« PreviousContinue »
In offering the first number of a projected series to the attention of the public, the author deems it necessary to observe, that his design is to afford instruction and amusement to his readers. In doing which, he may sometimes avail himself of the conceptions of his fancy; and at other times he may crowd into a small compass, facts and incidents which lie scattered over an extended surface of his history; but truth will form the basis of every narrative, and of every scene of description. As his religious opinions are decidedly evangelical, every paper will be pervaded by their influence; and he shall offer no apology for the freedom with which he may sometimes attack the popular delusions which abound in this land of vision. As they will be published in a cheap form, his readers will have the privilege of discontinuing them if they please, before a heavy tax is levied on their pockets; and if they should be pleased to sanction his design by a regular demand, he will endeavour to make them worthy their perusal. They are principally intended for circulation as Tracts; and while they will not rise above the level of an illiterate man's power of perception, it is presumed that they may be read by the more refined, without offending their taste.
March 1, 1822.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
To form a correct estimate of the number of the righteous is impossible, because we judge from external appearances, which may deceive us. have the form of godliness while they deny the power thereof; and some feel the power of godliness, without being able to give that visible manifestation of it which shall strike the public eye. A person of a bold and ardent mind, who receives the principles of religion in his heart, will very soon distinguish himself by his decision and his zeal. He will not long halt between two opinions, nor feel disposed to conceal the ardour of his attachment to the Redeemer, but will go forth without the camp, bearing his reproach. Such a mind excites general admiration. But does every one possess a mind of this order? No: some are diffident, and do not like to obtrude themselves on the notice of others. Some are fearful and cannot make a profession of religion, lest they should' afterwards be permitted to apostatize; and some are cowardly, they do not think that they shall be able to withstand the sneers, the ridicule, the opposition of their friends.
Nor are these the only causes which operate to deter some from making an open profession of religion; for, as our knowledge of the state of general society increases, we shall find many concealed from public attention by the obscurity of the stations which they occupy. "When the rich and the honourable become pious, they are not long concealed. A thou sand eyes are drawn towards the elevation; the eminence of their condition makes their virtues to shine