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In looking over the numerous articles which compose this volume, the reader will find that many of them are avowedly original; and we can venture to assure him, that a great proportion of those which are anonymous, and that appear under artificial signatures, are of the same description. He may also gather, from the masterly style in which many communications are written, that they are the productions of superior talents, although their authors have found it convenient to conceal their real names under fictitious appellations.
Why this secrecy should be observed, may to some appear exceedingly strange; but many reasons might be assigned, which can hardly fail to prove satisfactory to those who have a competent knowledge of mankind.
The connexions that subsist in civilized society are so complicated and various, that publicity would in many instances retard the operations of genius, and lead to unpleasant consequences, which concealment now prevents. Selfishness and jealousy are so nearly allied, that, in their united influence, they pervade all orders of mankind. A man of superior talents, every publisher wishes exclusively to possess; and should he perceive any production of his pen in a rival publication, which, in his estimation, appeared more elegant, sprightly, or argumentative, than that with which he had been supplied, awakened suspicion would destroy confidence, and perhaps generate an open rupture, which time would be unable to heal.
It also frequently happens, that local transactions create ties which prudence durst not openly violate; and when the influence of such causes becomes imperative, an embargo being laid on the mental powers, the world is deprived of half the energies of intellect.
It is a well-known fact, that truths of the utmost importance are frequently encumbered with difficulties, which, to ordinary minds, appear insuperable; and those who accustom themselves to close investigation, feel the perplexity in all its force. To have these incumbent weights removed, they sometimes sigh in secret, and wish for aid which their own minds are unable to furnish. Their stations in literature, in science, and theology, forbid them to express their doubts to others, lest they should sink in their estimation, for suspecting the infallibility of dogmas which have nothing but age and common consent to render them respectable. A fictitious signature supplies these rational sceptics with the means of stating, in the most formidable manner, the various objections which may be urged against their respective theories. These are occasionally proposed in the form of real arguments, by individuals who secretly court opposition, and whose highest gratification arises from seeing what they have advanced completely refuted. From contrivances such as these they obtain new ideas, which fortify their minds, and lead them onward to results, which previous obstacles had half tempted them to abandon in despair. Many important truths have been thus elicited by the discussions that have appeared in the pages of the IMPERIAL MAGAZINE; and several articles of a similar character, now in the Editor's hands, may be expected, in due time, to make their appearance.
That subjects of a pernicious_nature and tendency sometimes obtrude themselves on the notice of the Editor, under this cover of darkness, may very readily be conceived; but it is his business, standing as a centinel at the doors of his pages, to see that nothing improper is permitted to enter. How far in these respects he has discharged his duty, may be best known by an appeal to the EIGHT VOLUMES of the IMPERIAL MAGAZINE which are now before the world. On these he looks back without personal remorse, and without having his recollections imbittered by any complaints from his numerous readers. The same liberal integrity which has thus far been his guide, will, he hopes, be his future companion, while arranging the diversified articles he may have the honour of submitting to the public eye.
The tide which a few years since ran high in favour of infidelity, has of late experienced a considerable ebb; but irreligion has still its advocates, and genuine piety its foes in the same individual characters. To prosecute their unhallowed warfare, vulgar ribaldry, refined profligacy, and philosophical pride unite their powers, but it is only in the region of animal sensuality and mental libertinism that the standard of licentiousness is permanently reared.
Of this moral Simoom, it is indeed to be lamented, that many nominal Christians, of little knowledge, and of weak judgments, who want fortitude to bear sarcasm, and courage to avow their own convictions, feel the withering influence. But while such characters are entitled to compassion, they cannot expect that the real friends of virtue and moral worth should compromise the rectitude of principle, to furnish their infirmities with an accommodation.
In this polluted atmosphere all who espouse the cause of unadulterated Christianity, anticipate reproach; but the opprobrious epithets of Enthusiasts, Fanatics, Methodists, and Saints, with which they are stigmatized, like the weapon of aged Priam, either fall short of their mark, or only tinkle on the shield.
In the momentous cause of unsophisticated truth, the IMPERIAL MAGAZINE is engaged. Here it originally took its stand; and this uninverted pyramid, having furnished it with ample support amidst the storms and earthquakes that have convulsed the literary world, by still forming the basis. on which it rests, affords a pleasing presage of its future prosperity.
INDEX TO VOL. VIII.
Basil, St. an extract from,
Dreams, remarks on, ...
Dress, strictures on,
Dulwich picture gallery, a day at,
Gospel, dignity and perfection of the,.
Conscience, essay on,.......•••
Diversity of religious opinions among
reflections on the use of,
Human mind, analysis of the,
Hawaii, description of the volcano in,.
History of Lucy Mar,
Hydrogen and nitrogen,
Hydrophobia, remedy for the,......
541 632 45 527 726
IDIOTISM and insanity, difference be-
1004 952 1032 814 294, 969 40 535 Instability of earthly edjoyments, 164 Jones, Richard Robert, memoir of, 593, 705 650 201 Iron in its native state,
774 801 355
Lime and magnesia, their properties,
Mass, virtues of the,
Memory, the art of, from Erasmus,
NAPOLEON, reflections on the glory of,
Old clothes for the relief of the poor,.
Omar, the sage of the valley, the words of,
PAPAL apparitions-Struel stations,
208, 304, 592, 880
Religious world, 138, 358-worship,.. 489