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READINGS FOR EVERY DAY IN LENT.
PUBLISHED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE
SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE;
SOLD AT THE DEPOSITORIES:
AND BY ALL BOOKSELLERS,
In adding another to the already numerous works for Lent, a few words of explanation appear to be due.
This little Book was written at the request of a friend, whose household chiefly consisted of servants. She found them, generally, not only entirely ignorant of the true use of Lent, but prejudiced against its observånce, regarding it as a Popish superstition; and she sought in vain amongst the Books which she had found profitable to herself, for one which would instruct, without offending them; and which she could read, or lend to them.
No attempt has been made in these pages, to enter into the subject controversially, but after explaining in the first few chapters the design of Lent, and the reason of its institution, the writer has endeavoured to follow, from day to day, the course of a Christian Churchman during this solemn season; to show his difficulties and discouragements; and to draw out the lessons which are taught him in the Church's appointed Services, believing that if this can be done, the most prejudiced must acknowledge her wisdom in setting apart a special season for meditation, retirement, and devotion; and must see, that, so far from leading to self-righteousness, and self-dependence, the effect of Lent, when rightly kept, will ever be to show us so much sinfulness, as to make us abhor ourselves in dust and ashes; and so much helplessness, as to drive us more and more to that Lamb of God, who is, at this time, so vividly brought before us, as taking away the sins of the world.
To-day is the beginning of Lent, or the season immediately before Good Friday and Easter.
On those Days we commemorate the love of our Saviour in dying for us, and His victory in rising again from the grave; and during Lent we are taught, by our Church, to prepare our minds for the consideration of these two great events, and are also instructed in what way we can best prove our gratitude to our Lord for all that He has done for us. The first thing which our Church teaches us, as requisite, is repentance. She tells us in the Commination Service (which is used to-day) that she has thought good that the sentences of God's cursing against impenitent sinners should be read in the presence of all; to the intent that, being admonished of the great indignation of God against sinners, they may be moved to earnest and true repentance.
Now what is repentance ? It is said in the dictionary to mean such sorrow for sin as produces amendment of life, and this appears to be exactly what we are taught to aim at in the portion of Scripture appointed to be read as the Epistle for to-day. We find in it the Prophet Joel addressing the people of Judah, and calling upon them to be sorry for their