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We never could see much utility in the preface to a book, and long ones are especially objectionable. If there be anything in the building worth seeing, why keep people in the porch ? If a volume be worth reading, it will commend itself; and if a writer has to apologize for its contents, he had better be silent. We need not inform the educated reader that we have no scholastic attainments, or literary abilities to boast of. But by the grace of God we are what we are, and have done our best, and made the best use we could of the material supplied us. To one and all of our kind contributors we hereby tender our warmest thanks, and crave a conance of their sympathy and support for the Voice of Truth.
We believe that the contents of the volume will justify its title. Our aim has been to be truthful; and we are conscious of having been honest to our convictions, and venture to hope that our labours have not been altogether in vain. Discouragements have been many and great, especially such as have arisen from the indifference of those who, we think, ought so take an interest in the Magazine. Many have found fault, few have helped; to those few we are greatly indebted. The doctrines and form of church government we advocate are unpopular, the latter especially so among Baptists. We have in “our own denomination” two powerful parties against us ;—the “ low” sentiment and open churches, on the one hand ; and on the other a large portion of the high and strict, who do not believe we are up to the mark, because we do not supply our readers with a certain amount of luscious twaddle, called experience. Most of the latter are good people, with a vitiated and morbid taste, such as we cannot pander to. We hope the ministers and churches who see and feel with us, will become more alive to the importance of the press, as a means of diffusing abroad sound principles. If truth be worth anything, it is worth everything. Let us work, fight, suffer, and if need be, die for its sake. Its advocates have ever been in a minority, even in the religious world, but they have had a rich reward in a good conscience and the Master's smile.
What thou findest in the volume before thee that is good and profitable, attribute it to the God of all grace ; if anything otherwise, put that down to the account of thy willing servant, for Christ's sake.
VOICE OF TRUTH;
IN ESSENTIALS, UNITY; IN NON-ESSENTIALS, LibertY; In All Things, CHARITY.
To our Renders.
THE monotony of time is relieved by successive seasons. Day and night, summer and winter, seed-time and harvest, all have their charms and their influences upon human character and conduct. And there should be something impressive in the thought that another year has fled never more to return. Alas! that so many allow the seasons to roll on without thinking at all; but surely every Christian will make the opening of the New Year a season of deep and searching selfinspection. At such a time, merchants and tradesmen take stock ; they are anxious to see how they stand. They joyfully count their profits, or mourn over their losses. If they have made mistakes, they will seek to avoid them in future; and if they have succeeded, they will double their diligence to be yet more prosperous. And all this is right. The Word says, “ Be not slothful in business ;' but then we, as Christians, should take the other part—" fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Have we done all we could during the past year for the Lord Jesus Christ? For his people are his witnesses ; they have to hold forth the word of life, and not only say, “ Thy kingdom come,” but use what influence they have for the extension of that kingdom. There are many ways in which we might serve the interests of truth. We know a good man, now superintending a Sunday-school, into whose hand some person put a copy of a magazine. He observed on the cover that services were about to be held in a little chapel near his house ; he enquired for the place, attended the services, received a blessing, sought membership with the church, and we baptized him in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ; and though years have passed since then, our friend occupies his post honourably and usefully in the house of God. Here is a proof that God owns and blesses his truth, as published through the press ; and having just undertaken to conduct this Magazine, we earnestly and affectionately ask the sympathy and help of all our friendly readers.
What we want is an increased circulation ; and this may easily be accomplished. Let each of our present subscribers obtain another, and the thing is done. The Magazine would not only then pay its way, but the Committee would have a surplus to hand over to the widow of some deceased servant of God.
We shall use our utmost endeavour to make the Voice of Truth worthy of the confidence and patronage of the ministers and churches whose views we represent. It is of no use to say we are not “sectarian.” We are, and mean to be. Nay, it TOL. VI.-NO, LXI., NEW SERIES.
is forced upon us. The “non-sectarian” cry is a sham, a delusion, a cheat. We hear much of the sound, but where do we find the thing? Is not the Christian “world” split up into parties ? and is not every party in it using all possible means to promulgate its views ? We concede to them the right to do so. Yes, even for Roman Catholics and Ritualists we advocate freedom of thought and action in all matters of creed and worship ; only let the latter, being Papists, cease to receive Protestant pay. We have our views of truth and church government, and hold them firmly: we have confidence in them, having proved their worth in the sanctifying and soul-sustaining power they have put forth, through the Holy Ghost, upon our souls. We mean, therefore, in the spirit of love, to proclaim and defend what we believe, with all our might. But in speaking “the things which become sound doctrine,” it will be our constant aim to “lay aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings," and supply “the sincere milk of the word,” that our readers thereby may “ grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” We shall seek to promote the spirit inculcated by the apostle of the Gentiles among the Ephesians, when he said, “ Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you.”. Every doctrine which is not according to godliness, will be carefully excluded; for though such may seem to be drawn from the sacred Scriptures, it is not really so. The truth of God has a sanctifying influence when believed ; and what we desire is, that the perusal of our pages may, by the Divine blessing, be both instructive to the mind, and profitable to the heart. To set forth the honours, defend the rights, and expound the will of Zion's King, is our first aim ; and the next is to comfort and edify his people ; and 0 that the Holy Ghost may help and bless us ! and for this we beg the prayers of every Christian reader.
We lament the want of union among our churches, and shall seek, at the earliest possible opportunity, to promote the formation of a “Strict Baptist Association” for London and the neighbourhood, hoping to meet with the sympathy of many of our ministerial brethren in the movement; and, by-and-bye, such churches will find the Voice of Truth an important medium of communication between them. All the Committee of this Magazine most heartily approve of such a Society being formed. And why should we not unite ? Brethren, let us make the attempt in the fear of God, and in faith, and it will succeed.
It is but right to say that, having undertaken the duties of Editor as late as Dec. 14, 1866, we have had little more to do with the sending forth of the present number than to write this article ; and that has been done in a hurried manner. Will our kind friends send us material for succeeding issues? We promise to do our best, and commend ourselves, our readers, and the interests of the periodical, to the blessing of Him whose name we desire to make known; and to him, with the Father, and Holy Ghost, be all and honour and glory for ever. Amen.
PSALM CXIX. 18—97. THE Psalmist was a man of prayer, meditation, and praise. Intensity of feeling characterized every exercise of his mind, whether on the mount of holy enjoyment or in the depths of soul trouble ; and whatever might be the subject of contemplation, all the powers of mind and heart were concentrated thereon. There was harmony in his whole being. From the nature and character of David's outer life, the sudden changes and inward conflict he experienced were almost inevitable;