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"COMFORT YE, COMFORT YE, MY PEOPLE, SAITH YOUR GOD."
"ENDEAVOURING TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE."
"JESUS CHRIST, THE SAME YESTERDAY, TO-DAY, AND FOR EVER. WHOM TO KNOW
H. G. COLLINS, 22, PATERNOSTER ROW.
TO THE READERS OF THE "GOSPEL MAGAZINE."
BELOVED BRETHREN AND SISTERS IN CHRIST JESUS,
The closing up of another Volume, constrains us to say with the Psalmist, as he sat before the Lord (2 Sam. vii. 18), "Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?"
Reflecting, dear readers, on the date of our acquaintance, and the many vicissitudes with which the intervening weeks, and months, and years have been fraught, we stand, and wonder, and adore! "What hath God wrought?" ""Tis the Lord's doings, and it is marvellous in our eyes."
Beloved, most comforting is the contemplation of those covenant engagements entered into between the Three Persons of the adorable Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. As members of the mystical body of Christ, it secured to us beforetime all needful grace in time, and inconceivable glory when time shall be no
But the distinguishing mercy, in connexion, is, that all past mercies are but the pledge of future favours. The grace and the goodness which we have received at the hand of God our Father, whilst they ratify this covenant, do also most sweetly assure us of the fact, that as the unchangeable I AM, "having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end."
With respect to the past, we have indeed abundant reason to say with good old Jacob, "Few and evil have the days of the years of our life been;" yet beloved, may we not also adopt the language of a former Editor of this work, when closing the year 1767?-we refer to the immortal Toplady:
"Kind Author and ground of our hope,
Thee, thee, for our God we avow;
Our glad Ebenezers set up,
And own thou hast help'd us till now.
We muse on the years that are past,
Wherein our defence thou hast prov'd;
Nor wilt thou abandon at last,
Such sinners so signally lov'd."
Beloved, as each year terminates, we cannot suppress the thought about those who have quitted our ranks during the year. Some we know-many we knew not-personally. Yet the mind travels after them in sweet meditation, and at times with a measure of envy; though in this respect we would thank our God for making us for most part to say, "Thy will be done." "All the days of my appointed time will I wait till my change come." Whilst we contemplate the blessed estate of those who have exchanged the cross for the crown-the sounds of warfare for the shouts of victory-we find it unspeakably precious to sing as we follow in the rear, or still engage in the conflict:
"Though in a foreign land,
We are not far from home;