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INTRODUCTION.

The Baptist Board of Foreign Missions under whose patronage THE AMERICAN BAPTIST MAGAZINE is published, feel a deep interest in its circulation. It has for many years been the organ of their communications to the Christian public, and has contained a faithful record of the labours, trials, and success of their Missionaries. In these respects it has been a powerful instrument in sustaining Foreign Missionary operations. It has awakened in some individ- . uals an earnest desire to go among the Heathen; it has called forth the generosity of others, and in others, it has excited a deeper and more constant spirit of prayer that the kingdoms of this world may speedily become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ.

But the usefulness of the Magazine has by no means been confined to its favourable influence on Foreign Missions. While its Biography's, Essays and Reviews, have instructed, consoled and edified Christians—its disclosure of facts concerning the moral and religious condition of our own country and the appeals which it has made to the sympathies of the pious on this subject, have done much already, and will do much more, in giving strength, and zeal, and activity to Domestic Missionary efforts. Nor ought it to be forgotten that this Periodical has invariably advocated the necessity of improving the intellectual character and of enlarging the theological information, of all such young men among us as gave evidence of being called of God to the work of the Ministry. In promoting this desirable object, the CONTRIBUTORS to the MAGAZINE

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have not laboured in vain. Never were the prospects of the Denomination in relation to a pious and educated Ministry more cheering than at the present time.

In view of all these facts, the Board deeply regret that the readers of the Magazine should have so greatly diminished. They are aware, that the great increase of weekly religious newspapers has had considerable influence in this case ; yet they are of opinion, that, without the least detriment to these, the American Baptist Magazine may, and should be liberally sustained.

Measures are in operation to increase the size, and elevate the character of the work, and should patronage be afforded, sufficient to justify the expense, it will occasionally be embellished with engravings. The Board indulge the hope, that within a short period, an able, intelligent and pious individual will be obtained who shall devote the greater part, if not the whole of his time to editorial labours. Those who have hitherto enriched the pages of this work by their communications are earnestly requested to continue them. And others who have not, but are conscious that with a little effort, they might produce sentiments not unworthy of perusal, are very respectfully entreated to be fellow labourers, with those who have long toiled in this department of service.

Boston, Jan. 1832.

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LAST ILLNESS AND DEATH OF THE LATE REV. ROBERT HALL.

The following account of the last sickness of Rev. Robert Hall, drawn up by his physician, who it would seem, is a member of the Baptist church in Bristol, cannot fail of exciting a deep interest in the minds of our readers. We have known Mr. Hall chiefly, as a preacher and a writer, and have yielded to him the homage of our admiration and respect, as one of the most talented men of this, or of any other age. But here we see him withdrawn from the public, in the midst of his family and on a bed of sickness, enduring the most excruciating pain ; and our admiration is mingled with love and sympathy, while we witness the warmth and delicacy of his social affections, his deep and unfeigned humility, and his resignation, and patience under almost insupportable sufferings. We would simply add in this connexion, that Mr. H. probably exhibited to as high a degree as any man ever did, the rare union of true greatness and entire simplicity of character.

My Dear Sir,

Having been informed that you are desirous of learning some particulars relative to the closing days of our deeply-lamented friend and pastor, I will endeavor to give you as full a relation of circumstances as my memory will allow. In attempting this, I regret that I should have had no opportunity of recording notices of conversations and events immediately after their occurrence, whilst fresh in my recollection; for could they be exhibited as at the moment they operated on the feelings, they would necessarily excite greater interest than can reasonably be expected from an 'account drawn up at the present distance of time. Nevertheless,

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as I am conscious of the general accuracy of what has been preserved, I yet anticipate that the statement now made will not be uninfluential, especially on those for whom it is principally designed

-his affectionate friends in the congregations over which he presided.

For the history of a great and illustrious man, the minutest circumstances are worthy of preservation. I have often thought, that a correct detail of the physical history contributes very largely to the harder outline, forming the basis on which a Biography should be constructed. The development, successive changes, general temperament, diseases, and decline of the material tenement, exert such powerful sway, in checking or urging, limiting or enlarging, improving or deteriorating the affections and faculties of the mind, that they become topics deserving no small share of consideration with one who attempts the portraiture of individual character : nor may even the apparently accidental changes of local residence be disregarded, in their operation on the intensity and exhibition of character ; as, by varying the social connexions, they materially contract or expand the spheres of usefulness through which the mind can extend its influence. But, however these may be estimated, it will undoubtedly be admitted, that the closing days of a long and confessedly illustrious life are worthy of the minutest detail.

These last periods, having a tendency to educe whatever is vigorous or feeble, whatever is benign or malignant, and to separate all that is salubrious from what is morbid, both in body and in mind, form, as it were, the summing up of life, and usually, in all cases where the mental faculties are unimpaired, cast a lustre or a shade over the whole preceding course.

There is something which solemnly arrests the thoughts of most persons in the first intelligence of the death of one whom they have long been habituated to account great; and the most eager curiosity is excited to inquire how an individual elevated above his contemporaries, by unusual abilities, quitted the station which he so eminently occupied in society. But, when powers of mind naturally great, illustrious, and perhaps in their peculiar combination unexampled, have been long subject to the correcting influence of religion ; when almost throughout life they have been consecrated to the service of Christ, in advocating the claims of his divine gospel; and when their possessor has been a bright and shining example of all that is lovely, humble, and devotional in Christian disposition ; then the interest felt regarding the end of such an one is intense. Multitudes, of all ranks, thirst to know how so great and good a man has left the world; how left the church on earth; how parted from his friends, his family, and his beloved pursuits; and what may have been his contemplations and anticipated hopes, as respects eternity. Such an overwhelming feeling do all the friends of our distinguished pastor experience; and they wait with impatience for some authentic account.

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