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It is generally understood that the preface to a book, though placed first, is the last thing that the author writes. It is the same with a periodical, The preface not only appears in the last Number of the Volume, but is generally the last editorial duty so far as that volume is concerned. Accordingly, in writing this Preface for the Ninth Volume of the SCOTTISH CHRISTIAN JOURNAL, we are putting the finishing touch to it. But we are doing more than this; for not only does this monthly Number close the Volume, but the periodical itself. For the last one hundred and eleven months, our magazine has been issued as regularly as the month came in; but this present Number for December 1857, is the last that will be published; we are, therefore, penning the concluding words of the work inditing the last editorial sentences of the JOURNAL.
In these circumstances, it is obviously our duty briefly to state the reason or reasons for this rather important step on our part. As may be guessed, the immediate cause of the termination of the work, is its non-supporting character it does not pay, and has not paid for some time. But this is not, and cannot be the primary reason; and in order to find it out, we must ask, and endeavour to answer, the question, Why does it not pay ?
Nine years ago, or rather more, it was thought by a few individuals belonging to the United Presbyterian Church, that there was room and much need for the publication of a new magazine, in connection with that section of the Christian Church—a magazine whose chief aim would be to counteract the infidel and loose literature of the day, by supplying her members with sound scriptural instruction, in an attractive and popular manner. A circular was prepared in the form of a prospectus, and sent to the ministers for their opinion, when between two and three hundred sent in their cordial approval. This result was such as to warrant the prosecution of the enterprise by the projectors, and the confident hope in their minds that the periodical would receive a hearty support. They went promptly and energetically to work, and the first Number appeared in October 1848. The sale, even from the first, was far short of what was anticipated; still, by an economical method of publishing, it was made to sustain itself; and the promoters continued it in the hope that the ministers would exert themselves to bring it before the notice of their congregations, and so raise its circulation, and give it the chance of gaining a permanent hold on the minds of the people. That hope