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It was not without much fear, and a deep sense of responsibility that the Bible and THE PEOPLE was commenced: and this responsibility was of a two-fold nature: first and foremost, that the pens employed in this periodical, should afford instructive, useful, and quickening materials for the minds of its readers; and be of some new service to the cause of enlightened Christianity: secondly, to ensure such an extent of circulation as should secure at least, from pecuniary loss, one who was too generous to seek gain, being willing to do good for its own sake.
Having no organ of the public press immediately allied to our undertaking, and therefore engaged directly or indirectly, to further our purpose, we were dependent solely upon the nature of our efforts, and such slight publicity as we were able to secure.
Our thanks are due both to many of our readers who took an active interest in extending the periodical, from an appreciation of its value : and also to many organs of the weekly press, for their disinterested and generous recognition.
We can only desire the continuance of the attentions of both; promising, on our parts, to aim at being more worthy of their aid and commendations; our sole desire is to remove ignorance, to extend a true knowledge of the gospel and its claims: we ask only a candid examination of the spirit and purpose of THE BIBLE AND THE PEOPLE, charitable forbearance towards any imperfections, which experience may diminish; together with the strenuous efforts of such as can cordially unite with us in extending the sphere of our influence and usefulness.
With these views and hopes, we may address our readers in the words of a circular letter already sent to a few, and request from any, such suggestions and communications as they may be prompted to forward
"As a friend of a vigorous and healthy Christian literature, your attention is respectfully requested to the Prospectus of THE BIBLE AND THE PEOPLE, for 1852.
Too great a proportion of the reading presented to the public, is simply of the nature of amusement or pastime; which undermines the power of thought by easy common-place: hence we require periodicals that will strengthen the understanding, and fortify the character.
The danger of this active age, is that we may destroy the power of thought, by the distraction of pressing engagements; the little leisure being filled up with easy reading-the bane of all earnestness and principle!
Thus is the understanding enervated, and the mind becomes a creature of accident, as to the truths or errors it imbibes. Such is especially the danger of those who have (as is said) NO TIME FOR READING, or who have TOO MANY books and periodicals: for these THe Bible and thE PEOPLE is peculiarly adapted. Because it presents in a readable space, a condensation of those truths and principles with which it is important for all persons to be acquainted.
Its purpose is to exhibit in short plain articles, the saving truths of Christianity, their application to private and public life, and especially to expose the sophistry of the infidel, rationalistic and superstitious publications.
The Bible and THE PEOPLE stands alone in the peculiarity of its purpose, and in adaptation to the wants of an enquiring age; in which too many think that change is progress, whilst some regard custom as infallibility.
Whilst suitable to all who are careful to examine and embrace the
truth, this periodical will be found especially fitted for the heads of families, both as useful to themselves, and a repository of instruction for those growing up under their care.
It is adapted to young men of enquiring minds; it claims the attention
of employers, as suitable to be by them introduced to the notice of their workmen.
It will be found serviceable to ministers of religion, and a great help to those engaged in Town Missions, and Lay preachers generally; as well as to those occupied in Sabbath School Teaching.
May we beg your interest and influence in introducing it to the notice of any such persons, as well as Mechanics' Institutes, and the working classes generally, so far as you have opportunity?
Your kind co-operation in taking the periodical yourself, and making it known in the circle of your acquaintance, will be esteemed a great favour, and we earnestly believe, will be doing great good."
With fear and trembling, but with earnest hope, and devout prayer to the source of all blessing and illumination, we send forth this first volume, and look forward to our future efforts.
The following publications, to which your attention is also requested, will serve to indicate the nature of some of the principles advocated in THE BIBLE AND THE PEOPLE.
The Three Shams. 1s.
Four Orations to the Oratorians; a Reply to Dr. Newman. 2d each. Bound Is. The Swallowell Family; a concise exposure of Wilberforce's reasons for his Romanism. 1d. Suitable for general distribution.
Rimini and Oxford, the Winking Virgin, and the Puseyite Divinity. 6d.
The above, together with THE BIBLE AND THE PEOPLE, are all Published by Ward and Co., London: and may be had of all Booksellers.
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Burns, Rev. J., D.D. Discourses on the various forms of Religion