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P R E F A C E.
The Disciples of Christ are in some measure differently minded in regard to Public Prayer. Some are of opinion that it ought to be extemporaneous, whilst others think that it should be according to some written form. When closely examined however, the difference in this matter does not seem to be great. Few, it is believed, of those who use extempory prayer would consider it wrong to use at times a written form; and on the other hand those who in general use a written form, will be found not to scruple occasionally to use, or join in, extempory prayer.
The Scriptures are our grand and only guide in all matters pertaining to the Kingdom of God, and when they speak out in clear directions, we have nothing to think of but an entire and cheerful submission to the instructions they give. But in those cases where they do not speak out and mark our path definitively, we are left at liberty to regulate our practice by the General Rules contained in the same Volume.
In regard to the manner of offering up Public Prayer, it does not appear that we have any definite directions in Scripture. In one case, it is true, we have a written form given us, and we have also written out copies of some other prayers; but on the other hand we clearly learn that extempory prayer was used on different occasions. Under these circumstances, our duty is, to regulate this matter in conformity with the General Precept, of doing all things for edification, and with order and propriety. In judging of what is best according to this principle, the disciples of