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strict obedience to her ordinances; both are designed to lead men to the "old paths" of Catholic truth, the “good way" of Scripture, and Scriptural antiquity; and both (if we may judge by the number of former editions) were instruments of recalling God's servants in a former age to the discharge of duties, towards which the popular religion of the time seems to have been indifferent.
As regards the former of these treatises, no Churchman, perhaps, will be found to think its republication unnecessary, since if ever there was an age which had need to be reminded of our Lord's exhortations to "mortification, selfdenial, and the taking up our cross“ daily," that age must be our own, seeing that in all classes of society, luxury, and self-indulgence, are made the very first objects of existence.
But with respect to the latter treatise,—that, namely, before the Reader, some persons may
be disposed to ask what is the need of adding another to the multitude of books already published on the subject of Prayer.
To such an inquiry the following answer may be given.
The popular views on the subject of Prayer can hardly be sound, when a very large proportion of our manuals of private devotion, are painful contrasts, both in tone and feeling, in manner and matter, to our Book of Common Prayer; and when the privilege of public Prayers in our Churches "daily throughout the year,” is so little valued among us, that except in our Cathedrals, our Colleges, and in some Churches in our larger towns, the daily service has been wholly discontinued.
Sin, whether national or individual, is sure, even in this world, to prove its own punishment. Our forefathers in their zeal for reformation, made such havoc of the houses of God in the
land, that hundreds of them were reduced to “ ruinous heaps."*
But mark the effect of sacrilege ! We are now bewailing the utter insufficiency of our Churches for a population amid which “ confusion, and every evil work” are rife ;—nay, we are trembling to think of the inevitable results-moral, social, and political, which must accrue from the undergrowth of heathenism which is springing up unchecked in the very midst of us.
So again, at the period alluded to, all our monasteries were destroyed, and their revenues for the most part wasted. What has been the consequence? We sowed the wind, and we are reaping the whirlwind. Under the appalling conviction of the inadequate number of our parochial clergy to the demands upon them, we have at length began to discover the evil of which our fathers were guilty, and to feel to what efficient purposes in stemming the tide of irreligion such collegiate bodies as those which were then subverted might be now applied, were a body of pious men, (not shackled by monastic vows, but resolving by God's grace to devote themselves to His service,) to unite together, under the direction of their ecclesiastical superiors, for the purpose of carrying the knowledge of Christ and his Church to those dark haunts of misery and guilt, the crowded courts and alleys of our manufacturing towns,—and indeed in one word,—to the entire mass of our teeming population.
* " On the whole, King Henry VIII. at different times, suppressed 645 Abbeys and Monasteries. Ninety Colleges were demolished in several counties Two thousand three hundred and seventy-four Chantries and Free Chapels; and 110 Hospitals. The whole revenue of these establishments amounted to £161,100.- HUME, vol. iv. 182.
And lastly, to give one more instance of the manner in which “ the evil which hath been brought upon us” has been “ the fruit of our own thoughts," I would call
Jer. vi. 19.
the reader's attention to the fact, that as the daily service enjoined by the Church has been discontinued, men have grown indifferent to the blessings of social worship,--have thought more of themselves as individuals,--and less of the blessings and privileges of Church membership; the houses of God have been more and more neglected; constantly recurring opportunities of prayer and praise are not rarely spoken of as a burden and a bondage; and they are few in number who can really enter into the feelings of holy David as he exclaims, “ O how amiable
are thy dwellings, Thou Lord of
hosts! My soul hath desire and longing to enter into the courts of the Lord. Blessed are they that dwell in Thine house !"
What can be done to meet the awful exigencies of our Church under all these melancholy and distressing circumstances, it is for her spiritual rulers to decide. Without episcopal
Ps. Ixxxiv. 1, 2, 4