« ПредишнаНапред »
J. P. K. HENSHAW, D.D.
ENTERED, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1831, by J.N. Toy and W. R. Lucas, in the Clerk's office of the District Court of Maryland.
So many volumes relating to the Lord's Supper, have been published by Christians of almost every denomination, that it may appear presumptuous to offer another, when the necessities of the religious public do not seem to demand it, without a statement of the reasons which have influenced the author's mind in preparing the work, and of the benefits which are to be hoped for from it. These, so far as the following Manual is concerned, may be very briefly stated.
The Author of the Communicant's Guide" has often in the course of his ministerial life, been at a loss, when requested to recommend to communicants or candidates for admission to the Lord's Supper, some book in which they might find in a condensed and succinct form, all necessary instructions respecting the nature and design of that holy ordinance and the requisite qualifications for a profitable attendance on it.
A majority of the works which have been published under the titles of “Companion to the Altar," and "a Week's Preparation,” consist almost exclusively of devotional forms, and contain very little instruction. Moreover, some of them, in the judgment of the present writer, are, not only unprofitable, but injurious; being founded upon erroneous views of the doctrines of our holy religion, and calculated to foster, rather than subdue, the pride, and strengthen the native self-righteousness of the human heart. The use of them has a tendency to produce a mechanical and heartless devotion, and in too many instances, it is to be feared, deludes the communicant into a belief that the bare task of reading over the prescribed meditations and prayers is a sufficient preparation for the highest act of Christian worship, although the tenor of his life may be sensual and worldly, and he is utterly a stranger to that renovation of heart without which our most specious works are unacceptable to the Lord.
There are, indeed, treatises on this sacrament, which are sound and evangelical in doctrine, and unexceptionable as to their practical tendency. The works alluded to, being written by foreign divines, are, it is believed, but little known, and less read, in this part of our
country; nor are they as well adapted as might be desired, to the peculiar state of things existing among us. The price of them, (in the best editions,) would prevent the poorer members of Christ's flock from purchasing them, while works on the same subject, with more seduetive titles but of a very different character, may be obtained for half the money. Moreover, some of them are too long, or too inconveniently divided, to be profitably perused by those Christians who can only occasionally redeem an hour from secular employments for religious and devotional reading.
To the reasons already assigned, may be add
loved people of his charge, and many others to whom he is well known, would, merely on account of personal acquaintance and attachment, be more eager to read a work from his pen, than others on the same subject which he might recommend, though on the score of intrinsic merit, it should have far less claim to their attention.
The very favourable reception given to his INSTRUCTIONs on CONFIRMATION, which has been published in other cities, and much more widely circulated than his most sanguine hopes had led him to anticipate, affords the writer ad