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COMPILED FROM THE
BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER
AND OTHER SOURCES.
This little compilation is an attempt to produce a practical manual of private devotion. The Prayers for Morning and Evening have been arranged, with a slight variation, after the manner of Bp. Andrewes' Devotions. At first the idea was entertained of framing a course of prayers for the days of the week; but such a plan did not seem countenanced by our Church, which uses the same prayers daily.
The “ Preparation” is intended to furnish the sum of what Holy Scripture says of prayer; it should be read very frequently and carefully. The Paraphrases of the Creed and of the Lord's Prayer, by Bp. Andrewes and St. Cyprian, will be found to contain most beautiful explanations of those indispensable parts of devotion.
In the directions in the Forms of Prayer care has been taken to inculcate outward reverence. It has been well said, “ Let no man think that wilful misbehaviour in prayer-hurrying it over, impatiently shortening it, using negligent or irreverent postures, neglecting to compose himself beforehand even by one serious thought, hastening eagerly away from it as one glad to get back to the world :let no Christian imagine that any of these faults, or the like, is too trifling to be noticed by the Judge of all the earth. What if there were any of them light faults in themselves? Yet, as tokens and samples of what men have in their hearts, they are fearfully bad and severely punishable. Indeed misbehaviour in private prayer is especially foolish as well as wicked, because of all religious duties, private prayer is that one which most immediately regards the Almighty as really present, and watching what we do. If a man behave ill in public prayer, he may defend himself, profanely indeed, but consistently enough, by saying he does not believe, por care for God at all, only he comes to church to serve this or that temporal purpose ; but no person using private prayer can consistently say he does not believe at all. For if he do not believe why does he pray ? He can get nothing at all by his prayer in the way of temporal good, it being (as we suppose) entirely and strictly private.
Therefore if he prays in private, he surely believes. But if he believes,-if he really acknowledge the unseen, all-seeing God how can he behave himself rudely or irreverently
towards Him? By praying, you) own Him infinitely near; by praying carelessly, you do in effect deny that He is near or attending to you at all. A person who, being alone, prays carelessly, cannot plead, with the patriarch Jacob, “ The Lord is in this place, and I knew it not." For by the very act of praying at all he confesses that “God is in this place.” Again ; to any considerate person the thought is indeed inexpressibly awful, that when he prays, he is speaking to the Father, which is in secret:" it is made, however, still more awful by reflecting on what our Lord next adds: “Thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” It is fearful, the addressing ourselves to One so high above us
to the Father which is in secret; but it is rendered yet more fearful by the consciousness that “ He seeth in secret." To increase the sense of God's presence, the change of posture at the Creed will be found useful, by preventing drowsiness or listlessness, into which, when the body is tired, we are too ready to fall when on our knees.
Three Forms of Self-Examination are given. The first is the fullest and best; but as it is, perhaps, too long for general daily use, it would be expedient to use it monthly ; in which case, the second form might be used weekly, and the third daily.
The Collects have been added to supply becoming