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FOR THE YEAR 1820,
THE TWENTY-SIXTH VOLUME.
Gough Square, Fleet Street.
PATERNOSTER ROW: AT OXFORD, BY PARKER: AT CAMBRIDGE, BY DEIGHTON
THROUGHOUT THE KINGDOM.
In completing our TWENTY-SIXTH volume, and comparing it with its predecessors during a quarter of a century, there is at least one quality of the work to which we think we may, without any violation of decorum, advert ;-we mean, its CONSISTENCY. Our religious opinions, our ecclesiastical preferences, our general views relative to the numerous objects which have come under our consideration, may, according to the judgment of the reader, have been sound or otherwise; the plan also, and the filling up of the work, may have been happy or unfortunate; but he will at least find, that as to all the most important topics which can interest mankind, there has been a measure of unity which, we would humbly hope, may have arisen from a desire to follow sober truth, and to be guided by a spirit of Christian moderation rather than to conform to popular opinions, or to indulge party animosities or predilections. One result of this line of proceeding has been, that, while various contemporary works of the same kind have rapidly arisen and rapidly died away; and while others, in their progress, have appeared to stultify their earlier opinions; the Christian Observer has pursued a tolerably steady course, and we trust may be safely referred to, in its collective form, for a large body of sound, useful, consistent, and interesting disquisition on most of the leading subjects of scriptural doctrine, practical piety, and ecclesiastical discipline; and, we may add, for a digest of the chief memoranda, religious, political, and literary, during the eventful period of its existence. We trust we may notice these points without ostentation, and with humble gratitude to God, when we consider to how many esteemed and beloved friends, many of them now in a better world, we have been indebted for the most valuable of the contributions which fill our successive volumes.
In closing another year of our labours as Christian Observers, we cannot look around us without seeing much to call for increasing thankfulness to the Author of all good, and not a little also to excite feelings of deep regret, of penitence, and humiliation.
Let us, in the first place, turn to the more elevated and influential classes of society ; to our public men, our statesmen, our legislators. When was there so much reason for the language of general commendation with respect to them as now? When were the principles of liberty, civil and religious, so well understood or so scrupulously respected ? When was justice more purely administered? When was there so little of the vehemence of