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TRANSFER OF EDITORIAL LABOURS,
We have the pleasure to inform our readers and patrons, that, by agreement of the parties concerned, the labour of editing this Magazine now devolves on the Rev. AshBEL GREEN, Ď. D. late President of the College at Princeton, New Jersey. The character of this reverend gentleman is too well known, to the religious and literary public, to need any commendation from
We cannot forbear remarking, however, that we regard this arrangement as highly felicitous, and as affording just ground of hope, that the work will be conducted, during his editorship, in a style that shall make it generally acceptable, and extensively useful. It will be seen in the “ Introduction to the New Series,” which accompanies this number, that a change of the title is proposed. This measure is judged expedient, for reasons assigned, and which, we trust, will be thought valid, by all liberal minded Presbyterians; and, to persons of other religious denominations, the substitution of CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE for PRESBYTERIAN MAGAZINE, if not gratifying, will, surely, not be offensive. That the PUBLICATION, however, is still to be Presbyterian, we have pretty good security in the ecclesiastical connexion, and well known principles of the Editor. We hope, therefore, that Presbyterians, in this country, and, particularly, Presbyterian ministers, will take an interest in circulating and patronizing the work. We are not in the habit of making rash promises, nor would we wish to excite extravagant expectations; but, for ourselves, we do expect to find, in the pages of “ The Christian Advocate," a monthly entertainment of wholesome, various, rich, and well prepared matter, adapted to confirm our faith, and encourage our hope in Christ. In this expectation, confidently cherished, we cheerfully resign our office, with its toilsome functions and heavy responsibilities, to one who has been long accustomed to “ endure hardness," and to render important service in the cause of the Redeemer. Thankful to Divine Providence, and to our fellow Christians, for the favour hitherto shown to this well-meant enterprise, we commend the Magazine and its venerated Editor to the benediction of Almighty God, and to the candour and kindness of the religious community!
- Amicus Pacis” has been received; but the piece, in its present state, is inadmissible. The writer can recover it, by calling on the publisher. An interview with the editor might, possibly, result in its insertion, with some considerable alterations and curtailment.
BEING A NEW SERIES OF THE
At the close of the present month, two years will have elapsed, since the commencement of the Presbyterian Magazine. Its patronage has not been very extensive; and yet it has, perhaps, been greater than it was reasonable to expect, for a miscellany whose contents were to be furnished almost wholly by the voluntary and gratuitous contributions of busy men, burdened already with professional and laborious occupations. The patronage, in a word, has been such, as to inspire a pretty confident hope, that if a competent editor could be engaged to devote to its improvement and support the greater part of his time and efforts, it might become widely useful as a vehicle of religious instruction and intelligence, and might not only afford a pecuniary indemnification for the labour and expense of its publication, but add eventually a handsome sum to the charities of the church in which its circulation must principally be expected. Under the influence of this hope its conductors, after some delay and discouragement, have succeeded in engaging an Editor, to whom they can yield their entire confidence; and to whom they have committed the whole concern of providing and deciding on the various articles of which the publication shall consist.
It has been thought advisable to change the name of this miscellany-Not because it is intended materially to change its character; but principally to prevent an injurious misapprehension, which, to a certain extent, there is reason to believe has actually taken place. We usually form some judgment of a publication from its title; and indeed it is for this very purpose that a title is given. Now, on hearing of a Presbyterian magazine, some, it appears, have set it down at once as a sectarian work; of which the main and ultimate design would be to diffuse and defend the doctrines and opinions which are peculiar to Presbyterians; and on this account they have resolved to give it no encouragement. That such an estimate and resolution have proceeded from an utter misconception, for which nothing in the magazine, except its title, has ever furnished any ground, is known to all who have made themselves acquainted with its contents: nor was it by any means intended, by those who adopted the title, that it should ever receive such a construction.
This miscellany has indeed been employed, and it is intended that it shall always be employed, to vindicate and explain, in a seasonable, temperate and candid manner, the Presbyterian system, both as to doctrine and church government. Fairness to all concerned requires this distinct avowal. It is, nevertheless, equally true, that more than nine-tenths of its pages ever have been, and it is designed that they ever shall be occupied, with discussions, information and intelligence, in no respect sectarian; but in which all who hold the great doctrines of the Protestant reformation may, alike, find their favourite sentiments supported, and their minds interested and gratified. It is regarded as a happy and honourable distinction of the Presbyterian system, that it does not unchurch other communions. The Presbyterian Church, while she maintains with decision and firmness what she considers as “ the faith once delivered to the saints,” and gives an unequivocal preference to that form of government and discipline which she adopts as the most scriptural, holds, notwithstanding, no exclusive sentiments, in regard to other orthodox Protestant churches; but can cherish toward them all a true and sisterly affection. She, in short, never doubts or abates her
claim to be a church, and never speaks of herself, in the language of exclusion, as the church. Accordingly we find that, in laying down the preliminary principles of a form of government, the framers of that form for “the Presbyterian Church in the United States," after some previous explanation of their views, say in the fifth section—" That while under the conviction of the above principles, they think it necessary to make effectual provision that all who are admitted as teachers be sound in the faith, they also believe that there are truths and forms, with respect to which men of good characters and principles may differ. And in all these, they think it the duty, both of private Christians and societies, to exercise mutual forbearance toward each other.” With a view, then, to prevent a misapprehension, unfavourable to the extensive circulation of this publication, and also to make it known by an appellation more truly indicative of its design than that which it has hitherto borne, it has been determined that its title shall hereafter be, THE CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE-a title which, while it is significative, is not known to have been, till now, appropriated.
“Names are things," was a maxim of a shrewd observer of popular opinions and popular publications. Yet the reasons for changing the title of this miscellany should not have been given at so much length, if, in alleging them, it had not been found convenient to state what is intended to be the general scope and true spirit of the work. The change, it is hoped, after the foregoing explanation, will disoblige none of its present patrons, and it may considerably increase their number.
No editor, whatever may be his talents and his industry, can long furnish, in a satisfactory manner, by his unaided efforts, that variety of matter which is necessary in a monthly publication of forty-eight closelý printed pages, the greater part of which is to be filled with original composition. The success and permanency of the Christian Advocate, therefore, must ultimately depend on the contributions of literary labour, which it shall receive from the friends of evangelical piety and sound learning
The union of literature with genuine Christianity, at all times
important, is peculiarly so at this time, and in this country. The enemies of the truth as it is in Jesus, are using all their endeavours to maintain their cause and extend their influence, by the powerful auxiliaries of erudition and taste; and if the truth be left naked, or appear only in a careless or slovenly garb, it will not be likely to attract the attention and win the hearts of that large and important portion of the community which consists of the young, the cultivated and the aspiring. We know, indeed, that success in inculcating evangelical truth must come from God, and that nothing but his grace will ever change a single human heart. Still we are not to expect miracles—we are only to expect the smiles of Providence, and the influence of Divine grace, in the use of vigorous exertions, and of means naturally adapted to the effects intended to be produced. When the enemies of vital godliness assail it with learning, and wit, and taste, they must be combatted with the legitimate use of the arms which they abuse. In this service the Christian Advocate aspires to take a part; sensible, indeed, that it must be an humble part. It aspires to be somewhat instrumental in preventing the evil effects of literature misapplied, in cultivating and diffusing sound biblical criticism, in exposing misrepresentation and sophistry, in clothing the pure doctrines of the gospel in that chaste and attractive dress which may give full effect to their native charms, in endeavouring to cherish the love of learning and a just taste among the younger clergy, and to promote, generally, among orthodox Christians, that tone and aspect of true evangelical piety, which shall demonstrate that it is not hostile but highly favourable to “whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.” If, under the Divine blessing, it shall be found that these results, to any considerable extent, have been produced by this publication, it will have rendered a service in which all who shall have given it their aid will have reason forever to rejoice.
Account or apologize for it as we may, it is still a fact deeply to be regretted, that in our country literary labour has hitherto received no adequate remuneration. This is the real cause that so few books of solid value, of whatever description, have been