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EIGHTEEN monthly numbers of this little periodical having now appeared, they will form our first volume.
In reviewing our progress thus far, we may be permitted to make a few observations.
When the first number of this little Magazine appeared, we considerately asked for a circulation of twenty-five thousand. Some might have asked for ten times as many. But we consider. ately regarded all the circumstances, and modestly proposed a reasonable and attainable number. We were aware that the ground was to some extent already occupied, and that the views of scriptural truth which we must advocate would be such as would probably form an objection in certain quarters, and limit our circulation. All these, and other things, we duly considered. Could we have persuaded ourselves that we might be at liberty to suppress a portion of scriptural truth, we should in all probability have found more favour in the eyes of many, and, as a consequence, a wider circulation. But this we could not do. We would not willingly offend any, but we must be faithful to the truth. We regard it as one of the evils of the present day, that the Word of God is made of none effect by the traditions of men, or, by the pretensions of a spurious charity.
Setting out, then, on the ground of scriptural truth as regards both doctrine and discipline, we have not turned aside either to the right hand or to the left, and we design, by the guidance and help of God, to continue in the same course. It may not be so easy, or prosperous, but it is more straightforward and safe.
Well how have we sped with our project? Pretty well upon the whole. We are more than half way to the 25,000, and it would now be quite easy to accomplish the remainder. Quite easy: how? Just let each present subscriber secure another, and the thing is done. And in persuading a neighbour to spend one halfpenny monthly, no man, or woman either, will require much eloquence or power of persuasion. The thing, we say, may be easily done, and we hope it will, not merely that we may be remunerated, which we scarcely are with our present circulation, but that more extensive good may be effected.
PRICE ONE HALFPENNY.
MINISTERS are respectfully and earnestly requested to
THE CHRISTIAN PIONEER.
Ir affords us much encouragement to find that our repeated appeals to our active friends all over the country, have met with attention, and that many are now busily employed carrying out into operation the suggestions we have made. This is the very thing that the circumstances of the times now call for—the diffusion of information. The rule now is that the people generally can read the exception, that they cannot. Formerly it was argued that the people were vicious because they could not read or write. Now it is asserted that some of the most vicious are those who can. Both these assertions have truth in them, and may be easily explained. The entirely ignorant are, in the nature of things, likely to grow up vicious and wicked. On the other hand those who are instructed may be only made more capable of doing mischief if they do not make good use of their knowledge. Hence the necessity of giving thein good mental food.
Further; when it was found that the greater part of the people would read, men, whose only object was to make money, soon set to work and printed books, pamphlets, tracts, magazines, and newspapers, of all kinds, at very low prices, to meet the demand. Some of these publications were bad, others were wicked, others were vile and infamous. Tales, novels, romances, plays, songs, ballads, and we know not what were published in millions. Can we wonder that some who could read became more vicious and wicked?
True, there were some publishers who issued useful worksKnight, and Parker, in London, and the Chambers', in Edinburgh— and in their way they did good, but they were not-they did not profess to be of a decidedly religious character. And nothing can effectually preserve men from vice and wickedness but real religion.
Plenty of room then for such publications as this to be circulated in every cottage in the empire-so cheap that the poorest may buy
so amusing and instructive that all may be interested-so plain that all may understand—and with so much religion every month that no man can take up a copy without finding words by which, under the divine blessing, he may discover the path of life. Jesus Christ is set forth in every number as the way to God.
Spread it then, christian friends, spread it on every hand. Can you who are rich do anything much more likely to do good among the poor than by ordering 50 or 100 copies for gratuitous distribution amongst them every month? Many a poor pious man or woman, who perhaps could do nothing else, not being able to teach in the sabbath school, would delight to be thus employed as the almoner of your bounty. And even where this is not or cannot be done, our poor pious friends, who wish to do some good in their life-time, may do much in this way, by shewing it to their neighbours, and getting subscribers, for its very low price places it within their reach. A poor bed-ridden man at St. Alban's was the means of circulating many by always recommending it to all who came to see him!