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him who is ever on the watch to sow discord among brethren. It would have been long before our various religious institutions would have recovered the shock given to public confidence, had the Bible Society, the most favoured of them all, been wrecked amidst the storm.
Among the topics which have pressed upon the public attention during the year, it was impossible that we could shut our eyes to the absorbing question of parlia mentary reform. As Christian Observers, it was our duty to urge what appeared to us to be the right view of the matter, upon religious as well as merely political grounds; and we shrunk not from stating our conviction that it was just and necessary, and our hopes that it would prove beneficial. We are more than ever confirmed in the former point; and we trust, notwithstanding some passing clouds, that the nation will not be ultimately disappointed in the latter. Church reform, law reform, the abolition of West-Indian slavery, and several other important matters which there was little hope of speedily and satisfactorily adjusting under the system of borough nomination, and the denial of the elective franchise to the major part of the wealth, intelligence, and morality of the country, seem now likely to be entered upon with promptitude and vigour. The chief danger will now be from the violence of evil disposed men who take advantage of popular feeling to blend what is good with what is evil, and to pull down and destroy, instead of repairing what is decayed. Against the devices of such men, every man who makes the word of God his standard of conduct ought to be vigilantly on his guard, otherwise our popular institutions will prove our ruin.
Of church reform we have said much, and we have much yet to say, and we therefore will not dilate upon the topic in this brief retrospect. On the plurality bill and some other measures of church reform we expressed an honest and decisive opinion, and events have more than justified all that we advanced. We have felt the difficulty, when such discussions have arisen, of speaking the truth without seeming to disparage persons or institutions which we delighted to honour; but the times required sincerity, and we do not believe that the way to support the church or its officers is to cloke or palliate abuses.
The violation of the Lord's day, which is one of the most grievous sins of this nation, has been touched upon in our volume more than almost any other single topic during the year. We begin to have hopes that at length something will be effected, not only by private Christian effort, but by public opinion and by the legislature, to bring back the nation to a sense of its solemn duty and blessed privilege in regard to the Christian Sabbath; and we purpose keeping the matter conspicuously before our readers in our next volume.
The state of the poor, and the means of bettering their temporal and spiritual condition, have been prominent topics of remark. Our effort in these discussions has been, without overlooking the importance of any partial alleviations which may be devised, to keep in view those large principles without which the question cannot be wisely and permanently adjusted.
We have not said much in this volume respecting the deplorable outburst of fanaticism which occupied so many pages of the two preceding volumes. When the eruption commenced and seemed likely to spread far and wide, and several clergymen who ought to have known better were found encouraging the wild notion of the revival or non-cessation of miracles, we could not in duty hold our peace; but when the extravagance and unscriptural character of the whole proceeding, and its connexion with awful heresies, became apparent to all, and some who were at first led away by the delusion were retracing their steps, we thought it unwise to give much further prominence to the matter. It will now, we trust, die away; and it were neither kind nor wise to renew the anxieties of its early victims. We remarked at the commencement of the discussion, that some clergymen who were originating or encouraging the delusion would live to repent their folly when it was too late to restrain the extravagancies of their followers; and we repeat the warning, as a wholesome caution against future delusions. Would that all Christians, when tempted by new and exciting speculations, would remember the duty of seeking out the good old ways, and keeping in the footsteps of the flock.
We live in a dark and cloudy day; yet if infidelity and licentiousness are on the increase, true religion is greatly on the increase also; and in the contest between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan, we know upon infallible authority which shall eventually prevail. Let us, then, gird ourselves manfully for the contest; knowing in whom we have believed, and that greater is Ile that is for us than they that are against us.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
OBIT.-Dr. Turner, Bishop of Calcutta (con-
tions of 1826 not violated.. Alleged case of
Letter xi. Alleged Annexation of Notes
RELIG. AND MISCEL. COM.-St. Paul's
De Foe's Narrative ..Vincent's God's
M'Gavin's Church Establishments
PUB. AFF. Election Tests.. Church Reform
West-Indians .. Outrages in Ireland..
LIT. AND MISCEL. INTEL.-Historical Chart