« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
of public affairs; the nation; the cause of God in the world: these and other things, though not particularized in every exercise, must be noticed so frequently as to keep the mind alive to them.
With regard to the prayers for particular occasions-such as pertain to days of mourning, fasting, or thanksgiving; and those which respect the beginning and end of the year-will draw forth no objection. But as to those which regard religious festivals, some will probably condemn the Author on the ground of consistency. On that ground he is willing to be tried. Consistency refers to professed pr.cipals; and he avows principles which raise him above any particular body of Christians, while yet he deems it his honor to belong to one of them in preference to all others.
But his attachment to his regiment does not make him an enemy to the army of which it is a part. Let every one of us, says the Apostle, please his neighbor for his good to edification. Why should not the Author wish
to be serviceable to members of other communions, as well as to those of his own?
Dr. Watts, though a firm Pedobaptist, has yet composed and inserted in his excellent book, several hymns adapted to the convictions of those who practice adult baptism by immersion only.
And the late Mr. Newton, though an Episcopalian, made no scruple when de. sired to draw up a plan for a dissenting academy.
"Let us stand in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not; and let not him that eateth not, judge him that eateth, for God hath received him. Who art thou that judg est another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. One man esteemeth one day above another, another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it." Here every thing non-essential is left, where it ought to be left, to individual conviction and candor.
Upon these principles, the Author thinks, a dissenter without superstition may use these forms on these very days; especially as he is under no compulsion, and he has nothing to do with the day, but as a season of leisure, and as reminding him of some important truth.
A Christian, however, if he disregards the seasons, must love the subjects connected with them; and at some time or other he may wish more expressly to notice them; and this he can do by means of these forms, with the omission of a few words.
It is comparatively easy to be long and diffuse; but to be select and yet full, brief and yet comprehensive-this is the trial.
The Author could have composed a single prayer far superior to any of these; but the difficulty lay in the number; and the work must be judged of as a whole.
It is hardly necessary to observe, that with a slight alteration, and the substitution of the singular number for the p.ural, most of these prayers will serve for the closet as well as the family.
THIRD AMERICAN EDITION.
In republishing this last volume of Mr. Jay, the American Editor cannot but hope he has performed an acceptable and useful service. The high satisfaction with which other works of the same esteemed author have been received in this country, is a sufficient recommendation of the present perfor mance, to secure it general attention. Of its intrinsic, or comparative value, the public will judge, when they shall have given it a faithful perusal. Few alterations have been made in the original work, except where its local character demanded it; and then the subject has been adapted to the circumstances of our own country, without breaking the Author's connexion, or materially affecting his style. That it might be still more complete, an Appendix, containing several selected and a few original forms of devotion, has been added. It is now commended to the attention of the christian public, as a more complete marua for the use of FAMILIES than has hitherto been published.
Salem, Mass., Sept. 1824
C COME, let us worship and fall down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
Yes, O Lord, we are thine; and Thee we are bound to We grieve to think how many of our fellow creatures live without Thee in the world; and confess with shame that other lords have had dominion over us: but henceforth by Thee only will we make mention of thy name. We hope Thou hast subdued the insensibility and indifference towards thyself, so awfully natural to us, and awakened in us the inquiry, Where is God my Maker, that giveth songs in the night? We hope we are disposed to acknowledge Thee in all our ways; but we feel our need of the exercises of devotion. We trust we hold communion with Thee every day; but we find week days to be worldly days; and our allowed intercourse with secular concerns tends to reduce our heavenly impressions, and to make us forgetful of our work, and our rest. We therefore bless Thee for the return of a day sacred to our souls and eternity;—a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord;-in which, by waiting upon Thee, our