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Our great object in this volume has been to allow infidels to speak for themselves, and to present them with such views of Christianity as would disarm their prejudice, silence their opposition, and lead them to the peace which the truth alone can impart. We confess to have come far short of the standard which we erected for ourselves. We have not been able to induce any of the more conspicuous leaders of modern infidelity to come forward in its defence. They have skulked away behind their own batteries, and have avoided a fair and open encounter. Their tactics have been entirely changed. Erewhile they made the country ring with the question- Why do the clergy avoid discussion ;' now it is our turn to ask why they avoid it; at least in a periodical which is weekly open to them. Some of them, we are informed, are ashamed of the miserable meagreness of the arguments which some of their brethren have sent for insertion. We can only say we have inserted the best we have got; and shall be glad to have their views put more powerfully, if it can be done. We hope that they will furnish their honorary secretary in Yorkshire with all the assistance they can render him in the shape of advice and suggestion, in the controversy on atheism now going on in our columns, that his letters
may be a faithful mirror of their principles. A ceaseless pressure of labour has prevented us from accomplishing all that we intended in the literary conduct of our little serial; and we have often feared that from this cause alone, we should be obliged to relinquish the work. While it has brought us much pleasant labour, it has also brought not a few anxieties and cares. These, however, we have willingly born with the hope that some kind true friends of the Gospel would come to our assistance and permanently relieve us of a part, if not the whole, of our commercial responsibility in the undertaking. This, we are happy to say, we have some prospect shortly of accomplishing; and when it is done we shall be in a better position for rendering our work more worthy of the cause to which it is devoted.
We have to acknowledge, that during the first half-year of our issue the work has not been wholly self-sustaining. But now that the expense of launching it is over, we hope to be able, with the kind assistance of our friends, to continue it, and considerably to extend its circulation. To those who have generously contributed to the PROPAGANDIST FUND, we tender our most hearty thanks. They will be cheered to know that their free-will offerings have been of service in the good work. We have testimonies from many quarters of the good which has been accomplished. Not a few, who were being entangled in the meshes of scepticism, have been freed. Several young men, known to us, have abandoned their infidel principles altogether, and have become true, useful, earnest, Christians,
Those who but a few months ago were doing their utmost to subvert Christianity are now vigorously defending and successfully spreading it. And some, whose hearts were striken with fear and filled with alarm, are now peacefully resting on the sacrifice of the Cross, and glorying in that on which they onco poured the bitterness of their scorn. These our friends will hail as tokens for good; and will pray and labour that in the future they may be greatly increased.
If modern infidelity does not boast so loudly as it recently did, it still cxerts an influence in our large cities, and manufacturing districts, which no true friend of religion or of man can be justified in overlooking. In a latent form it prevails widely among many who are all-engrossed in the present, whose thoughts are bounded by this life, and whose only care is to enjoy the pleasures of sense. Among the more intellectual the works of Carlyle, of Emerson, of Parker, and of Newman, produce a distaste for the spiritual religion of the Bible. There is need, then, that every man, who values the truth, which alone through the Divine Spirit conveys saving health to all nations, should gird up the loins of his mind, and, with a higher and holier energy, labour for its defence and diffusion.
Carlyle and Holyoake
Objections to, met
Dan Mitchell, how he became a Secularist
Objections to the gospel, reply to
Observer,' observations by
Paul in tears