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THE conclusion of the last number of the General Baptist Repository for the present year, calls for the accustomed brief address, and, in presenting it, the Editor would affectionately tender his best thanks to his numerous Correspondents for their kindness in transmitting prompt intelligence of any transactions of public interest in the Churches. It is highly desirable that this periodical should be a complete record of the movements and progress of the General Baptist Churches; in order that the numbers as they are issued may be replete with intelligence, and that the volumes, when bound, may furnish a faithful index of the past. As we firmly believe our views both as to Church order and doctrine are most congenial to the mind of Christ, and ardently pray that our children may "walk by the same rule," it is important that our own periodical should be such as will attach them to our principles, and interest them in our progress. On this account we earnestly solicit the kind and continued assistance of our intelligent friends. We are grateful for the contributions which enrich this volume, and it will not be felt to be invidious, if the series of Essays under the title of "The Connexion and the Times," is distinctly noticed. The talented young ministers who furnished the series have a reward in their own bosom, in the consciousness of having in the most laudable spirit attempted to advance the interests of the Connexion. If every sentiment advanced has not met with universal approbation, the general bearing and excellence of that series of articles has been highly appreciated.
We cannot look over the contents given in the present number without some degree of depression. Never, in any previous volume, has there been such a number of our worthies of the first rank, entered among the dead. The memoirs of Stevenson, Goadby, and Rogers, and the deaths of Jarrom, Ingham, &c., tell us that the princes of our Israel, men to whom the Churches looked for guidance and counsel, have been removed from us. On the younger ministers, is now devolved a weight of responsibility hitherto unknown. To them, to their firmness and zeal and discretion, as ministers of Christ, the
Churches look for the preservation of the integrity, and the promotion of the prosperity of the General Baptist body. May the Great Head of the Church "pour out of his spirit" abundantly upon them!
In the midst of unparalleled commercial depression, and when the elements of the social fabric have been disturbed to their centre, it is pleasing to know that the cause of Christ advances. That kingdom which is "righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost," carries within itself the elements of every virtue, and of every right, which can adorn or ennoble the human character. And as it prevails more extensively in England than in any other kingdom, it should seem to be among the designs of providence, to render this country the benefactress of the human race, so that from the midst of us should radiate in every direction the light of truth, and all its concomitant blessings. How important then that every section of the Christian Church should be awake to its high vocation, and labour to diffuse at home, and to propagate abroad, as far as the marvellously increasing sway of the British Sceptre extends, the great and glorious truths of " the everlasting Gospel." Would to God that the Connexion to which we belong, were more active and devoted, and that the pages of this humble periodical might contribute to this end!
The times in which we live, the general increase of intelligence among all classes, the extending limits of our Connexion, call upon us, our ministers, our agents, and friends, to put forth our energies that this, the only periodical of the denomination, may be rendered increasingly useful and effective, that through its medium we may "hear" of each others' "affairs," and "stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel."
Leicester, December 1, 1842.