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INDEX TO THE SIGNATURES.
Editor, 5, 35, 50, 52, 53, 56, 90, 91,
92, 110, 120, 124, 154, 156, 157, 187, 188, 189, 190, 223, 224, 250, 251, 253, 266, 272, 278, 279, 281, 283, 315, 345, 347, 349, 373, 375, 378.
Erskine (Ralph) 133, 165, 197, 229.
Franke (Herman) 99, 147, 196.
G. T., 362.
Huntington, 21, 30, 35, 42, 43, 46,
J. C. P., 179, 216, 240, 361.
J. K., 173, 307.
SIGNATURES TO THE POETRY,
A Lover of Zion, 68.
A Poor Sinner, 66.
G, B., 228.
G. T. C., 100.
S. W. K., 36.
JANUARY 1, 1857. VOL. XXIII.
MATT. v. 6; 2 TIM. I. 9; ROM. XI. 7; ACTS VIII. 37, 38; MATT. XXVIII. 19.
ADDRESS TO OUR SPIRITUAL READERS.
IN venturing once more, at the opening of another year, to greet our readers with our annual Address, we desire to come before them under the gracious teachings and influences of the blessed Spiritthat holy Instructor, that promised Comforter, that unerring Guide into all truth; fcr if we are but favored with his heavenly dew and divine anointing, we shall not write in our own spirit, or seek our own glory; we shall not arrogate to ourselves any undue authority, presume upon our position, or abuse our privilege; we shall not use flattering words, or seek the passing breath of human applause; but shall, by manifestation of the truth, commend ourselves to their conscience in the sight of God, as seeking their spiritual welfare and the glory of the blessed Redeemer.
To edify, to comfort, to instruct, to lead on, to encourage the family of God amid all their trials and sorrows, temptations and conflicts, is, or should be the aim of all who, as preachers or writers, stand on the battlements of Zion. If God, then, in his providence and grace, has placed us in a position whence we can, if not with voice, yet with pen, address many, very many of his dear children; if he has inclined any of their hearts to listen to us as believing that we know and love the truth as it is in Jesus, we are bound, not only by the weight which eternal realities have with our own soul, but by the very readiness of our friends and brethren to receive our words, to seek to the uttermost their spiritual profit. To be of the least spiritual service to the Church of Christ; to profit the souls of any, though the least and lowest, of God's dear children; to promote in any way a spirit of love and union in the churches of truth specially, and amongst individual believers generally; to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints earnestly, but affectionately; to testify boldly against all error and all evil; and be a favored instrument of advancing in any measure the kingdom of the Redeemer, the cause of vital, experimental godliness, and the glory of a Triune God--what earthly rank or dignity, what place of worldly power or profit can for a moment be compared with an honor such as this? And are any of us, friends and brethren, so highly favored and honored? Blessed are our eyes, dear Readers, if they have seen any divine beauty and blessedness in Jesus; blessed are our ears if we have heard his voice with sweetness and power; blessed are your tongues,
ye servants of God, if, in testifying of his Person and work, love and blood, suitability and preciousness, you have felt the dew of the Spirit dropping from your lips; and blessed are your fingers, you whose pens seek to trace his worth, if what you write is attended with the unction of his grace to contrite, believing hearts. If this be our experience, and this our aim and end, one living bond of union will knit together editor, writers, readers, servants of God, members of Gospel churches, and believers generally among whom our pages come.
The union of the church with Christ her living Head, and the union of all the members of his mystical body with each other in him, are truths so vital and essential that, if lost sight of or not realised, confusion in doctrine, experience, and practice, must be the necessary result. "I am the vine, ye are the branches." "Abide in me, and I in you." "We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us." If these divine truths be hidden or obscured; if these springs of love to Jesus and of love to his dear saints cease to flow into our hearts; if they are dried up by contention, or muddied by error or evil, we at once lose sight not only of our own standing in Christ, but of the place which the church holds in his person and heart. We would then, the Lord enabling, fix our eyes steadily on these two points as guiding stars, as we sail over the waters of time; and we invite our readers to look at them with us in this opening season, that, with the help and blessing of the Lord, they may influence our hearts, lips, and lives, day by day in our walk before God and our walk with his children, from the beginning to the end of the year.
From ignorance or forgetfulness of these grand distinguishing truths of the glorious gospel of the grace of God, many, both preachers and writers, who appear to have some desire for the welfare of Zion, have dwelt, we think, too exclusively, and some almost angrily on the evils which afflict, on the divisions which separate the sheep of Christ; and, in their zeal and warmth against what they consider the low, carnal state of the church, seem well nigh, if not quite, to lose sight of her covenant standing in the Son of God, her place in his heart, her interest in his blood and righteousness, as well as of his tender care over her, and that what she is she is by his sovereign grace, or by his all-wise permission. We may look at the church sometimes as we often look at ourselves, seeing in her, as in our own evil hearts, nothing but what is carnal and vile; and with much the same result-unbelief, and hopelessness of any better or brighter days. But, as the more we look at ourselves apart from Christ, the lower we shall sink, so the more we look at the church separate from him, the worse she will appear. To be ever fixing our eyes on the low state of the church, and be ever censuring her for her spots and blemishes, is a spirit akin to that which sees nothing in individual believers but their faults and infirmities. A parent may keenly