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General Classified List, with short critical indications, of all that the year has produced.
64. Expositions of PassagES OF SCRIPTURE.—This portion of our publication may be made highly interesting and instructive to many readers who will take less interest in the other departments. The passages chosen for notice will, if prophetical or historical, be viewed in connection with the contemporaneous history: and the posture of political and other events will be clearly sketched. A translation will then be given, followed by such annotations as may illustrate the language or develop the meaning of the sacred text.
65. PhilOLOGICAL ESSAYS will occasionally be introduced, as essential to the completeness of a work of this description : but as only a small part of the public will take interest in subjects of this kind, it does not appear expedient that any large portion of space should be given to them.
66. ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY.—This department will include the elucidation of obscure or disputed points in Church History, sketches of remarkable events, and of the character of eminent and influential men, and short histories of the formation and progress of opinions and practices.—Under this head will be included accounts of operations in ancient and modern times, whether by action, writing, or discourse, for the propagation of Christian truth, or for the promoting of objects which naturally result from the influence of Christian principles.
67. TRANSLATIONS AND REPRINTS.—A large nu ber of curious and interesting tracts on various subjects of Biblical Literature lie hid in the Latin, German, and French languages, in works seldom met with, or often lost in long and expensive sets of volumes, with which, therefore, few, even of those who are able to read them, have proper opportunities of becoming acquainted. In order to render the present work a complete Store-Book of Sacred Literature, the best of these tracts will occasionally be translated and printed in it, with such notes and remarks as our recent advances in the knowledge of the languages and institutions of the East may render necessary in those of earlier date. The same will also be done occasionally with respect to similar tracts which have appeared in English in forms so variously dispersed, or so combined with expensive works, as to render them unknown to nearly all Biblical students of the present day.
68. ORIENTAL LITERATURE.— The wide field of Oriental literature in its Biblical relations has been very little cultivated in this country, and will demand a portion of our attention, especially as regards the group of Syro-Arabian languages. No large portion of our space can indeed be allotted to it: but it is hoped that, by means of translations and analogical inquiries, it may be made interesting even to those who are unacquainted with the Eastern tongues.
9. CorrESPONDENCE.— This will consist of two Portions. 1. Letters on subjects connected with Biblical Literature from Correspondents at home and abroad. 2. Questions from Readers on any subjects embraced in the wide field of Biblical inquiry, to be answered
in ensuing numbers by other Correspondents, or, failing them, by the regular contributors to the work.
• 10. BIBLICAL INTELLIGENCE, &c. &c.'
The circulation of this description of his design has procured for the Editor unsought letters of high encouragement and approval from the foremost men of the different Christian denominations. Some of these letters he would have liked, with the permission of the writers, to insert in this place; but he has abstained from this gratification, in the dread of unbecoming obtrusion of complimentary expressions, and in the conviction that high names and recommendatory letters are of small use in accrediting or sustaining a publication, which must eventually rely for success upon the intrinsic value of its contents, upon its adaptation to the wants of the classes of readers for whom it is intended, upon the discretion and sound principles on which it is conducted, and upon the extent to which it may establish its claims to be regarded as filling a vacant place in the wide field of our periodical literature.
That it will do this, if it only in part fulfils the objects described in the Prospectus—that it is a publication which some have long wanted, and which many will hail with gladness, is the leading purport of the letters to which reference has been made. Whether it is likely to do this, or not, the reader will now be enabled to judge—and yet only in part, for we hope to bring our large resources more effectually to bear as we proceed, and it is not possible to exhibit adequately, in any one Number, the whole scope of our design, in the large variety of interests and objects which it comprehends. The departments of Correspondence and of Bibliography will, for instance, at first be scarcely found to justify the prominence which has been given to them in the Prospectus, because the materials for them depend upon combina grow out of the existence of the work itself, and cannot therefore be effectually produced before it has become known.
Every writer does in the course of time gather around him a public, who understand him better, and sympathize with him more than the rest of the world ; and whose wants he, on his part, supposes himself able to comprehend, and whose tastes and habits of mind he conceives to be generally congenial with his own. Such a public-consisting chiefly of the possessors of his former publications—the Editor of the Journal of Sacred Literature may venture to suppose that he-after many long years of wellaccepted labour--has brought around him ; and although the present publication is of much wider range than any of his former productions, singly taken, and a proportionate increase of readers may be expected for it—he naturally looks to his old friendshis public, as the chief and most earnest supporters of an undertaking
to which the matured plans of many years, and the most cherished hopes of usefulness, are now irrevocably committed, and in connection with which he has assumed responsibilities more anxious than he ever before ventured to incur.
In the presence of such accustomed friends, the Editor will be encouraged to a degree of confidential intercourse with his readers which is not usual in publications of this nature, but which a number of circumstances concur in teaching him that it would be expedient to assume, as it will give him that power of informal notification and statement which the peculiar construction of the work may render valuable. One of these circumstances, new to this country, but common in Germany and in America, is that the names of the authors are prefixed to their respective contributions. There are many grounds on which it might have seemed to us desirable, even in the case of any literary, and still more of any theological publication, that whatever responsibility may attach to particular articles, and whatever honour may be derivable from the qualities or talents they evince, should be assigned to the very persons to whom they are due; and in any such case it might have become a question in the mind of the Editor, whether more good might not be achieved by, and more of Christian temper expected from, a body of authors writing under the becoming restraints which the exhibition of their names imposes, than under the sore temptations which the unrestrained licence of anonymous contribution holds forth to the best regulated minds.
But the very peculiar circumstances of this publication seemed to render imperative a course which might under any circumstances have appeared expedient. The publication will contain contributions to Sacred Literature from men of different lands and of different Christian denominations; it will moreover encourage discussion on all the subjects which come within the scope of its design, and will sometimes have to insert articles on the opposite sides of the questions which arise out of them. This being the case, it became obviously necessary that every writer in the Journal should have his responsibility confined by his superscription to the articles which are contributed by himself; as, without this, a certain degree of responsibility would be reflected upon every individual writer from the general body of contributors—as much from those with whom he may not in all points agree, as from those whose views are in complete accordance with his own. This might perhaps occasion no practical inconvenience in a publication which is the organ of any one religious denomination, and which has therefore a fixed set of views even on the lesser points of theological and critical discussion; but it might in many ways prove seriously embarrassing to the contributors to a work,
the articles in which may occasionally derive some of their colour from the different standing points of their respective authors, even though the usual topics of denominational controversy obtain no place in this most peaceful publication. That these topics will be excluded is-first, because these discussions have already their proper organs; and, secondly, because we have marked out for ourselves a different, a less occupied, and a more catholic sphere, which is abundantly sufficient to occupy all our space, and which well deserves to engage all our care.
The limitation of responsibility which is thus obtained will be found a particular advantage in respect to articles translated from the German. There is much more in German theological literature that is valuable without being dangerous than English readers are accustomed to suppose ; and it is from such portions of that literature that the translations contained in this publication will be chiefly made. Yet it must not be concealed that the habits of the German educated mind are in many respects so different from those of the English, and that the standing point of German writers is so much apart from that usually taken by our own, that it would be too much to guarantee that in such translation nothing that may be deemed rash or hazardous shall be found.
There are also many questions in sacred literature—especially in history, antiquities, and criticism, which have been handled with consummate ability by German writers whose theological sentiments are considered doubtful or unsound. The same has happened in our own country; and we do not usually refuse to avail ourselves of such researches-by which our knowledge has been often much advanced, and by which we have not seldom acquired weapons
which know how to wield better than those who forged them. It is as possible for the mind to be invigorated by such aliment as for the body to derive substantial nourishment from meat which is too salt or too fresh for the taste : and although, in the articles which we may occasionally derive from the best labours of the writers indicated, it shall be our care to take nothing that is not substantially and on the whole nutritive, we have no desire to be held accountable for the seasoning which the peculiar views of the writer may impart. In these, as in the original contributions, we shall neither break the thread of the writer's argument by weeding out every sentiment to which we may object, nor attempt to supersede the proper exercise of the reader's own judgment by pointing out the particular passages from which we think he should withhold his assent.
It is on all these grounds important that the writers of the various articles which compose this publication should be alone answerable for the papers with which their names are con
nected, and that the publication itself should be estimated, not from the particular sentiments of individual writers, but from the general tendency and preponderating usefulness of its contents.
The main strength of a publication of this nature must be derived from the character and abilities of its regular Contributors, and from the direction which may be given to their researches by the Editor. Yet it is earnestly desired that, as far as may be possible, the work should be made a channel of bringing before the public the results of the thoughts and labours of many, whose aid has not been sought by the Editor, and even of those of whom the world has no knowledge. Every encouragement will therefore be given to · Correspondents'--as spontaneous contributors are usually called—and any Reader who feels that his meditations or researches enable him to offer any useful or suitable offering, may rely on having his claim most carefully considered. It is also expected that there are very many who by proper inquiries and suggestions will afford assistance in carrying out that part of our design which is described under the head CORRESPONDENCE in the Conspectus which we have introduced at the commencement of this notice.
We shall no longer detain the reader from the refection we have been enabled to provide for him. A longer explanation is the less necessary, as we shall take every opportunity, as we proceed, of telling the reader what we are about, and of letting him know why this thing is done and not another; and that we shall be enabled to do this, we count not among the smallest of the privileges of that distinct individuality with which the Editorial functions are here assumed.
For this publication—now commenced—the Editor can have but one prayer, large as are the personal interests which are involved in its welfare.- If it tends to advance the glory of God, by promoting the better understanding of his word and of his ways; if it contributes in any useful degree to the advancement of Biblical Literature in this country; and if, by the sympathies of common labour, and by the development of common interests, it becomes a uniting tie among all those to whom these objects are dearthen may God bestow his blessing on it, that it may prosper : but if it does none of these things, it is useless, it is not wanted—let it perish.