The wheels of nature with untiring motion have brought us to the beginning of a New Year, and we again greet our readers with the customary compliments of the season, and wish them all a Happy New Year. Truly if our happiness consisted only in worldly pleasure and temporal prosperity, our prospects for a happy new year would be dark and gloomy. Our skies are shadowed with a lowering cloud portentous of continued strife and bitter discord among those who have been wont to regard each other as friends and fellow-citizens of one great sisterhood of confederated States. But alas! how changed is the picture from what was presented in former years of our national history. What is to be the result, or when the bloody strife shall cease, the wisest of our statesmen cannot predict with any degree of certainty. He alone who holds the destiny of all things in his own hands can know when, if ever, peace shall again spread her balmy wings over our once happy but now greatly agitated country. But while the booming of cannon, the clashing of swords, resound with battles of the warrior, and much of the best blood of our citizens is flowing, towns and cities are being laid waste, and men are engaged in the fearful conflict; christians may still find peace and happiness in that kingdom which is not of this world. Whatever tumults may distract the earth, the Zion of our God shall forever remain a peaceable abode for all the sons of peace. Upon her towering walls of salvation waves the banner of love and the Prince of Peace presides in power and majesty over all her favored inhabitants. Blessed truly are they whose privilege it is to enter in through her gates, and who have a right to the tree of life. The saints who desire a happy new year are forbidden to look for happiness on earth. In the world they shall have tribulation, but in Jesus they shall have peace. Let them heed the admonition of the apostle and set not their affections on the things of this world, but things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of the majesty on high. And let us all remember that they only are truly happy who love God, and are reconciled to his government. But the way of the transgressor is hard.
As we are entering upon the new year it becomes us to review the way in which the Lord our God has brought us. His mercies endure forever, and therefore we are not consumed. How it becomes us to prostrate ourselves at his feet with thanksgiving and praise for his loving kindness and tender mercy already bestowed on us, and to implore his grace to incline our hearts to love and serve him, and to enable us to walk worthy of our high and holy vocation. Holiness becomes his house forever, and without holiness no man shall see the Lord.
It is reasonable to suppose that our readers will expect to hear from us in regard to our prospects, position, and arrangements for the new Volume. One year ago we began the preceding Volume with a circulation of between six and seven thousand subscribers, extending throughout almost every State and Territory of the United States, and some in the Canadas. This Volume is commenced with less than one half of that number. The principal cause of this reduction, as our readers are aware, is the discontinuance of mailing facilities into the seceded States where the Baptists of our order are far more numerous than they are in the Northern States. But we have not only suffered the loss of our Southern subscribers in consequence of the Civil War, but confusion and derangement of business in the Northern States have circumscribed the ability of very many of our old patrons, so that they have withdrawn their support from us. We are not, however, discouraged. Believing as we do that the Lord has directed our publication for the edification and comfort of his scattered people, and hitherto has afforded us his sustaining power and grace, with humble reliance on him for a continuance of his support, we are resolved to continue our labors as long as we can enjoy the sensible evidence of his divine approval. And we confidently hope and believe he will incline our brethren and friends to render all the encouragement and aid in their power. There probably never was a time when the scattered flock of Jesus needed a medium of correspondence like this more than at the present time. They have much to discourage, dishearten and perplex them, and as cold water is to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. It becomes them to speak the word of encouragement, of love, and fellowship to each other, and through our columns they may at once address, in the same epistle, thousands of their kindred in Christ Jesus. How long we may be favored with the privilege of this kind of correspondence, we do not know, but while we are so favored, let us not fail to appreciate it.
Our position is too well known to those who have long had the opportunity of reading our paper to require any new pledge from us. But as God shall afford us strength with the best ability we have, so long as we live, we shall publish what we honestly believe to be sustained by the scriptures of divine truth, though men or devils may oppose. We shall carefully avoid meddling with politics; but at the same time give our views unreservedly on every subject contained in the Bible, and only ask all who read our views to compare them faithfully with the word, and to accredit them no farther than they shall find them sustained by what God has said.
As to our arrangements for the present Volume, we shall have our printing this year under our own supervision, and devote our personal attention to every department of the publication. We have already expended over two thousand dollars in making improvements in our office, and we flatter ourself that the present Volume - though it may not reimburse our expenses - shall excel all the preceding Volumes. Our correspondence, though greatly curtailed by the loss, for the present at least, of our Southern writers, will be sufficient to make the reading matter interesting and profitable. No pains or reasonable expenses shall be spared to make this volume what it should be.
Our connection with the Southern Baptist Messenger is for the present suspended; as we have no means of corresponding with our son, the publisher of that journal, his residence and address being Covington, Newton County, Georgia.
The publication of the Banner of Liberty also being for the present suspended, we have no clubbing arrangements with any other paper. Our agents will only send orders for the Signs of the Times, at least until further notice.
Our terms will be as formerly, viz: One dollar and fifty cents per year for a single subscriber; but if paid in advance, but one dollar per year. Five dollars sent atone time in advance will secure six copies for one year.
United States Treasury notes will be received in payment, or current notes on any New York Banks, or on banks of and in the States east of New York, or on banks of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Ohio, or Indiana, or Canada - or if gold can be procured, it will suit us still better. For all odd amounts of less than one dollar, U.S. Postage stamps will be received at par.
All monies sent us by mail, if carefully put up and properly mailed to us, will be at our risk. All orders, remittances and other communications for the Signs must be addressed to Elder Gilbert Beebe, Middletown, Orange Co., N.Y.
January 1, 1862.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 5
Pages 106 – 109