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VOLUME II. /-T57^
Printed and Published by Charles Mitcham, White Rose Court,
jQj/ whom Communication* (Post paid) will be thankfully Ttceivtd.
A Conviction of the excellence of the Christian religion, of the purity ef its doctrines, and the efficacy of its motives to action, is the only reason •which honest and disinterested men need offer for their labours, to restore that fair system to its primeval simplicity. With this object the Freethinking Christians' Magazine was first offered to the public; and in the prosecution of it, the Conductors are brought to the conclusion of their second volume.
To those who are accustomed to reflect on theforee and extent of prejudice, all attempts to lessen its influence may appear hopeless and unavailing; but attentive examination will convince us, that light and knowledge are evidently moving progressively onward, though their motion may not keep pace •with the anticipations of the philosopher, or their diffusion realise the expectations of the philanthropist. How many opinions that have been esteemed sacred are now fallen into contempt? how many systems that were universally received are now utterly exploded? How many emperics that have practised on the credulity of past ages'are now exposed to derision and contempt? Reasoning then from the past to the present, and from the present to the future, the conclusion may be at least problematical; that every principle which has not truth for its basis shall ultimately perish. Under this impression, the Conductors of this publication have not been appalled at the formidable and threatening aspect of ignorance and corruption, but have exerted their best, though weak, efforts to check its progress, and counteract its operation.
To men who have made Christianity their study—who have marked its great and exalted doctrines, and felt their animating influence on the heart— it should appear that the professors of this ennobling system of belief should be distinguished by minds clear and capacious, by dispositions generous and amiable, by actions manly and good; but the reverse of this is the case, and the cause is to be traced not to the inefficacy of Christianity itself, but to its fatal and deadly corruptions. It is, that poison has been infused into the cup of blessing! that darkness has gathered round the very fountain of light! it is, that religious instruction has become a trade; and divine truth a marketable commodity!!!
The Conductors of the Freethinking Christians' Magazine are convinced that there is nothingmore great, more noble, and more praiseworthy, than the attempt to reform so pure a religion as that by which theymre called ; but at the same time they are not unconscious of the imputations to which they necessarily subject themselves, and that their best motives are liable to miscomstruction. The bigot will accuse them with undermining the foundation of religion, and shaking the pillars of faith—the sceptic will warn them that Christianity and its corruptions must fall to the ground together—and the judgment which discriminates truth from error, the industry which extracts the diamond from the ore will be reckoned prejudice and shortsightedness—whilst the candid and the impartial may even mistakenly rank them amongthat description of reformers which every age presents, who are as much interested in reforming religion to a certain degree, as others are in continuing it corrupt. Against such an association they most solemnly protest; declaring, in the face of the world, that they hold the principle odious and abominable, which combines pecuniary advantage, or personal ambition, with the teaching of religion, and the dissemination of enlightened opinion. Their sentiments in this respect are generally known; and to the free expression of them they owe the paucity of their friends, and the number of their enemies. But if they