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ENTERED, ACCORDING TO ACT OF CONGRESS, IN THE YEAR 1847, BY
CHARLES A. GOODRICH,
IN THE CLERK'S OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT COURT OF CONNECTICUT
On the eve of the departure of a missionary to a distant Eastern island,* a few years since, a manuscript was presented to him by a young lady,t a relative of his, accompanied by a wish that it might prove, during his voyage, and, indeed, through his toils and trials as a missionary of the Cross, a source of instruction and consolation. A copy of the manuscript was retained by the young lady, who some time after placed it at the disposal of the author. It contains all the passages in the Bible pertaining to prayer.
The perusal of this manuscript suggested the present volume. It was originally the intention of the author to remark upon every passage it contains; but, in passing the sheets through the press, he has been compelled, in order to keep the volume within proper dimensions, to abandon this design. This explanation seems due, in order to account for a noticeable omission of several passages in the latter part of the New Testament. The omission, however, is the less to be regretted, as the truths involved in them will be found in a great measure to have been anticipated.
The author has not aimed to write a treatise on prayer. His object is less formal and less repulsive; being an endeavor to impart all possible interest to an important, but neglected subject. Intercourse with heaven ought to be a pleasant theme. Prayer ought to be a delightful and profitable exercise. It is, indeed, a solemn service; and, while standing in the presence of the King of kings, the soul is naturally filled with awe; and, moreover,
Guilt holds us back, and fear alarms.
But why should they? Why should we shrink to come near to Him whose nature is “Love ?”—who styles himself our “Father ?” —
* Rev. SAMUEL G. WHITTLESEY, to Ceylon.
JUN 25 1301
and who invites our confidence? Why reluctant to hold intercourse with a world to which, if we are true disciples of Jesus, we are rapidly hastening?
With the hope of adding to the interest of the volume, the author has indulged a good deal in narrative-opening and explaining the circumstances which gave birth to the several prayers. This will render the work more attractive to the young; and, with the same object in view, he has interspersed it with occasional anecdotes.
The author has not hesitated to avail himself of such labors of others as were within his reach, having reference to the topics under consideration. He is indebted to the Commentaries of Doddridge, Scott, Henry, Barnes, and Bush; besides numerous other authors, to whom acknowledgments are made in the progress of the work.
One difficulty has particularly pressed upon him :-a tendency, growing out of a similarity of subjects, to repeat the same thought, or the same argument. Such repetitions it has been impossible, in all cases, entirely to avoid. But as in general different language has been used, and a somewhat different phase of the subject presented, it will not be deemed, it is believed, a serious defect.
The author has little expectation of again appearing before the public in any extended work; and he is willing, at length, to lay down his pen at the end of a volume, which embodies an account of the delightful and successful intercourse of believers with heaven for some four thousand years. Should it prove as profitable to others as it has been to his own soul, his reward will be indeed great. He casts it upon the "waters,” with the fervent wish that, amidst the fluctuating tides of providential influence, it may find its way to many children of God, prompting them to far more "earnest energetic prayer;" and inspiring in the bosom of many a wandering prodigal the wish to look up, and call God “Father!"