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THE MORNING OR EVENING
Acts X. 1.
“ Cornelius-a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, and prayed to God alway. “ He saw in a vision evidently, about the ninth hour of the
day, an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto
him, Cornelius. “And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What
is it, Lord ? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.”
It is scarcely possible to conceive any sight more truly beautiful or interesting than that of a family assembled to worship God. A parent surrounded by his children and dependants, on such an occasion, seems to stand in the august and amiable character of a priest over his own house; and the very scene that is consecrated to such a service seems, for the time, to be a temple purified from all worldly sins, and dedicated to the acceptable worship of the living God.
Nor is such service more beautiful than it is edifying; for religion comes with peculiar power, when it is thus made the expression before God of the wants and charities of domestic life ; and, perhaps, to those who have been accustomed to witness and to engage in such services during their early years, there is no recollection of religion that con
tinues to have such an effect upon their hearts during all their future lives.
It is gratifying, therefore, to observe, that this duty is so much in honour at the present day. There are, no doubt, at all times, a multitude of families, who either set all such exercises at nought, or who, from mere carelessness and bad habit, refrain from the performance of them; but the author of this treatise cannot help saying, that, so far as his own limited experience has gone, he has been gratified by seeing this custom held sacred among families of all ranks; and he thinks he may appeal to the observation of his readers, whether the performance of family-worship, on certain occasions at least, is not at present regarded as indispensable, and as indeed a pleasing and becoming duty, even by those whose general habits are most swayed by the fashions of the world.
The author wishes, however, upon the present occasion, to express his own opinion respecting the frequency with which this duty ought to be performed. It is quite obvious, that private prayer ought to be performed at least every morning and evening; or, that there are very few situations in