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A HAND-BOOK OF
SCRIPTURE LESSONS AND FORMS OF SERVICE,
MARRIAGES, BAPTISMS, CONFIRMATIONS, RECEIVING
SUGGESTIONS TO YOUNG MINISTERS
BEST MODE OF CONDUCTING
THESE VARIOUS SERVICES.
Adapted to Use by all Denominations.
REV. HIRAM MATTISON, A. M., AUTHOR OF DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY,” IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL," RESURRECTION OF THE BODY," AND VARIOUS
ASTRONOMICAL AND MUSICAL WORKS.
Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Eastern District
WESTCOTT & THOMSON, STEREOTYPERS.
In the discharge of his pastoral duties, the author of this work has often felt the need of something of the kind, especially in visiting the sick and upon funeral occasions. At one time a very large Bible would be placed before him upon a low stand, compelling him either to lean over to read from it, or to hold it up before him, however unwieldy. In other cases a small pocket-bible would be furnished, the fine print of which it was next to impossible to read in the dim light of the room.
And even if a suitable book was furnished from which to read, time was often lost in looking up what was wanted, especially where it was desirable to read a variety of passages from different parts of the Bible.
So, also, in visiting the sick: we have often wished to read the Scriptures, and have not had a suitable copy at hand from which to read. And, above all, we have often wished to read or quote select passages, suited to various moral states, but have not been prepared to cite them correctly, or to look them up without delay or embarrassment.
To meet these necessities in his own case, the writer extemporized a “ Pastor's Manual” of his own, by pasting a variety or Scripture lessons and select passages cut from a pica Bible, into a small book which he could carry in a side-pocket. This he used for years ; and so great was the utility of this imperfect compilation in his own case, as to lead to the preparation of the more complete manual now presented to the pubiic.
It is a prime object of the following pages, therefore, to furnish, among other things, a large variety of Scripture lessons, adapted to various occasions, printed in large type, and yet so portable as to be easily carried in the side-pocket whenever wanted.
Again : the great variety of tastes in those who employ us, and the diversity of circumstances under which we officiate, call for great variety in our administration. For instance, one couple about to be married wish the full “ Episcopal ” service, and the administrator may not have it at hand; or, if he has, it may be in a stout "prayer-book,” or in very fine print. Others will desire a medium service, as to length, but with the “ring” brought into it; while others will desire a medium service without the “ring,” or a very brief service.
And so in regard to Baptism and the Lord's Supper : in some instances there will be plenty of time, and a somewbat full and formal service will be desirable. In other cases, either for want of time, or for other reasons, it is important that the service be brief, though at the same time appropriate. And so in regard to the visitation of the sick, and the burial of the dead : services need to be varied as circumstances are varied.
Unless, therefore, one is willing to trust wholly to extempore services, or to confine himself to one stereotyped form for all occasions, irrespective of circumstances and of special requests, the village or city pastor especially often feels the need of a convenient manual, containing a good variety of Scripture selections and forms of service, in order that he may adapt his labors to the various circumstances under which he is called to officiate. And say what we will of other gifts, adaptation is a prime element of ministerial success.
It is the design of this manual to supply all these wants. A glance at the table of contents will show its scope and completeness, and the convenient form and splendid type speak for themselves. And while the author has not the vanity to suppose the work to be without defects, or beyond improvement, he is frank to avow his belief that it is better adapted to the wants of pastors, all things considered, than any work of the kind that has heretofore appeared. If this is not the verdict of the ministry generally, both author and publishers will be greatly disappointed.
NEW YORK, April 8, 1864.