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w liams 12-14.30 22714

PREFACE.

fue eircumstances which attend the commencement of the present volume of the Christian Spectator, require that a few things be said by way of preface. What we have to offer shall relate rather to the plan and object of our labours, than to our success.

It has been the aim of the conductors of the Christian Spectator, from the first, to merge all local and sectarian preferences, in a catholic endeavour to vindicate the truth. They have felt that a concentration of effort and of influence, on the part of those who hold the doctrines of the Reformation, was demanded by the character of the prominent controversies of the age. Questions touching the distinctive tenets of a sect, may be left to the parties who originate them; but in a controversy which concerns not the peculiarities of this or that denomination, but the fundamental doctrines of Christianity itself, Christians have a common cause, and the vindica-tion of those doctrines is their common duty. And if it be their duty to contend at all for the faith delivered to the saints, it is equally their duty to avail themselves of such means as may enable them to contend in that manner which shall be most effectual.

Let it be considered then, how a controversy of the kind alluded toma controversy in which learning, and talents, and influence are to be encountered--can be sustained with most advantage to the cause of truth; whether, by a great diversity of publications, each supported by a local and precarious patronage, and moving in a circumscribed sphere, or by a publication which shall go abroad with the influence of a work, supported by the best talents in the country, wherever found, and read, and approved of by the whole orthodox community. In such a sense as this, a work may be national, even though it be the offspring of no national church, and the object of no state favours.

We are not speaking of what our own, or any American miscellany, has actually attained to, or perhaps ever will, but of what has seemed to us desirable. Nor do we undervalue the many religious publications with which our mails are loaded. In various ways these promote the interests of piety, and we bid them God speed. But while many of them are more or less sectarian, both in respect to their character and their sphere of influence, and many more are simply vehicles of intelligence, do they collectively present such a barrier to the enemies of truth as to leave nothing to be desired? While they gladden the hearts of Christians, do they rebuke error-error propagated at all points, with a bold and resiless zeal, and not without assistance of the learned," --so effectually as to render a work of aggregated talent, and of general interest to the community, superfluous ?

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