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II. FAMILY PRAYER.

LONG have I searched the Scriptures to find a positive precept enjoining, or precedent observing, daily prayer in a family; yet hitherto have found none proper for my purpose. Indeed I read that there was a yearly sacrifice offered at Bethlehem for the family of Jesse; [1 Sam. xx. 29.] but if hence we should infer household holy duties, others would conclude they should only be annual. And whereas it is said, Pour out thine indignation on the heathen, and on the families which have not called on thy name; the word taken there in a large acceptation reproveth rather the want of national, than domestical service of God.

But let not profaneness improve itself, or censure family prayer for will-worship, as wanting a warrant in God’s word. For where God enjoineth a general duty, as to serve and fear him, there all particular means (whereof prayer a principal) tending thereunto are commanded. And surely the pious households of Abraham, [Gen. xviii. 19.] Joshua, [Josh. xxiv. 15.] and Cornelius, [Acts x. 2.] had some holy exercises to themselves, as broader than 144their personal devotion, so narrower than the public service, just adequate to their own private family.

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