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FOR THE YEAR 1825.
By manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to erery man's
A. FINLEY, N. E, CORNER OF CHESNUT AND FOURTH STREETS.
UNDER favour of an indulgent Providence, the editor of the Christian Advocate is permitted to greet its patrons on the completion of a third volume. His work shall be left, as heretofore, to proclaim its own merits or defects. He will only say, that he is conscious of having laboured faithfully in his vocation, and that he has received some encouraging indications that he has not laboured altogether in vain.
Subscriptions to this miscellany have steadily increased, through the year which is closing; and contributions of literary aid, greater in amount and variety than at any former period, have been received. To the friends who have promoted, or who have made, subscriptions, and to those who have assisted in furnishing the contents of the successive numbers of the miscellany, the editor's best thanks are due, and are very sincerely offered. He still needs their countenance and aid: for notwithstanding an increased patronage has been gained by the Christian Advocate, and although it now goes into nearly every state of the American Union, it cannot yet boast of the number of its subscribers. It would seem, indeed, that this number ought to be either less or greater; less, if the work is not worthy of a liberal support-greater, if it is. The amount of subscriptions, at present, but little exceeds a thousand-in a church which reckons as her own, at least eleven hundred ordained ministers, and more than three hundred licentiates and candidates for licensure: and the pecuniary avails of the work, including the tenth set apart to charity, are far less than many a mechanic, in the neighbourhood of the editor, derives from his handicraft industry. Ought these things so to be? The question is left to the consideration and conscience of the ministers and members of the Presbyterian church, at whose instance the publication was undertaken, and to whose service it is, and has been, faithfully devoted.
But while the editor would certainly be gratified in seeing the Christian Advocate more extensively patronized, he has neither wish nor expectation that it should ever become a national work. Such a wish he regards as improper, and all such expectation as visionary. In reference to a religious miscellany, let us be permitted to ask, what is meant by a national work, of which we perceive that some have lately spoken ? Can it be expected that writers of the best talents, in all the religious denominations of our country, will combine and put forth their energies, to furnish essays, discussions, and information, for such a miscellany? Were this to take place, it would surely be “a new thing under the sun.” We have no national church, and we devoutly pray that we may never have one: for the union of church and state has, in our judgment, always been the source of the most baneful corruption of that religion whose Divine Author declared “my kingdom is not of this world.”
But even in countries where a national church is established, as in England for example, there is no religious miscellany that can with any propriety be called a national work. The Christian Observer is, we believe, and we certainly think deservedly, the most popular monthly publication, of a religious kind, in the established charch of South Britain.