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There can be no true love of God without a desire to approach him in prayer and praise; there can be no fixed principle of obedience to divine commands without that love of God which naturally manifests itself in acts of pure devotion. How necessary, then, to the true happiness of every man, either as an integral part of society, or as a member of a household, or as an unconnected individual, is the habit of holding communion with his Maker and Redeemer! It was the highest privilege which our first parents possessed before their disobedience, to be allowed an intercourse with heaven; and it was the first token of the sense of their apostacy that they shrunk from their accustomed converse, that 'they hid themselves from the
presence of the Lord God. It is still one of the greatest blessings procured by the coming of the promised seed' to fallen man, that he has access to the Father; and it is now, no less than in the day of
Adam's trial, a test of conscience, a sure criterion of the state of the soul towards God; that a man is inclined or disinclined to present himself before the throne of his all-knowing Judge.
“ The service of our Liturgy is expressly intended for a daily service; the use of it, entirely or in part, on every day in the week, could not, therefore, be contrary to the design with which it was originally framed. The only objection which might be plausibly urged, namely, that by constant repetition it might lose its efficacy, were easily obviated by adapting distinct portions to the worship of each day. If variety be requisite, the Collects, Offices, and Psalms, furnish an abundant supply of every kind of petition, thanksgiving, and praise.-Surely a good selection from the Liturgy would stand pre-eminently free from all exception; for, to say nothing of the venerable grace which is shed around it, and which makes it to differ as much from all recent publications as an ancient cathedral differs from the best of modern churches,—there is in it such a peculiar tone of solemn truth; of sober yet fervent piety; of pure, comprehensive charity; its language is so appropriate yet so universal; in short, there is such a charm to every ear and every heart that is really attuned to the sweet concord of devotion, that there must be less fear of its palling on the mind, and losing its command of the attention, than of any other human composition.”
Induced by the preceding observations, I have “extracted a Course of Forms from the Book of Common Prayer, and arranged them either for family worship, or for private devotion.” The fruit of my labour is now submitted, with great diffidence, to the public. If a second Edition should be called for,
I shall gladly avail myself of the hints that may be suggested by the friends of Religion, for the improvement of this little Manual.
It is stated in the title-page that the Forms are selected chiefly from the Book of Common Prayer. Several passages are taken from the Bible. Two or three quotations are made from uninspired compositions, and put in inverted com
Following the example of the venerable Compilers of our Liturgy, I have inserted the Lord's Prayer in the middle, or thereabouts, of each Form. Bishop Porteus's Paraphrase of this Prayer is added, and may occasionally be used, together with two or three Collects, instead of the ordinary Form for the Morning or Evening.
Thoroughly convinced of the expediency of imbuing the minds of all men, especially of the rising generation, with principles of loyalty and respect for lawful authority, I have introduced into each Form, a Prayer for the King or the Royal Family.
If the Prayers should be thought too long, the reader may omit a Collect, or even two Collects.
The utility, and indeed necessity of Forms of Prayer for family worship are generally acknowledged. An able writer maintains that "
every unprejudiced person must, in the closet, and perhaps in the family, feel, that the natural and simple effusions of the heart are much more impressive than a set and regular repetition of the same words, and are much more likely to be the sincere and spiritual expression of the real sentiments and feelings of the mind." Yet he afterwards admits, or rather asserts, that “ forms of prayer are of great utility: for," he justly observes, “ after all, there will be many sincere individuals, who feel it extremely difficult, or even impossible, to express themselves with