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The substance of the following Discourses was delivered by the Author to the affectionate people of his charge, in a series of Lord's Day morning Lectures. They have since been carefully revised, and are now submitted, with much diffidence, to the eye of the
When it is recollected that there are already many printed Sermons on the several petitions contained in our Lord's most beautiful and comprehensive Prayer, it may be thought at least superfluous, if not presumptuous, to add to their number. It is probable, however, that the publications alluded
to have never been perused by some into whose hands this volume may fall; and it is hoped, that even they who have read and admired them, may profit by a repetition of the caution, — not to suffer familiarity with the words of devotion to produce indifference to its spirit.
The Author's more intimate friends may, perhaps, receive this labour of his pen with kind partiality, and with more approbation than it deserves : slighter acquaintances may be led by curiosity to examine its pretensions : and others unknown to the writer may be attracted by the mere love of novelty to inspect a recent publication. Reader, to whichever class you belong, your candour is solicited; and in return, a fervent supplication is offered, that He who can employ the feeblest instruments for the noblest purposes will render these pages conducive to your immortal benefit. If with a sense of obligation which natural aversion could not totally overcome, you have
been accustomed to adopt the Saviour's formulary of Prayer, on account of its convenient brevity, may you now perceive its capacious fulness: or if habitual usage has caused you to hear it and respect it, regardless of its import, may you henceforward utter it with all the sincerity which is due to its Divine object, and its Divine Author.
Some of the most pleasing reflections that have ever engaged the Writer's thoughts, and which he has indulged with the most grateful satisfaction, have arisen from the hope, that his ministerial labours have been sometimes attended and followed by the blessing of the Almighty.-- He has no ambition to extend the narrow sphere of his notoriety; but he is not ashamed to avow, that he is anxious and emulous to enlarge the yet more narrow sphere of his usefulness. Should one who has never prayed before be persuaded by these addresses to begin now; or should the cold indifference of the formalist be, in a single instance, abandoned for the glowing ardour of the devout man; or should the imperfect perceptions of any misinformed Christian be rendered clearer, so as to give new energy to his wonted aspirations, abundant will be the reward, and to God shall be the glory.