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Members of the Established Church.


THE YEAR 1857.




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In a world in which the wheel of events rolls on so rapidly; in which men and events pass swiftly by us, as the figures in a great procession; and in which constitutions are dissolved and dynasties displaced in a moment,-it is something to say of the “Christian Observer," that it has lasted, with little change of circumstances, for more than half a century. Books are by no means exempted from the general law of change or dissolution; and during this period it is probable that five hundred Periodicals, of various classes, have been born and have perished. But here is the old book, in its quaint old cover, presenting itself, with a sort of green old age, and, as far as we can see, likely to live on through the rest of the century. During its existence, the fluctuations of opinion have been many and great; but the waves have dashed against it without apparently doing it any real injury.- Is it asked, whence comes this durability? The answer is, we believe, to be found in the fact, that the first fathers of the Work having based it on thoroughly sound principles, its succeeding managers, editors, and contributors have, more or less, been enabled, by the blessing of God, tenaciously to cling to those principles. In sitting down to produce a Preface for the Annual Volume, now arrived at its last Number, we have been led to cast our eyes on the first Preface to the Work in the year 1802; and we were delighted to find that, allowing for human imperfections, the principles, objects, spirit, and temper of the Work have sustained little or no change. Its originators proposed to themselves a strict adherence to the simple Word of God ; - to recal the attention of the Church to the teaching of the Reformers, and especially those of our own Church, as the best human exposition of the Sacred Volume ;-to seek truth rather than victory ;--to steer clear of immoderate extremes ;—to vindicate the truth in a temper of mind which would not dishonour it. And it is not presumptuous to

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