« PoprzedniaDalej »
“ The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord.”—PR VERBS xvi, 1.
The object in the following selection has been to produce a form of prayer, and of devotional exercises, concise enough to insure the attention of the young, and sufficiently impressive to excite the reverence of their hearts towards the Divine Being, whom they are too commonly accustomed to approach with the mere worship of their lips. The same morning and evening prayers are adopted throughout the week; as peculiar forms for each day, seldom appear to have any other effect than that of bewildering the attention of youthful auditors, by novelty of expression, and depriving them thereby of the power of entering into the spirit of devotional offerings, the words of which they are either entirely
unacquainted with, or may only imperfectly remember. The liturgy of the Church of England has been principally resorted to for materials ; not only on account of the varied excellence and comprehensive brevity of its prayers, but likewise as the daily repetition of a portion of it was thought likely to inspire additional respect for the whole, in the minds of the young, by teaching them early to associate with it the endearment of private habit, as well as the reverence of public solemnity. On this account, the form also has been adhered to, as closely as the abridged proportion of the model would allow.
In the selection of the introductory sentences from the Holy Scriptures, it has been endeavored first to praise the glory and goodness of God, by appropriate passages from the Psalmist and the prophets ; secondly, to set forth the nature and will of the Deity, in the words expressly declared to be his own ; and thirdly, to confirm them by citations from the mouth of the same Divine Being, as made manifest in the flesh, in the person of our blessed Lord, our Redeemer and Saviour Je
sus Christ, “ who proceeded forth and came from God; the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
After reading one or two of these introductory sentences, the service is begun with the Te Deum Laudamus, recited in alternate parts by the Principal and the youthful congregation, as directed in the ritual of the Church.
It has always appeared to the compiler, that Divine Worship, whether public, social, or private, ought to begin with that branch of adoration which may be more particularly denominated PRAISE, rather than with that which is generally understood by the term
It is surely incumbent on us to acknowledge and adore the goodness, and wisdom, and beauty, and power of the Creator, before we so far turn our thoughts on ourselves as to address our individual petitions to Him. Justly does the Royal Psalmist say, “ O Lord open thou my lips, and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise." The first impulse of a devout heart is to spring towards its Maker, in holy
admiration and humble love ; the next, to consider all that it owes him, and requires from him. Let us follow, then, this dictate of an all-wise and all-kind Father, implanted by Him in our hearts, to elevate and purify our sinful nature; and let our first thoughts, on unclosing our eyes, our first words on opening our lips, our first offerings on meeting each other in peace and love, be those of glorification and praise to
“ Him first! Him last! Him midst, and without end !”
Independent of the sublime spirit of devotion and Christian Faith which the Te Deum Laudamus breathes in every verse, it will be found to gain additional energy and beauty from the sweet responses of the young, and comparatively innocent, who thus take their share in the holy service with which the day is opened and consecrated. The primitive Christians and early Reformers well understoodthe use and value of this reciprocation of religious feeling ; and it may be seen on all occasions of public or social worship, that the devotional affections, particularly in the young, are much