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Members of the Established Church.
THE YEAR 1855.
THOMAS HATCHARD, PICCADILLY.
AGAIN the dying out of another year calls for that more intimate communication with our Readers which it has always been the habit of the “Christian Observer" to range, from year to year, under the title of a “Preface.” The practice is of importance, especially as it almost constrains both writers and readers to enter on a more rigid scrutiny as to the discharge of the duties associated with their respective positions. -“ Know thyself,” is the golden maxim of all ages.
In former years we have been accustomed mainly to cast our eyes abroad for the topics of this address, and to expatiate at large on the circumstances of distant nations, or the general condition of our own country. On the present occasion we are more disposed to keep at home, and direct our attention almost exclusively to the pages of our own work.
In the first place, then, in this “home” enquiry, we have to record with gratitude that, considering the very wide-spread tendency of our species to murmur and object, so few murmurs and reproaches have reached us. This may indeed be a proof of an increased spirit of forbeurance and good nature in our readers ; and, if so, we have great reason to congratulate them. But it may be also a testimony to the fact, that we have given less cause for just offence; and if so, we very heartily congratulate ourselves. The critic's chair is a very perilous position, and we are disposed to think that very few men improve in it. We -shall be happy if we even have suffered no deterioration in spirit and temper.
In the next place, we have to state, with thankfulness, that as far as we know, the war and other causes, which have cut so deep into the interests of many other publications, have not materially affeeted our own; and that, on the contrary, foreign customers have assisted in raising the sale to a larger amount than before. This may serve as a reply to some very sympathising friends, who have given vent to premature lamentations over us. We have not taste for being buried alive.