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REV. THOMAS DALE,
WHOSE PASTORAL MINISTRATIONS HAVE LINKED TOGETHER
THE SANCTUARY AND THE CLOSET,
THE WORD OF GOD AND PRAYER,
THIS LITTLE VOLUME
AS A SLIGHT TESTIMONY OF
MOST RESPECTFUL AND AFFECTIONATE ESTEEM,
GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE OF BENEFITS RECEIVED
THROUGH HIS INSTRUMENTALITY.
The Preface to an anonymous publication is so generally found an uninteresting appendage, that none would be prefixed to the present little Manual, did not its proposed design seem to call for a brief explanation.
There are probably few members of the great household of faith, who may be disposed statedly to adopt any pre-composed prayers, in those moments of sacred retirement, when, withdrawing both from the world and from the Church, each becomes personally conscious both of bitternesses and of joys, with which a stranger would vainly seek to intermeddle. The unstudied outpourings of the heart, at such times, before Him, who alone can have access to all its secret chambers of imagery, would be felt to be ill-exchanged even for those forms of worship, which in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation
of thousands on thousands, through successive generations, have found to bring with them a fulness of blessing.
Yet since, “as in water, face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man,” there is a probability of that which experience has proved greatly beneficial to one, presenting itself with advantage to others, who are partakers of the same conflict, and heirs of the same promises. It is chiefly as the illustration of a plan, open to various modifications, but which has more than realized the expection of personal benefit with which alone it was entered upon, that the actual result of its regular pursuance for a year is now offered to others.
This plan is simply the selection of passages of Scripture, as subjects of daily thought, with an express view to each being moulded into some specific prayer at the close of the day.
The advantage of such a literal union of the Word of God and prayer, will, it is believed, be felt quite as much in the needful preparation of the heart, as in the act of prayer itself. Not only will the personal application of the sacred text cease to be lost, as it too often is, in vague generalities; but the very effort sometimes required to elicit from it any one distinct and profitable idea, may recal the mind to it again and again, during such casual and scattered intervals of leisure, as most days will present. The hour given to any merely mechani