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ITS STATE AND PROSPECTS.
A MONTHLY JOURNAL ESTABLISHED AND CONDUCTED BY MEMBERS
OF THE BRITISH ORGANISATION
IN CONNEXION WITH
THE EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE.
WIERITO W3 LAVE ALREADY ATTAINED, LET US WALK BY THE SAME RULE, LET US MIND THE SAXE THING."-PHIL. III. 18.
"UBI IGNOVIMUS CHRISTUM, IBI AGNOVIMUS ET ECCLESIAX."- AUGUSTINE.
EDINBURGH: JOHNSTONE AND HUNTER. DUBLIN: CURRY AND CO.
AND ALL BOOKSELLERS.
The distinctive aim of our Journal, as of the Institution of which it is the organ, is the promotion of brotherly love among Christians, and of the exemplification of the sentiment in their manifested union. To this end we labour. It is not for us to say with what competency for the work we entered upon it, and have now for nine years pursued it; but this we may acknowledge with thankfulness, that notwithstanding the faults which have disparaged our efforts, and hindered their greater success, we have been cheered in our toils by many gratifying testimonies that they have not been unacceptable to a large portion of the Church of Christ, nor have they, as we would humbly indulge the hope, been unaccompanied with His blessing.
It may appear to some minds a discouraging circumstance, that an Institution whose object is on all hands admitted to be so entirely coincident with the spirit of the Gospel, and with its often-repeated injunction, should not have gathered into its fellowship a larger number of members. And in one point of view, it does, no doubt, supply an occasion of regret. It might have been expected—by sanguine temperaments it probably was—that, like a magnet, such an Institution would rapidly attract to itself all the living members of the Christian Church. Reflection, however, can supply much to show that if such expectations were entertained, they must have been entertained not only in forgetfulness of many analogous facts, but in ignorance of the force of numerous influences by which even the renewed mind is governed, and which serve to modify individual convictions of truth and duty. Besides that, however unexceptionable, and indeed concurrent with known Christian obligation, the object of the Evangelical Alliance may be, it partakes, nevertheless, as an Institution, of the faultiness which attaches to everything human. If, therefore, we take a more sober, it will probably be a juster view; and then we shall not only find no room for disappointment in a comparatively small membership, and still less be discouraged by it, but we shall rather thank God that the Alliance, notwithstanding all the difficulties it has had to encounter, occupies so large a place in public observation, and has been made an instrument of effecting so much good.
These remarks, however, must not be misunderstood. The Evangelical Alliance, or more properly the British Organisation in connexion with it, does not need that its advocates should become its apologists on the ground of the paucity of its adherents. When it is remembered what impediments have always been supposed, whether truly or not, to lie in the way of admission, and by what an operose process (formerly more so than at present) the privilege is attained, it may be told with feelings of no unbecoming complacency that its actually enrolled members amount to at least six thousand Christian brethren, and that of this number nearly two thousand (more than one thousand nine hundred) are ministers of the Gospel of all Evangelical denominations of the Church of Christ. And to this it may be added that accessions are now flowing in more rapidly than heretofore, so that a meeting of the Central Committee is never held without new applications being laid before it, while of many parts of the country similar facts may be stated.
The influence of the Alliance has always extended far beyond its membership. This is but natural, and will continue as long as the Alliance exists. But it may be a question worthy of the serious reflection of brethren who stand aloof, whether