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The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite

The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner

Discourses on various subjects, relative to the being and attributes of God

by Adam Clarke


6. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues, and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward.

6. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy

door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

7. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that

they shall be heard for their much speaking.

8. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have

need of before ye ask Him.

9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be

thy name.

10. Thy kingdom come; thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.

11. Give us this day our daily bread:

12. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

13. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

In speaking on this subject, I shall first consider,—

I. The nature of prayer.

II. The object of prayer.

III. The end aimed at by praying.

IV. What we are to avoid in order to pray successfully.

V. Those petitions that contain all that is necessary for the welfare of the supplicant in the Lord's prayer.

VI. The doxology.

I. Of the nature of prayer:—or an answer to the simple, but very important question, What is prayer?

Prayer has been defined, " An offering of our desire to God for things lawful and needful, with a humble confidence to obtain them through the alone merits of Christ, to the praise of the mercy, truth, and power of God;"—and " its parts are said to be invocation, adoration, confession, petition, pleading, dedication, thanksgiving, and blessing" Though the definition be imperfect, yet, as far as it goes, it is not objectionable: but the parts of prayer, as they are called, (except the word petition,) have scarcely any thing to do with the nature of prayer ;—they are in general, separate acts of devotion, and attention to them in what is termed praying, will entirely mar it, and destroy its efficacy.

It was by following this division, that long prayers have been introduced among Christian congregations, by means of which, the spirit of devotion has been lost: for where such prevail most, listlessness and deadness are the principal characteristics of the religious services of such people; and these have often engendered formality, and, frequently, total indifference to religion. Long prayers prevent kneeling, for it is utterly impossible for man or woman to keep on their knees during the time such last. Where these prevail, the people either stand or sit. Technical prayers, I have no doubt, are odious in the sight of God; for no man can be in the spirit of devotion who uses such: it is a drawing nigh to' God with the lips, while the heart is (almost necessarily) far from Him.

The original words in ancient languages, generally afford the best definitions of the things of which they are the signs; for as names were first given from necessity, and for convenience, terms were used which were borrowed from actions by which some remarkable property or properties of the subject were expressed. "For, the imposition of names cannot be considered as arbitrary; but for some cause, on account of some eminent property, attribute, or action; in short, for some reason appertaining to the thing which bears that name; and hence," says a learned philologist, " the verb and the adjective, between which there is a great affinity, generally point out the nature of the noun; the one expressing its action and state, the other its property and quality. Hence too, it appears, the verb is the proper radix or root of the word: for when a noun cannot be brought to a verb, it will be impossible to have a clear conception of its meaning; and it will appear to be a mere arbitrary sign."

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