« AnteriorContinua »
severally to employ a different spiritual language before the Throne of Our Lord and Saviour. When private prayer is absolutely sincere, and is based upon something like real self-knowledge, each soul will pray some prayers which no other soul needs, and will omit some prayers with which many others could not safely dispense. The accuracy with which a collection of devotions is adapted to the exact case of a single soul, may thus be the measure of its unsuitableness for any other. And, therefore, a book of private prayers, written, by a master of spiritual wisdom, for the use of an individual Christian, must, if used by others, be used with discretion and
freedom. There must be both omissions and addi
tions. Thus in the present volume great stress is laid on certain sins ag 'inst charity. No one need have just reason for anxiety if he should find that some of the prayers in a book like this do not suit or are not needed by him: no one can safely take it for granted that nothing more is required by him in the way of private devotion than is here supplied.
It is of course otherwise with the Cominon and Public Prayers of the Church, with the venerable Liturgies of the early ages, and, above all, with that Prayer of prayers which Our Divine Lord has taught us.
These do express either in terms or by implication all the needs of the soul; and there is much ground for anxiety if we cannot bring ourselves to feel at home with them. In particular, the Lord's Prayer is a rule to shape, as well as an instrument to express, devotion; and no variety of experience or eccentricity of temperament can excuse its neglect or palliate a secret distaste for it.
Those who know Dr. Pusey in his sermons and other devotional publications, will recognize in this little work the characteristics with which they are already familiar. He is always consistent with himself; always intense, real, vivid, searching, tender, profoundly reverent. Here he is surprised, as it
. were, while engaged in one of those many ministries to single souls which, far more than his great literary and theological efforts,
formed the interest and staple of his life. If some few of his suggestions for devotions are unsuited to any, none can fail to be improved and edified by the general substance, and, above all, by the spirit of prayers, written hurriedly, in the midst of engrossing occupations, but therefore reflecting all the more truly the heavenly atmosphere which he breathed. After all, in the narrow way along which a Christian soul like his pursues its journey towards its eternal home, there is not much room for that which is not needful, or which may not be helpful, to all of us.
It is now a year since he passed into that world which was rarely, if ever, absent from his thoughts while he was among us. May he, while awaiting the last Great Day, enjoy an ever-increasing measure of rest and light! And may those who use his words be able to make that verse of the Psalmist their own, which was so dear to him in life, which is engraved on his tomb, and which, we may