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OUR readers have now before them the first volume of another fifty years' series. It has been a pleasing labour to gather together the well-considered thoughts of about thirty kind contributors, who have never permitted the Editor to feel any anxiety as to his pages being filled with interesting and useful articles. The thanks of the readers of the Magazine are due, and no doubt are frequently rendered to them, for the pleasure and instruction which have been thus received. It is, perhaps, due to our contributors, that this opportunity should be taken for stating that the influence of their labours is not limited to the immediate readers of the Magazine. Sunday school and other periodicals reach us from our own and foreign lands, in which we find numerous extracts from our pages, and that to an extent which often both surprises and gratifies us.
A pleasing instance of the extent of this influence has recently occurred. In our number for April we narrated a touching incident in connexion with the distress in Lancashire during the last winter, under the title of "The Honest Sunday Scholar." That narrative was read in Australia, and moved the hearts of the teachers and scholars of the Surrey Hills Wesleyan school, Sydney, who have remitted the sum of Five Pounds for the use of the lad, who, in circumstances of almost irresistible temptation, was enabled, under the influence of the truths learnt in the Sunday school, to say, "Yes, we are very bad off, but I go to Sunday school, and I love Jesus, and I couldn't be dishonest."
Our career would present a great contrast to the actual events of human life, if there were no causes for regret mingled with these reasons for thankfulness. The most painful circumstance which has
occurred to us, has been the receipt of the following letter from our highly esteemed contributor "Ion," accompanying an article appearing in the December number, entitled "Give an account of thy Stewardship."
"SEPTEMBER 28th, 1863.
"DEAR SIR.-Through the kindness of a friend, who lent her hand and pen to aid my inability, I am permitted to send a last contribution to the Magazine, which I have long loved, as affording room to speak for Jesus. I cannot without pain close even so small a door of usefulness, but linger with my hand still upon its hinge, that I may look and speak a loving farewell' to my brothers and sisters, who yet remain in the field of Sunday school labour. There is no need of my feeble testimony to the faithfulness of a prayer-hearing God; but so sweet is it to tell of, that I must beg your indulgence yet one last time. Dear Mr. Editor, my dying couch (or what seems, to all human judgment, likely to be so) has, within the space of one fortnight, been cheered by the avowal of four individuals, who had been the subjects of anxious waiting and supplication for several years, that they have been led to see and believe in Jesus crucified. Shall I own that in one case I had not faith enough to expect that this side of eternity would make known to me the answer of peace? Thus are my days of silent waiting made vocal with thanksgiving-He is faithful that promised!' If you think this incident might encourage some one who has already waited years for a soul's new birth, you are welcome to communicate it, not naming me. And now, dear Sir, will you accept my Christian regards and thanks for the uniform kindness with which you have received my little papers, and believe me, "Yours in Jesus."
"Finished Sept. 30."
We have one other cause for regret, and which it is in the power of our readers to remove. The benefit to be derived from the Magazine is much limited by the mode adopted for its circulation amongst teachers. It is necessary, in order to preserve an interest in it, that each teacher should have an opportunity of reading it during the current month; and, in order to this, we earnestly urge that one copy should be taken in for every four teachers: so that one week during the month may be allowed to each.
It will be perceived that several pictorial illustrations have been inserted and we expect that during the ensuing year, the number of such embellishments will be increased.
We ask the prayers of our readers, that the Holy Spirit may so guide the minds of the Editor and contributors, that the Magazine may be rendered still more useful in promoting, in various ways, the great work of Christian education throughout the world.