that there are very few of these who would admit our periodical into their houses, or let its red cover peep from under Russell's Sermons or Wesley's works. Our heaviest blows come from professing brethren. The arrow by night has flown from a Calvinistic bow; the sword by day has been wielded by a Calvinistic hand. And what is our trespass and what is our sin, that these “false brethren” have so hotly pursued after us? Is our doctrine erroneous, or our experience delusive ? Do we advocate presumption, speak lightly of sin, encourage loose professors, burn incense to free-will, or offer sacrifice to human merit ? Let our adversaries point out any such errors, and we will confess what we feel to be wrong, or explain what we believe to be right.
Their main charges, however, are against what they term our bitterness and scurrility; and this not only in the pieces of our correspondents, but also in our Reviews, for which latter they justly consider us more answerable than for the former. Now, we confess that some of our correspondents, and we ourselves in some of our Reviews, have used strong expressions, because we have felt strongly. A man whose religion is all in his head, never got through fire and water, will express himself gently and softly, because his own reputation is dearer to him than truth. His honeyed words and soft sentences will suit silken professors, the Agags that walk delicately, and the wanton daughters of Zion that walk and mince as they go, and make a tinkling with their feet. But he that has bought truth and paid dearly for it, will put a high value upon it, and will esteem it more than thousands of gold and silver. Will a man see his property rifled, his wife insulted, his children torn away, and his dwelling ransacked, without strong expressions, aye, and strong actions too? And are we, who love and value truth, to see the ark spoiled, the word of God perverted, and precious souls entangled, and whisper like a perfumed sprig of nobility in the pre
queen Victoria? If we have spoken against mere doctrinal preachers and writers, it is not that we condemn their doctrines, (God forbid !) but because we have felt that the nearer the truth, if not the truth, the worse was
the counterseit. And to set up doctrines in the head in the place of grace in the heart, is a counterfeit, and the worst of counterfeits. But we have reason to believe, from what we have seen and known, that of these enemies of our periodical, many of whom are Calvinistic ministers, some are heretics in doctrine, and others loose in conduct, and most destitute of a broken heart. Yet have they wounded us, as well as injured us by spreading their secret enmity under a garb of godliness, and influencing their hearers and people to discontinue taking in our publication.
2. But some of our discouragements also arise from our friends. Supported as the Gospel Standard is almost solely by the communications of correspondents, it must depend upon them almost entirely for its continuance. It was not commenced, nor is it continued as a matter of pecuniary advantage, but as a vehicle of spiritual profit for the family of God. Our business, as Editors, is to examine the contributiớns of our correspondents, and, according to our measure of spiritual discernment, to approve or reject what is sent us. this, as in most cases, those who are best qualified write least, whilst those who had better be swift to hear and slow to speak, are most ready to write what the deepest taught of God's children are least willing to read. The blame for the insertion of unsavoury pieces rests upon us, when, for want of better communications, we have often been obliged to insert what we, as well as our readers, could not heartily approve. The alternative with us has been sometimes this, "Shall this piece be inserted, or the page left blank ?” We would prefer a blank page indeed, or to drop a number altogether, to inserting error, but we think the pieces we insert are mostly free from that, though, like Ezekiel's bones in the valley of vision, some are “very dry.” We do not, then, call upon our spiritual friends and supporters to write and send us pieces whether they feel or not; but we
If soul is visited with dew and rain from heaven, sometimes favour us with a taste of the banquet. Eat not your morsel alone, but open your doors to our traveller; for he travels north, south, east, and west." The parsons, we know, love to keep all their choice bits for their own congregations, but we would say even to them,
“We can give you a larger congregation than any you can preach to. We have some thousands of readers, and our lilile work travels where your voice cannot come. But
don't send us fagends of sermons, and what you have preached all the sweetness and savour out of. Send us something warm and fresh out of your heart; and don't sit down on the Monday to write out the cut and dry divisions and subdivisions of the Sunday. We want the showbread warm, not dry and mouldy, like that which came ont of the sacks of the Gibeonites.”
3. But the third ingredient in our bitter draught is, that which arises from ourselves. Our unfitness and incompetency for the work we have undertaken casts us down. We are carnal, and our publication we desire to be spiritual. We are blind and ignorant, and yet wish to be “as eyes” to those in the wilderness, (Num. x. 31,) and to feed them with knowledge and understanding.
earthly, and wish our periodical to be heavenly; are foolish, and yet need continual wisdom to guide us in our monthly labours; are often lifeless and unfeeling, and have, notwithstanding, to conduct a work which needs life and feeling in every page.
We will not, however, weary our readers with our complaints, but will proceed to mention some of our encouragements.
1. 'We feel then encouraged by the support we have already received. Surely God has smiled on our publication. Neither the opposition of many enemies, nor the coldness of some friends has injured our publication, but it has gone on steadily increasing in spite of one and the other. Some of our friends, whose names we forbear to mention, as we are sure it would sicken rather than please them, we are indeed deeply indebted to. By sending us sometimes pieces of their own, and sometimes savoury letters from friends, they have maintained the experimental tone of our periodical. Bụt we want their aid more and more, as every year makes our task more difficult, and we dread falling into a cold, barren, liseless state, as has been the case with other periodical publications that we could name, which seemed at first to run well, but are now little else than vehicles for controversy or dry doctrine.
2. We feel induced to go on from the blessing that has rested upon our magazine. We see and lament its many faults, its short comings, its constant imperfections; but we cannot but acknowledge that the blessing of God has rested upon it. In some cases we have known of an immediate blessing communicated to some of the poor and needy of God's family by what has appeared in its pages. Many a savoury letter, which would only have been read perhaps by three or four persons, has been read, through us, by as many thousands. What has been spoken in secret has ihus, by our instrumentality, been proclaimed upon the house-top. Like throwing a stone into the water, a choice experience appearing in our pages, has spread a continually increasing circle to the farthest edge of our circulation. And besides what has reached our ears, how many hearts have been stirred and moved with that gentle ripple, and have risen or fallen in sympathy with that wave. Many choice testimonies would have been utterly lost, or at least very little known, but for appearing in our pages. And we consider too that we are publishing for the future generation as well as the present; and when the hand that has penned ihese lines shall be mouldered in the grave, and the eyes that read them shall have dropped from their sockets, the dusty volumes of the Standard
still survive to instruct or comfort our children's children. But besides immediate blessings, we do hope and believe that our Standard has, in many cases, wrought a silent and gradual work in the hearts of our readers. Truths which they may have turned from at first, they may now feel the power of. What was too naked at first or too cutting and stripping, they may now submit to and receive as the truth of God. Some doubtless have been secretly cut by what has healed others. The experience has been too great for them, and perhaps their want of it deeply cut them, but as the edge of truth forced its way into their heart, and let out all the pharisaical gas which had