Original Sketches of real Characters, Conversations, and striking Facts. Furnished chiefly by Clergymen.
The following imperfect sketch of topics to be embraced, may serve to illustrate the plan:—1. Instances of very early piety.—2. Striking results of Parental faithfulness, or unfaithfulness; of filial respect, or disrespect.—3. Cases of individuals raised from deep obscurity, or wickedness, to eminent usefulness.—4. Remarkable cases of conviction.—5. Cases of great hardness of heart, from resisting convictions.—6. Distinctly marked cases of submission and conversion to God.—7. Cases of awful relapse into sin.—8. Cases of strong temptation and trial.—9. Cases of strong faith and confidence in God.—10. Peculiarly manifest interpositions of Providence, in mercy or judgment.—11. Instances of the wrath of man being made to praise God.—12. Cases illustrative of the influence of piety on the intellectual powers.—13. Instances of extraordinary beneficence or covetousness.—14. Death-bed scenes, of the Christian, the backslider, the infidel, the universalist, the profane man, or the worldling.
It is conceived that the very existence of such a Periodical might be the means of leading Clergymen, in their pastoral intercourse, to be more observant of character, more discriminating in their views of human nature, and more disposed to record and rescue from oblivion striking conversations and facts. No species of knowledge can be more interesting or more useful, than that thus drawn from real life;—especially from portions of life most intimately connected with spiritual and eternal realities. If it is all-important that masters in surgery and medicine record, for mutual improvement, and for the benefit of mankind, striking cases which occur in their practice; it cannot, surely, be less important, that those who watch for the life of souls, should preserve similar records. It would seem as though, from the daily intercourse of several thousand Clergymen, such materials, of the character contemplated, might be furnished, as, if well condensed and judiciously arranged in an elegant Periodical, would not fail to be read with intense and general interest. And who can tell, but that God, who is rich in wisdom, may thus employ the simplest means for collecting, condensing, and reflecting rays of sacred truth, in the form of practical results, which may carry conviction and saving instruction to uncounted millions—not merely in our own land, but in more populous countries, where the importance of experimental religion is not appreciated?
But, for rendering such a work pre-eminently useful, or even commencing it, there must be union of effort. As it is intended to consist wholly of original matter, and that of a specific character, such as no genius can originate, it is obvious that it cannot be commenced, without being furnished with numerous pledges of supplies. And it will be important to have a considerable number of communications on hand, at the commencement, as well as afterwards, that due regard may be had to order in the arrangement of subjects, and an interesting variety be presented in every Number.