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DESIGNED FOR THE USE
FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS:
TO WHICH ARE SUBJOINED,
FOR PARTICULAR OCCASIONS.
REV. JOSEPH HUTTON.
THIRD EDITION, EDITED AND ENLARGED,
REV. J. HUTTON, LL.D., OF LONDON.
JOHN GREEN, 121, NEWGATE STREET.
TO THE FIRST EDITION.
It cannot be denied that there are many and valuable books of devotional exercises already before the public; but in the greater number of these the exercises are protracted to such an unreasonable length, or expressed in language so obscure, and involving so much matter of doubtful opinion, that there still seems room for a manual of devotion, brief in its forms, simple and fervent in its language, and perfectly scriptural in all its expressions.
Such a manual, it is hoped, is here presented to the public. And if the brevity of these forms, and at the same time their devout spirit and Christian character, shall afford any additional inducement to the heads of families to institute, revive, or continue, the observance of daily prayer with their children and domestics, the Compiler will think that his pains and labour have been well and profitably bestowed.
It is his earnest wish, so far as he has the power, to provide increased facilities for the observance of a duty which he deems most important, and the general neglect of which, amongst professing Christians, is to him a proof, as convincing as it is melancholy, of the little progress that pure and vital religion has yet made in the world.
“Were there not ten cleansed ?" said our Lord, when of the ten, whose leprosy had been healed, one only returned to glorify God, and give thanks to his gracious benefactor"were there not ten cleansed—but where are the nine ?" And might not the Father of all the families that dwell upon the face of the earth address a similar expostulation to his children, of whom so few are found disposed to offer up to him on the domestic altar the daily and weekly sacrifice of prayer and praise ? Surely common gratitude requires that family worship should be duly paid to Him who "placeth the solitary in families,” and through whose abounding mercy it is that parents, and children, and servants, dwell together in united households, and are made joint partakers of all the joys and comforts—all the happiness and blessedness of home.
To the pious mind, the time required for the daily performance of this pleasant and profitable duty will not seem long. In truth, it need not be so. The serious perusal of a portion of the Sacred Scriptures, accompanied, where opportunity and ability permit, by a brief explanation of its meaning and enforcement of its moral, and followed by a prayer of moderate length, would occupy but a few minutes each day; the abstracting of which from worldly business or pleasure, for such a pur
pose, no true disciple of Christ-no sincere follower of that Master who delighted to hold frequent communion with his heavenly Father-could possibly deem irksome or inconvenient.
Some of the forms contained in this work are original, and others, the Compiler has taken the liberty, without mentioning the sources from which they are derived, to alter and abridge, in order to fit them for more general use. In none of them, so far as he is aware, is any language introduced which might furnish matter of controversy amongst Christians.
In selecting his materials, he has availed himself of the devotional works of writers of various denominations, Dissenters, Members of the Established Church, and Roman Catholics.
Happy to believe that, in every sect, as in every country, "he that feareth God, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him,” the Compiler feels no disposition, when he can conscientiously join in the matter and spirit of the devout address, to do so the less earnestly, because he happens to differ from the pious author on some points of doubtful speculation.
Whether it be a Watts, a Doddridge, a Hartley*,
* The Compiler embraces the opportunity which the mention of Dr. Hartley's name affords, to recommend to the notice of the religious public a work, which he has reason to think is not so well known as it deserves to be, viz. the “Prayers and Religious Meditations” of that truly pious and excellent author, which were first affixed to a posthumous edition of his Observations on Man, and have since been published separately.