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"Truth, like beauty, varies its fashions, and is best recommended by different dresses to different minds; and he that
IDLER, No. 85.
Printer in Ordinary to His Majesty;
Published at 87, Bartholomew Close, London.
IT has been observed by Dr. Johnson, that "the difficulty of the first address is felt by every man in his transactions with the world, and confessed by the settled and regular forms of salutation which necessity has introduced into all languages. Judgment was wearied with the perplexity of being forced upon choice, where there was no motive to preference; and it was found convenient that some easy method of introduction should be established, which, if it wanted the allurement of novelty, might enjoy the security of prescription."
It would be easy to express a wish that some ceremonial modes of introduction into the world had been established for authors, either by ancient custom, or unquestionable authority, which might free them from the danger of offending, while they attempt to please, and render those vain expedients unnecessary by which they endeavour to bribe censure with apologies, and express their hopes that they may escape contempt, while they secretly court the smiles of approbation. Custom, unfortunately, which in many other respects has removed the occasions of embarrassment, by providing means to deliver adventurers from perplexity, has only secured for authors a stage of exhibition, on which she exposes them to public view, while she issues those mandates which even the prodigies of learning and literature have scarcely the hardihood to disobey, and to which those of the inferior order can be inattentive only at their peril. Happily, however, the book which demands a preface, always furnishes some materials, which, if they cannot be decorated with the elegance of diction, may be placed before the reader in such simplicity of attire, as distinguishes our present observations.
We have now completed Eleven Numbers of the Imperial Magazine; with which, for reasons that were assigned on the cover of the Eighth Number, we shall finish the first volume.
In the prosecution of this work, we have been favoured with a greater variety of original articles than our most sanguine expectations had led us to anticipate. Many of these we have obtained from men of considerable learning, accustomed to theological and scientific research in the several departments that have offered themselves to their consideration. These original communications, and the selections which we have occasionally made, we are happy to learn, have given to our numerous readers a degree of satisfaction, on which we cannot reflect without feeling the most grateful sensibility. Of this fact, the testimonies of approbation we have received, and the extensive sale of the Imperial Magazine, which is perhaps unprecedented in any new periodical work, the FIFTH EDITION being now in the press, furnish the most unquestionable proof. And we flatter ourselves, that our readers will consider the specimens already placed before them, as a pledge of what they may hereafter expect; and the acknowledgment of our obligations as an assurance, that nothing shall cause us to relax in our exertions to give them equal, if not increased satisfaction.
Among the hints of improvement suggested by some of our intelligent correspondents, we are happy to learn, that articles calculated to impart genuine instruction and substantial information are those which they chiefly recommend. This we consider as an unequivocal evidence in favour of their taste and judgment; and it will be both our interest and our duty to meet their views on a ground that is at once congenial with their wishes and our own.
To the developement of distinct branches of science, we shall pay particular attention; and we feel no hesitation in pledging ourselves, that
in each of our succeeding numbers some important subject, connected with divinity, experimental philosophy, or intellectual science, shall invariably appear.
On the articles of domestic economy, but little has hitherto been said; but this subject has neither been forgotten nor overlooked. The range which we had taken in our Prospectus was not calculated for the confines of a few numbers, nor was it to be comprised within the limits of a single volume. It is only through the progress of time that this can be embraced in its fullest extent. For the early numbers of the ensuing year, some valuable articles are provided, on topics which have only been partially touched. But on few systems of science can any regular series be expected, in a periodical journal, on the pages of which, local events will always urge a claim.
By adverting to the catalogue which stands in our index, it will be instantly perceived, that we have not been inattentive to the contents of our original Prospectus. Under the greater number of the heads which were distinctly enumerated, several articles have appeared; and, in some instances, we have ventured beyond the bounds of our first proposals.
On the Paper, the Type, the Plates, and the manner in which the whole has been executed, all observations on our part are superseded. These are placed before the public eye, and we feel no solicitude as to the result of an impartial and rigorous scrutiny.
At the present moment, the strenuous efforts which the advocates of Infidelity are making, to give publicity to a system of which they have endeavoured to conceal the deformity, are complicated, persevering, and alarming; and the late trials which have taken place have discovered, without a mask, in our courts of judicature, the unblushing front which it is capable of assuming, when its abettors entertain even fallacious hopes of escaping punishment with impunity. The daring aspect which it thus presents, demands the decided discountenance of every one friendly to the interests of Revelation, and to those doctrines and morals contained in the Book of God. To every form in which anarchy can appear, whether theological, moral, intellectual, or civil, we declare our decided hostility; and our best endeavours will be always exerted to defend the Bible, which we consider as the Palladium of all that is dear to those who hope for happiness beyond the grave.
Although the conductors of this journal have their established sentiments on the doctrines of the Gospel, its pages shall not become the vehicle of any local peculiarities, to the exclusion of others which may imply a deviation in some features of their creed. To the sober and temperate examination of propositions, the pages of the Imperial Magazine will be always open, so far as the communications transmitted, are calculated to elicit truth, without provoking a spirit of acrimonious controversy.
As a work exclusively devoted to religious articles, this publication was never intended. Its title-page comprehends the three primary and leading features of its character; namely, "a compendium of Religious, Moral, and Philosophical knowledge." On the first of these we shall invariably keep a steady eye; and having this in view, nothing of an immoral tendency can be permitted to pollute our pages, through a dereliction of established principle: and we well know, that ethical philosophy must degenerate from its purity, whenever it ceases to act in concert with Revelation.