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FOR THE YEAR 1820.
PRINTED FOR SAMUEL T. ARMSTRONG,
BY CROCKER & BREWSTER,
No. 50, Cornhill.
TO PATRONS AND READERS.
THE time has arrived, when it becomes the Editor of the Panoplist to take a final leave of his Patrons and Readers, as the present number closes his labors in that capacity. In doing this, as little formality will be observed, and as few words employed, as will be consistent with a respectful deference to the Christian public, and a due recognition of editorial responsibility, To our numerous Patrons we return undissembled thanks for their countenance and support. We have experienced, as well as others, the mutability of human affairs; but no other religious publication in our country, and probably no monthly publication of any kind, has enjoyed so uniform a patronage, extending through so long a period. As to the respectability of our subscribers, some opinion may be formed, when it is stated, that the list embraces a greater number of clergymen, we presume, than any similar subscription list in the United States;-of clergymen highly respected, not only by their own people, but by large communi. ties in which their character is known;-that it also contains a great number of laymen, distinguished by their intelligence, their influence, and their active participation in the principal religious charities of the day; and that our volumes have been thought worthy of preservation in a regular series, by the proprietors of many public and very numerous private libraries. We mention these facts, not by way of boasting, but as reasons for the gratitude we express, and as having been constant monitors of our accountability. They also afford occasion of much regret, that our pages have not been more worthy of the favor, which they have received.
For several years past, the Editor's connexion with missionary operations has brought upon him so many avocations, and those of so indispensable a nature, that he has not been able to devote time and attention to this work, in as full a manner, as he was anxiously desirous of doing. It unfortunately happened, also, that some contributors to our pages, who were most able to benefit the public by their writings, became so intensely occupied in the discharge of their official and appropriate duties, as to compel them to withhold that aid, which they had previously afforded; and one, who was eminently qualified to be a public instructor by his pen, as well as by his oral communications of many different kinds, has been removed by death. We refer to the late Dr. Dwight, who wrote the Lectures on the Evidences of Divine Revelation, published in several successive volumes, and the essay On the manner in which the Scriptures are to be understood, which appeared in the summer of 1816. To the memory of that great man we would pay the tribute of our affectionate veneration. Had opportunity presented itself, soon after his decease, we should have made the attempt, however feeble it might have been, to delineate his character somewhat at large. Such an employment would have been highly grateful to our feelings; but it would not have been the employment of an hour or a day, and could not be well executed by any one, while exposed to perpetual interruption. An ideal character may be drawn with rapidity; but he, who would so describe a truly great man, as that all competent judges should pronounce his description full and faithful; and who would avoid the least swerving from absolute verity on the one hand, while he should not sink into tame generality on the other, must have time to reflect, and to consider well his language. Of the lamented instructor, theologian, and preacher, whose name has just been mentioned, the present occasion permits us only to say, that the numerous and extraordinary endowments of mind and heart, which Providence had munificently bestowed upon him, were constantly applied to the noblest purposes. None, who were so happy as to be intimately acquainted with him, will ever forget his zeal for evangelical truth, his powerful reasoning, his commanding eloquence, his fidelity as a teacher of human science and of revealed religion, his kind and paternal government, his interest in the success of young men, and that high generosity, which pervaded all his intercourse with mankind. In him was strikingly exemplified that heavenly charity, which, in all its diversified operations, forms the perfection of the Christian character; and which appeared in that love of goodness and of good men,—that can dor in thinking, reasoning, and judging,-that disposition to forgive and restore the erring, to uphold and defend the innocent, and that active beneficence, by which he was so eminently distinguished.
To return from this digression, into which we have been imperceptibly drawn, we present our particular acknowledgments to all, of whose labors we have been enabled to avail ourselves. A great proportion of the interest, which our work may have excited, and of the effects, which it has produced, must be ascribed to the generous aid derived from contributors of original matter. It is proper here to remark, that the public seem to be by no means aware of the influence, capable of being exerted by a periodical publication. When they shall be duly impressed with this subject, and shall call into action the concentrated talents of all in our country, who espouse the cause of sound theology, pure morals, and enlarged benevolence, it will be seen what surprising results may be accomplished by truth, argument, and Christian zeal.
In reviewing our work, we have endeavored to place before the mind all the considerations, which serve to explain or enforce the great responsibility of one, who writes for the public. How much we are deceived as to our motives, or our object, it is not in our own power, or that of any human tribunal, exactly to determine. We can declare, however, without the least reserve, that we have always intended to act, in reference to every thing published in our pages, with entire Christian integrity, so far as we have been able to judge of our motives. When the case required it, we have given great deliberation to the question whether we should publish, and whether the manner, as well as the matter, could be justified. Whenever facts have been stated, or opinions with respect to facts have been given, the most satisfactory evidence has been required. We know not that the Panoplist has ever been seriously assailed, except by those, who class themselves under the general denomination of Unitarians. By them, indeed, the most vehement charges have been made. Some of these charges have been refuted formally, and at length. For the consideration of others we have had no time. In reference to all these charges, we are satisfied, that an impartial judge would pronounce them without foundation.
In some instances the facts, which we had asserted, have been denied; but, in no instance, that we can recollect, has this denial been supported. We are certain, that no case of intentional misrepresentation can be made out against us; because no such case has existed. In regard to those passages, in our various controversies with Unitarians, which were thought to bear hard upon individuals, we can aver, that they were written from considerations of a public nature, and not from any unkindness to the persons concerned, nor any wish to excite unpleasant feelings. In discharging what we deemed to be a serious duty, we always endeavored to take care, that no individual, and no party, should have just occasion to complain of our representations; and we are not convinced, that this care was ever insufficient, or ineffectual. Harsh and violent things have been said of our work and our motives; but we harbor no resentments, and pray that we and our opponents, may view things as they really are, and as they will be viewed, when every delusion shall cease, and unmixed truth shall be seen and acknowledged.
We should not have mentioned this subject, were it not for the plain obligation, which rests upon every writer, to retract former opinions or assertions, which he has found to be erro. neous. At the close of this work, the public have a claim to know what we think of those passages, which have been particularly obnoxious, and on which the lapse of years has enabled us to form a deliberate judgment. After the general declaration of upright motives, which we have made, we would by no means intimate, that we have ever thought ourselves exempt from the influence of passion and prejudice. To these causes of error we have doubtless been more or less exposed; but we have attempted to guard against them, and hope they have not operated to any very injurious extent.
The present Editor has superintended the publication of the last eleven volumes. Much of the original matter was written by himself, and for nearly all the rest he avows the fullest responsibility. During some periods of absence on account of ill health, he did not see all the articles, which were published; but he is not aware that any of these were the subject of animadversion.
In bidding our readers farewell, we most unfeignedly wish them happiness in this world and the world to come. If they have derived any benefit from our humble services, we would be thankful, and ascribe to God the praise; if they have, in any respect been led astray, we would regret it, and desire that any inadvertence, or any fault, of ours may be forgiven, and no permanent evil result from it. Soon must we and our readers, appear before the judgment seat of Christ. May we be pardoned by his blood, clothed in his righteousness, and admitted to his kingdom and glory.
TO THE PRINCIPAL MATTERS CONTAINED IN THIS VOLUME.
mate danger of servile insurrection, 485
Boscawen, N. H. revival of religion at,
Brainerd, journal of the mission at, 82,
Byron's poetry, remarks on,
Capital punishment inefficacious,
Baltimore Female Mite Society,
Bardwell Rev. Horatio, journal of, 457–
Choctaw Chiefs, their letter to the Rev.
Choctaws, their grants to the schools,
Bible Society, British and Foreign, 16th
Choule, tour of Mr. Hall to,
Blacks in this country,on the condition of,