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FOR THE YEAR 1825,
THE TWENTY-FIFTH VOLUME.
PRINTED BY ELLERTOT AND HENDERSON,
Gough Square, Fleet Street,
PATERNOSTER ROW: AT OXFORD, BY PARKER: AT CAMBRIDGE, BY DEIGHTON
TIROUGHOUT THE KINGDOM.
THE leading object of the Christian Observer, whatever imperfections may have attended the pursuit of it, has ever been to promote the extension of pure and undefiled religion ; and, believing the Established Church to be an eminent instrument in the hand of God for that
purpose, and cordially attached upon principle to its doctrines and discipline, the conductors of that work have conscientiously ranged themselves beneath its venerated banners, and addressed their pages more particularly to its members. They have thought and maintained, that, to be a true Christian, it is not necessary to be either an Arminian or a Calvinist, to verge towards apathy or enthusiasm, or to adopt any of the opposing extremes of doctrine which zealous controversialists have respectively insisted upon as his exclusive characteristics. They have further maintained, that, in order to be faithful and consistent members of the Church of England, it is not necessary to anathematise their Dissenting brethren, while they think it their duty not to shrink from an honest avowal and defence of what they consider valuable in the faith or discipline of their own communion. The test of a quarter of a century has proved that the plan of conducting a work on this simple, and, as we think, strongly Christian basis, was not visionary. We could not indeed hope to unite all suffrages.
Some of our Dissenting brethren have occasionally, but not often, we would hope, or wilfully, mistaken our object, or assailed us with acrimony. Some ultra-doctrinalists, whether Dissenting or Episcopalian, it is also true, have not been sparing in their censures upon us, because we could not follow them to the verge of Antinomianism or fanaticism. But our most frequent and persevering, and not least angry, opponents have been those members of our own communion, whose controversy with us has been grounded on their opposition, in whole or in part, to those principles which we have ever held to be among the essentials of true religion ;-such as the awfully lapsed state of mankind; their utter inability to rescue themselves from their fearful condition by their own natural powers; the free, and wholly unmerited, nature of our justification before God by faith ; the indispensible necessity of the agency of God's Holy Spirit in converting and saving the soul, and the absolute obligation we are under, as Christians, not to be conformed to this world; but to be renewed in holiness after the Divine image. To these points of difference, we may add several questions connected with the practical arrangements of our common church, and the operations of various religious and charitable institutions, for our attachment to which we have incurred no slight or unfrequent censure.
We fully believe however, that the cause of true religion, with a firm attachment to their own communion, free from an intolerant or sectarian spirit, has for some years been greatly on the increase among the members of our church. For such persons especially, we would wish to present a miscellany which may bring before them, monthly, such topics as may be found both useful and interesting. Not confining ourselves on