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The Fifth Volume of the CHRISTIAN Witness is now completed,-a circumstance which reminds both our readers and ourselves that time is passing, while both they and we, with the same rapidity, are passing along with it. Many eyes that looked with pleasure on our opening Number of the present year, are now for ever closed to all below. Our pages, we have reason to hope, have helped to meeten them for the change, and have refreshed and animated the hearts of multitudes still on earth; preparing one class for active duty, another for meek submission, and a third for following those who are gone before, with firm confidence in the Divine mercy, and steadfast hope of eternal life. Our columns have, this year, recorded the decease and embalmed the virtues of some of the best and greatest of the servants of the Most High in our communion, who have finished their course on earth, and exhibited shining examples of the beauty of holiness, and impressive illustrations of the force of Christian character. We also encourage ourselves in the belief, that the tone of our Journal is in harmony with the character which requires to be formed among Nonconformists, to meet the exigencies of the altered and still altering times, as well as those of the coming age. The days in which a soft sentimentality sufficed for Christian profession, are departed; and days are at hand which call for a character based on true principle, braced with moral health, and trained both to do and to suffer whatever
necessary for the glory of God. A dread uncertainty hangs over the future of the Nations of Europe. The form they may ultimately take, and the spirit of which that form will become the body, none can tell
. No inference from any existing data, at all approaching probability, can yet be drawn; but it seems beyond doubt, that these kingdoms can never become what they were, and that, in the end, the cause of true religion, by recent occurrences, will be infinitely the gainer. No year, in European history, has been so signalized by political convulsion and constitutional change. The year 1848 had scarcely dawned when the work of overturning began,-opening with the insurrection of Sicily on the 12th of January, and on the 29th the new Constitution was proclaimed ; on the 20th, the King of Denmark expired, and the 29th announced the granting of a new Constitution; and the 7th of February proclaimed a like blessing for Sardinia. From the 7th to the 12th, the subject of Reform was fiercely debated in the French Chambers; on the 22nd the people of Paris rose against the constituted authorities; on the 24th the Monarchy fell, and a Republican Government was set up in its place! On the 8th of March, the Freedom of the Press was proclaimed in Saxony, and the Censorship abolished. On the 13th, the spirit of Revolution broke out in Vienna; the chains of the Empire, in a moment, were snapped asunder. Metternich, the patriarchal high-priest of the temple of Austrian despotism, fled, and the Imperial Deity did homage to the throne of constitutional freedom! Five days after, the rhyming King of Bavaria cast away the crown he had so unworthily worn, and made way for another.
On the same day, the flame of Revolution burst forth in Berlin. It were long to recount the series of smaller changes: suffice it to say, all the minor powers of the Continent have been, more or less, revolutionized. From the Atlantic to the Vistula, every throne has been shaken ! The shores of the Baltic and the mountains of Sicily have alike been swept by the mighty whirlwind! The laws, governments, and armies, of fifteen centuries, departed like a scroll—they are gone ! At eventide they existed in full power, and, in man's esteem, in more than pristine glory; and, on the morrow, they were not! The regal Master of a million of soldiers in the morning, in the afternoon found himself abandoned, helpless, alone, on the brink of destruction, and fled for his life! The question, then, for Christian philosophy, is, the bearing of these unparalleled events on the kingdom of God upon earth, and, through that, on the ultimate destinies of Europe, and through Europe on the world. Viewed in these relations the subject is vast and grand. The inhabitants of the chief Continent on the globe,—the home of knowledge and wealth, of wisdom and power,—while buried in deep sleep, and in chains, as if roused by the Archangel's trump, awoke, lifted up their heads, felt the burden of their chains, and but frowned on their oppressors, who, overwhelmed with fear, either fled or fell before them! Old things passed away, and all things became new. These are facts alike true and marvellous; the point for inquiry, therefore, regards their character and their effects on the cause of true religion. "No man, we think, who is a believer in Revelation, and a student of the Scriptures, can, for a moment, doubt that the hand of God is in this wonderful shaking of the nations, and that it is conducted upon principles most intimately connected with the destruction of the kingdom of Antichrist, and the establishment of the Empire of the Messiah. As long as these kingdoms, now shaken, remained as they were at the opening of the present year, they constituted a barrier against the spread of the true Gospel, which nothing could surmount: that barrier is now in the way of being removed completely, and, we hope, for ever. The tongue, the pen, the pulpit, the press—all are free! Even the Waldenses, immemorially afflicted and persecuted for righteousness' sake, now rejoice in the possession of complete liberty, both Civil and Religious. Even those hereditary and mindmanacled bondsmen, the Romans, are emancipated, and exulting in the immunities of political liberty! In those parts of the Continent, too, where the thraldom of man was most thorough and debasing, there the liberty is the most expansive and complete. Millions of men, without a moment's preparation, have passed-not by successive stages, but at a single bound—as if from the frozen to the torrid zone, both in regard to religion and to liberty. Even in Austria, with her thirty-five millions of serf-born subjects
, the Suffrage is Universal, and every fetter is struck from off the conscience-religious liberty is perfect! Throughout the great regenerated family of Continental Nations, Civil Liberty is triumphant, and fortified by Constitutional Government, Trial by Jury, Freedom of the Press, and the right of public meeting, What triumphs! What conquests! What grounds for hope in behalf of humanity ! What a highway is thus opened for the ultimate diffusion of the Truth, which alone can heal the moral maladies of the nations !
Let no man suffer his hope to be shaken by the temporary tumults which now exist, or which may arise hereafter. A political machinery so vast, and everywhere so new, necessarily superintended and worked by hands wholly unpractised, and, in many cases, with hearts far from cordial, demands time, and needs patience, before it can be brought into full and efficient play. There must, without miracle, be, for a long season, much friction, and frequent breakage; but time and experience will work wonders, and set all right. When death shall have swept away the present race of Kings, Princes, Potentates, and Aristocracy, with all who now mourn their departed glory, and who never can forgive the authors of their humiliation,—when this is done, and when a new race shall have sprung up around the New Institutions, with minds and hearts cast into their mould, and inspired by their spirit, it will then be seen that truth is for man, and man for truth,—that perfect liberty is the condition of all real human happiness, and true national glory! We look forward, with exultation, to the day when Europe shall become one great School of the Young, and one great Church of the Old, —when the word of the Lord shall have free course, and be glorified ! Let the people of God lift up their heads, for their deliverance draweth nigh!
In our own land, the year now closed has been one of the most severe affliction, and the rod which has smitten the nation has not spared the church. Every institution connected with the kingdom of Christ has more or less suffered through the failure of commerce ; and, with these, all the instruments of literature issued for the promotion of religion. The Periodical Literature, in particular, of every denomination, has shared in the common calamity; and, so far as we can learn, none of our contemporaries have weathered the storm so satisfactorily as ourselves, both as to the Christian Witness and the Christian's Penny MAGAZINE: during the brief space of three years, there have been issued of the latter no fewer than three AND A HALF MILLIONS,-a fact to which there is no parallel, and an omen for good to the cause of true religion in these realms. The Periodical Press, whether for evil or for good, is fast becoming the chief intellectual power among mankind: the World knows this, and acts upon its knowledge. Would that it were more extensively known, more deeply felt
, and more generally acted upon by the Church! Once more, then, we tender our most cordial thanks to our friends, of every rank and class, all and sundry, who have, in any way whatever, aided us in our arduous enterprise ; while, with all respect, we urgently solicit the continuance of their generous and much-prized assistance, if possible, with increase. Individual condition and the times require it. It is well, as life draws on to its close, and as the developments of Providence are multiplied, that the children of the kingdom should quicken their pace, and increase their knowledge, that they may“ haste to the coming of the day of God!” November 20, 1848.
The Protestant Manifesto of Chillingworth 11 Self Knowledge
204 “ The Night Cometh"
The Song of Moses
13 The Good Steward
13 Phraseology of Prayer
13 Necessity of Tribulation
13 Importance of United Prayer
14 Tests of Ministerial Character
14 Grounds of Christian Safety
14 The Heart Prepared and Kept
14 Private Prayer in Public
14 Fearful Warning
The Cup of Cold Water
15 The Sufferings of Animals
Heaven is Eternal
Hell is Eternal
The Spirit of God
The Bible no Cheat