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P R E F A C E.
A PRETACE to a miscellaneous periodical is, for the most part, a matter of form, rather than of propriety or utility. The painting of a human hand upon a Museum, or a synagogue on the building which contains a panorama view of Jerusalem and the surrounding country, is quite as good a guide and omen to all that is within, as any preface we could write at home, or here upon the Atlantic ocean, to the third volume of the new series.
By the way, a travelling Editor, a non-resident Bishop, and a Baptist pluralist, have no signs nor prefaces for their labors in all the symbolics of natural and artificial language. They are a species of non-descripts, oddities, and incongruities, which seem not to have arisen in all the visions of the authors of language and of stipulated signs. A Baptist Elder, with a plurality of churches, to whom he breaks the bread of life, and for whom he has to give an account, may, indeed, amongst the polygamists of the olden time, find some resemblances; but as this is rather a disgraceful alliance now-a-days, few of them would like to have, for their armorial, a man standing by the hymeneal altar with two brides on his right hand, and two on his left.
I cannot, then, either from the nature of the case, or from the localities of my personal itineracy, write a preface to the following volume. I know not what it may be; but I know that I intend it shall be no worse, but rather better, than any that preceded it. We aim at fewer controversies, and these of shorter pieces; and a greater variety of matter, and still more practical tendencies. The great subject of Education-state education, church education, family education, selfeducation-demand, and shall have more of our attention.
The bringing of the churches more practically under the Christian discipline and training-to delight more in the primitive worship-to be more punctual and constant in assembling themselves on the Lord's day—and to make their meetings more interesting to themselves and to the whole community, are objects of primary and accumulating import
An influx of new converts greater than a corresponding preparation for their growth in grace and perfection of Christian character, is a positive disadvantage both to them and to the cause.
If the recruiting officers of any army enlist more troops than can be well fed, well clothed, and well disciplined by the regular officers and quarter-masters of the army, their accession weakens rather than strengthens the nation, and endangers rather than secures its existence and prosperity. There is a great deficiency, not in the system we advocate, but in the practice of many congregations in this very essential concern.
All true-hearted "men, and real friends of our immortal King, will gladly co-operate in such a grand undertaking as bringing the Christian communities up to the standard of their professions. To bring a thousand churches, large and small, up to the present standing of a few that I could name, would do more for the promotion of the cause of truth, and the triumph of our principles of reformation and the conversion of multitudes, than the immersion of one hundred thousand converts in one year, without such a system!
Christian righteousness and Christian piety deserve to have, and they must have, still more attention. This age is exceedingly licentious. Liberty, with us, is fast passing into licentiousness. The morals of American professors are rather portentous. In the counting-room, in the market-place, in the forum, in the tavern, in the steam-boat, on the farm, (1 had almost said in the church,) a man's profession of Christian faith will not often secure him from suspicions of things dishonorable, unjust, or ungenerous, in the esteem of men of the world. What a sad charge compared with the times, when, to say, "I am a Christian," was a passport to the confidence of even the enemies of Christianity, for all that was true, just, and generous among men.
In such a state of things, a Christian is doubly bound to be an honor to that profession, in all goodness, righteousness, and truth, which would, in more auspicious times, have been, and which should, in every age, be, a sacred ornament and shield to all under its pure and sacred banners.
I have in a few instances seen, or thought I saw, persons called Reformers, who seemed to think that it was a part of their Christian privilege to be freed from the restraints, and from the strict exactness of certain customs and usages, so conspicuous in some of the more rigid sects in the land. If these restraints and customs are either religious or moral—if they belong to the individual and private Christian, or to the Christian household, it is a great and a fatal mistake. A Christian by profession is, and must necessarily be, strict, minute, and circumspect, even to "the mint, the anise, and the dill” of Christian duty. 'To neglect even the tithing or consecrating to the Lord the smallest portions of our capacities and opportunities for doing good, would have been censured by the Lord, on the principle of his re. bukes to the ancient Pharisees; who, while they did these, omitted the greater matters of the law. These little things, said he, “you ought to have done.” The present volume must descend, if descending it can be, to press these matters.
But that I may not seem to imitate one, who wrote a book under the title of De Omnibus et Singulis, et quibusdam aliis; which, in our language, means, Concerning all things in general, and every thing in particular, and certain other matters;—and as the swell of the ocean makes it difficult to write, I shall only add one word from myselfthat, with a single eye this volume shall supremely look to the intelligence, purity, and happiness of all its readers, on all the subjects on which it may be called to treat.
INCIDENTS ON A TOUR TO THE SOUTH.
NO. I. ALT:10ugh the same necessity for evangelical itineracy does pot now exist which prompted the travels of the ancient Propheis and Apostles, still it is both necessary and expedient. 'The periodical press, in the form of tracts, magazines, and newspapers, constantly peregrinates the whole land, in all its length and breadth, and scatters intelligence, good and evil, from the centre to the circumference of the whole community. there are millions that either cannot, or will not read; and if they did, they are slow to understand, and still slower to feel and appreciate the truth that is written. Besides, there is a warmthå power in the living voice, that cannot be imparted to the written letter; and, therefore, the tongue is more puissant than the pen.—Hence it is, that, although we make the grand tour of the United States once every month on the pages of the Harbinger, we feel it expedient occasionally to take an excursion, personally into some sections of this wide dominion, for the double purpose of acquiring and communicating, face to face, information on the great subjects of religion and morals.
In obedience to many calls from the South, we have been induced to undertake a long journey into those regions, and to spend a few months in scattering the seeds and principles of that reformation of faith and manners-of systems and of menof sinners and of saints, to which we have consecrated our lives and labors. Such an object is the only one that could justify the husband of such a wife--the father of such a familyand the guardian of such a charge as that which Heaven in its benignity has vouchsafed to the Editor of the Millennial Harbin