Imatges de pàgina
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PREFACE.

THE singular advantage and influence of periodical publications have been generally acknowledged and felt. Under various names, as Newspapers, Magazines, and Reviews, they have been employed, more especially within the last ten or fifteen years, both by the enemies and the friends of religion and human bappiness, with extensive and astonishing success. While one species of these publications, conducted by unprincipled and designing men, have administered poison to the publick faith and morals; another, conducted by the wise and the good, have circulated the antidote. One has been an engine to throw the world into convulsions ; the other God hath probably ordained to be an instrument of hushing it into peace. The wrath of man has been made remarkably to praise the Lord, by awakening extensively the active zeal of the friends of evangelical truth, and by prompting them to make uncommon exertions to diffuse, throughout christian and heathen nations the saving influence of the gospel. While the enemy, armed with a specious and subtle philosophy, by secret marches were pouring in like a flood upon the christian world, and threatening it with moral desolation; the Spirit of the Lord, in the fervent prayers, the vigilance and active exertions of the faithful followers of the Lamb, hath marvellously lifted up a standard against them.

Though the seat of this portentous warfare has been on the other continent, our own country has sensibly felt its effects. Here too the faith of christians, with vast la

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bour and industry, has been insidiously and openly at. tacked by the enemies of the cross of Christ; and though these enemies have been valiantly resisted, and their machinations unveiled and disconcerted; yet they are still on the field and in force, imbittered by disappointment, and by various artifices and methods of attack are continually endeavouring to accomplish their demoralizing schemes, and to effect the overthrow of the christian rcligion.

- In times of peace and outward prosperity, the church is always in imminent danger. Such seasons, ecclesiastical history informs us, have always been fruitful in errours. Carnal security is ever the offspring of worldly ease and affluence. While men are thus asleep, the ev. er wakeful and busy enemy sows his tares. Prosperity corrupts the heart, and warps the understanding, and thus prepares the way for a dislike, hatred, and rejection of the pure and humbling doctrines of the gospel. In these circumstances, and with these views, if inen professedly embrace the christian religion, it is in a form, adapted to their vitiated tastes, and combining the service of God and Mammon. If they cannot stoop to embrace the sublime mysteries of the gospel, they ingeniously explain them away. If they cannot rise to the pu. rity and strict requirements of christian morality, they reduce it to a standard, formed by corrupt inclination and perverted reason.

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If, then, in our own times of peace and overflowing wealth, we witness effects, like these, visibly increasing among us; it should not surprise us, as though some new or strange thing had happened. Such appearances, however, plainly indicate that it is the duty of the friends of evangelical truth and christian morality, to be “

up, and

doing,” to “take unto them the whole armour of God," and with one heart and one soul to “contend earnestly for the faith, once delivered to the saints.”

The PANOPLIST rises in support of this faith. At a period like this, when through various channels, and under various forms, principles are disseminated, subversive of christian piety and morality, and hostile to revealed religion and general happiness, the Editors of the Panoplist feel it incumbent on them, to cooperate with the conductors of similar periodical works, both at home and abroad, in detecting the corruptions of modern literature, in opposing the progress of dangerous principles, in strip. ping skepticism and imposture of their artful disguise, and in exposing libertinism and impiety, in all their de. formity, to deserved contempt and abhorrence. They will cordially and zealously unite, not only to defend "the outworks of christianity,” but more especially “to promote the increase of sound theological knowledge and to delineate the character of primitive and unadul. terated christianity."*

That the publick may entertain no doubts concerning the religious faith of the Editors, or what doctrines and views of christianity they mean to support, they explicitly avow their firm adherence, generally and for substance, to what have been called the Doctrines of the Ref. ormation. These doctrines, with modifications and retrenchments, which affect not their essence, are recognized in the articles of the Church of England, in the Confessions of the Presbyterian churches in Scotland and the United States of America, and in the great body of the New England churches. These constituted there.

See the" Address" of the Conductors of the "Christian Observer."

ligious faith of our venerable forefathers; and by the Editors are embraced, as the truths of God revealed in the holy Scriptures. Nothing, manifestly inconsistent with these doctrines, can ever be admitted into the Panoplist.

At the same time that they make this declaration, they feel no inconsistency nor hesitancy in expressing a sincere disposition to imitate the example of that great and good man, Dr. Jeremy Taylor, bishop of Dromore, as exhibited in his funeral sermon by Dr. Rust. “He was," says his biographer, one of the EKAEKTIKOI, a sort of brave philosophers, that Laertius speaks of, that did not addict themselves to any particular sect, but in. geniously sought for Truth amongallthe wrangling schools. This was the spirit of that great man ; he weighed men's reasons, and not their names; and was not scared with the ugly visors, men usually put upon persons they dislike. He considered, that it is not likely any one party should wholly engross truth to themselves; that obedience is the only way to knowledge ; that God always teaches docile and ingenuous minds, that are willing to hear, and ready to obey according to their light. Such considerations as these, made him impartial in his disquisitions, and induced him to give a due allowance to the reasons of his adversary, and contend for truth, and not for victory.Upon these principles the Panoplist will be conducted. The sentiments of no sect or party will be indiscriminately admitted or rejected. The Editors invite a candid and sober discussion of important subjects, and will readily admit whatever, in their opinion, is sanctioned by christian experience, or correspondent with the scriptures.

It will be their aim, as has already been announced in their proposals, that the Panoplist, so far as religion is

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