(This story was first published in the January 1876 issue of the Dominion Churchman.)
Pursuant to a late announcement, this, the first number of the Dominion Churchman in the new year, appears in new form. We are confident this change will meet the approbation of our readers.
The old newspaper form which was in long use, has been generally abandoned by religious weekly periodicals, in favour of smaller pages. In making the change, it may there fore be said of us that we “follow the fashion.” But there can be no harm in following the fashion when it goes in the right direction, and when the new is a manifest improvement on the old. The most rigid Conservative cannot reasonably object to beneficial reforms. Such a principle, if observed, would be a bar to all progress.
Now the Dominion Churchman is determined to make progress. We are well aware that we have not yet attained perfection as a journal, but we shall strive to reach that degree of merit as speedily as possible. The best, the most useful, the most permanent institutions in the world were not made to order; nor did they spring up in a day. They are of slow growth, they require watchful and laborious care, they are certain to be misunderstood and perhaps mistrusted for a time; but if they have merits, their merits will eventually obtain recognition and command success. We are content to proceed at a steady and moderate pace. It never formed any part of our desire to take the world by storm. The meteor flash is very brilliant, but very brief.
The opening of a new year is a season of many hopes; let us hope the career of the Dominion Churchman will be long and successful. Its mission is to aid our bishops, our clergy, and our laity, in building up and extending the Church in every part of this vast dominion. We believe in the principles and the destiny of that Church. We believe in her primitive and Apostolic origin. We believe she embodies and teaches “the faith once delivered to the saints.”
To labour for the preservation and extension of that faith is a high calling, and worthy of the best energies of the best men. We believe there never was a time in the history of Christianity when the demand for the work of sound Church agencies was louder or more imperative than the present time. If the Church is to hold her own against the many opposing influences of the day, she must be in fact, as well as in name, a Church Militant. She must wear the armour and wield the sword.
On the one hand, her purity, as well as her liberty, is threatened by the ceaseless activity of that ambitious system, more or less corrupt, the head and centre of which is in Rome. On the other hand she is compelled to meet the assaults of a still more dangerous enemy. Infidelity, in many popular forms and guises, is striking at the very foundations of the Christian faith. In addition to these opposing forces, there is the spirit of a sectarianism, which in some cases means well, but which involves a principle much to be deplored. It retards the work of the Church, at least in proportion to the extent to which it impairs her historic unity, and disregards her visible organization.