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HEADS OF FAMILIES
UNITED CHURCH OF ENGLAND AND IRELAND,
IN THE DIOCESE OF DOWN AND CONNOR.
The character under which I address you, namely, that of "Heads of Families," is one of great responsibility, as well as of honourable distinction. Of the duties, which belong to it, not the least important is the assembling of your children and servants together, and uniting with them in daily worship of the Father and Master of all.
To encourage and assist you, with God's blessing, in the due discharge of that duty is the object of the present publication: the
result of a practice, which for many years I have followed, of joining with my family in a weekly course of morning and evening prayer, selected from the Common Prayer Book of the Church. That course, recently revised, and improved, as I hope, for the purpose, is now offered to your accept
Such a "Book of Family Prayer" may be judged to be recommended by several considerations.
In substance it has the sanction of the Church, which is no trifling matter in the minds of those who are deliberately and conscientiously her members.
It is a security for sound doctrine and holy rules of living, in both of which respects Christian principles are liable to injury from ill-advised forms of worship.
It impresses those doctrines and rules of life upon us, and keeps them continually present to the minds of ourselves and of our housholds.
If constructed with an eye to the method of the Church in her daily services, as is the case in the present instance, it bids fair
to comply with the apostolical rule for the formation of a liturgy, in the second chapter of St. Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, beautifully as that rule is exemplified in the services of the Church.
It may tend to make us more thoroughly acquainted with our Book of Common Prayer, to enlarge our views of its excellence, and strengthen our affection for it; and to habituate our children and servants, as well as ourselves, to such a participation in its provisions, with the voice as well as with the heart, as may enable us all to join more readily and more heartily in the publick service of the Church.
It may make us feel that we are more completely incorporated with the Church, and more entirely members of her communion, when we find ourselves in our daily domestick devotions indebted to her for our forms of worship, and approaching the throne of grace with the words which she has taught us.
It may thus act as a fresh bond of union with our brethren, fellow-members of the Church: it may enable us, when brought
into occasional domestick intercourse with distant friends and kinsmen, to unite more satisfactorily and devoutly with them in their family worship: and, even when personally absent, may be a means of maintaining amongst us a spiritual communion, whilst we periodically engage at the same seasons in the same form of words.
With these sentiments the following "Book of Family Prayer" is offered to your acceptance, in the hope and with the prayer, that what has been long of use to myself in the discharge of one of my own duties, may be of the like use to you in the discharge yours.
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you." 2 Cor. xiii. 11.
"And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake."
1 Thess. v.
"Ye fathers, provoke not