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been made aware of the importance of supporting some religious periodical. The time has assuredly gone by, in which establishments felt themselves secure by despising aggression; and it would seem to be good policy and visdom to have had recourse for defence to the same weapons as were employed in the assault. It is difficult to think that the higher orders of the Church can know as much of public feeling as those who form a part of that public, and it might not be unwise to influence, through this medium, the general mind. We fear that the time has not yet come, when in our Church, the true value of circumstantial differences is ascertainable, and that the spirit which confounded a Reynolds and a Hall with a Prynne, still exists. But we have done. As advocates of the Church of Ireland, disinterested advocates, for its apostolic constitution, its scriptural formularies, its evangelical labours, and its vested rights, we have contended, and we trust will ever be found in the forepart of the battle, while at the same time, we can foresee and acknowledge the defects that time, and the errors incident to time, have introduced into its machinery. We would labour to make it the ally, not the servant of the State, and would rejoice at any reformation conducted by herself, by which her ministry would become more efficient, her services more extensively employed, her officers less secular, and she herself the joy and admiration: of the world. We know she has been the instrument of good -We believe that in the councils of the Most High she is intended to be the instrument of more, much more-we know her capabilities, and we trust to see her so adorned and purified, that all classes, denominations, and sects, will say with us, Esto perpetua.
• We must” say our publishers,“ have a New Series of the Examiner,"and as in all matters connected with printing, pnffing, publishing and pushing, Messrs. Curry & Co., are omnipotent, we had nothing to do butto bow and to assent. “But," added our friends, we must have a preface, prospectus, appeal, or by whatever title you please to describe it, to announce our intentions, to induce our former friends to continue, and to invite new ones to aid our exertions, and all this must be done for the January number, that we may hail new year's day." We must then perforce devote a leading article to the Examiner, and as it has given many to other subjects, it may be allowed to appropriate one to itself. Besides as old age is allowed to exercise without offence its garrulity on the occasion of the new year; and the Examiner bas already lived to an age antediluvian for an Irish publication--even one of eleven volumes, -it may claim the privilege of senility, and prate a little about its exploits, about " auld lang syne." We must therefore ask our readers indulgence, while we discuss the character and claims of WE, and in a few rambling observations endeavour to make our readers estimate us as highly as we do our readers.
We certainly think ourselves entitled to no small credit for establishing such a periodical as ours, and at the period it originated. When we look back upon that time, we are almost surprised at our own temerity (we must confess that the season required stronger sinews and stouter minds than we possessed,) and feel in truth grateful for the measure of success we have enjoyed. It was indeed a time of violence and contest, when the theological tempest, laden in every blast with the curses and denunciations of political animosity, beat from every quarter, and popery first feeling the power of scriptural education, and first trying her own strength, engaged in controversies with all the energy of awakened vigour, and began to shape in her imagination the visions that we since bave sadly seen realised. It was indeed a time of violence and contest, when the establish. ment first began to experience the hostility that has since so pow. N. $. VOL. I.
erfully augmented, and calumny and misrepresentation condensed their bitterness and fury, in order with concentrated energy to pour them upon the national Church, to make its revenues, its doctrines, its practices, the subject of falsehood and the object of attack. We did think that a periodical devoted to the cause of the Church would be useful, into which might be cast the information that existed in different quarters, and from which again that information might be received; a periodical that might serve as a point of union for the friends of the church, and by which those who have to deal with its enemies, although separated from their brethren, might procure comfort through the conviction that others were engaged in the same contest. But it was not merely for the existing controversy that the Christian Examiner was established ; though popery and its errors and its calumnies formed a part of its object, they were but a part, and we confess that we had other and higher objects than that contemplated in the supply of controversial lore. We did consider with regret that the Church of Ireland, having had to struggle with more difficulties than perhaps any other Church in Christendom, having produced its fair average of learning and talent, and ma. nifested zeal and energy that proved its scriptural character, had no publication devoted to its interests, no medium of communicating its opinions and feelings to the public, no mode of meeting the many calumnies by which infidelity in its various forms, political and religious, seeks to sully its reputation. Like every other great body, questions must arise even amongst the warmest friends of the Church, in which discussion, as a means of eliciting truth, would be useful, and the differences that exist might be smoothed away by intellectual collision. A large mass of persons might receive through its medium spiritual instruction, while the general interests of the Church and of Christianity might be secured by the general diffusion of knowledge, and the Church of Ireland might no longer be compelled to look to English publications for a picture of their religion, or receive its truth through the diluted pages of English periodicals. We knew too, that there were parties in the Church who believed themselves to be hostile because they were unacquainted with one another's opinions, and we hoped that on the common stage of a religious periodical they might learn to know each other, and to respect the talents and piety that are mutually the property of each. Such were our hopes, and with these objects conceived in the firm devotedness of ardent churchmen, did we originate the Examiner, trusting that the cause of our common Christianity would be best served by extending the influence and establisbing the character of the Church. Such were our objects, and we bless God for the measure of success that has attended our exertions, small as has been the one, and weak as the other have proved, and we rejoice to say that many individuals of all the various parties in the Church, and many of the servants of the Lord who do not belong to the National Establishment, have supported our periodical, and communicated through its pages their opinions, and the benefit of their learning to the people. In this variety wo find the best pledge for the moderation and the sobriety of our views,
that while we maintain our own convictions on the great tenets of the gospel, and have never disguised our unfeigned attachment to the government and character of the Establishment, many who conscientiously dissent from these views, yet honor us with their support, convinced equally that we are conscientious in our opinions, and yet observe, the rules of Christian moderation in their enforcement:and if in the multifarious business of an eleven-volume editorship, any thing hasty or overbearing, anything contrary to a Christian spirit, or cal. culated to wound a Christian's feelings has escaped our pen, we fear not to say, that we deeply regret it, and that we trust it will be found at war with the general character of our publication. Our opinions are those of Episcopalians, our doctrines those of the articles and bomilies, and liturgy and creeds of the Church, as the best comments on the scriptural declarations of the great doctrines of grace; and wbile we make every allowance for those who
differ from us in the estimate we form of the importance, or the interpretation we feel ourselves bound to affix to those formularies, on tbem, as approved of by our reason, and selected by our choice, we are willing to peril our characters as theologians, our hopes as Christians. No accusation of indifference to the Church, no ignomipious appellation of calvinist or evangelical has ever frightened us from a declaration of our sentiments, wbich we believe to be in accordance with the faith once declared to the saints, and maintained by apostles and martyrs, by fathers and reformers, and now held, we rejoice to say it, by an awakened and increasing multitude of ministers and laymen in the established Church, Yet, though enabled by divine providence to maintain a longer existence, we believe, than any former Irish periodical, we have not lived without encountering many of those difficulties, that impede in this country the pro. gress of every species of literature, and experiencing some of those unfavourable circumstances that are attached to every attempt to advance the moral and religious interests of unhappy Ireland. To some few of those, partly peculiar to the present time, partly belonging to every period of our bistory, we beg the attention of our readers.
The first circumstance to which we shall advert, is the absorbing subject of politics, a subject in whose gulf literature and science and religion seem to be lost, or at least froin which they receive a tinge by which their real colour and character are influenced. The peculiarities connected with the state of Ireland will sufficiently account for the exciting influence exerted by passing events, in wbich every mind is more or less concerned, and it is not easy to determine how far the ministers of God or Christian men in general may take a decided interest in such matters consistently with their profession. This question was one of the first that occurred after the cessation of the Roman Catholic controversy, when the open aggression of the Roman Catholic party, induced many Protestants to band themselves togetber under the name of Brunswick Clubs.
Of the part we took on this occasion, though it injured our circulation, we have not repented ; we pretended not to direct the laity, or even to give an opinion upon the mode of acting most
conducive to their respectability, though we feared, and our fears have been justified by facts, that the tendency of their associations would be to accelerate the evil they seemed intended to oppose. We did form an opinion as to the conduct to be observed by the clergy, and with a temper and a spirit that we trust partook not of violence, we did exhort them to allay rather than stimulate the agitation that prevailed, and by keeping themselves aloof from the political violence of the day, to maintain the unworldly dignity of their vocation. We are aware that with the honest partizans of the opinions we opposed, this injured our periodical; that it first drew on us the indignation of a prelate high in station, and higher in talent; but we have never regretted the honest independence of our bearing, nor while we lamented the transforming effect of party feeling, ever did otherwise than think and speak with respect of our opponents. To another and opposite circumstance do we attribute somewhat of the non-popularity of our periodical in certain quarters; we mean the cessatiou of interest in the nomi. nally religious world, about the Popish controversy ; this originally gave birth to our Examiner, and the boldness with which we exposed the errors of the Church of Rome, and attacked its superstitions, induced many of those whose liberality consisted in indifference, to desert the cause because it appeared to them to be less likely to advance their temporal interests, while even to those who sincerely co-operated with us for a time, the subject became uninviting ; Popery when long contemplated lost its unscriptural deformity in its growing familiarity, and the political events of the day, by proring that religious errors was not deemed a sufficient reason for excluding Roman Catholics from Parliament, seemed to have rendered controversy unnecessary. Against this paralysing opinion we have long and ineffectually raised our voice ; we have endeavoured to distinguish between civil toleration and religious indifference, we bave struggled to continue the spirit that once animated an Hall to exclaim “ No peace with Rome,' and in this country had recently produced such spirit-stirring events ; this we have struggled ineffectually to accomplish, and have had occasion to lament the passiog away of the spirit which had a short time since appeared to animale Protestants to unanimity and activity. But we have another cause of complaint against the religious world, we mean its intolerance. In that realm each within his own circle interprets the gospel and the law and the prophets for himself, not only with a zeal deserving of praise, but with an assumption of infallibility that brooks no opposition. The commentator and his friends rest on their own sufficiency, have cut the system of the Scriptures according to their own measure, and when there appears any symptom of dissent, however modestly urged, or however scripturally supported, the throne of infallibility totters, and to support it, the schismatic must be made its prop, either by conversion or demolition. Now, is not this very much the case ?-is not the spirit of partizanship just so exclusive and just so intolerant, and does it not thus limit all truth, and all purity within the narrow circle of we ? Sball we give an example? Yes, and it shall be one in which we have been ourselves