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Rec. MVP. 10-22-40
LMOST every library is rich in books of religious
poetry, gathered from the pens of many nations, and from the thought of all times. But there are to be found only a few collections of the prayers of those who have been most favored in communion with Heaven, and most happy in the expression of devotional thought,
Yet history in rich in models of prayer. It has prayers of submission that point out to the undisciplined soul the low range of its attainments; prayers that have wings, and seem to mount into the sunlight of God; prayers that seem to be made in times of the "open vision," and prayers that show how completely the crushed soul may say, "Thy will be done." These prayers are seldom found outside of their historical connection.
Yet many prayers are clearer revelations of a renewed
inner life than the choicest poems, in which the best expressions of thought are fettered by rhetorical rules, or are made to seem insincere by the very melodies and graces of verse. The clearest pictures of the joy and peace of the soul in communion with its Divine parent are to be found, not in metrical language, but in prayer.
It is well known how much Queen Mary feared the influence of John Knox; and the prayers of Knox are believed to have been the salvation of Scotland. How does a single passage from one of Knox's prayers show the fire of his spirit, and the grandeur of his confidence in God! On the death of Edward, which he regarded as a punishment of the people for their ingratitude, he prayed:
"All are found fruitless, even the princes with the prophets withered trees.
"Take not from us the light of thy evangely, and suffer thou no papistrie to prevail in this realme.
"Mytigate the hearts of those that persecute us, and let us not faynte under the cross of our Saviour, but assist us with the Holy Ghost even unto the end.”
We have here one of the truest insights of the motives, purpose and faith of the Reformers, whose prayers crumbled the Scottish throne.
So far as we know there is no work on devotion that presents notable prayers with their biographical or historical connections. The thought has occurred to the author, that the preparation of such a work would not only supply a want in religious literature, but present, under a new light, many noble and beautiful portraits of Christian character,
Metrical, for Church Use, about Three Centuries Ago.