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PREFATORY NOTICE BY A FRIEND.

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It has been thought that the special design of this little work, as distinguishing it from many others of a generally similar character, may be promoted by a brief prefatory notice of its origin.

This, then, was simply as follows :

The happy inmates of a retired country Rectory, had long dwelt together in love, blest by the genial influences of the religion of the Bible. Those who knew them bore witness, that under such parental care, the sons grew up as young plants, and the daughters as polished corner-stones. But the time arrived for the gradual dispersion of that little band; and in anticipation of the departure of its first member, for military service in India, the Mother selected a series of daily texts for a year, bearing especially in mind the wants of young people and young Christians, a copy of which was given to each of the family. The common and habitual

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reference to this by all, wherever dispersed, it was felt might supply a sweet and hallowed bond of union, in connection with the parent home. There, the text for the day was regularly, read aloud, at Morning Family Prayers, as well as referred to in private. Its silent working in those

young hearts, it is not for the intruding eye of man to trace out: but faith, hope, observation, and experience, alike testify, that those daily “ drops from the deep well,” during a period of now more than six years, have not indeed been “ as water spilt on the ground.”

Some passages were chosen as applicable to family anniversaries, or other occasions with which no stranger may intermeddle. But such can scarcely be, therefore, the less suited for use elsewhere, since they are all alike portions of His Word, who “ will be the God of all the families of Israel."

A son, whose early-fixed and earnest purpose of devoting himself to the work of the Christian ministry, had been some years providentially hindered by weak health, regularly noted down, with a view only to personal edification, his own ponderings over these daily portions. These, his “

“Thoughts

on Texts,” were, when completed, given to his mother, and by her placed with them on the Family Altar.

Being thus brought, from time to time, under the casual notice of various friends, the idea was started that they might be neither unwelcome nor unprofitable in other families. On this suggestion, therefore, and carefully revised, they are now offered, as humbly “ dedicated things,” laid on that altar which sanctifieth alike giver and gift.

It would be unsuitable to enlarge here, on the lights and shadows that have alternately fallen on that private circle, since the links of this golden chain were bidden to connect heart with heart. Suffice it to say, that "no strange thing" has happened to them in their sorrows; nor“ one good thing failed them,” of all they had been taught to expect from the God of the Bible. The withdrawal of one gentle child, early · led to walk lovingly by the light of His Holy Word, to the home where she needs it no longer ;~the preservation of two dear sons, while exposed to the perils and horrors of the Indian mutiny ;-the ordination of another to minister in holy things with a beloved and honored father ;-—and the call, within a very short space, to that father, to cease from

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labor, and enter into rest :-—these, and other things, graven on the hearts of that household, as passing on through a world where nothing “ continueth in one stay,” have, doubtless, helped to give emphasis to the precepts and promises of Him, whose word of truth is "for ever stablished in heaven."

It may just be added, that the writer of the “Thoughts' has meantime been so far “out of weakness made strong,” as to encourage fresh hope of consecrating himself to the service of the Sanctuary; and while engaged in his University course of preparation for it, has entrusted to another hand, that had waxed feeble, and hung down from all active service, the congenial task of arranging his manuscript for the press. Thus, even according to the several ability of each, does the great and gracious Master of the household of faith assign “ to every one his work.”

What remains, but that they who have felt drawn and bound together by these bonds of the gospel of a common salvation, pray the Spirit of all grace to make others sharers with them in the benefit ? May it indeed prove so, that the scattered ones of many a “Christian Household,” shall find the blessing of such an endeavour to “keep the unity of the

spirit, in the bond of peace ;” and derive a measure of instruction and comfort, not only from the “Daily Texts" themselves, but likewise from the present attempt to affix to them, each and all, some definite and practical “Heavenward Thought.”

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