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The completion of another volume may seem to demand from the Editors a retrospect of their labours, difficulties, and encouragements.
Yet, after forty-one years of persevering effort in conducting the Magazine, on the same principles, and amid circumstances of a varied, and indeed almost ceaselessly changing character, it may be thought that a Preface is not requisite. Compliance, however, with a long established custom is readily yielded, and to the contributors to the work, its readers, and all who have sought to promote its interests and extend its circulation, the Editors gratefully render their most hearty thanks.
It is hoped that the contents of this closing volume are found such as to justify previous expressions of solicitude on the part of the Editors that the Magazine should adhere to its distinctive principles, maintain its doctrinal status, and present an aspect of general improvement and increasing ysefulness, as an organ of the Strict Baptist denomination. Confessedly, there remains much to be done to render the work all that it is desirable it should be, both in a literary point of view, and as a vehicle of denominational and religious intelligence. And the Editors would again venture to remind their brethren and friends generally, that while they themselves do not shrink from the responsibility attaching to the supervision of the work; much, very much of the efficiency necessary to promote its successful onward course, must depend on the character of the contributions received. A larger supply of pointed, pithy and brief articles, furnished by competent writers, would greatly conduce to the object desired and sought. And if the intelligent members of our churches generally would supply brief reports of occasional public meetings and interesting events relating to the progress and prosperity of the cause of Christ among them, that a greater amount of intelligence from
the " dwelling places of Zion ” may be furnished, this would be especially
" acceptable, and tend to promote the interests of the Magazine.
Moreover, in the present day of religious excitement, when remarkable revivings of the spirit and power of religion are witnessed, and reported from various parts of the United Kingdom; the genuineness of whose character is attested by many eminent servants of the Lord, -sober-minded and trust-worthy brethren ; it is felt that the interests of the Churches generally demand that the Periodical Press should not stand aloof from such unwonted manifestations of the Spirit. It must be earnestly desired, (whatever may be deemed questionable, or even positively objectionable, in relation to those “Revivals,"] that with all that is good, holy, and truthful pertaining to them, all our churches may be speedily leavened. A baptism of fire is greatly needed. A frigid and apathetic indifference to the wants and woes of the outside world, in most of the churches, is painfully visible; and that an extensive and powerful revival of true godliness and apostolic fervour may be witnessed, characterized by hearty and united efforts to promote the salvation of sinners, and a corresponding zeal in the maintenance and defence of those great truths of the gospel, which constitute the basis of all true spiritual power and religious progress, together with a holy jealousy for individual and social purity and godliness;—is devoutly to be desired and prayed for. Those truths, it is to be feared, do not much enter into the composition of modern revivals, as they are notoriously eschewed by most churches of all denominations. Yet it is believed that those eternal verities form the staple of the ministry of many Baptist churches; and cherishing the revered memory of one, who, in his day, stood high among the ornaments and the ablest advocates of the of the gospel of distinguishing grace, the late Mr. John Stevens, of Meard's Court, Soho, the Editors have had great pleasure in occasionally giving insertion to the rich effusions of that great and good man in the present volume; and it is with equal satisfaction that they will be enabled, in their next issue, January, 1875, to present their readers with a fine portrait of that eminent servant of Christ, with a sketch of his life, and the substance of one of his unpublished sermons. They hope also to give from time to time more of the valuable papers
and letters of their late beloved friend, the estimable Mr. George Wright, of Beccles.