Imatges de pàgina

“And the Lord said . Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him. For I know him, that he will command his children, and his bousehold after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment."

GEX, xviii. 18.

“So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham."

GAL. iii. 9.


The two first editions of this book were dedicated to and received by the Bishops of the dioceses of Exeter and Salisbury, in which the home and sphere of duties of the Editor were placed at the times of their publication; a kindness in each case, of which he ever wishes to keep a record, both as an acknowledgment to them of much for which he has reason to be grateful as spiritual fathers in God, and as some sanction and encouragement in the republication of it. The general construction of the whole book remains as in those editions; the principle on which it rests being sanctioned by the best devotional writers of the Church, The explanation of this which was given in the preface to the second Edition being applicable to the present one, the Editor thinks it best to incorporate his former remarks in this introduction making only such alterations in it as circumstances require. (Where these are considered important, they are printed in italics.) The more the devout Christian looks into the thoughts of such writers, and the more he enters into their feel. ings, the more will he be convinced that a similar view often guided their selections and adaptations. Taking them as a guide of his thoughts and feelings, he will find himself insensibly led to a per: suasion that God, who does nothing in vain-who has filled the earth with works symbolic of His spiritual gifts—who, by His Son, has consecrated the whole face of nature, through the frequent application of it, in figure, to Himself-and who numbers even the very hairs of our head, has not sprinkled by accident over the surface of days, and hours, and months, the various acts of mercy by which our redemption has been wrought; but rather that they have been so allotted to the various times and seasons, that there is never wanting to the faithful member of His Church a fitting subject for Christian commemoration. If he would enquire how the Christian year should be spent, he cannot do otherwise than find an answer in the appointed order of the seasons ; during which, through the course of Advent, Christmas, and the Epiphany, he is joyfully introduced to the subjects of his Saviour's coming, and Incarnation, and Manifes. tation; the succeeding interval of Septuagesima bids him prepare to participate in his Saviour's sufferings in the holy season of Lent, and during that, and Passion-tide, to contemplate the anguish of the Cross and Passion in self-abasement, self-mortification, and penitence, that he may be more fitted to commemorate with


spiritual joy and hallelujahs the glories of his risen and ascended Saviour, as the festivals of Easter and Ascension bring them before his mind. Thus having passed the earlier months, he is taught to look, in the power of the promised Spirit, for strength and grace so to apply the truth of all these heavenly mysteries, that he may spend the longer season of Trinity in the faithful running of his Christian course, remembering the Holy Apostles and Martyrs, for whose victories during those months he is bid to give thanks, practising the lessons of gratitude taught in the earlier seasons, and having before him the awful remembrance of a coming judgment, in the near re-approach of Advent. By the same wonderful mercy the wants of the week are amply supplied. He who was content to shed His precious blood upon the cross and die for us, has witnessed the fulfilment of His own prediction by the weekly commemoration of His sufferings in the Friday fast; while His Church has also rejoiced with Him in His Resurrection in the celebration of Sunday, His own most holy day, the day also of the descent of His Spirit. He has also sanctified the other days of the week, as Wednesday by His Temptation and Betrayal, Thursday by His Ascension and by the institution of the Holy Eucharist, Saturday by His repose in the grave, (with which our burial in baptism is mysteriously connected.) The remaining days, Monday and Tuesday, are not without sufficient reason occupied by the remaining subjects of His Coming and His Manifestation. The hours of the day are no less sanctified to those who remember their Saviour's out-poured prayers, even long before the break of day; the early hour of His Resurrection, of which the rising sun is both a type and a memorial; the descent of the Eternal Spirit at the third hour; the Redeemer hanging on the cross at noon, and expiring at the ninth hour. Again, that precious Body which was thus given to death for us and laid in the grave during the evening hours, had been given to be the perpetual food and sustenance of the Church to the end of the world, in the institution of the Holy Eucharist on the previous evening; while He who had known the darkness of the grave appeared late at night amidst His chosen disciples, and spake these most blessed words, “Peace be unto you."

These are some of the elements of a symbolical system which the Church Catholic has ever been wont to apply, with holy reverence and affection, to her architecture, her services, and her interpretation of holy writ. So far as relates to the days of the week, that system has been borne in mind in this selection of Prayers and Collects; each Daily Service is compiled upon the model of the Common Prayer Book, such responses and prayers as will afford the required variety being chosen ; not at random, but with a perpetual reference to the leading idea above referred to, and in harmony with the tone of primitive Services. There are many places in which the principle of selection will probably pass unobserved, but it may be plainly seen, in the openirg sentences and in those which follow the Lord's

Prayer, and in many of the versicles and responses, and in one or more of the Collects of each Service.

The book remains essentially the same as in the second edition. It has however gone through an entire revision both of the quotations from Holy Scripture and of the Rubrical directions and other corresponding parts, which were not as uniform as they should have been, and more ample direction for variations according to circumstances has been given. The alterations of most importance have been 1. The publication of the book in two parts. This has induced the Editor to remove the Preparation und Thanksgiving for the Holy Eucharist to the 2nd part, and incorporate into the Sunday Services shorter prayers relative to it.

2. On Saturday evening, the Devotions for which in the two first editions chiefly reluted to the departure of the fuithful and our communion with them, more immediate reference to a state of preparedness for death, and judgment, is provided in the Sentences and Prayers. This ought to have been so before. If it has pleased God really to deepen the feeling of necessity for having these things more habitually before his own mind, the Editor may, for the sake of himself as well as others, be thankful for having had un opportunity of correcting so serious a defect.

3. One short service for morning and evening has been added. The Liturgical and Responsive form of the Services has been found the best calculated to aid in preserving the interest and attention of those who have to join in them. The time occupied little exceeding a quarter of an hour, or, with the addition of instruction in the Scriptures, a somewhat longer period, ought scarcely to be felt burdensome by any who remember the rebuke given to the Apostles, “ Could ye not watch with Me one hour ?" Still there are many occasions on which attendance on the public services of the Church would make it desirable to shorten the family prayers.

The Editor's earnest desire in his own family is to avoid all that can make the service of God wearisome or be. yond what human frailty will cheerfully and with a willing spirit enter into. He finds it needful to adapt his habits to the circumstances in which he is placed, yet always if he may have grace to do so, as acknowledging God in all things. Hence being anxious to lead his own family to a state of mind in which they would be ready at any hour of the day to assemble in the domestic chapel for some special object of supplication or thanksgiving, he sees the wisdom of taking care that such services are ordered with consideration for the duties and infirmities of others. The same remark applies in some measure to any attempt at enforcing attendance on the week-day services of the

Church. In both cases the shorter services alluded to will help the family arrangement, the Editor willingly acknowledging that his system

is one best adapted to the family of a layman not having access to daily public service.

4. The part which provides for the seasons of the year and festivals has been made more complete and in some parts re-arranged. The Proper Prefaces from the Communion Service, which in many parishes in the Church of England are unused from the infrequency of the ad.

« AnteriorContinua »