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ASHBEL GREEN> D.D.
FOR THE YEAR 1827.
-By manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man's
A. FINLEY, N E. CORNER OF CHESNUT AND FOURTH STREETS.
Permitted by the goodness of God to complete and present to its readers the fifth volume of the Christian Advocate, the Editor desires to acknowledge that goodness with lively gratitude; and to offer his thanks to those whose patronage and approbation have sustained and encouraged him in his arduous occupation.
In the Prospectus of this work, a tythe of its “clear income” was pledged to the charities of the church. This pledge has caused the Editor no small embarrassment, from which he believes it to be both his privilege and his duty to free himself for the future. When the Prospectus was offered to the publick, it was confidently expected by the gentlemen who then had the disposal of the work, that the Christian Advocate would receive the ready and united patronage of the Presbyterian church at large ; and that a general subscription would be greatly promoted, by the consideration that every subscriber would not only benefit himself, but contribute to the fund of Christian charity. It is scarcely necessary to state, that the expectations then entertained have not been realized. At the close of the first year, the aumber of subscribers was less than eight hundred; and the pecuniary receipts for the work were but a little more than sufficient to defray the expense of printing and distribution. Since that period, there has been a constant, but very gradual increase of subscribers--not quite a hundred in a year, on an average: so that the present number is between a thousand and eleven hundred, and the profits of the publication, a little, and but a little, exceed a thousand dollars annually. This frank and fair statement is made, with a view to correct the error, which many of the friends of the Christian Advocate are known to have entertained, that its subscription list has constantly been large, and that the income from it has, in consequence, been very considerable. It is also made to show that the course which the Editor proposes to take in time to come, is right and reasonable.
No opinion shall be given, as to the causes which have occasioned that want of patronage, which was calculated on when the Prospectus of this Miscellany was sent abroad, and which formed the basis of the pledge in question. The Editor will only remark, that he knows not that the pledge has been the means of obtaining a single subscriber; and that as his patronage, small as it is, has been constantly increasing, he flatters himself that his own incompetency, or want of fidelity, cannot be the sole cause that it has not been greater. He is, at any rate, conscious of having laboured with painful and unceasing assiduity, and therefore believes, that inasmuch as the profits of the work have never even approximated the amount in expectation of which the pledge was given, he is not bound to continue to act under it. Before he was engaged, or looked to, as the conductor of the work, it was said in conversation, by those who had the management of the concern, that fifteen hundred dollars per annum ought to be offered as a salary, to a competent Editor. Not the half of this suin has been annually received by the present Editor; and some of his friends have suggested, that as the compensation of an Editor is always considered as among the necessary expenses of every periodical work, there has in fact been no “clear income” from the Christian Advocate; and therefore, by the terms of the pledge itself, there has been no obligation to give any thing to the charities of the church. To this suggestion, however, the Editor has not yielded; but has, for five successive years, devoted, or made provision for devoting to charity, the tythe of his profits; notwithstanding the scanty remainder that has been left to himself. In this course, however, he does not think that any principle of equity requires him to persist, after making this publick statement. The avails of the Christian Advocate, small as they are, form by far the larger part of his whole income-on which he must rely for the support of his family, and for aiding the numerous charitable institutions and designs to which he is expected and solicited to contribute; and to which, in proportion to his means, he regards it both as a sacred duty and a high privilege to afford pecuniary assistance. But it has been in no slight degree mortifying to him, that after tything almost the whole of his
income, and reducing his personal and family expenses to narrower limits than those to which he had been accustomed, he has still been obliged to appear as a parsimonious contributor to several important objects. He has feared, that his character, as well as his feelings, might suffer from this cause. He has therefore judged it to be his duty to disembarrass himself from a pledge, which some have thought has never as yet been binding, and which he hopes all will think may justly be considered as no longer obligatory.
The Editor feels constrated to take the present opportunity to felicitate the friends of religion, on the events favourable to the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom, which have been witnessed in various parts of the world, and particularly in our own: contoywithin the year which is now closing. In France, Germany, and Prussia, the cause of evangelical piety, in opposition to infidelity 49d-supersliiton; has certainly and very sensibly been gaining ground. In Britain, there has been an increase of all those benevolent and Christian efforts, by which the country of our ancestors has, for thirty years past, been distinguished. An unhappy controversy has, indeed, separated from that noble institution the British and Foreign Bible Society, the most of its auxiliaries in Scotland. Yet pot a less, but probably a larger number of copies of the Holy Scriptures, bave been, and will be, distributed, in consequence of the separation. This contention, like that between Paul and Barnabas, has produced no abatement of love, on either side, to the good cause. Although the parties cannot act together, yet each is still zealous, perhaps increasingly zealous, to distribute far and wide the volume of God's revealed will. The missions in Asia and Africa have suffered by the death of some valuable members; the Scotch missionaries have been driven by bigotry from the Russian empire; and the Methodist missionaries, by savage barbarity, from New Zealand. But taken in the aggregate, the cause of foreiga missious has wonderfully and gloriously prospered.
In the favoured land, in which our happy lot is cast, there is scarcely a Protestant denomination that is not making unwonted exertions for the propagation of the gospel; and these exertions have increased within the closing year. In several sections of our country, there have been, and still are, hopeful and heart-cheering revivals of religion. The missionary and Bible cause seems to have received a new impulse. The contribu