BW Periodical Characteristics

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Brethren periodicals are often hard to identify. The earlier ones carried no editor's note on the title page, and the articles were not signed, or were signed only by initials. The early issues of Der Botshafter carried no initials. The first Brethren periodical in English was The Christian Witness: Chiefly on Subjects Connected with the Present State of the Church. It has sometimes been called Darby's magazine, and he contributed heavily to it, but its first editor was James Lampson Harris. It began in January, 1834.

There was a second edition of Volume 1 published in 1837, and in Biola's copy the identity of the authorship of most of the articles is indicated by writing in the initials or name of the author, and on the opposite page is a note that these were "taken from Mr. Harris' Edition... he was the Editor." Writing in this first volume were Darby, Newton, Bellett, Graves, P.F. Hall, Wigram, and a Borlan whom I have not otherwise identified.

In all of my library experience I have never before seen a volume of a magazine published as a book, but Topics for Teachers by Andrew Borland seems to be such. On the title page is a note, "'The Christian Worker.' Volume, 1934." On the reverse of the title page there is a half-tone cut of the front page of this magazine, the full name of which is The Christian Worker and Bible Student's Helper, the issue of October, 1934. Below this cut there is also the information that it was founded in 1883 by John Ritchie and is edited by Andrew Borland. A table of contents follows this page (unnumbered) and page 1 carries an abbreviated masthead for the December, 1933, issue, and the contents of the book apparently begin with this issue.

One finds many peculiarities in Brethren magazines. One of the astonishing things is that so many of them are issued free "as the Lord provides" and many of them probably for this same reason are issued irregularly at times. There are a few weeklies, but many monthlies. Even where there is a subscription price it is often low, one shilling for the British titles, in the early days for instance. A number of magazines do not carry volume or issue numeration, but only a date. Some of the children's magazines are folded two or three times thus obviating the stapling or gluing process.

Boys and Girls, Illustrated Gospel Magazine is "full of bright pictures and good stories," according to the subscript to the title on the front page. The publishers boast of a picture on every page of every issue (6 pp., double fold, per issue). It is a Pickering & Inglis product.

One of the most interesting of the current titles is Letters of Interest, published in Chicago. It contains news of assembly work and is illustrated. It carries biographical sketches of the prominent persons of the movement who die and lists widows of evangelists who have passed on. The most important British magazine for similar information on contemporary persons and affairs is The Witness, published by Pickering & Inglis. This is the oldest extant Brethren periodical, and it is planning to observe its centennial in 1970.

There are many missionary periodicals. The Fields is now published in New York. Across the Seas is an illustrated missionary paper for young people published in Britain. Australian Missionary Tidings] comes from Sydney, and Lines of Communication was published in Portugal. Echoes of Service has been published continuously since 1872.

On the mission field itself periodical publications in the native languages are widely used as a means of evangelization. Arthur Gook was not long in Iceland before he started a magazine. In the Belgian Congo Neno la Imani (Word of Faith) is published in 30,000 copies. There are a number of Spanish titles, and I was astonished to find that in Pasadena lives James Harrison Smith, who edits two Spanish periodicals in his home, one of which goes out in over 200,000 copies every two months: Mensajes del Amor de Dios. Because Smith is no name to attach to a Spanish magazine he signs himself as J. Harrison S.

Many of the earlier writers edited magazines of their own, although I have not run across any that Darby edited. William Kelly edited The Bible Treasury from 1857 to his death in 1906. In Elberfeld, Germany, the chief publisher of German Brethren literature, Verlag Brockhaus, began publishing Botschafter des Heils in Christo (first called Der Botschafter in der Heimat) in 1853. In 1950 the first few volumes of this magazine were reprinted by Ernst Paulus in Neustadt an der Haardt. Wigram edited The Present Testimony from about 1849. C.H. Mackintosh's Things New and Old dates from about 1867. Words of Truth began the same year.

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