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that amongst Churchmen one cheap magazine, conducted on
No. 1. VOL. I.
FEBRUARY 6, 1847.
PRICE ONE PENNY.
Ir is important that at the outset of our career we should have a good understanding with our readers; and as the talking must be all on one side, it follows that we must explain both what we ourselves propose to do, and what we shall assume in our readers. We are not of those who write for mere amusement, or without a deep feeling of responsibility; and every one who writes under this feeling must assume something or other respecting the state of those whom he addresses; he must assume something concerning their wants, and views, and wishes; he must determine in his own mind what it is fitting for them to read, and what they will be willing to read and able to receive. And further, he must measure his own capability for supplying such suitable matter. In other words, reader and writer must be suited the one to the other.
Now we believe that the last few years have made a great difference in the opinions and condition of all classes of persons; that there is a much greater disposition to view things with impartiality now than formerly; that a deeper sympathy and a better understanding exists between those who once considered themselves separated by an impassable barrier of party. And withal, we believe that this is combined with a truer insight into the moral and social condition of the population of this empire. At the same time the advance which has been made in general education is opening a medium of communication by which this incipient feeling may be strengthened, and be made productive of substantial fruits, in ameliorating the condition of the poor, in healing animosities, and teaching men of all ranks and degrees that their best and truest interests are dependent on the wellbeing of the whole body.
This is the persuasion which it will be our endeavour to produce in the minds of our readers; and we fancy that the ground is at least made good for the entrance of such a conviction, by a general feeling of dissatisfaction with the existing state of society amongst us, and of the relations in which the several classes stand towards one another. The education of no one class has been sufficiently provided for; each has received what may be called essentially a class-education: they have been educated respectively to be gentlemen-to be shopkeepers to be artisans-to be poor: but too little aftention has been paid to the education of the heart; men have not been trained as members of the one Body politick, and as having duties and obligations one to another: neither. have they been taught sufficiently to reverence and admire truth and holiness. The range of elementary instruction, likewise, has been far too limited; and little or no attempt has been made to improve the taste; to create, that is, an interest in literature, along with the mechanical art of reading.
Such we believe to be a faithful representation of things as they now are; and they seem to us to invite most urgently the efforts of all who have their country's good at heart. The sphere which we have chosen may to some appear a humble one. But we hope that our Periodical, though unpretending in its character, may penetrate every grade of society-may afford rational and healthful amusement and instruction to young and old, to rich and poor-and may be an instrument for drawing hearts together which before were separated. This at least is the aim that we propose to ourselves; and of so much our readers may be certain, that they will find nothing here said that will pander to the prejudices of any class or party. Mischief enough has been already done by ill-qualified and interested persons advocating the claims of one class against another. What we desire to advocate is the common good of all-by speaking the truth boldly on all occasions wherein justice and truth are at stake—and in the region of indifferent subjects, by communicating as much information and amusement as our abilities, and the assistance of a large body of friends, shall enable us to do.
ST. JUSTIN, surnamed the Martyr, was born at Neapolis, anciently called Sichem, A.D. 103, and in the 6th year of Trajan's reign. His father, Priscus, who was a heathen, brought him up in all the superstitions of Paganism, and had him carefully educated in Gentile Philosophy by the most eminent masters. After he had made some considerable progress in his studies, he began to travel for the purpose of storing his mind still more from the rich treasuries of human knowledge. When he arrived at Alexandria, he resolved to remain there for awhile and to prosecute his researches. There he began to feel great yearnings after truth, and to be perplexed by the inexplicable mazes of the philosophy he had studied. "He felt a supreme reverence for the as yet unknown God;" and his enquiry was, "Oh that I knew where I might find Him? that I might come even to His seat?" The state of his mind at this period is detailed in his dialogue with Trypho, which is as interesting as instructive.
He first applied to a Stoic, and having remained some time with him, and yet gaining no knowledge of God, he had recourse to a Peripatetic. The Master wishing to know what reward he was to receive for his pains, Justin, concluding that he was no philosopher, left him also. He next applied to a Pythagorean, who, however, would not undertake to resolve his doubts, as he had not the preliminary qualifications, which were a knowledge of music, astronomy, and geometry. These delays were wearisome to him, and he determined to give himself up to the study of Platonic philosophy, imagining that he could from those sources derive the most valuable information. And, doubtless, he would have carried his resolves into execution, but that the Providence of God was watching over him, and about to direct his steps in the way in which he should walk. Walking one day by the sea-side, for the purpose of quiet meditation and peaceful thought, he fell in with an aged man, of venerable appearance, and majestic mien. They entered into conversation, and at length Justin declared his opinion of the pre-eminent excellency of the Platonic philosophy, and his own desire to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. His aged companion showed the utter insufficiency of the former, and directed him how he might attain unto the latter. He then proceeded to unfold the doctrines of Christianity, and concluded his discourse in these words: "As for yourself above all things, pray, that the gates of light may be opened unto you; for these things cannot be discerned, unless God and His Christ grant the knowledge of them." These were the parting words of the venerable man; and, as might have been expected, they made a deep and lasting impression upon Justin's mind. Forthwith he burnt with ardent longings to know more of the Prophets, and those of whom his companion had told; and in order to do this, he devoted himself to the study of the Divine word.
The more he studied, the more did the Holy Spirit aid and direct him; and as he saw the holy precepts therein taught, exemplified in the innocent lives, and the calm demeanour of Christians under severe persecutors, his faith in the truth of Christianity was confirmed. It is probable that he was in his 30th year, when, converted from the darkness in which he had heretofore lived, he became a faithful follower of the Crucified. Henceforth he walked as a holy devoted Christian, evincing, by the fruits which he produced, the genuine and sterling character of his conversion. Neither threats nor entreaties could move him from the profession he had made; and he proved himself an able defender of the faith, he had thus been led to embrace.
Very soon after his conversion he laboured for the salvation of others, and wrote his oration to the Greeks, in which he defends himself, declares his admiration of the precepts of Christianity, and exposes with a masterly hand the vices and immoralities of their Deities. Of this and his other works we shall have more to say hereafter.
About six years after his conversion Justin visited Rome, where he remained for some time, and instructed the disciples, who used to meet in his house. During his stay here he composed his discourse against heresies, now lost, and which was chiefly intended to counteract the mischievous teaching of one Marcion, who had been expelled the Church, and taught doctrine inconsistent with "the faith once for all delivered to the Saints." He also wrote about this time his first apology, in which he ably defends the Christians from the various charges which hatred and malice had invented, and scattered abroad. This Apology is most valuable, not only because it gives us an insight into his true character, but because it contains important information as to the custom of the Church in his days. The following passage may be taken as a delightful specimen of the results of pure religion: "We," says he, "who once joyed in impurity, have now embraced a life of strictest chastity. We, who once used magic arts, now consecrate ourselves to the uncreated God. We, who heretofore loved riches above all things, now have our possessions in common, and liberally provide for the needy. We, who once held, and even destroyed our fellow-creatures, and would not afford the rites of hospitality to those of a different tribe, now, since the appearance of Christ, live cordially together, and join in fervent prayer for Our enemies. Those who unjustly hate us, we endeavour by gentle persuasion to convert, that they, regulating their lives by the holy precepts of Christ, may possess the same comfortable hope of enjoying the like happiness with ourselves." In the passage which follows we have an account of the mode in which the Eucharistic sacrifice was celebrated. "At every celebration of the Eucharist we bless the Creator of all things, through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Spirit. And upon the day called Sunday, all that live either in the city, or in the country, meet together in one place, when so much of the writings of the Apostles and Prophets is read as time will