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C. VAN RENSSELAER.
“ Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and
walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”—JER. vi. 16.
WM. H. MITCHELL, 265 CHESTNUT STREET.
THE PRESBYTERIAN Magazine was established for the purpose of supplying a want in our religious periodical literature. There seemed to be a demand for a monthly publication, which should occupy the place between the weekly Newspaper and the Quarterly Magazine.
For the most of the last half-century, a religious monthly Magazine has circulated within the bounds of the Presbyterian Church. Without enumerating those which were not strictly denominational, the following Monthlies have been established at different times within the period mentioned.
The Assembly's Magazine and Missionary Intelligencer. 1805–1809. Five volumes.
The Evangelical and Literary Magazine. 1817—1828. Eleven volumes.
The Baltimore Literary and Religious Magazine. 1835–1843. Nine volumes.
In 1846, a printed circular was sent by us to a number of our ministers on the expediency of establishing a now Monthly. The answers were highly favourable to the undertaking; and although circumstances prevented at that time the execution of the design, it was never lost sight of. In the autumn of 1850, Providence appeared to indicate that the way was opened for the commencement of the enterprise. The undersigned was distrustful of his own ability to superintend the work properly, especially in the midst of arduous official duties of another character, but nevertheless consented to make the trial, on the urgent counsel of valued friends. The work was undertaken after much anxiety, and prayer for Divine direction. The following is the Prospectus first issued, which it is deemed proper to insert in this place, partly as connected with the history of the Magazine, and partly as a testimony against any ill-considered departure from the original plan.
PRESBYTERIAN MAGAZINE. — Prospectus of the Presbyterian Magazine and
The Magazine will seek to possess a popular character. Its articles will be usually brief, of such a kind as will interest the mass of readers, and there will be variety. Whilst it is to be hoped that sufficient ability will characterize the Magazine to commend it to the most intelligent, a constant endeavour will be used to adapt it to all classes who seek for edification in reading.
Cheapness of price has been decided upon as an element necessary to secure a circu. lation worth the toils and the cares of the enterprise. Heretofore the price of a religious Magazine in our church has been $2 50 and $3. The price of the Presbyterian Magazine will be one dollar per annum. At this price a very large number of subscribers will be required, in order to pay necessary expenses; but if the Magazine is what it ought to be, the number will be ubtained. The object, however, is not pecuniary emolument, but
to do good in the Church as far and wide as possible, in the use of means which God invites his people to employ.
The Editor will insert, at discretion, valuable articles from foreign and other Magazines, but will rely mainly upon original communications from the ministers and members of our Church.
The PRESBYTERIAN MAGAZINE will consist of forty-eight pages, will be printed with fair type, on good paper, and will be issued on the first of every month. Price one dollar a year, payable invariably in advance. Engraved likenesses of Drs. Witherspoon and Green will appear during the first year; also, wood cuts, representing various churches, whose history will be given from time to time in the Magazine, viz. one in Baltimore, Albany, Louisville, New York, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Richmond, Cincinnati, &c.
For the present, or until Providence orders other arrangements, the subscriber, who incurs the pecuniary responsibility, will also act as Editor, to whom communications for the work may be addressed.
C. VAN RENSSELAER.
In the Providence of God, the Magazine has met with far greater favour than there was any reason to expect. The difficulties were principally two-fold. In the first place, the plan of the Magazine aimed at a circulation among the more humble, but respectable households of our Church—which are its hope and strength-as well as among those whose members enjoyed greater literary advantages, and who could appreciate a work of higher merit. And in the second place, the Magazine really required the earnest, undivided attention, and the whole time of an Editor, instead of the supervision it actually received, which, from the claims of other imperative duties, was necessarily more or less subordinate, irregular, and insufficient. Nevertheless, a good degree of success has blessed the undertaking in its first year, as measured by the extent of circulation which the Magazine has reached. At the close of the first volume, the number of subscribers is over three thousand—a number exceeding the most sanguine calculations, and demanding our grateful acknowledgments. Encouraged by this kind reception of the work, the Editor will spare no pains in his power to make it more deserving of the public favour.
Obligations are specially due to the writers, who have contributed to the pages of the Magazine. The names of Alexander, Spring, Hodge, Yeomans, Plumer, Backus, Hall, Janeway, Kollock, Neill, Cuyler, Wadsworth, Forsyth, Hope, Helm, Proudfit, Junkin, and others, are sufficient to awaken gratitude and interest among all our patrons.
Among the motives which will stimulate the Editor to increased effort in elevating the character of the Magazine are these:
1. A Monthly Religious Periodical on a popular plan, is likely to be useful to any one who takes it.
2. It will be an ally of pulpit instruction; and exert an evangelical influence in our families.
3. It may be the means, with God's blessing, of saving souls.
4. The widely diffused and corrupting literature of the day needs counteraction in every possible form.
5. The general interests of the Presbyterian Church will be promoted by the advocacy and circulation of the Magazine.
6. The cause of Christ at large will receive new aid from enlisting more writers for its advancement, and obtaining more readers of the truths and duties pertaining to its progress.
Invoking the blessing of God upon the work—the responsibilities of which were never realized so deeply as at the present time—the undersigned prepares for the labours of another year with such aid as may be vouchsafed to him in Providence.
CORTLANDT VAN RENSSELAER. December, 1851.
TIIE RECIPROCAL INFLUENCE OF THE EVANGELICAL
DENOMINATIONS. It may seem to be quite a discovery to find a subject on which no book has been yet written, and it may also seem that one lays the world under no obligation to him for suggesting a new topic. But would not the world be the better for a volume that should skilfully trace the providential design of permitting so many diversities as are found in the creeds and forms of the Christian Church? Might not a McCosh add " Ecclesiastical” to the title, “ The Method of the Divine Government, Physical and Moral ?”
At least one chapter of such a work should be headed as the present article is. The general influence of the variety of denominations in provoking one another’s zeal, and thus multiplying the means of grace for the world, is plain enough. But it would be curious and instructive, and promotive of Christian harmony, could we see that there is a mutual action and reaction going on through all the existing diversities of the Church, the final end of which is to preserve and vivify the substantial and essential faith.
In thinking how our own section of the great family would stand in such a review, both as to the influence imparted and received, our position strikes me so favourably, that I could scarcely trust my impartiality to write the first part of that chapter. But I have made a few notes on the latter branch of the inquiry, which are at any body's service. I
suppose that Presbyterianism receives both a favourable and unfavourable effect from each of the other forms of Christianity with which it comes into association—that is, wherever any or all of the other forms exist in the same place with itself. VOL. II.-No. 1.