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Haring conducted our Work, by the favour of Divine Providence, to the close of the First VOLUME OF THE THIRD SERIEs, we cannot allow the year to terminate, without briefly addressing our Readers.
It is well understood, that what is called the Preface of a Book, though placed at the commencement, and commonly read first, is almost always written last; and that it is designed to afford the opportunity of making such preliminary observations on the general contents of the Volume, as the Writer may deem it expedient to suggest to the Reader, in order to prepare him for its profitable perusal, and to secure for it a candid reception. The circumstances, however, of a Periodical Publication, are somewhat different. In our own instance, for example, the Preface, though last written, as usual, cannot, as in other cases, be first read; for most of the Numbers which compose the Volume have already undergone the ordeal of public examination. Instead, therefore, of employing our Preface in bespeaking for the following pages the indulgence and attention of our friends, we have the more pleasing task of acknowledging the kindness with which they have actually been received, and the substantial proofs of growing patronage and estimation, by which the Third Series of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine has been honoured ;particularly in the very large inerease of its sale, not only in every part of our own Religious Community, but among evangelical Christians of other Denominations.
Our best thanks (next to those which belong to Him, without whose smile no undertaking can be blessed or made a blessing) are due to various kind and able CORRESPONDENTS ; whose Communications have enriched our Work with articles, many of which, we confidently affirm, have a more than temporary interest, and will, for many years to come, be consulted with pleasure and advantage, as containing just and powerful statements of Christian Principles and Duties, triumphant vindications of the Truth as it is in Jesus, useful records of important Facts, and edifying memorials of exemplary Piety and Excellence.
To the PURCHASERS of our Work we also offer our grateful acknowledgments; together with our respectful apologies for any partial and occasional failures which circumstances,-on our part, we hope, unavoidable, and in reference to' which we have therefore been unfortunate rather than culpable,-may possibly have produced, in our efforts to consult their various tastes, and to meet all fair and reasonable expectations. Those efforts will be zealously renewed, during the ensuing year; and we trust that they will be successful in the still further improvement of our Magazine, in all its departments, and in the increasing satisfaction and edification of our Subscribers ; whose continued support, and whose recon
commendation of our Work to their families and friends, we earnestly solicit. The Profits of our Sale are faithfully applied in aid of the Support and Spread of the Gospel in Great Britain and Ireland, by Itinerant and Village Preaching, &c. Every new Subscriber, whom the influence of our friends may procure for us, will be, in fact, a new auxiliary to the great Cause of Religion and Public Happiness, and will, by taking this Magazine, be increasing his means of doing, as well as of receiving good.
On reviewing the present Volume, we venture humbly to presume, that the great PRINCIPLES which we were pledged in our Prospectus to consider as sacred and fundamental, have not been violated or compromised ; and that the Plan which it described has been generally carried into execution, with such minor and inconsiderable variations only, as experience showed to be advantageous to the work. Our chief toil and difficulty have arisen from the necessity of compression ; for it cannot be concealed that, to do perfect justice to a Plan so extensive and various, would require much larger space than that to which we are at present confined. But that none of the leading Departments, into which our Miscellany is divided, has been overlooked or neglected, will, we think, satisfactorily appear, if our Subscribers will do us the favour to examine the very large and copious Index, which, according to our promise, we have the pleasure of giving, in addition to our usual quantity of letter-press, at the close of the Number for December. Such an Index, we need not say, greatly adds to the permanent utility of a Magazine; and will, especially when continued for a series of years, be particularly valuable to theological students, and to all whom experience has taught, that to know where they can find information, on the subjects of their several pursuits, is, in truth, one of the most useful branches of knowledge.
We conclude our Preface by borrowing a sentiment from our Prospectus ; and, in reference to our future labours, “ we earnestly request the assistance of friends, and devoutly implore the blessing of God."
FOR JANUARY, 1822.
The Editor of this Magazine, in conformity with what may be deemed the established usage on similar occasions, judges it expedient to commence the First Number of the Third
ies, by inserting the substance of a Paper which has been recently circulated as a Prospectus. It is most respectfully submitted, in this permanent form, to the notice of the Subscribers, and of the Public, as containing a general view of the principles by which this Work will be regulated, and of the plan on which it will be conducted.
PROSPECTUS OF THE THIRD SERIES OF THE
BEING A CONTINUATION OF THE
ARMINIAN OR METHODIST MAGAZINE, Originally commenced, in 1778, by the Rev. JOHN WESLEY, M.A.
The Monthly Publication, of which a Third Series is now respectfully announced, has been very extensively useful for the long period of torty-four years. To multitudes, it has been the instrument of conveying the most important knowledge. By the perusal of its pages, under the blessing of God, many have been aroused from the slumbers of sin ; many who were resting in the forms, and decencies, and “bodily exercise" of a merely external Christianity, have been leil to seek the power of godliness; many have been taught the way of faith in Christ as the only path to peace and holiness ; many have been strengthened for duty, comforted under affliction, and excited to gratitude and zeal by the details which it has furnished of the progress of Christ's Kingdom, and the success of his word and work, in various parts of the earth. It is not presumptuous to say, that, in all these respects, few books of human composition have been more honoured by God, than the volumes which constitute the First and Second Series of this Magazine. As a treasury of modern Vol. I. Third Series. JANUARY, 1822.
Christian Biography, and of other articles illustrative of the nature and excellence of Experimental Religion, we believe they stand unrivalled among their numerous periodical competitors. And on that and other accounts, they have well deserved the estimation in which they have long been held by pious persons ; thousands of whom have read them with pleasure and profit to themselves, and then bequeathed them as a legacy to their children, from which they might learn how their fathers believed, and felt, and lived, and died, and by which they might be constantly admonished to be “ followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises."
The venerable Joseph Benson, who, for nearly eighteen years, had superintended the Methodist Magazine, having been removed to a better world, it has been thought expedient now to commence a THIRD SERIES of this work. This measure will afford to new friends a convenient opportunity of becoming Subscribers for it ; every distinct Series of a Periodical Publication being, in some sense, complete and perfect by itself, and not necessarily connected with preceding volumes. To the former volumes, however, reference will still be made in the Title-Pages of the Third Series; so that possessors of the work from an early period will have the full advantage of that character of substantial continuity and identity, which belongs to it through every stage of its progress.
The Publishers have determined, on this occasion, to adopt several new arrangements, for the purpose of giving to this Magazine that iinprovement, of which, from the changing circumstances and habits of society, and from the lights afforded by experience, every human undertaking becomes in course of time susceptible. Some account of these arrangements it will be proper to lay before the Public.
It must, however, be premised, that the Editor feels himself obliged in duty to adhere to all those great and leading principles, which have distinguished the former volumes of this work, and which are held sacred by the Religious Body from whom it emanates. Nothing contradictory to the grand doctrines of the Bible, as professed by them, will be knowingly admitted. The Methodists, as a People, have not now their creed to learn ; they have formed their humble and serious judgment respecting all the fundamental verities revealed in the Sacred Volume ; and they need not again discuss those “first principles," as if they had never been schooled in them before, or as if they had adopted them without sufficient evidence of their solidity. For those whose religious inquiries are not yet begun, or who have made no satisfactory progress in them, such elementary investigations may be quite in character : but a Religious Magazine, whose limits are so contracted, is not the medium through which mere novices in theology may best seek to have their doubts and dif