« ForrigeFortsæt »
Indeed, looking back to the close of the last century, and to the first twenty years of the present, it is most remarkable to see how incessantly and vividly the intellect of the nation was stimulated by the productions of so many men in the highest walks of literature, and by female writers, each of whom, had she appeared singly, would have shone out the star of the age, and would have been petted and idolised like Hannah More.
In 1797, a number of young men united in Edinburgh in the formation of a society called the Academy of Physics, the objects proposed being" the investigation of nature, the laws by which her phenomena are regulated, and the history of opinions concerning those laws." Amongst the earliest members were, Brougham, Erskine, Brown, Birkbeck, Leyden; and afterwards Jeffrey, Horner, &c. Out of this society originated the "Edinburgh Review," begun in 1802, and which at once raised periodical literature to a high standard. The "Eclectic Review" followed. Robert Hall, writing to Dr. Olinthus Gregory, in 1804, says, "You have probably heard of the project of a new Review, called the 'Eclectic Review,' which is intended to counteract the irreligious bias which seems to attach to almost all literary journals." In 1809, the Quarterly Review was established as a counterpoise to the Edinburgh Review; its first editor was William Gifford. "Blackwood's Magazine" was commenced in 1812; its editor, during the first six months of its existence, was the late Mr. Thomas Pringle, Secretary to the Anti-Slavery Society, one of the most amiable of men, and occupying a leading place among our minor poets,
In taking up the early volumes of the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews, or Blackwood's Magazine, readers of the present generation are apt to ask why the articles contained in them are said to have so greatly influenced the public of the time. But this is to measure them by our standard, after we have been long accustomed to expect and demand excellence in periodical literature. They were the best that had been hitherto known; and meeting with great success, in proportion to the delight and surprise which they created, editors and publishers were stimulated to rise still higher, and to produce still better things. From the influence of literature the transition is easy to that of science. Perhaps the greatest shock that has been given to established opinions and habits of thought by any modern scientific discoveries, has been by the discoveries and inferences of geologists. Smith in England, and Cuvier in France, led the way to a science which has done more to startle and amaze than even the mightiest discoveries of Newton. For astronomy has visible testimonials of her own awful grandeur; she seems to speak of a vast unknown; and even if the mind feels a difficulty in rising up to the idea of a universe, apparently boundless in its extent, there is, at least, a vagueness in the thought of worlds rolling in space, which is both exciting and soothing. But geology deals with the fire and the flood; it descends into the dark places of the earth; turns the globe into an immense laboratory; and picking up its bones, and fragments, and shells, tells us we are living in the midst of ruins, and are but the inhabitants of the sepulchre of time.
But whilst the middle classes were thus abundantly provided with intellectual instruction, or amusement, another great and growing class had been but little attended to, except in Sunday schools; and this class had been struggling with the government from the peace of 1815. A continued series of events showed the force of the pressure; and at last, fear and alarm were created, that an irruption was to be dreaded, in which our civilization would be trampled down. The multitude, said the Edinburgh Review, "is physically the most powerful in the state. Like the Hebrew champion, it is yet held in captivity by its blindness. But if once the
eyeless giant shall find a guide to put his hand on the props of the State-if once he shall bow himself upon the pillars, woe to all those who have made him their laughing-stock, and chained him to grind at their mill!"'
An agitation now began to spread extensively respecting popular education and the more extensive diffusion of knowledge. It was held, and rightly held, that it was a brutish thing that the great mass of the people of this country should be ignorant of the wonders of creation; that a nation whose practical ingenuity, manufacturing skill, and commercial activity, made it the greatest on the earth, should have a working population unacquainted with the nature of what they handled, or converted into shape and form. So a murmuring cry began to be heard throughout the land, calling upon those who were sitting in darkness to turn their eyes towards the light. Then were institutions founded, and lectures delivered; scientific associations were formed in workshops; and men, mostly of the generation coming, or just come to manhood, engineers and glass-makers, workers in brass and in iron, handicraftmen of all sorts, with shopmen and others, were to be seen joyfully hastening to hear expositions of the laws of motion, the properties of light, and heat, and air, the marvels of the steam-engine, and the history of Watt, the nature of alkalies, and acids, and colours; and even the very housewife at home was to be taught, that the "art of good and cheap cookery was intimately connected with the principles of chemical philosophy." It was a wonderfully exciting time; and during the excitement the "Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge" sprang into existence. "The Objects, Advantages, and Pleasures of Science," written by the most remarkable man of his age, Lord (then Mr.) Brougham, who had himself been mainly instrumental in exciting this mental agitation, was issued; and the tract had a powerful influence, even though, in the author's zeal for an accumulation of facts, he repeated the stories of ants, whose structures no traveller could approach without being devoured, and recounted those marvellous things, now laughed at by all naturalists, respecting the sagacity of the beavers, and how they had overseers amongst them, who "superintend the rest, and make signals by sharp strokes with the tail, which are carefully attended to."
It is now eleven years since this tract appeared; and a brief analysis of it may, therefore, be acceptable to some readers. The author began by stating the pleasure to be derived from knowledge, as well as the advantages; pointed to the mathematical sciences, and showed that even amusement might be extracted from them; defined Natural Philosophy, and explained with what objects it dealt; how admirably adapted animals were in their formation to the conditions of their existence; and how ingenious were the instinctive contrivances of birds, bees, and ants; described man, and how he is composed, of "two parts, body and mind, connected indeed together, but wholly different from one another;" explained how the whole circle of the sciences and arts might be made to minister to his intellectual improvement and physical enjoyment; and ended with the conclusion," that the pleasures of science go hand in hand with the solid benefits derived from it; that they tend, unlike other gratifications, not only to make our lives more agreeable, but better; and that a rational being is bound by every motive of interest and of duty, to direct his mind towards pursuits which are found to be the sure path of virtue as well as happiness."
All eyes were now turned towards the Society. Its scheme seemed noble, generous, magnificent. As the Bible Society had its bond of union in the circulation of the Scriptures without note or comment, so had the Useful Knowledge Society, in the diffusion of science without admixture of theological or political opinion. As Christians of all sects were banded together to diffuse the Book
of Revelation, so men of various character were invited to join in the design of opening and expounding the Book of Creation to the meanest of the people. Some called out to beware of enlightening the masses, without, at the same time, amending their physical condition. Others looked jealously at an attempt to enlighten them at all, thinking it but a covert for insidious designs. Others again, though cordial friends of the diffusion of knowledge, were afraid of the disjunction of religious and intellectual instruction, and shook their heads, marvelling "whereunto this would grow." But the great body of the people rejoiced to hear the voice of the Society, and listened with greedy ears. It seemed as if the breaking up of the intellectual monopoly was a warning note of destruction to all other monopolies. Learning might still try to seclude itself in halls and colleges, but science had taken staff in hand, had girded his loins, was about to travel over the whole country, to visit the manufactory and the mine, and to sit down by the poor man's fireside. Henceforth the meanest drudge had opportunity of placing himself on an intellectual level with his more favoured brethren; many of the "difficulties" that impeded the "pursuit of knowledge" were taken out of the way; and, quoting from Chenevix, it was announced that "the bent of civilisation was to make good things cheap." No wonder, therefore, that the efforts of the Society struck with power into the heart of the nation. The Messrs. Chambers had sagacity to perceive that now was the time for a useful cheap publication; then followed the Penny Magazine, the Penny Cyclopædia, with all the host of cheap periodicals that rose and fell as the tide of excitement flowed and ebbed.
What the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge has done, may be summed up in a few brief words. By taking advantage of prevailing excitement, and concentrating public attention, it has exercised great, and, we may justly add, permanent, influence on the mind of the nation. It broke in upon old-established forms of publication. By its really admirable and useful publications, it excited hundreds, if not thousands, to think, who could hardly be said to have thought before. By strongly stimulating the minds of the young men of its generation, it enlarged the circle of readers; and by accumulations and exhibitions of FACTS gave to the reading of a people disposed to be practical a practical direction. helped to uproot old prejudices and errors. It directed the attention of the people to the treasures contained in our national collections; and the curiosity thus excited will doubtless settle down into a taste.
We may freely confess one benefit which "useful knowledge" has rendered to religion and common sense. At first, religious men were afraid that it would strengthen the hands of that vulgar, narrow, illogical nonsense called "Infidelity". '—a mixture of drivelling sophistry and coarse licentiousness-the dregs or sediment of that infidelity which we have described as descending, and as being neutralized by the spirit of religion-which prevailed to some extent among our working population, when the agitation concerning "useful knowledge" first began to be general. But it has done quite the reverse. We may say of the bulk of our population-that is, of that portion of it enlightened by "useful knowledge"-that it is a stage beyond that pitiful infidelity which only nibbles at detached portions of revelation, and is incapable of seeing its entire breadth and scope, and of appreciating the grandeur and magnificence of the whole. Our young men, speaking of them generally, would now scorn an "" Age of Reason." The time is fast going by for stuff of that kind; and there is less occasion now to write elaborately on the external "Evidences of Christianity."
Certainly, whatever danger there may be to Christianity from the spirit of inquiry which useful knowledge has excited, there is none from useful knowledge of itself. If infidelity is to prevail
once more in this country, it will not be the infidelity of Thomas Paine, nor even of Hume. It will be a subtler kind of infidelity, one which does not commit the absurdity of disputing the evidences of revelation, but which dissipates the spirit of Christianity by a scientific process. Of this there is some danger; and it is a danger to be guarded against. New views of truth should be freely taken; but truth remains the same, though we should shift our position again and again. All this, however, forms no objection to useful knowledge; and the Christian who shrinks from acquiring as much of it as he can, from the fear that it will lead him into infidelity, has yet to learn much of the nature of Christianity. The early Christians were deemed infidels and impious, because they refused to sacrifice to idols, and preached the new doctrines of the gospel.
But, while the Bible Society, after enduring storms that threatened its very existence, is now carrying quietly on its great work in the full vigour of manhood, the Useful Knowledge Society, after an infancy of much promise, has shrivelled into a lean atomy, with little more than the appearance of life. Making all allowance for the vast and momentous difference between the "knowledge" diffused by the one Society and the other, we may ask-Why is this? Why has the Useful Knowledge Society, instead of becoming a great institution, degenerated into a mere book association, patronising a limited number of works? The truths of Revelation are of paramount importance; but the truths of Creation are of great value and interest, delightful to know, useful when known. And to a practical working nation, such as Britain is, and must be, our very existence depending on our ingenuity and skill, our dexterity, forethought, and knowledge, one would think that an ample field, for many years to come, was provided for the exertions of a Useful Knowledge Society.
One chief cause of the decline of the Society's influence has been owing to what at first was considered its crowning excellence. Its motto, its cry, was-FACTS! There seemed at first something so novel, so pleasing, so instructive, so useful, in its varied combinations and exhibitions of facts, that people were delighted beyond measure. It was an incessant appeal to the practical sense-ranging round the material world, and showing how all things in nature and art could be made subservient to man's power and comfort. These facts, too, so often upset preconceived notions, and demolished old theories, that the young mind, willing to think for itself, felt all the gratification of discovery. But as "the body without the spirit is dead," so facts, unconnected with principles appealing to the feelings as well as the understanding of men, gradually lose that gloss of novelty which makes them so pleasurable on first communication. It is now seen and felt, that a mere extensive acquaintance with facts has not, of itself, a tendency to elevate the character of a man, or a nation. There may be a morbid growth of the intellectual system at the expense of the moral. It has been said that an "undevout astronomer is mad:" not so-for however elevating and exciting a first acquaintance with the wonders of astronomy may be, a perpetual familiarity with its facts has a tendency to encrust the feelings. It is almost essential to the character of a large-minded and liberal citizen, that he should know something of the truths of Political and Social Economy; but these, of themselves, will not make him a good citizen. It is very necessary that the mechanic should know something of the properties of the lever, and of the wheel and axle; but an intimate acquaintance with dynamics and chemistry will not necessarily make him a good man. The mind that repudiates the sophistry which would stamp the Bible as a forgery and an imposition, may yet be quite incapable of appreciating in it whatever is grand, and beautiful, and true. Facts are at all
times valuable-nay, frequently precious: but to be for ever conversant with a material literature, has a withering influence, dries up the spirit, and, if it does not weary the mind, gives it a hard practical tendency. The truth is, the plan of the Society is too narrow, though at first sight it may seem large; with it the mind of the nation has been carried a certain length, but it can carry it no farther. For all extensive, or great purposes, in any way answering the promise of its popular infancy, the mission of the Society is fulfilled, its work is done.
While the bulk of the people were enjoying the benefits of the diffusion of knowledge, the middle and upper classes were sharing in the excitement, and participated in the demand for useful and practical instruction. The British Association for the Advancement of Science is a useful knowledge society; and it has, in some measure, made that fashionable, which, changing the word, was popular amongst the people. How long it will continue to exert its influence, and to what extent that influence reaches, we cannot undertake to say.
We have now arrived at a period, not of stillness, but of repose. The public mind seems resting more on what it has done than on what it is doing; gathering strength, meanwhile, for a new race. It seems a suitable opportunity for reviewing the past, and looking to the future.
In looking back, we perceive a vast increase of the moral power of the people, arising, not from the mere increase of their numbers, but from a thousand causes elevating their character. Science has created wealth; wealth has stimulated science; literature has infused a sense of opinion; and opinion has acted, after a long struggle, on the administration of law and government. The mental revolution which we have undergone, and are still undergoing, is far too extensive and powerful for us of the present day to estimate its influence rightly. Old stubborn prejudices have been melted down; the capacity of the existing generation has been extended; and practices once reckoned an essential portion of our national constitution have disappeared. Not only has there been a new distribution of political rights and privileges; not only a new power exerted by the governed on the governors; but vice and crime have felt the "spirit of the age," the prisons have been visited, justice wears a more merciful aspect, and the value of human life has been raised. All this has been accompanied by a large increase of social comfort; and were we to fix our eye exclusively on what the "past" has done for the present generation, as compared with their forefathers, we might exclaim, with some justice, that Great Britain was the most powerful, the wisest, the happiest, the most comfortable nation on the earth.
But, looking at our actual condition and future prospects, there is much matter to excite anxiety. Taking civilisation to mean the growth of a nation in worldly prosperity, wealth, resources, increase of population, security of life and property, advance in science and art, freedom of discussion and liberty of person, with large available resources for the spread of wealth and happiness throughout the bulk of the community, there is no nation like Great Britain in all history-we stand at the head of civilisation. But if civilisation also means the equal diffusion of happiness and social comfort throughout the community, there is no nation in all history which presents in the records of its condition so many startling anomalies. Knowledge is spreading throughout all classes, and the means for its diffusion are powerful and prompt; yet the ignorance that exists in the community seems to keep a-head of it. Wealth flows in a thousand channels, but poverty and destitution
are to be found on every side. Virtue, benevolence, public spirit, and enlightened zeal for all the best interests of man, are in daily juxta-position with vice, selfishness, meanness, and ignorance. Mud hovels surround all our marble palaces; our land is like the land of Egypt, when the favoured few had light in their dwellings, while gross darkness overshadowed the rest.
During the last fifty years all classes have advanced in social comfort-in the participation of personal enjoyment-in the means of enjoying life: but all classes have not shared equally, in proportion to their numbers or claims. Hundreds enjoying affluence, thousands living in comfort, mingle with thousands who cannot be said to enjoy a precarious existence. Such a state of things cannot endure for ever. It will either be mended, or there is great danger of its being ended in a violent manner. In a population, increasing at the rate of at least three hundred thousand per annum, and with a hand-working class rising in a sense of their importance, power, and wants, it is impossible that great wealth and great poverty can safely be found to meet together; that ease and comfort can daily look uneasiness and misery in the face; that prosperity and distress can always shake each other by the hand. A change must come, be it for better or worse.
One cause of the many irregularities which exist in our social condition, is the plain and obvious fact, that our physical resources have outgrown rapidly all our means of moral improvement. We live in a world altogether different from the world of the eighteenth century. The conditions of our existence are widely different-we have acquired new powers of enjoyment, and lost the old power of endurance. Yet, while the very elements of our earthly existence are entering into new combinations, a great portion of our moral machinery remains the same. No mere diffusion of knowledge can cure the mischief. It will rather aggravate it. Some have expressed a fear that the empire of civilisation is destined to be broken up by an irruption of barbarism more terrible than that which overthrew the ancient power of Rome. Exaggerated as this fear is, we ought not to despise it. We know not what struggles have yet to be made before the new forms of society have room to develop themselves. "Civilisation," says M. Guizot, "is still in its infancy. How distant is the human mind from the perfection to which it may attain-from the perfection for which it was created! How incapable are we of grasping the whole future destiny of man! Let any one even descend into his own mind-let him picture there the highest point of perfection to which man, to which society, may attain, that he can conceive, that he can hope. Let him then contrast this picture with the present state of the world, and he will feel assured that society and civilisation are still in their childhood-that, however great the distance they have advanced, that which they have before them is infinitely greater."
The amendment of the physical condition of our population will be one prime ingredient in any scheme for our national improvement. Such a subject does not at present come within our scope -there are other and more legitimate mediums for its discussion. But the moral education of our people is one which fairly presents itself to us, and in which we are anxious to be found engaged. Men of all classes now feel the vast importance of the subject, and almost every one who thinks about it has a remedial plan to propose. The great question is, to unite the discordant opinions, and to procure a unity of expression. What we can do, by means of a weekly periodical, to aid in bringing about such an expression of opinion, we are very willing to try.
Let not the reader think that we are about to add to the hundred remedies which have been proposed. All we mean to do is, to dedicate our "JOURNAL" to the advocacy of the religious, moral,
and social improvement of the country, convinced that the time is approaching, when parties will meet each other more nearly on the principles and mode in which the improvement is to be carried on. We are quite satisfied that on this momentous subject a new direction must be given to the public mind, a fresh impulse to its spirit. Whether the public mind is yet ready to take this direction, or must have longer time to settle down; in what direction the movement is to be made, and who may be competent to point it out-are questions for the sagacious to resolve. We do not pretend to have made the discovery, neither do we insinuate any peculiar competency for such a task. We are but uncertainly
The Church of England has now more zealous and able ministers, and has a greater number of the laity more earnestly attached to her, than ever she had. True, these are divided into parties; and it may be said that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." But zeal and earnestness are great things; and when a Church is in motion it is more indicative of life than when it is still. There is much movement, too, amongst the Dissenters; and all this gives promise of some results, leading to the farther advancement of man.
5. But what do we mean by man being a "progressive creature?"
We have no visionary prospects, no ideal views. Believing that
man individually will continue as he has been to the end of time, a creature of nerves, feelings, appetites, and passions, a subject of moral government and trial, and at all times liable to error, we are yet amongst those who look forward hopefully to the progress of man collectively, and think that revelation and reason warrant us to expect that socially, morally, and intellectually, he will rise in the scale of existence. The process may be slow, but it is sure.
feeling our way; we fancy that there is a want amongst the reading portion of the public, not supplied by any of the existing periodicals. And in the firm belief that there is such a want, we are satisfied that the success of our attempt will not depend on our readers, but on ourselves. There is a class that will support our Periodical, if it be but conducted with earnestness, propriety, and judgment; and to that class we now appeal, submitting the "GUIDING PRINCIPLES" on which we propose One generation will gradually become wiser, better, more free from
to conduct it.
1. We are cordial friends of the "diffusion of knowledge," but do expressly desire to link this with a distinct and specific avowal of Christian principles and spirit. The attempt to combine what is called "useful knowledge" with religious feelings and instruction has been more than once tried, but, in our opinion, neither wisely nor well.
2. The Christianity we wish to advocate is a Catholic Christi anity, in its widest range. The division of Christians into sects and parties has been mourned over for ages as a great evil. Yet there can be no doubt that the divisions of the Christian Church have been overruled, under the providence of Almighty God, for great good. As far as we can see, had there been no divisions, intellect in the church, and much of it in the world, might have slumbered; the principles of religious liberty might have been unknown; and all that energy of will and intenseness of purpose concentrated in particular bodies, and producing so much of good to the human race, might have been dissipated over the surface of a "Pacific Ocean," or rather lost in a "Dead Sea," on the banks of which but little fruit either of hope or promise might be seen to grow.
3. Nevertheless, believing that man is a progressive creature, and that the chief agent in carrying him forward is Christianity, we believe that a time is coming when sects and parties will be fused together, or melted into one another. A great agent in effecting this revolution will be, the diffusion of knowledge under the guidance of the spirit of Christianity. "Whoever," says Robert Hall, "forms his ideas of the Church of Christ from an attentive perusal of the New Testament, will perceive that unity is one of its essential characteristics, and that, though it be branched out into many distinct societies, it is still but one." To this we may add, that in whatever form the future unity of the Church will be manifested, it cannot remain in its present form broken up, torn, divided, and excited, by party strife and controversy.
4. We derive great hope from the fact that there is a general excitement, if not a movement, in the Christian Church. The CHURCH OF ENGLAND presents the pleasing spectacle of being in a movement state. In such a movement, error and truth may swim together, like the iron and earthen pot in the fable: but error will be broken by truth in the collision. It is always a hopeful sign to see a discussion about fundamentals, provided the discussion is
prejudice, more enlightened, than the one that preceded it. Step by step the race will be lifted up. It will gradually ascend a higher platform, and obtain a clearer view of its interests, obligations, and rights. The force of enlightened public opinion will be the moral lever for elevating man individually and collectively.
6. Almighty God, having committed the civilization of man to himself, undoubtedly expects from all of us an account of our stewardship-what each of us has done in his sphere, be it large or small, for promoting the good of his fellows. Christianity, the prime civilising agent, has been committed, for its propagation, to the exertions and activity of men-much more all the minor civilising agents, inventions, discoveries, “diffusion of knowledge,” force of example, and the like. But we may civilize unequally, and thus produce intermediate mischief. To take an imaginary example :-we may stimulate the intellect of our population, without at the same time advancing their moral character, or bettering their physical condition. Then, if a time of pressure and distress arrived, feeling more acutely than they might otherwise have done their distress, and understanding wherein their strength lay, yet perceiving dimly how to remedy their condition, such a population might put forth rude hands to the artificial framework of our society, and shake it to pieces. Doubtless, man will advance, though Britain were cast down to the bottom of the sea. But such an event as we have imagined, would be a great intermediate mischief. It would retard the progress of man by upsetting the machinery now existing in Britain, for the spread of Christianity, and the civilization of the world.
7. It is, therefore, the duty of all men to endeavour to advance the MORAL as well as the INTELLECTUAL character of their fellows, and thus to lend a helping hand, however feeble, in promoting the ADVANCEMENT OF MAN. It is our wish to dedicate this periodical to such a cause; and most unfeignedly shall we rejoice, if we attain the smallest influence, and prove of the slightest use. And to all who have at heart the progress of the race, and who wish to see man becoming a wiser and a better being, we say, not in the spirit of arrogance and presumption, but with a perfect consciousness of being amongst the humblest of the humble workers in the cause—
"COME OVER AND HELP US."
From these statements, it will be seen that the guiding principle of our periodical is to be-" THE DIFFUSION OF KNOWLEDGE UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY:" or,
in other words, "THE MORAL AND SOCIAL ADVANCEMENT OF MAN UNDEr the guidANCE OF A RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE."
and appropriate selections, and by presenting the subject, not in detached portions, but in wholes, we shall be able to
It remains for us briefly to point out what we propose to do, in give a connected view of the operations of the various Bible
thus endeavouring to lend our aid to such a cause.
I. We wish to present a Weekly Literary Journal and Review, throughout the whole of which will be clearly discerned an earnest desire to enlist the feelings as well as the intellect of our readers in the cause of social improvement. We shall, therefore, give a series of essays, or papers, directed to the consideration of great social questions, and also intended to promote the moral improvement of our readers.
Here, we desire to explain why we do not think ourselves altogether precluded from discussing political questions. The reader assuredly need not be afraid that we are going either to violate the law, or to injure our chances of a general circulation, by discussing any of the current political topics of the day. The Newspaper Press of Great Britain is fully competent to carry on its work, without the intrusion of unlicensed peddlers. But there are Political Truths of great and general importance, which may, without offence to either law or propriety, be discussed in our columns. The Christian man who shrinks from an investigation of political topics, as inconsistent with Christianity, but ill understands his privileges. Under a professedly Christian Government, he is in a very different position from that which he would occupy under an established Heathen authority. In the one case, his rights as a citizen, and as a member of the social body, are recognised in conjunction with his profession of Christianity; in the other case, he must often forego his privileges of citizenship, lest their exercise should bring a scandal on his religion, or hinder its propagation. This is the spirit of all those exhortations in the New Testament, respecting obedience to "the powers that be." The Gospel was introduced under an established Pagan government; and it was no part of Christianity that existing establishments should be overthrown by any other process than the diffusion of its spirit. Paul himself asserted his political rights at the proper time, and on the proper occasion, demanding, when the mob were shouting after him, if it were "lawful to scourge a Roman, and uncondemned?" If the Christian really believes that his faith is one day to overspread the whole earth, should he forego one of his most important duties, when, by the exercise of it, he may be aiding and not hindering the cause of truth?
II. We wish to act as a Christian spectator, reporting what is now doing all over the earth for the improvement of man. For this purpose we shall describe foreign countries, either as presenting eligible fields for missionary enterprise, or as making progress under the exertions of Christians, and by the translation and circulation of the Bible. The materials for such a purpose are scattered over various reports and periodicals, expressly devoted to the subject. By suitable
and Missionary Societies, whether at home or abroad.
III. That Britain, in the providence of God, is intended as a bee-hive of civilisation, seems as unquestionable as that Britain exists. Particular attention will, therefore, be directed to our colonies-those vast possessions, which are comparatively so little known to the inhabitants of the mother country. Their physical geography, and natural productions; the condition and treatment of their aborigines; the means that have been adopted, or may be suggested, for their the improvement; just systems of emigration; of progress settlements, &c.; are important subjects for our consideration.
IV. We shall exercise a vigilant attention to all new discoveries and appliances in science and art, convinced that, properly directed, they may become the most powerful auxiliaries of Christianity. It is impossible not to feel this, when we contemplate the wonderful and increasing facilities for internal communication—the already stupendous, but yet not half developed, progress of steam navigation—and the immense extension of religious, moral, and useful knowledge, which has resulted from the labours of the printing machine. Whatever, therefore, in science or art, appears to us as calculated to convey a moral lesson, to increase the stock of practical information, or to diffuse physical comfort and convenience through society, will have strong claims on our notice.
V. Reviews of such books as we think have reference to our "leading principle," and are worthy the notice of our readers, will from time to time be given. In this department we shall not confine ourselves to the productions of Great Britain. Foreign literature generally, and more particularly that of "The United States" of America, will be consulted for whatever may tend to promote the views we wish to carry out. With the latter country, as a powerful and zealous ally in developing and establishing the principles of universal civilisation, we have now a much closer union, and a far deeper interest, than when it formed a portion of our own colonies.
VI. Believing that principles and facts are to many minds rendered more apparent by familiar illustration, we shall continually appropriate a portion of The Journal to tales, sketches, and essays, of a lighter cast, hoping thereby to amuse and instruct, without losing sight of the leading objects which direct us.
Having thus briefly stated the views we entertain in endeavouring to establish the "LONDON SATURDAY JOURNAL," and some of the objects at which we propose to aim, we may now turn round to that portion of the public, for whose sup