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THE

BAPTIST MAGAZINE.

JANUARY, 1864.

ADDRESS TO OUR READERS.

THE beginning of a new year always affords an opportunity of making such changes in serial publications as may appear to be desirable. We have, therefore, availed ourselves of the issue of this number of our Magazine to give effect to a desire which we have for some time cherished, and by the changes, which the reader cannot fail to notice in its "getting-up," to make it rank with the best monthlies of our times. The zealous co-operation of our publishers has enabled us to accomplish our wish in such a manner as cannot fail, we should think, to gratify all our friends, and to assure them that everything that can be done will continue to be done, to make the BAPTIST MAGAZINE worthy of the denomination to which it belongs.

For we are not to be numbered with those who think it best that there should be no denominational publications issued by the several Christian communities of this country. In saying this we need scarcely disavow any satisfaction in the relation of those communities to each other, for we regard the estrangement and alienation of Christians, on the ground of ecclesiastical differences as a dishonour put upon

VOL. LVI.

the Redeemer, and a grievous scandal before the world. But we feel that the estrangement which does exist, instead of forming a reason for the suppression of denominational magazines is a powerful argument for their support. In all communities, unhappily, there are to be found those who, when speaking to their neighbours, affect to represent the body to which they belong, and who by their intemperance of language, and unfairness of dealing with an opponent, very seriously injure the cause for which they plead. It is desirable, therefore, to have some means of correcting the false impression which such excited disputants create, and we know of no better means at present than the denominational magazines which are issued every month from the press. In these we may look for a fair statement of the issue which is raised by the several denominations in their respective creeds or usages, and a succinct arrangement of the arguments which are relied upon to decide it. Addressed to the understanding and the conscience, through the eye rather than through the ear, they do not rouse hostile prepossessions so readily as spoken debates, and leave their

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readers free to test in every way the fairness of their statements and the conclusiveness of their logic. A well conducted magazine, therefore, not only reflects the calm and deliberate judgment of the body to which it belongs, upon all topics of difference between its members and other Christians, but necessarily tends to form the habit amongst its readers of weighing with the impartiality of judges, every argument by which they seek to uphold their own opinions, or to overturn the reasoning of their opponents. It will be our endeavour, therefore, in times to come as it has been in times past, to discuss in the pages of this Magazine all questions in which, as Baptists, we are not at one with our brethren, in such a manner as shall prove our earnest desire to be found always on the side of truth, and to win them over likewise.

Every one is aware that the existing ecclesiastical arrangements of Christians in this country are giving rise to the most serious debates. In the controversy which exists between the adherents of the State churches and the members of the free churches of this kingdom, we wish to take our proper share. The pages of this Magazine will accordingly discuss the several questions which may arise in this matter, and seek to answer them as questions of religion, rather than as questions of mere national policy. We shall strive to develope Evangelical Nonconformity in our churches, and in our readers generally, because we are sure that men will never act rightly as politicians until they are well-instructed Christians. If we only succeed in inducing our readers to study the State church controversy by the light of Revelation, we shall know no fear as to their earnestness and real in acting the

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citizen in relation to it, as becometh the Gospel of Christ. Their influence will then be employed in support of the truth from the highest motives. Parents will not be indifferent about the proclivity of their children to an unscriptural and an intolerant Establishment, and we shall be spared the pain of seeing good men act as if there were no principles for their guidance in such matters in the Word of God. Our desire, therefore, will be to foster the growth of Nonconformity by using the true sayings of God to determine the judgments we should hold and

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press upon all questions in debate between State-churchmen and ourselves; and we hope that we may be of service at the same time also to those who have cast us out from their communion, by recalling their attention to the law and the testimony, as the true standard of appeal in all questions of religious life and practice.

As opportunities occur,it is intended to discuss in a similar manner the social questions of the times in the hope of creating such a healthy public opinion as may effectually assist in the diffusion of true religion. The apathy with which such questions are frequently passed by, may be, in some degree, accounted for by the fact that they have been but little attended to in religious publications; but the time is come when Christians should feel that nothing can be a matter of indifference to them which in any way affects the influence of the gospel upon our fellowmen.

In the hope of enlisting still further than at present the sympathies of the young folks in our congregations and families in our work, we have made arrangements for the publication of tales written with an earnest and religious purpose. It

will be our endeavour to provide such entertainment for our young friends in this new department of the Magazine as will not be without value to "children of a larger growth."

But it must be added, no efforts which we can make to improve the literary excellence of our Magazine, or to adapt its religious teaching to the times in which we live, can secure the results we seek, if our readers be indifferent about its circulation.

Could we but enlist the active exertions of our present subscribers, we might easily raise our issue to 20,000 monthly, and we should then be enabled to enlarge the Magazine by an additional sheet of 16 pages without any increase of price, and to provide some help for many necessitous

widows whom we cannot now assist. We respectfully appeal to the pastors and members of our Churches to co-operate with us in our attempt to make this Magazine (which is the only publication connected with the Baptist denomination that devotes any portion of its profits to denominational purposes) all that it ought to be. It is for them to determine whether the success we strive to deserve, shall be obtained by us or not, and we shall rely upon their willing aid to increase our circulation, and thereby to promote our usefulness. If they fail us, they cannot, with fairness, complain that the Magazine does not take its place in the foremost rank of similar publications, for its character and influence are entirely in their hands.

ONCE A DAY.

BY THE REV. C. VINCE, BIRMINGHAM.

Ir is said that, in the production of mischief, thoughtlessness is nearly as fruitful as wilfulness. Assuredly, amongst Christians it is a prolific source of actions whose appearance, if not their influence, is evil. Many of the things which mar the beauty of saintly character, and hinder Christian usefulness, originate solely in a want of earnest consideration of what consistency requires. Dead flies are seldom put into the thecary's ointment by hands deliberately devoted to wrong-doing. They generally get there through sheer carelessness on the part of some one, but they spoil the ointment as completely as if they had been wilfully introduced for the very purpose.

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The design of this article is to

call attention to a custom indulged in by many who probably would not yield to it so constantly if they could only be induced to fairly look at it and see the bad influence it is calculated to exercise, and the evil issues to which it may probably lead. The custom referred to is that of restricting attendance at public worship to one service on the Lord's day, On the testimony of many witnesses it may be unhesitatingly affirmed that this habit is already wide-spread, and is also rapidly growing, especially in large towns and amongst our wealthier and more influential congregations. In many of these latter, there are numbers who have become so habituated to once-a-day worship that they never make an effort to be

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present at a second service. thought seems not for a moment to enter their minds that possibly attendance at the House of God twice on the same Sabbath may be within the range of Christian duty, even if it be outside the circle of Christian privileges. This state of things is not confined to those who have made no public profession of religion. Not a few church members are foremost in the practice. It has also spread amongst the office-bearers in our churches, and as many a disheartened minister can witness on each Lord's day evening even deacons are conspicuous by their absence. In reference to the last-mentioned class, it would surely be difficult (excepting in very extreme cases) to justify the custom or frame a passable excuse for it. It is true the Apostle does not mention regular and constant attendance at the House of God as one of the duties of a deacon. Doubtless he omitted this for the same reason that, in his statement of a wife's duties, he makes no mention of love to her husband. He considered such an injunction to be altogether superfluous. Paul apparently did not deem it possible that any man holding office in a Christian church would need to be warned against habitually absenting himself from one-half of the holy assemblies and Sabbath services of that church.

The writer is not forgetful of the fact that to some, attendance more than once a day is impracticable. Old age, or bodily weaknesses, or domestic claims may interfere and absolutely forbid it. It is not to these that the remonstrances and the appeals of this paper are addressed. Duty never requires a person to be in two places at the same time, and those whom duty calls elsewhere are not to be blamed

for their absence from the House of God. Nor is it likely that God will suffer such to sustain spiritual loss by their absence. For them the Divine love, so considerate as well as compassionate, will repeat the wonder it wrought of old in the wilderness when he who could gather but little of the manna had no lack.

Others can put in the plea of distance, and in many instances this must be deemed a full justification. But the question is thereby suggested -"Are not religious considerations too much overlooked in the choice of residence?" To some no choice is permitted by stern circumstances; but those who are free to decide are not consistent if they decide without any regard to the nearness or the farness of spiritual advantages. It requires more than ordinary reasons to warrant a Christian man in placing his family where their regular attendance on vigorously-conducted worship and an instructive evangelical ministry is next to impossible. For want of care in this matter how many young people who might have become honoured labourers "in the kingdom and patience of our Lord," have been forced into a state of comparative inactivity! They lived so far away from the church to which their parents belonged that they could take no part in its religious and benevolent endeavours. Their piety hath sustained a consequent blight, for there could not be in their case the fulfil

ment of that promise which of all His gracious declarations our God most abundantly brings to pass, "He that watereth shall be watered also himself." In other instances, this has led either to the neglect of nearly all public worship on the part of younger members of families, or to their absorption into the bosom of the Establishment. The evil of

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