« PreviousContinue »
PETER AUGUSTINE BAINES, D.D.,
BISHOP OF SIGA,
VICAR APOSTOLIC IN THE WESTERN DISTRICT
NOTWITHSTANDING the very
kind and flattering manner in which you have permitted me to dedicate this Prayer Book to your Lordship, it were indecorous in an anonymous writer to express, in this place, the admiration and gratitude which every English Catholic must feel for those exertions and privations which you have undergone while endeavouring to provide for the spiritual wants of his brethren in Christ, and to raise religion, in this country, from the state of depression in which long years of persecution had left it.
But as none are more active in the cause of religion, so no one will more
readily appreciate, than your Lordship, the importance of bringing piety home to every breast with truth, with charity, with unction, and with decorum :
Sit laus plena, sit sonora,
While endeavouring, in this compilation, to avoid the opposite extreme of fervour and insensibility, it has also been my wish to modify those expressions of devotion which, translated from the vocabularies of more energetic nations, appear familiar and even profane to our sober habits of thought; and to expunge all declarations of exaggerated feeling, all self-accusations of heinous and excessive guilt. These are often indecorous :-presenting images foreign to the sentiment to which they are allied, and inapplicable to those who hold the even tenor of their way, and endeavour to walk in the path of the Lord, and to possess their souls in peace. To these surely the majority amongst us!-it is unadvisable to
dictate feelings proper only to the more hardened, to the more desperate, sinner.
In a word, I have endeavoured to compile a FAMILY Prayer Book :—one that should not raise a blush on the cheek of happy innocence, nor deepen the crimson occasioned by passing faults of surprise; one that should induce a sentiment of hopeful gladness rather than of gloom; one that should not exhaust the strongest expressions of feeling on occasions of familiar sorrows, familiar hopes, nor, alas ! of familiar and domestic failings.
Should your Lordship deem that I have, in any degree, accomplished my undertaking, I hope that you will honor my little work with your approbation, and that you will bestow your blessing upon one who well knows how to value the boon.
On the Eve of the Festival of Sts. Peter and