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Tas time has arrived, when it becomes the Editor of the Panoplist to take a final leave of his Patrons and Readers, as the present number closes his labors in that capacity. In doing this, as little formality will be observed, and as few words employed, as will be consistent with a respectful deference to the Christian public, and a due recognition of editorial responsibility.
To our pomerous Patrons we return undissembled thanks for their countenance and support. We have experienced, as well as others, the mutability of human affairs; but no other religious publication in our country, and probably no monthly publication of any kind, has enjoyed so uniform a patronage, extending through so long a period. As to the respectability of our subscribers, some opinion may be formed, when it is stated, that the list embraces a greater number of clergymen, we presume, than any similar subscription list in the United States; -of clergymen highly respected, not only by their own people, but by large communi. ties in which their character is known; that it also contains a great number of laymen, distinguished by their intelligence, their influence, and their active participation in the princi. pal religious charities of the day; and that our volumes have been thought worthy of preservation in a regular series, by the proprietors of many public and very numerous private libraries. We mention these facts, not by way of boasting, but as reasons for the gratitude we express, and as having been constant monitors of our accountability. They also afford occasion of much regret, that our pages have not been more worthy of the favor, which they have received.
For several years past, the Editor's connexion with missionary operations has brought upon bim so many avocations, and those of so indispensable a nature, that he has not been able to derote time and attention to this work, in as full a manner, as he was anxiously desirous of doing. It unfortunately happened, also, that some contributors to our pages, who were most able to benefit the public by their writings, became so intensely occupied in the discharge of their official and appropriate duties, as to compel them to withhold that aid, which they had previously afforded; and one, who was eminently qualified to be a public instructor by his pen, as well as by his oral communications of many different kinds, has been removed by death. We refer to the late Dr. Dwight, who wrote the Lectures on the Evidences of Divine Reve. lation, published in several successive volumes, and the essay on the manner in zohich the Scriptures are to be understood, which appeared in the summer of 1816. To the memory of that great man we would pay the tribute of our affectionate veneration. Had opportunity presented itself, soon after his decease, we should have made the attempt, however feeble it might have been, to delineate bis character somewhat at large. Such an employment would have been highly grateful to our feelings; but it would not have been the employment of an hour or a day, and could not be well executed by any one, while exposed to perpetual interruption. An ideal character may be drawn with rapidity; but he, who would so describe a truly great man, as that all competent judges should pronounce his description full and faithful; and who would avoid the least swerving from absolute verity on the one hand, while he should not sink into tame generality on the other, must have time to reflect, and to consider well his language. Of the lamented instructor, theologian, and preacher, whose name has just been mentioned, the present occasion permits us only to say, that the numerous and extraordinary endowments of mind and heart, which Providence had munificently bestowed upon him, were constantly applied to the noblest purposes. None, who were so happy as to be intimately acquainted with him, will ever forget his zeal for evangelical truth, his powerful reasoning, his commanding eloquence, his fidelity as a teacher of human science and of revealed religion, his kind and paternal government, his interest in the success of young men, and that high generosity, wbich pervaded all his intercourse with mankind. In him was strikingly exemplified that heavenly charity, which, in all its diversified operations, forms the perfection of the Christian character; and which appeared in that love of goodness and of good men,--that can. dor in thinking, reasoning, and judging,—that disposition to forgive and restore the erring, to uphold and defend the innocent, and that active beneficence, by which he was so eminently distinguished.