Imatges de pÓgina


[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]


[ocr errors]


America, State of Presbyterian Church and of Religion in,

Bible Society, Missions, Tract Society, Board of Education of the

General Assembly,


Progress of Religion in the United States:


Meeting at Philadelphia on Departure of Rev. Messrs. Lowrie
and Reid,

Batavia, Assassination of Messrs. Lyman and Münson,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Burman Empire, American Baptist Mission, Encouraging accounts

from Boston,

Establishment of a Mission Press at Ava. Death of

Mrs. Cumming,
Cape of Good Hope, Infant School established,
China, Evangelical Efforts in,

Notice of “Modern Benevolence," from the “ Repository,"

Death of Dr. Morrison,
France, Protestant Church in,
Geneva, Notice of the Evangelical Society,
Sandwich Islands. Present State of Religion in,
South African College, Dr. Adamson,

Mission, Extract from Mr. Palmer's Journal,

Siam, Missionary Intelligence from Bankok,

West Indies, Interesting Missionary Intelligence from Jamaica,

Address to Earl Mulgrave,









[ocr errors]



January, 1834.

1.-Introductory Notice --with a brief practical Appeal to the

Readers of the Observer. With the present number commences our THIRD VOLUME. The CHRISTIAN OBSERVER is now too well known, to require a reiterated statement of its design, or the principles on which it is conducted. It was originally projected solely with the view of doing good, by opening a channel for useful communications of every description connected with religion and morals—untinctured by party spirit, and unstained by selfish exclusiveness. Its object will ever be, to carry this design to its proper consummation. From the peculiar state of Indian society there necessarily devolves on the editors a heavy, and not unfrequently, a painful task. Nevertheless, as they entered on the undertaking from purely disinterested motives, they are resolved, so long as the public extends to them that truly liberal support which has characterized the past, to spare no pains in rendering their work deserving of so noble a patronage.

In the editorial management of such a periodical as the Observer, there is a difficulty to be encountered in this country which can scarcely be felt in Great Britain. There is a wide diversity of tastes to be consulted ; and each individual is apt to be loud and clamorous for the gratification of his own—forgetful all the while, that if one is to be supplied to satiety, others must be left to starve. Some expect to be indulged with long elaborate treatises : others look for a choice variety of short articles. Some desire to have their ingenuity called forth by th theoretic and the speculative: others can only appreciate plain practical addresses to the heart and the conscience. Some wish to have their judgment exercised by didactic or critical compositions : others long to have their fancy regaled by the effusions of the poetic muse.


attach the highest importance to reviews of recent publications : others take special delight in perusing items of religious intelligence :—and so of many more. Now at home there may be a speedy and satisfactory adjustment of all these conflicting claims. A vast proportion of the community make a profession of religion. Different periodicals may therefore be set on foot for different classes of readers. And each class may be sufficiently numerous to support a work suited to its wants and necessities. Not so in India. Here, there is no one distinct class large enough to uphold a periodical in all respects adapted to the prevailing taste amongst its members. What then is to be done? There is no reasonable alternative that we can perceive, except the endeavour to supply from time to time, something appropriate to the wishes of all. This, accordingly, has been an object which we resolved to keep constantly in view. And hence, much of what certain fastidious but inconsiderate readers might be ready to pronounce, the motley variety to be found in our pages.

There is another difficulty which most editors of periodicals in this country share in common, viz. the difficulty of obtaining a regular supply of matter sufficient in quantity, and choice in quality. From the scantiness of labourers in every department that requires a tolerable degree of intellectual exertion, the editors themselves may have their hands already abundantly full: the list of subscribers is far too limited to admit of paying for articles of superior merit: while the number of writers, who are at once able and willing, is so small that dependance on them is reduced to a fractional value. Besides, in a society constituted as ours is, there are few or no gentlemen at large, who, on any day, could sit down for several hours consecutively, and pen an edifying paper. All come here to work : and all seem to work hard. And in a paralysing climate like that of India, exhaustion is superinduced by one's ordinary labours: languor and apathy succeed in their turn: and experience proves that it is desirable, if not necessary, to devote most of the time that can be spared from lawful avocations, to recreation or repose. Many, it is true, are enabled to over-master all the effects of climate, and rise above the harassments of business: and they are found ever ready to draw forth from their mental stores those rich supplies, that are calculated to improve or delight their fellows. Still, by far the greater part appear to yield to the depress

ing influences that surround them: and when once they persuade themselves that they cannot command time enough to do ample justice to a subject, they soon feel disposed to abandon the thought of writing altogether. There is, it must be owned, a small fry of authors, who unfortunately think that they cannot write too much, or too frequently—just because their writings very seldom require them to think at all. Seeing that these things are so, we have every reason to rejoice, and be thankful. Our correspondents are numerous: almost all of them are able, and not less willing than able. We and our readers owe them a debt of gratitude. And in our own name, and that of our readers, we now return them our unfeigned thanks for the past, and earnestly solicit a continuance of their favours in the time to come.

Amongst the multifarious articles that appeared in our work during the last twelvemonth, will have been found some of a controversial nature. We refer to this circumstance particularly, because we wish to have our readers distinctly understand, that we are no lovers of controversy. We have never courted it: neither are we aware of having ever officiously stepped aside in quest of debateable matter. We have, we believe, uniformly acted on the defensive, rather than the offensive. We have only endeavoured to arrest the progress of certain errors ; to expose the fallacies and Hippancies of open, or disguised infidelity ; to vindicate the cause of the injured and oppressed. There are, we know, timid souls who have not only a dislike, but a horror of all controversy. They dread it, as they would do, the hurricane or the pestilence. But it ought not to be forgotten that, in a world of rebellious opposition to “ the Lord and his Anointed," there must arise occasions, however undesirable, in which it is morally impossible wholly to avoid controversy—in which, the studied avoidance of it would be equivalent to the basest cowardice, and tantamount to a voluntary abandonment of the citadel of truth. Our own policy is essentially pacific: and none can more sincerely deplore the necessity of occasionally departing from it, or more honestly deprecate the evil that imposes such a fatal necessity. Our anxious desire is that, in future, our pages may be always such, that the olive branch might significantly surmount each of them : and we cease not to pray for the blessed period when peace, unity, and happiness shall reign triumphant in every land.

« AnteriorContinua »