By Henry Law, 1884
PREFACE—Wide and diversified is the work belonging to the Church of Christ. In the household of God there is no pillow for the indolent. The term, 'an idle Christian', involves a contradiction. It has scarcely more meaning than a rayless sun—a waveless ocean—a noiseless waterfall—a rose without perfume. In this community each member has his appointed place. "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them." "Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord," is the universal rule. The final welcome is, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
But my present object restricts thought to pastoral work. The selection of its subject arose from desire to sanctify Family Worship. He is the best of friends who helps his friend to pray. It may be presumed that such worship is an established institution in every Christian household. Countless are the resulting blessings. Its neglect would be grievous shame—base ingratitude—and sad loss. It is scarcely possible to conceive an exercise more sweet—more happy—more edifying. Many and loud are the calls to it. For what spiritual joy can be greater than for the members of a house to unite in offering grateful praise for the common blessings which each morning and evening should commemorate, and to combine in joint supplication for protection from the perils which the day and night may bring. Especial needs will continually occur. Rich is the mercy that we are permitted with united cry to bring such need before the Throne of Grace.
Family Worship is not restricted to prayer and praise. Spiritual instruction should be sought—a portion of the life-giving Word should be read and opened out in simplicity and reverence. The Bible should have its due place. Here is a Book suited for every age and every station. No period can say that there is no further room for its instructions. The AGED have not advanced beyond its sacred teaching. The YOUNGEST should be like Timothy, early instructed in the truths which are able to make wise unto salvation. The RICH may gather here treasures of knowledge surpassing all earthly pelf. The POOR may receive wisdom which may enrich them to eternal life. The highest GENIUS may find revelations which no intellect of man could have devised. The SIMPLEST in mind may learn the story of redeeming love. Ignorance of Scripture is the malady and the misery of this age. It is alike its peril and its shame. The man who is a walking Bible is a grand power. Thus there is no household which does not need Bible-teaching; and there should be no Family Worship in which such is not imparted.
This volume is designed to contribute aid to these readings. It is therefore needless to say that its method and arrangement are most simple. It is confined to impressing in familiar terms the grand themes of the text. It strays not into diffuse amplification. It only solicits attention to what the Word declares. All attempts to 'display of learning', if such had been possible, are utterly rejected. Here is no show of erudition; nor controversial discussion of profound doctrines. The main desire is to open out and enforce what God has been pleased to reveal. There may be seeming repetition, but the repetition only reflects the revelations of the text. May the Holy Spirit bless the portion here selected!