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    “They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.” — Nehemiah 4:17,18.


    COURTEOUS READER, THROUGHOUT another year we have endeavored, month by month, to provide for your entertainment and edification. For both, because the first is to the most of men needful to produce the second, and also because God hath joined them together, and no man should put them asunder. See how in nature the orange tree, side by side with its golden apples, puts forth its delicious blossoms; mark how the painted butterfly flits among the useful herbs of the garden, and observe how the cerulean blue of the cornflower smiles forth from amid the stalks of the wheat. In the temple of the Lord the chosen high priest mingled around the fringe of his robe the tinkling bell and the precious fruit, and on the sacred candlestick were not only seven lamps, but also “knops and flowers upon the branches.” It was an ill day when religion became so decorous as to call dullness her companion, and mirth became so frivolous as to demand the divorce of instruction from amusement. It is not needful that magazines for Christian reading should be made up of pious platitudes, heavy discourses, and dreary biographies of nobodies: the Sabbath literature of our families might be as vivacious and attractive as the best of amusing serials, and yet as deeply earnest and profitable as the soundest of divines would desire. Reader, you see what we have intended: how far short we have fallen you know full well, and we also are not unconscious thereof. It is something to have tried, more to have tried to our utmost, and most of all to have held our own among many competitors, and to have so far succeeded as to have secured a host of appreciating friends. To these we respectfully and heartily present our Christian regards, and all the good wishes of the season.

    True to our coat of arms, The Sword and the Trowel, we have smitten here and there, with such force as the case required and our arm allowed, and have builded upon the wall with some measure of diligence. Our object has been practical throughout. We walked the other day through a gallery of portraits, and noticed how little attention they secured compared with the same men and women in historical pictures in another department of the exhibition. Life in action awakens our emotions, mere portraiture has not. one-half the power. In our pages Christian men are seen doing service for their Lord; fifty disquisitions upon usefulness would not have exerted a tithe of the influence. We boast not when we speak of influence, for it has come to our knowledge that many of the various labors of holy zeal which we have here presented have obtained substantial help as the result, and in this we’ greatly rejoice. It might have been policy to have reserved our pen for our own varied enterprises, with the idea of bringing funds into our own channel, as each miller turns the water to his own wheel, but we have not so understood the law of Christ; to us every good man’s work is a part of our own, and to help him is to help ourselves. Whenever we hear of an effort carried on in true faith, with simplicity of motive, and real efficiency, our monthly pages shall still be lent to foster if we can, and if not at least to approve, and show our sympathy.

    In our own vineyard, the College has become a tree of larger dimensions than ever, the Orphanage has brought forth sweeter fruit, and the Colportage has put forth new boughs. In all this our readers have had a large share, and we thank them heartily. Two fresh trees of smaller growth have been planted, namely, the Mission among the poor blind people of London, which deserves to be well watered; and last, but not least, Mrs.

    Spurgeon’s Fund for supplying poor ministers with books, which has made many hearts leap for joy, and must, under the divine blessing, be a fruitful source of benefit to the churches. This work ought to be sustained and increased till no needy preacher of the gospel should find himself destitute of daily food for his mind. The famine has been sore in the land, but this effort shall, we trust, never cease till each son of Israel shall bring home with him his own sack full of grain, for “there is corn in Egypt.” It remains with our at[ached friends to see to it, that nothing fails of all these godly efforts.

    We bespeak for this year’s volume the honor of permanence. The cover is an attractive one, which our readers can purchase for sixteen-pence, and so preserve the whole; or the volume for 1875 can be purchased, bound complete, for five shillings. As the articles are of abiding interest we hope to have a place in many a library. We cannot afford that so much labor should, like the ephemera, live only for an hour.

    Should any friend spend a few moments in recommending The Sword and the Trowel, and obtaining us fresh subscribers, we should be deeply grateful. If all did so, our circulation, excellent as it is and always has been, might be doubled at once, and our hopes of usefulness increased in proportion.

    Reader, to the God of all grace we commend you. When the sun of righteousness shines full upon you, pray for, Yours heartily, THE EDITOR


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