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Voice of Truth;
“Speaking the Truth in Love."
"IN ESSENTIALS, UNITY; IN NON-ESSENTIALS. LIBERTY; IN ALL THINGS, CHARITY."
VOL. V.- NEW SERIES.
EVERYTHING human is subject to mutation : it is only the divine which remains unchangeable and eternal. Everything around us is changing; and we ourselves experience physical, mental, and spiritual changes ; but in the covenant God of Israel there is nothing changeable. He is of one mind, and none can turn him. He is unchanging in the perfections resident in his self-existent and eternal nature, and in all the purposes of his infinite mind. He is the Lord that changeth not. His immutability is one ground of the everlasting security of his church. As he himself declares : “I am the Lord; I change not ; therefore ve sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Nations undergo changes : their forms of government wax old, and become powerless for any good ; and frequently they are cast off, as young men cast off their old garments they have outworn, and for which they have no further use. What revolutions have taken place on the Continent during the present year! How the hoary power of Austria has tottered and been paralyzed! And how Prussia has increased in power, triumph, and fame! What changes are going on in Italy! The Pope is losing his political power. His terrible despotism is crumbling under the progress of intelligence and liberty. The people are becoming free from the forced incubus of an ignorant, misguided, and tyrannical priesthood ; and surely we may expect, with the breaking down of the political domination of the Papacy, greater freedom in the circulation of the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make men wise unto salvation. Truth wants a free stage, and no favour. It never seeks concealment, but open, transparent manifestation. It comes from heaven, and requires no patronage from human governments : when they seek to patronize Christianity, they are binding God's Samson with new cords ; or they are preparing a cross on which to crucify it, or a sepulchre in which to bury it, as the Lord of life and glory was crucified and buried. "We say to human governments—“ Hands off !” for the kingdom of Christ is not of this world. We would say in the language of intense earnestness and burning zeal, “ Awake, Samson, for the Philistines be upon you !" We believe in the vitality of Divine truth; and bury it as men will in the sepulchre of false churches, it shall rise in all its pristine purity and grandeur, casting off its graveclothes for ever. In its risen life, like its eternal Author, it shall shine with increasing brightness, and march on with invincible triumphs by the omnipotency of its own divinity. Truth is divine, and must prosper. “It is mighty, and must prevail.” We should rejoice to see a glorious confederacy of men engaged in earnest effort to spread the fame of Jesus, in the dissemination of the everlasting gospel ;-men who fear God, and love the truth as it is in Jesus ; men whose hearts are on fire for the Lord's glory, and the good of souls ; men of unbending integrity, of unflagging zeal, of unwavering confidence in the ultimate triumph of truth. Weare living in times when the enemy cometh in like a flood. There are many floods cast out of the serpent's mouth after the woman (the church of God), that he might cause her to be carried away (from God's truth and Spirit) of the flood. There is a flood of Rationalism, or refined infidelity,--a flood of ritualism, which is an idolatry of ceremonies, and a flood of worldliness, which deadens spiritual sympathies, poisons spiritual delights, weakens the church's power, dims her glory, and covers her with darkness, as with a funeral pall. Oh that the church
more deeply felt its position, and sought more devoutly to perpetuate the cause of Christ, by a bold, spiritual maintenance of the doctrines of Christianity, and the ordinances of Christ ! We want the truths of God's word to be living forces in our own souls. The religion of Jesus, where it exists in the heart, is a source of living strength. The principles are vital, unchanging, invincible and practical. “ Christian doctrines, rightly held, are living principles of action, inseparable from our conduct, and give their whole tone and complexion to our thoughts and lives.” An experimental knowledge of the truth, will preserve the church from being carried away with “divers and strange doctrines,” which are so zealously propounded in these last days. Error is manifold, distracting, and enfeebling. It is chaff, and not wheat : it is a stone, and not bread ; it is impure water, and not the water of life ; it is fog and cloud, not clearness and sunlight.
We should rejoice to see godly ministers, capable of using the press in the cause of truth, doing so : it is a mighty agency. The enemies of spiritual religion are employing it incessantly, and with terrible effect. Surely if the truths of God are precious to us, we should be anxious to be instrumental in their dissemination. We know God's cause will never perish,--his purposes will never be defeated ; and that the enemies shall never prevail against the true church of Christ. But our God is the God of order ; he employs means to accomplish the designs of his mercy; and means and ends are connected in the economy of redemption. What God has “joined together, let no man put asunder.” The truths of God are the palladium of our political rights and religious privileges. They are also a heavensent panacea for the diseases of souls. Take these away, and we are in gross darkness; our civil liberties are uncertain ; our landmarks of godliness are removed, and we are filched of our jewels and precious treasures.
In closing this Preface, we would thank our friends for their efforts in the past, and express our earnest desire, in behalf of the interest of the Magazine, that they may continue, with more earnestness than ever, to aid the Committee in the circulation. Our editorial work is done for the year 1866. How feeble have been our efforts ! and how far short have we come of that completeness in the Magazine, to which we have been anxious to attain ! For our work and for ourselves we need the atonement, and the sympathy of the Atoner. If in anything we have wounded any of our brethren, or if we have appeared to neglect their communications, or if we have stood in the way of the success of any monthly magazine, bearing the superscription of Christ, and breathing his Spirit, we are sorry; and would rather heal the wounded, than wound, -rather bear injuries, than do them. We love the cause of truth, and would not be behind any in courtesy and love to ministerial brethren, and to the followers of Christ in general. With all the imperfections of our work, we have done our best to serve the churches, and to meet the wishes of our supporters. We seek the forgiveness of the Lord for all imperfection, and beseech him to bless the circulation of his own truth. Whether our time is short or not in our editorial character, we seek the sympathy and efforts of friends, and the benediction of the God of salvation.
VOICE OF TRUTH;
“ SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE.”
IN ESSENTIALS, UNITY; IN NON-ESSENTIALS, LIBERTY; IN ALL THINGS, CHARITY.
Expositions and Essays.
“A HAPPY NEW YEAR.” This is the usual salutation of friends to each other in the beginning of the year. “A new year !”—how suggestive! It reminds us that another measure of time has passed away into the vast eternity, with all its pains and pleasures, and with all its duties and privileges. What changes we have seen !--what conflicts we have endured !—what battles in the soul have been lost or won !-what unspeakable and undeserved mercies have been enjoyed! and yet how cold our hearts have been to the God of sovereign love. His goodness, power, and faithfulness, have been manifest through the varied dispensations of the past. His promises have never been broken, his eye has been upon his people for good, and his ear is ever open to their cry. The resources of Jehovah-Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are all-sufficient and eternal. They have been sufficient in the past, they are so now, and will be in all future times. These infinite resources are available to the church through the mediatorial doings of the Son of God ; and if we are favoured to realize our interest in them, we shall have, in the highest sense of the expression, a happy new year.” To make us truly happy, we want an experience of God's pardoning mercy-a pursuasion wrought by the Holy Spirit in our hearts, that we are vitally and inseparably united to Christ, a knowledge of our justification before God, in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus—a perpetual shedding abroad of the love of God in the heart-an increasing knowledge of Christ in the wonders of his Person and work, whom to know is eternal life ; and a hearty intimacy with the fulness and preciousness of the everlasting gospel. “A happy new year” to you. There are some, unquestionably,•who utter these words without much thought, and with still less prayer, while others use them as the intense desire and prayer of the soul. It is a thought calculated, under the Divine blessing, to produce deep seriousness of heart, that many who saluted their friends with these words last year, are among the dead in the invisible world. Some of them died, no doubt, in the hope of the gospel, and with blessed assurances of glory in the presence of the Lamb. Others died in a criminal indifference to God's providential benefactions, and the claims of his holy law. Many of the godly have passed away from the church militant to that of the church triumphant in the paradise of God. They have fought their battles, and through Him that loved them they are now living in the undying rapture of eternal victory. Their labours are over, and their sorrows are ended ; and they
VOL. V.-NO. XLIX., NEW SERIES.