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A MONTHLY MAGAZINE,
DEVOTED TO RELIGION AND POLITE LITERATURE.
BY A SOCIETY OF GENTLEMEN,
PUBLISHED BY SAMUEL WOODWORTH & CO. AND E. RILEY;
S. Woodworth & Co. Printers.
PREFACE TO VOL. I.
BELIEVING that a New Dispensation of Divine Truth has commenced in this age, (in a more clear, rational, and open Revelation, than the world has ever witnessed) under the name of the New Jerusalem Church, foretold by John in the Apocalypse, we feel it a duty, while announcing this glorious event, to offer our humble services in preparing the human mind for its reception. And conceiving that no medium can be better adapted to this end than that of a periodical publication, a Monthly Magazine was projected, and is now ushered to the world, under the title of the HALGYON LUMINARY.
The editors are well aware, however, that such a publication ought to be conducted on a plan adapted to readers of every class and description. They believe that Natural and Scientific truths, so far from being incompatible with genuine theology, are absolutely necessary to constitute a well-informed mind; and that their attainment, (at least in some degree) is so essential, that no man can possibly become spiritual or religious without them. They are therefore determined, at the repeated solicitations of many intelligent and respectable characters, as well as an internal conviction of their duty as members of the Lord's New Church, to step forward with an entire new plan of rational entertainment, adapted to readers of every description whatever, which they now offer to the public with the most lively confidence of its being approved.
The grand object of this Periodical Publication is to take into consideration the Nature, Character, and Attributes of God; and the fundamental doctrines of the New and glorious Dispensation of Divine truth which he has, in these latter days, vouchsafed to his fallen creatures: To prove the spirituality, beauty, and excellency of His Divine Word, as contained in the Holy Scriptures: to explain the Wonderful Science of Correspondences, by which the Scriptures were written, and by which we are taught, that every thing in the Spiritual World is represented by something in the Natural World; or as St. Paul expresses it, "The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead."* By which we are furnished with a key to unlock the * Rom. i. 20.
internal sense of the Sacred volume, and therein discover treasures to Prejudice and Superstition unknown. To show the wonderful connection between genuine Theology, true Philosophy, and pure Politics, which have been so long considered as utterly disconnected; designate and vindicate the original rights of man, and support genuine law, as the only rule of right. To urge the necessity of Repentance and Regeneration, and to recommend Virtue, as the only efficient means of happiness here, and the certain passport to joys everlasting in the world which is to come. To promote Literature, and the Arts and Sciences, particularly the Useful Arts, New Inventions, and Domestic Improvements. "No Science, or matter of inquiry relative to the works of natural creation, whether belonging to the animal, the vegetable, or the mineral kingdom, that is calculated to ripen the understanding with universal knowledge, shall be left untouched in the course of this work. For being in possession of ample materials to execute their plan, the Editors are determined to exert themselves in the public service, by conducting with spirit and resolution, what they have conceived and undertaken with pleasure.
"In the Theological Department, which is characteristic of the Magazine, and takes the precedence of all other sciences, will be introduced a rational, clear, and comprehensive view of the great and genuine truths of the christian religion, as originating in heaven, and revealed to mankind under the four grand dispensations of the Most Ancient, the Ancient, Jewish, and Christian Churches. The perversion and abuse of Divine truth in all these churches will be accurately traced, and their successive declensions and destruction noted with precision. This will lead us to an investigation of subjects of the highest importance; subjects that have long perplexed the learned world, and which, till the present period, have remained unknown. Such are, the truc nature of Heaven and Hell; their intimate connection with every transaction or event in the natural world; the origin of evil, together with the end of its permission; and the various combinations of truth and falsehood, which form an intermediate state called the World of Spirits, wherein the soul of man (being of a spiritual nature) has its proper residence while living in the body." Such is the plan of this New Magazine, and such the general outline of the work in which we have engaged, whereby we hope to merit the countenance and support of every true friend to genius, virtue, and religion. EDITORS.
As the primary object of the publication we are now commenc
ing is the happiness of its readers, it shall be our endeavor to persuade them, of what we are most fully convinced ourselves, that all real felicity is to be found in virtue, and in that alone. For this purpose, as an introduction to the work, an humble attempt will be made to describe the pleasures of true religion; in doing which, we have reason, Scripture, and experience for our guide; for, reason alone will convince us, that the best life is the happiest life; or that to be good is to be happy. Hence the heathens, who were without the light of revelation, recommended a life of virtue and goodness, and particularly described the pleasures thereof. There are many beautiful thoughts of this kind in the writings of Seneca, as well as in others of the heathen writers. And the word of the Lord, in numberless places, always represents the pleasing, happy state of the religious man. David says, "a day in the courts of the Lord is better than a thousand elsewhere. That he had rather be a door-keeper in the house of God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness." "Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, ye righteous, and shout for joy all ye that are upright in heart." Psa. xxxii. 11. "Happy is that people that is in such a case; Vor. I.
yea, happy is No. 1.