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BLACKIE & SON, QUEEN STREET, GLASGOW;
SOUTH COLLEGE STREET, EDINBURGH;
This work originated in the suggestion of several pious and highly talented individuals, that an attempt should be made to promote the important duty of Family Worship, and to aid in its revival where it has unhappily fallen into neglect, by placing in the hands of the community what may be termed a model book, embracing so great a variety of examples, as to avoid the monotony of a single form of prayer, and suited, by its extensive and comprehensive application, to the varied wants and circumstances of man. It was ultimately determined that the plan of the work should include—the selection of a portion of scripture for Every morning and evening throughout the year, and also a psalm or paraphrase for praise; a brief comment on the scriptural passage of each service, and a prayer for every morning and evening, adapted to the circumstances of the entire household, and based upon the portion of holy writ recommended to be read. The passage of scripture must be read from the Bible itself, that it may be always in the hands of the family. This plan met the
approbation of all the ministers of the Church of Scotland to whom it was submitted; and i from this learned and pious body of men, no fewer than one hundred and eighty individuals
were selected as contributors to the work. It has been altogether a labour of love on their part; and the varied talent and devotional spirit so conspicuous throughout the Family Worship, attest the Christian zeal with which they have performed their respective parts. This work, it is believed, will long remain a valuable and delightful record of their piety and usefulness; and will, in after times, serve to stimulate the labourers in the Lord's vineyard to that exemplary discharge of the ministerial duty which so eminently distinguishes the clergymen of the Church of Scotland in the present day.
The entire superintendence of the work was confided to the Rev. James Gibson, A. M., of Glasgow; and the proprietors are deeply sensible of the advantages that have accrued to the publication from his talent and untiring assiduity. To this gentleman, and to the numerous contributors, the publishers offer their respectful thanks.
As a companion to the Family WORSHIP, a work is in preparation, to be entitled, “ The CHRISTIAN'S DAILY COMPANION, presenting an entire View of Divine Truth, in a Series of Meditations for every Morning and Evening throughout the Year. To which is appended, a brief Manual of Prayers for Private Devotion." The arrangement of this work is in the hands of the Rev. N. Paterson, D.D., Glasgow; and many distinguished ornaments of the Church of Scotland will aid in its composition.
OUR labours in editing this work have now been brought to a close : and we can look back on the occasional hours spent in them with unmingled satisfaction. The object of the work has been to aid and promote the duty of Family Worship; a duty alike commended by its essential interest and importance, and dictated by the principles of Scripture and even the feelings of natural religion, a duty whose decay or revival is always coincident with the revival or decay of vital religion itself. It is usually understood to consist in praise and prayer, and reading of the Word of God. It has its foundation in our dependence on God for all the blessings and comforts of our being, and our duty to praise and obey the Author of them all. Prayer is the natural expression of a dependent being, and is especially the duty and the privilege of man, sinful, weak, ignorant, subject to many trials and miseries, and born for eternity.
The very same principles and circumstances that make it a duty and a privilege in an individual to pray to God, make it incumbent upon a family. Nay, the family relation strengthens the feelings and obligations of prayer, multiplies the inducements and combined them into one united interest of deeper and more tender intensity. The very existence of one Great Father of the universe, implies, that the common and united homage of all creation is his due. “Of him, and to him, and through him, are all things.' All beings and all combinations of being must look up to him who is the great centre and source of their existence, and their joy. Especially is it most reasonable and natural that this should be the case in the closest, most intimate, and endearing of all social relations, —that of the family. Here there is a clear and a felt community of wants, difficulties, trials, and enjoyments, in which every member feels and sympathises, as intensely as in his own individual concerns ; even with an intensity increased in proportion to the number of individuals of whom it is composed. Every morning and every evening they have the same common blessings to acknowledge, the same sins to be confessed and forgiven, the same natures to be renewed and sanctified, and the same hopes to cherish. They need protection from the same dangers ; they have the same consolations to seek, the same trials and afflictions to endure ; they are journeying together to the same home; they hope to die in each other's presence, or if scattered in the providence of God for time, they hope to meet together at last, –a family in heaven.
last,-a family in heaven. Having one God and Father, one faith, one Lord, one baptism, and one hope of eternal life, nothing can be more reasonably suitable and delightful than to meet together round the same family altar, morning and evening, to commit their
Family Worship has many great and obvious advantages. Besides the all-important benefits of a directly religious kind, in promoting piety and drawing down the blessing of God, and of him who both promised his presence to two or three meeting together and asking anything in his name, it promotes order, regularity, and propriety of behaviour in a household. The very submission to the God of all, which it expresses and cherishes, promotes the spirit of submission and obedience in the family. It checks unseasonable levity, rebukes disorder, quarrelling, or unruly passions, which cannot consist with family devotion. Either the one or the other must cease. It invests the parent and master with the most venerable of all characters,—that of a servant of God: and where the natural affection of parents and children, and the proper kindness on the one hand, and respect on the other, of masters and servants, are hallowed and deepened by the benign and solemn feelings of religion, love, peace, and obedience will reign through the family. The principles and examples of Scripture entirely harmonize with these views. We do not expect to find particular precepts on this head ; because, as we have seen, the reasons that enforce prayer on man as an individual, enforce it on him in all his relations; and it is worthy of remark, that all God's commands are addressed to him as an individual;—“ Thou shalt, or shalt not” do this or that, binding on him every where and at every time. Wherever there are social blessings and duties, social prayer to God is due. But we may expect examples of these principles in the Scriptures; and accordingly there are many. Thus Abraham was commended for his observance of family religion, and that too in connection with the promise, that in him all the families of the earth should be blessed, Gen. xviii. 19. Eli was punished for not religiously training and ruling his family. Joshua resolved, that as for him
way to God.