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THE

FREETHINKING CHRISTIANS

MAGAZINE;

INTENDED FOR THE

Promotion of Rational Religion

And free Enquiry.

CONDUCTED BY A COMMITTEE.

VOL. IV.

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Printed and Published by Charles Mitcham, 67, Whitechapel;

By wicom Communications ( Post paid) are thankfully received:

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PREFACE.

IN closing this volume, and with it our labours for the present, we recur with pride and satisfaction to our Prospectus, in which we find no hope held out but what has been realized, no promise made but what has been faithfully fulfilled. We then stated to the public, that when our work ceased to answer the purpose for which it was intended, it would be « discontinued without ceremony." So low were our expectations, from a knowledge of the ignorance and bigotry universally prevalent, that we did not even flatter ourselves it would extend to a single volume; but, contrary to our expectations, and highly to our satisfaction, we have been enabled to complete the fourth ; and even now, could we suppose it would answer any useful purpose, notwithstanding the loss it has already and must continue to incur, the work would not now be abandoned; or were we capable of descending to the mean arti. fices of book-makers, or the equally mean and degrading practice of the Unitarians, in making their Magazine a mere party work, and like them fill our pages with the varnished biography of gospel ministers, with tiquated letters of ignorant and dead saints, with reports of tavern feasts for the promotion of Christianity, or an obituary of pious hypocrites, the work might still

go on, and probably instead of loss bring gain to the proprietors. But we disclaim, and ever shall disclaim, all suchy unworthy conduct, and would rather cease to publish, than to impose on the world by publications that are worse than useless,

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Our enemies may triumph, but the victory is on our side, inasmuch as we have realized much more then we either promised or expected. But the Unitarians above all, have no cause fortriumph-ourlight is extinguished, but their condemnation is scaled—they have now renounced all the principles of their founder Dr. Priestley, and shut the door of free enquiry which we had opened to them, and which was con. sidered by him so essential to restore Christianity to its original purity; because, as he honestly acknowledged, not with. standing all his labours much yet remained to be done. Had they met us as we invited them, our work might have continued to be published, because the controversy with them would have furnished fresh matter, and the collision of their opinión with ours must of necessity haye elicited truth. But they have priests-here is the radical evil-we anticipated their conduct, and we have had all our anticipations realized. Among all the controversialists in our Magazine, we have never seen the Unitarian-eager as he was to meet the bigot and the fanatic, he never dared to meet the Freethink, ing Christian, but he has sheltered himself in silence and in darkness; he dare not come to the light, because bis deeds were evil; and we do know that the priests of that profes. sion did most strenuously exhort their followers not to make us formidable by opposition, but to resort to that common though detestable maxim of overcoming what they could not answer, by an affected silent contempt. But let them not flatter themselves that they have entirely suce ceeded ; for it is a fact within our knowledge, that our prin. ciples are making rapid though silent advances among their followers, especially in the country; and the fall of their priestly office, and priestly impositions, may be nearer at band than they expect.

As to our work, it has only shared the fate of others conducted on similar principles; had we met with greater suc*cess we should almost have doubted our principles. 5 The Library, or Moral Magazine," a work published about a ball a century ago in the avowed cause of rational religion, was not enabled to complete its second volume. When Dr. Priestley published bis Theological Repository, he could not carry it beyond three volumes.* Had he how. ever resorted to the degraded means that his successors have practised it might have been continued to the present day. We may at some future time resume our work, but at present we have done all that we promised or expected. The sceptic, and the atheist, more honourable than the Unitarian, have met us in the field of controversy, and have shrunk dismayed and discomfited be. fore the all-powerful sword of truth. The claims of Chris. tianity have passed the ordeal of fair and free examination, and have risen superior to all opposition—they bave been boldly asserted and honestly maintained, and the truth of the system established beyond all dispute. Priestcraft, under all its various ramifications, bas been exposed-all the absurd doctrines and practices which havc obscured genuine Cbris. tianity bave been analyzed -all the principles we main. tained fully developed-error has been made to appear iu all its odious colours--the sanctified hypocrite exposed to deserved contempt-and truth and virtue exhibited in all their native purity and loveliness.

The four volumes of the Freethinking Christians? Magazine appear to us to contain such a fund of theological information, that it is impossible for any man, who wishes to know the truth, to feel himself at a loss on any subject con. nected with real Christianity. These pages have never been

The reason assigned by the conductors for the discontinuance of the Library was, that “ its sale had not been such has to afford a sufficient compensation to the Proprietors for the trouble and expence that attended a Monthly publication."--" One principal reason for giving up the Repository (said Dr. Priestley) is the little demand there has been for it; on which account the publisher has by no means been indemnified."--It is lamentable to think that whilst works like these can scarcely find readers, such trash as the Arminian and Evangelical Magazines have continued for years to flourish and jacrease in their circulation.

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