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PUBLISHED BY JOHN MASON,
AND SOLD AT 66, PATERNOSTER-ROW.
The Prefatory Observations which long-established custom seems now to require in reference to all works of magnitude or importance, while always intended to call the reader's attention to the design and character of the volume, yet stand in a peculiar relation to one which has been, in periodical Numbers, already published. Before the preface can be written, at least eleven parts of the work, out of the entire twelve, have been read ; so that the reader can be referred, not only to the objects which are proposed to be accomplished, but to the means which have been employed to secure them. Briefly to make the statements proper for such a preface as this, is one of the concluding portions of that annual circuit of duty, in which the Editors of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine are called to move.
Their one great object, in every Number, whatever the particular materials composing it, has been, to keep in view the original design of the work; and, while doing this, to ascertain, by a vigilant attention to “ the signs of the times,” what those particular subjects and questions have been, to which attention should be chiefly paid for accomplishing it. Of one class of subjects, some may be more proper for consideration at one time, others at another. A work published periodically may, therefore, always aim at securing the same object, by the employment of means of the same general character ; while yet, without the slightest departure from principle, there may be even important alterations in the particular form of developement.
The original design of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine was, the promotion of vital godliness by the diffusion of evangelical truth. If, in the prosecution of this design, Mr. Wesley believed, that a portion of every Number should be devoted to the controversial maintenance of doctrines which he regarded, not only as being true, but as being likewise highly important, he, at the same time, was equally careful to state those general truths of spiritual and experimental religion, in which he agreed with those from whom, on the other points, he conscientiously differed. By able discourses which he wrote purposely for the Magazine, as well as by letters and other papers, he continually endeavoured to place before the reader, those vital doctrines of scriptural Christianity, which have in all ages been " the power of God unto salvation,” and in revived attention to which, the great Protestant Reformation originated. From the beginning, therefore, the Wesleyan Magazine has been essentially a Protestant publication. At the time of its commencement, the position of Romanism was not such as to call for any extended controversial notice; but those truths of spiritual religion which were stated by Mr. Wesley himself, and often so beautifully illustrated by the letters of his correspondents, went directly and powerfully to undermine the very foundations of the Papal system, by showing that personal piety, according to the Scriptures, rested upon principles diametrically opposed to all the pretensions and regulations of the Papacy. If the doctrines of justi