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An established religion is as necessary and useful in a family, which is a little kingdom, as in the state. In both, the voluntary system is pernicious, and will not be found to work well ; for what is left to the good pleasure of every man's own
discretion will perhaps be left entirely undone.
The learned and pious Dr. Doddridge has very justly remarked "that, if any had rather that a family should be prayerless than that a a well chosen form should be gravely and solemnly read in it, I think he judges as absurdly
as if he would rather see them starving to death, than fed out of a dish whose materials or shape are disagreeable to him.” Many, from early prejudice, object to forms of prayer; and many, on the other hand, are incapable of conducting their family devotions without a form. Set forms of prayer have many advantages; but, of all forms, the Book of Common Prayer is incomparably the best. Eloquence is a gift of God which few men possess; neither is it necessary in divine worship. Aaron was a most eloquent man, and had the gift of a fine and ready utterance; yet Moses, who was “slow of speech and of a slow tongue," was appointed to instruct him what to say. It is not, therefore, eloquence, but faith and repentance, with obedience and humility, that are necessary in our devotions.
Our Saviour has commanded every man to let his light so shine before men that they may see his good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven.* If, therefore, it is our duty to walk worthy of our high calling in the sight of men generally, how much more is it incumbent on us to let the light of our good examples be seen in our faunilies ? A woe is denounced
* Matt., v., 16.
against those who offend any of Christ's little ones ; that is, who teach children wrong either by precept or example. But, if parents train their children early to assemble round the domestic altar, there is every probability that, with the divine blessing, they will follow the light of their parents' good example, when they themselves in their turn become masters and mistresses of families. At all events, parents and masters should do their duty, and thereby discharge their own consciences, trusting that God will, in due time, give their families grace to follow their good example. A great master in holy living says:
“ Let the words of our prayers be pertinent, grave, material, not studiously many, but according to our need, sufficient to express our wants, and to signify our importunity. God hears us not the sooner for our many words, but much the sooner for an earnest desire; to which let apt and sufficient words minister, be they few or many, according as it happens. A long prayer and a short differ not in their capacities of being accepted; for both of then take their value according to the fervency of spirit and the charity of the prayer. That prayer which