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THERE are many things in the aspect and character of the present time, which must be seen with alarm by all who receive the Scriptures as the word of God. Whether they consider the moral condition of a large proportion of their fellow-countrymen, or look toward the future prospects of their country as affected by that state, they see just cause for sorrow and anxiety.
But it would be unreasonable and ungrateful to deny that there are also causes for thankfulness and hope. And amongst the satisfactory signs of the present day, I place in the first rank the increased and increasing habit of family instruction and devotion. Should this habit continue spreading amongst us, as it has spread of late years, especially since the publication of the Bishop of London's "Manual,"* it would be the brightest ray in the prospects of our land.
The following volume of Expository Lectures has been prepared in the hope of assisting family devotion, and of more generally adding to it Scriptural instruction. The members of a family are travelling together the same road of life, with the same present obligations, and the same future destination. That they should unite in studying that Book which alone can lead them safely to the end, is too natural in itself to require enforcement; and as a part of family religion, is calculated to prevent the great danger of its degenerating into a lifeless form. The best commentary to accompany such reading, would be such remarks as would naturally occur to the head of the family, who was well instructed in the Scriptures, and had consulted the various practical expositions with which our libraries are furnished. Such remarks, though not the best possible remarks, would probably be the most applicable to the party assembled, and therefore the most effective.
But this requires more energy than is always possessed, and more leisure for reflection than the business of life universally allows; and, in reality, the practice of reading Scripture in the family is often neglected from the acknowledged difficulty of selecting an exposition.
(Bp. BLOMFIELD's Manual of Family Prayers, of which six thousand copies have already been circulated in this country by the Protestant Episcopal Press.)