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THE chief purposes contemplated in the present publica
tion, are briefly as follows: 1. To furnish Ministers of the Gospel, and those who, in Theological Seminaries, are preparing for the Ministry, with models of Public Devotion, approved and recommended by the Church, that may facilitate that study of the best writers on the subject,” which is enjoined by the Directory of Worship, upon all who lead in the public offices of religion.
2. To provide laymen, who, in remote and destitute settlements, may be called upon, in the absence of Ministers, to conduct religious exercises, with such aids as they naturally require.
3. To supply a deficiency long felt and frequently acknowledged, in the case of Chaplains in the Army and Navy, and persons officiating from time to time on board the vessels of our merchant service; many of whom, for want of such assistance as this volume is designed to afford, have been led to adopt forms of worship peculiar to other denominations.
4. It is also believed, that the wide circulation of such a Book of Public Devotions, among the laity of the Church, would tend to promote a deeper interest in the services of the Sanctuary, and a more correct appreciation of the dignity and value of the ministrations of God's House, than at present prevail.
On the other hand, it need scarcely be added, that no thought is entertained of seeking for this or any other Form of Worship an adoption by ecclesiastical courts, that would impose it upon the churches for compulsory observance. The authorship of these forms, and the frequent sanction bestowed upon them in former times by the Church, sufficiently authorize that free consultation and voluntary use, which are all that is expected or desired in their behalf.