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it is certain that the heart cannot pray in phrases which do not easily convey clear ideas to the understanding; and hence the motto on the title-page (which contains a truth but too little apprehended) is as proper in the mouth of the unthinking and the wilfully uninformed worshipper, as it was in his from whom an inextinguishable remorse is feigned to have extorted it.

I hope, therefore, that some of my younger readers, whether clergymen or other educated persons, for whose benefit I chiefly write, may find in these Notes such explanations of many sentiments and petitions in the Prayer Book, as may make it an easy task to appropriate them with clear intelligence; whilst they will also help to suggest variety in thought to the same petitions, as different occurrences in the ever-shifting scenes of life may place them in new aspects; and thus a freshness and growing value will be imparted to the same perpetually recurring phrases. The condition of this, however, is, that the reader must contribute his share of thought to fill up the outline. Indeed, without thought, prayer is impossible.

The natural and simple notion of prayer can be only asking favours of God. And hence in our deliberate petitions, whether suggested to us by the extemporaneous speaker, or the reader of a precom

posed prayer, we unavoidably commit ourselves to their implied doctrines or sentiments, of which we cannot, as reasonable beings, evade the consequences.* For example, if we ask God conditionally to pardon our sins, we must believe that this blessing is possible and attainable, if we fulfil the conditions. And if we pray for influences of the Holy Spirit, we must believe in his existence, and the doctrine involved in it. I have endeavoured, therefore, argumentatively and otherwise, to justify certain doctrines, expressed or implied, in the petitions, and, therefore, the opinions which they must hold who voluntarily use them.

It may be assumed to be beyond dispute, that there ought to be a minute and perfect understanding of the phraseology of the book which is especially chosen to be the medium of intercourse between God and the soul, in the most solemn hours of its existence. The use of such a manual as this, therefore, whose object is to contribute to this most desirable attainment, if properly executed, cannot be doubted.

And further, I would say in its favour, that the Prayer Book of the Anglican Church, studied with such a guide as this, might be made to furnish every


* Lex supplicandi, lex credendi.

Churchman with such a body of sound Scriptural knowledge, as, it cannot be doubted, would have altered the destiny of many a one who has quitted her fold for want of a true appreciation of her claims, and an efficient acquaintance with the theology of her services.

One vital and elementary doctrine has been so prominently and repeatedly brought forward and defended in these Notes, as to require a remark ;-I have lost no proper opportunity of exhibiting the need of the influences of the Holy Spirit, mysteriously but certainly acting on the intellectual and spiritual nature, to make true prayer to God, and all that is included in it, even possible. It may be shewn to rest not only upon grounds supplied by the assertions of divine revelation, and fully recognised in the Prayer Book, but also upon the structure of human nature, by which all its knowledge is, and must be, conditioned by its bodily functions, so that we cannot know and feel what we are not by nature constituted to know and feel, unless aided by agencies foreign to ourselves. Indeed, it must be regarded as a truth established by science, that transcendental,*

* This term is introdued here, because it has been successfully employed by certain philosophical writers as involving an argument against revelation. The contrary is here assumed.


that is, supernatural knowledge, is unattainable but upon transcendental conditions. This truth proves not only the necessity of a supra-natural revelation of supra-natural truths, but also, as logically follows, (which is a stumbling-block in the path of many) of a supra-natural agency to supply to the individual consciousness of the reader, or hearer, that evidence without which, it is certain, true belief in them is impossible, but for which our unaided faculties naturally and absolutely disqualify us.

To some of the Collects (my plan required important omissions here and elsewhere) I have added a few remarks only, for the purpose of directing the attention to what may be called their salient points, which do not always suggest themselves at first sight; and also to awaken attention to the depth and importance of some unobtrusive petition, which, when used henceforth as the Church's year rolls round, may be made to embody the corresponding intelligence, feeling, and faith, and thus, being uttered “in spirit and in truth,” may enter the ears of the Lord as a real prayer, accepted by Him, and to be answered when, where, and how He pleases ; but assuredly to be attended to and remembered by Him, though forgotten by us, when His ever-watchful eye shall see we need it.

In offering another work upon a subject on which


so many have been written (though the subject is inexhaustible), I may be permitted to say, in palliation of its defects and shortcomings, that, excepting where acknowledgments have been made, it is mainly the result of my own reflections upon a book which I value more, and make a more frequent use of in private, than any other but the Bible. “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people,” is my chosen view of the House of God. I do not undervalue preaching, regarding it as a Christian ordinance; but I measure its practical benefits by its reaction on the Prayer Book at church, on the prayers at home, and on the voluntary ejaculations of the heart in the midst of life's tempting duties and trials. And this I believe to be the true gauge of its ultimate value.

The few anecdotes dispersed over the following pages, will, I hope, help to enliven dry topics, whilst, in every instance, they are designed to serve as texts for exhibiting valuable truths in a more attracting and colouring light, and in no case as merely entertaining episodes, though I wish they may prove to be such.

My concluding remark is not the least important; this work is not controversial, and the writer sincerely hopes it may be read by any serious person without awakening hostile feelings. If I have seemed

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