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" And the Lord blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertained to him, because of the ark of God.”— 2 Sam. vi, 12.
Nothing is more gratifying to a Christian pastor, than the demand, on the part of his people, for a book of Family Prayers. The erection of a Family Altar, even more than an attendance upon 'the public Sanctuary, seems indicative of a desire to acknowledge God in all their ways, and to sanctify their relative engagements with the Word of God and prayer.
Yet it is no easy matter to supply this demand. For though there are not wanting a great variety of Manuals for this purpose,
few of them are so adapted to their object, as to be used with comfort and profit. The style which is ap
propriate to offices of devotion is altogether peculiar, and if it be difficult to pray extempore, without occasional indecorums and constant repetitions, it is perhaps as difficult, to compose a form of prayer, which shall be natural and edifying.
The editor has been in the habit of using all the Manuals which have been published from time to time, and without intending to disparage others, he has never been able to use any of them so long with continued satisfaction, as that of Cotterill. His family prayers are already known in this country, four editions having been printed; but for some time past the volume has not been accessible. It seemed, therefore, a favourable opportunity for issuing a revised edition. There was some inconvenience in the use of the former editions, from the circumstance, that the length
of the prayers was too great, while the matter of each part was so excellent, as to make it difficult to decide which should be omitted, without a good deal of previous consideration; and, again, because each petition was printed in a separate paragraph, so as to break the continuity of subject, and somewhat to damp the ardour of feeling. To remedy these inconveniences, has required a good deal of pains, though there has been no material alteration in any one part. The prayers have been abridged in length, not so much by omission of paragraphs, as of clauses and parentheses, which tended to mar the simplicity and directness of the style. Where additions were deemed necessary, they have been derived, like the rest, from the pages of Scripture or the Liturgy of the Church of England. Separate sentences of like kind, have been collected
together, as far as possible, and the paragraphs, as now arranged, are intended to indicate the different kinds of
prayer; namely, Adoration, Confession, Petition, Thanksgiving and Intercession. Many of the Occasional Prayers have been omitted, as not likely to be generally used; and instead of these, a Memoir of the Author has been extracted from the London Christian Observer, containing some interesting circumstances, and many valuable observations. This, it is hoped, will be peculiarly welcome to those who have long known the author, through the medium of this volume; and may serve to awaken a greater interest in behalf of his only published work, among those who are now for the first time introduced to its acquaintance.
W. W. S.