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A Book of
Private Devotion for Girls.
With Prayers and Instructions for the Holy Communion,
“ The Bread of Life,”
By the same Author.
of " The Priest's Book of Private Devotion."
Oxford and London :
THIS adaptation of the Manual of Devotion
written for the boys of All Saints' School,
Bloxham, has been made at the request of many mothers and governesses, in the hope that it may be found as helpful and suitable for the use of the young of the gentler sex, as it has already been in the case of their brothers, some fifteen thousand of whom have found greater or less profit in its use: for although originally compiled for the alumni of one particular school, it soon spread far beyond such circumscribed limits.
The training of the future mothers of England in the fear and love of God is a work of the utmost importance to both Church and State. In days when scepticism and unbelief raise their pitfalls on either hand, the hope of the future lies much in the influence the mothers' gentle lessons shall exert on the coming manhood of England. Their sons may, indeed, like St. Augustine of old, stray away under the manifold temptations, both intellectual and physical, which beset the opening springtide of life, but
again and again the “bread cast upon the waters" will return after many days. And when either men or women have drunk, as boys or girls, of the fulness of Catholic theology, with its wondrous adaptation to the needs of the heart, there is little doubt that if they stray, and by the grace of God are found again, they will only be satisfied with the faith, the whole faith, “once delivered to the saints."
Therefore there is no attempt at compromise in the matter of dogmatic teaching and the devotional practices which are its result, in this little manual. Religion without dogma is the sentimental watchword of many ; to the editor such pietism is like the jelly-fish, utterly wanting in backbone : it can never give strength to wage the incessant warfare against the world, the flesh, and the devil, which the true soldier of the Cross has to wage.
Therefore the basis of this book is the Catholic Faith as held by the east and west alike, before their unhappy division; the inheritance alike of the Church of England, and every other true branch of the great Vine, untainted by the mediæval and modern corruptions which had their birth after the great schism.
At the same time great care has been taken to give the book a simple, practical character, free fronı high-pitched and exalted aspirations, which must be unreal for the average girl or boy. The editor prefers the objective tone in devotion, and Preface.
feels that many books of devotion are far too subjective for the young. The well-known difference in this respect between ancient and modern hymnology, exists also in the devotional outpourings of our fathers and their children. The editor has endeavoured to seek the old paths and walk therein, in this, his labour of love, for therein is, as he believes, the true rest for the soul.
It is now many years since these devotions and instructions were first compiled, and each of them is full of reminiscences, and recalls hours which are “ to memory dear,” hours when the words, which may look cold and formal as written, became lighted up with light from above, when in preparation for Confirmation, in hours of blest communion, and on the sick-bed, its forms became vivified with spiritual life. Not long since the writer opened an old letter telling of the death of a former pupil who was taken ill in the holidays following his confirmation, and died of lingering decline. “ The little books,” says the bereaved father, who has himself been since called to his rest, speaking of Simple Prayers and the Bread of Life (the original volumes from which this work is compiled), “ were daily in his hands while he had power to use them, and I have reason to think that by the frequent study of them, there was produced that perfect calmness, which characterized the closing days of his brief life here