C. Gahan, Ilminster
IF IT WAS TRUE IN SOLOMON'S DAY, that, 'of making many books there is no end', how much more true it is today; the world has travelled a long way in the matter of book-making since Solomon wrote these words. 11 has been estimated that, since printing was first invented, some 35,000,000 titles have been published. Of some of these only a few hundred were printed, but of others hundreds of thousands. In the case of such books as the Bible, Paradise Lost, Pilgrim's Progress, and Uncle Tom's Cabin, millions have been printed. If the average edition of the above was only 3,000 this would bring the number of books issued from the printing presses of the world to some eighty-live thousand millions! Since Gutenberg set up his first press, a fever of book-making and book-reading has beset the world. Nor is it less so today; books, magazines and pamphlets pour from the press in an ever widening stream.
Into this already crowded field Precious Seed ventured some twelve years ago. We have, on more than one occasion, explained the reasons which then induced us to add another magazine to the many already existing. It is our conviction now, as it was then, that well-balanced instruction in New Testament Church principles is essential if the special testimony committed to the assemblies is to be maintained in health and vigour. In our judgment failure to recognize the importance of suitable instruction in the scriptural pattern for local churches, is responsible for much of the laxity and weakness so prevalent today. Disintegration and declension will inevitably follow any departure' from the divine pattern ; hence the importance of building the assembly along the lines of God's Word. Our assembly life and testimony must be fashioned and disciplined by the Word of God. Nothing less than this should satisfy believers who professedly are seeking to be guided by the Scriptures alone. Church truth is not a fad or a fancy, it is a basic doctrine of the Bible, and to fail to declare it is to fail to declare the whole counsel of God. It is not enough merely to preach the gospel: churches after the pattern of the New Testament are tinder obligation, not only to preach the gospel, but to practice and maintain divine principles of gathering. A great responsibility rests on assembly elders. Believers must be taught to appreciate scriptural standards of doctrine and practice. Our young people must be well grounded in the truth of the Church: failing this, we must not be surprised if they are beguiled into supporting unscriptural systems of worship and service. Just as each new generation of unbelievers must be won afresh for Christ, so each new generation of believers must lie instructed afresh in Cod's pattern for 'the churches of the saints'.
To give sane and balanced teaching along these lines is the policy of Precious Seed. How far we have succeeded in so doing we must leave our readers to judge. We have sought to avoid widening any existing differences. It is not our intention to swing from one extreme to the other, but rather to give a simple and sensible presentation of the teaching of Scripture. Nor have we forgotten the injunction to speak 'the truth in love'. It has been well said that good tidings spoken harshly arc no good tidings. To expound the truth of the Church in a harsh, bigoted and intolerant manner (and this is by no means uncommon), is no recom¬mendation of it. Let us beware lest in our zeal for the truth we engender a narrow and ungracious spirit. The fact that this particular truth is unpopular with some, is but another reason for dealing with it in love. This will we do in these pages; we shall constantly endeavour to preserve the divine equilibrium of 'truth in love'.
To our many readers at home and abroad we send Christian greetings, expressing the hope that they may continue, throughout this year, to find spiritual enrichment in the ministry of this magazine.