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We are enabled, through the good providence of Almighty God, to present our readers with the last number of another volume of the General Baptist Repository. The pages of a Religious and Denominational Periodical, though they are not devoted to the general record of passing events, present in some sort, the form and feature of the times through which we pass. They take a complexion and tone from the subjects which agitate and influence the public mind, and are in this view adapted to be interesting to the mind of a reflecting person who peruses them long after they were issued. In reference to events and vicissitudes in the Denomination itself they have an especial interest, as they record the chief transactions of the body, in its public assemblies of a general or a local character, in relation to its various Institutions, and also the changes and progress of individual Churches. In this view the present volume has its measure of interest. Here are recorded the openings of Chapels, their enlargements, additions to the Churches, the removal and settlement of Ministers, as well as the Biographies of departed saints. Through this medium also the attention of the body may be and is frequently directed to subjects and suggestions of public and practical impor. tance. The various difficulties of honest and enquiring minds may be proposed and solved, and any course which judicious friends may suggest as desirable to be pursued for the general good may be urged on the body for its adoption. In relation to the operations and success of our Missionary brethren, this Periodical has not been, it is presumed, without its benefit. Communications from our honoured and valued brethren who are contending in the high places of the field, from time to time report their trials, their toils, their hopes, their fears, and their success. By this means the friends of the Missionary, enterprise are supplied every month with intelligence which is adapted to awaken their gratitude, to stimulate their exertions, to animate their devotions, and to inspire their hopes. Surely, as to our Mission among the heathen, God has done great things for us, whereof we are glad. In the Essay department, we have a means of communicating and acquiring benefit, to which it would be well if our more talented ministers, and those who are rising to activity would give a higher degree of attention. Every well-written Essay may be perused by some ten thousand of our people-perused in the quiet retirement of the Lord's day, or in the tranquil family circle. They may thus become the means of fortifying the principles, of sustaining the faith, and contributing to the edification and well-being of thousands of their fellow-christians ! Surely if this idea had its due weight, the desire to do good would prompt those whom God has invested with the ability to be useful in this important and extended sphere, not to bury their talent in the earth! The department appropriated to selections from the fields of literature, science, and anecdote, has, the Editors are aware, a varied character. Some of the selections are of a most valuable kind; others, while they may not suit the taste of all, will by some be highly appreciated. It is hoped that
this department is not devoid of general interest and utility.
We have passed through times of comparative religious dearth, and we are still as a nation more or less exposed to the influx of the insidious infidelity with which almost the entire literature of a neighbouring country is charged, and infidelity the more dangerous as it adopts the phrase and speech of the Holy Scriptures; and while it professes itself to be following after the truth of God, is endeavouring with serpent-like cunning and malignity, to sap the foundations of our hope, and to neutralize the grand peculiarities of the religion of the cross of Christ. With all its vaunted pretences to thought, candour and liberality, it seeks to conceal its own nature, and shudders to be called by its own name. We are rejoiced to find that its true character is being exposed by some of the masterly, reviews of the day, and hope that ere long, through the vigorous and vigilant attention of the truly religious portions of our publications, Periodical and otherwise, its leaven will be purged from our general literature, and those who have been deluded by its vain pretences will be delivered from the snare of the wicked one.
We have been visited by a pestilence which has wasted at noon day' and carried into eternity almost without warning an unprecedented number of immortal souls. Whatever may be the instrumental cause of the generation and extension of this justly dreaded plague, and how important soever it may be for the people everywhere in relation to their own persons, habitations, and localities to adopt every means to secure_themselves from its influence, it must be regarded as under the control of Providence and in the hands of God. And in this view it is proper that sentiments of humility and contrition should be awakened in every breast. While it is impossible for any one to state with propriety that this visitation has had respect to any particular national sin, it is fearfully manifest that the number of national transgressions are such as to justify an allwise and merciful Sovereign to visit the people for their rebuke and correction. Nor are those who profess to be his peculiar people exempt from their portion of this guilt. What coldness has there been in many hearts ! What worldliness! What dishonourable dealings ! How much to cause them to feel the just judgments of the Almighty! May we hope that the result of this visitation, now happily abated, will be to induce a spirit of deeper seriousness and devotion amongst christians, to induce them to have a more earnest regard to practical godliness, and to shine more as lights in this world! And that as regards them that are without, they may be led to seek the Lord while he may be found !
Our thanks are due to those kind friends whose compositions have enriched our pages. We hope they and others of their class will be anxious with ourselves that our Denominational Periodical shall be a means of good to the readers in our body, and furnish a fair specimen of the literary and theological talent and piety of our ministry. We urge this upon them on public as well as on private considerations. We would also present our acknowledgments to those brethren who have furnished us with intelligence of the proceedings of their respective localities, and to those who have supplied us with the obituaries of departed friends. We would most earnestly call on all, as they value the interests of religion in our denomination, as they regard its unity and prosperity, to promote these important objects by their continued support and encouragement of their own Periodical.
The agents for the sale and distribution of the General Baptist Repository will scarcely need to be reminded that the commencement of a new volume is the proper time for the obtaining of new subscribers. As the enlarged size of our numbers entails on the publication an increased degree of expense, it is only by an increased and extended sale that it will be able to pay its own expenses. In times past, the profit of the work has secured considerable benefit to the Connexion; this may again be realized by a circu. lation increased in proportion to the augmentation of our numbers.
In conclusion, the Editors promise that every attention they can command shall be given to the wishes of their correspondents, and to the promotion of the value and efficiency of the work, and once more commend their labours, and the interests of the General Baptist Connexion, to the blessing of God.