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May it please the Lord to bless each scriptural effort, however feeble, thus to. assist the devotions of his people. The circumstances of the times are so peculiar, and the unfoldings of providence are so remarkable as justly to call on the minister of Christ to supply his people with hints for prayers suited to these times.

The prayers here given are comparatively short, particularly those in the 6th and 7th weeks; but it will be easy to enlarge them from the occasional prayers which furnish a considerable part of the present volume.

Matthew Henry used to say that they who pray, do well; they who pray and read the scriptures, do better; they who pray, and read, and sing, do best; this is true, provided the heart go along with the worship, and we are led from the outward to the inward service.

The Author's plan has long been to sing a psalm or hymn, read a very short portion from the New Testament in regular course in the morning, and from the Old in the evening, explain it in a practical manner, and then unite with his family in prayer,

founded on the instruction given, and connected with the events of the day.

It is very desirable that family prayer should not be something distinct and separate from the usual spirit and habits of the family; but the refreshing and strengthening of all the ordinary course and feelings, and the very centre of the family interest and happiness, gathering round it all that most concerns us each day. It is important that it should not be merely a venerable custom, but a spring of blessing, flowing daily in renewed streams of grace for the whole household.

The following hints for using these prayers may be useful.

The Author hopes that the heads of families who use them, may be induced by their general shortness to lengthen them as occasion may require, and he gives the following hints for this purpose.

The Lord's prayer should precede, or follow the form here given.

Collects for special graces are added at the close of the book, that they may be occasionally used.

The sacred seasons of the episcopal church

furnish her members also with profitable-opportunities of varying and enlarging family devotion.

In this method it is hoped that many a master, or parent, or head of a family, giving a few minutes previously in private for preparation, will learn by degrees the happy skill of framing his own family devotions, and giving that variety to them which will adapt them to the ever-varying circumstances of a family, and prevent their becoming a mere matter of form and custom.

In a former work the Author recommended that every head of a family should try to attain the holy skill of exposition in his family, and should be a Teacher in his own house. This skill is of more easy attainment, and of much more important benefit, than is often supposed. Christians might thus become more fitted for extensive usefulness. Any thing tedious and wearisome is to be avoided. Short striking addresses to the conscience, drawn from the passage like arrows from the bow penetrate the heart, but lengthened common-place explanation, wearies and disgusts, and is in ordinary cir

cumstances quite out of place in the family. Much, very much of the true blessedness of this service will depend on the lively piety of the expounder. Well is it when family prayer is felt to be such a blessing that a necessary absence is felt to be a loss and privation.

In closing these prefatory remarks, I would endeavour to press upon the heads of families. to seek the attainment of the blessed privilege of conducting family devotions without being tied to a form, and with all the freedom of unbosoming our inward feelings and wants as children of God to our heavenly Parent and ever present Redeemer. Multiplication of forms cannot fully meet the vast variety of Providence, or comprehend the infinite fulness of divine thoughts and pleadings given us in the word of God for this blessed duty. What comes warm and direct from the heart will also find its way more readily to the hearts of others. There are frequently occasions when one holy strain of desire and feeling, which might seem limited or exclusive in a published form, may yet from circumstances most suitably and profita bly be used in our family,

Gratifying then as is the large and growing demand for publications of this kind, as showing that this blessed duty is more extensively practised, I cannot but hope that in this, as well as in other things, the New Covenant direction and promise may soon be more realized. "They shall not teach every man his neighbour and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, but all shall know me, from the least to the greatest."

The highest recompense of all labour is to promote the divine glory in being useful to the souls of our fellow-men. The Lord prosper this effort to this end. I send forth this work to the Church, with humble prayer to that heavenly Father who has graciously prospered my past publications so much beyond my hopes, that it may please him to make this farther effort useful in promoting family devotion among my fellowChristians.


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