Benjamin Jenks.

Prayers and offices of devotion, for families and for particular persons upon most occasions online

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Men ought always to pray and not to faint. — Luke xviii. 1.

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. — Ool. iv.2










Ekteeed according to Act of Congress, in the year 1832, by


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court, for the Southern

District of New-York.

Hohart Press :




The subscribers have thought, that it would gi'eatly
tend to the promotion and interest of true piety, to
have a republication, in this country, of the improved
edition of the Prayers and Offices of Devotion of the
late pious and reverend Benjamin Jenks. Under
this impression, they have caused a set of stereotype
plates of that work to be cast; but, in doing this, they
have found it necessary to alter several phrases that
were antiquated and obsolete, and to expunge two or
three of the prayers, and in others, some sentences
that were altogether local, and not adapted for our
country. The copy they have made use of was the
thirty-third, and last London edition, published under
the superintendence of the learned and reverend
Charles Simeon, M. A. senior Fellow of King's Col-
lege, Cambridge.

In the hope that, on a comparison with the original
work, the reader will consider the alterations in the
American copy as emendations,
We are,

The public's obedient servants,


New-York, October 1, 1S32.


Having undertaken to publish this vokime in a cor-
rected state, it seems proper that the Editor should
assign his reasons for it to the public. He has for
very many years considered this book as an exceed-
ingly rich treasure to the Church of God. Its dis-
tinguishing excellency is, that far the greater part ot
the prayers appear to have been prayed and not writ-
ten. There is a spirit of humiliation in them, which
is admirably suited to expre-ss the sentiments and
feelings of a contrite heart. There is also a fervour
of devotion in them, which can scarcely fail of kin-
dling a corresponding flamie in the breasts of those
who use them. But it is needless to pronounce an
eulogy on a book, the value of which has been already
stamped by the sale of 7na7iy myriads. There are,
however, faults in it, which exceedingly need correc
tion. The sentences are too long; the sense is often
perplexed ; and the antitheses are so numerous as to
be very ill-suited to modern taste. These things the
Editor has endeavoured to correct; yet not in such a
manner as to give a new style and character to the
book. It seems right, that the Author should appear
in his native dress, except where the edification of the
public rendered a change necessary. To some, it is
probable, the Editor will appear to have altered too
much ; and to others too little ; but, on whatever side
he may have erred, it has not been for want of care
and endeavour to do right.

In the new arrangement of the Prayers, the facility
of finding any particular subject will, it is presumed,
be greatly increased.



To have made the Paraphrase on the Creed at all
congenial with his wishes, the Editor must have
altered almost the whole of it. He has therefore
contented himself with making- only such alterations
as were absolutely necessary; and he would have
omitted it altogether, had he not been afraid, that some
few might have regretted the loss of it.

As to the sentiments contained in this book, no
alteration whatever was wanted; nor has any been
made, except in one single word, which, if particularly
noticed by a Caviller, might possibly have adminis-
tered to strife.

To the best of his power, the Editor has consulted
the benefit of the Church of Christ; and, if this
Volume be found in future better adapted to their use
in the family and the closet, he shall consider his
labour as very richly compensated.


To my Neighbours and Acquaintance, particularly
those in the Parishes committed to my Care.


It is especially for your sakes, and primarily for yoiw spf-
vice, that I publish this Manual of Prayers, fitted to the
capacities of your minds, to the necessities of your souls, and
to the several conditions and occar^ions of your lives. Not-
withstandinj^ all the books of devotion already extant (many
of which are very useful and excellent in their kinds, and such
as I should recommend to you without offering any other, did
those with which I am best satisfied, reach as far as I have
designed here to go ; and did not I think the strain of some
too high for many of you, and the words and expressions of
others that I have seen in your hands, too low andjlaf, or too
obsolete and improper, and which will rather offend, than edify
such as have tlieir senses better exercised in these matters,) I
have come to the resolution of adding my contribution to the
common stock ; yet not taking upon me so to correct or cen-
sure them that have gone before me, as to discourage any from
making use of those helps which they find agreeable to their
case, and efficacious to quicken their devotion ; but leaving
every one to consult tlieir own sense, and profit, and comfort,
in choosing and taking v/hat best likes their particular gust,
and what most furthers their pious designs; and to make
what alterations also they please, even in the ensuing offices,
for their own service, if they shall think fit to use them at all.

Nor have I such a conceit of any thing that is my own, as
to suppose it free from the weakness and defects which I can
espy elsewhere ; I doubt not but others may find as many faults
here: nay, I cannot think any thing of this nature to be so
complete, but that the author himself (in tract of time) may
see reason to add or subtract, to alter or amend many particu-
lars : Indeed I shall as soon expect to see a shoe made to fit every
foot, as a particular /orm of prayer exactly to suit all the cir-
cumstances of every soul.

V cannot undertake that the following prayers should answer
all the occasions which any one may ever find for prayer :

but they that have the sph-it of supplication can tell how to
fill up what is wanting; and such as I help in most cases, may
help themselves in the rest. I am rather apt to tliink, that so
many as are here set down will be censured for more than
needful ; but (it being easy to pare otF) the censors may let
alone wliat they count superfluous, leaving it to those that will
not disdain its assistance : and I laad rather be under an im-
putation from some of my neiglibours, for busying myself
more than I have need, in a work that might have been spared,
than Lear the recoilings of my own mind, for neglecting to
impart any thing that I thought miglit be of use and service
to the rest.

If any judge that I might better have left this behind me,
not to be seen till I should myself have been no more seen, I
was once of the same mind ; and had so continued, but that I
could not be sure, that many for whom I designed it, might
not be taken ojf before me; whereby this piece of friendship
which I had for them, would have been lost to them : and now
that I do undertake tlie thing which is liable to many reflec-
tions (whoever be the manager) every one thinking he has a
title to judge of that, wherein every one is equally concerned :
and that judgment passing according to the different princi-
ples and sentiments, and the Tpdviicnlar genius and humour of
each, it is not possible liere to please every one : but, however,
I shall not fiiil of my design, if I can be so happy as to profit
some. And if so be I take any way peculiar to myself, I shall
only allege tliat it is but the same liberty as most writers on
this subject have taken. Though I pretend not to set myself
on a level with the noted guides of others' devotion, that with
good success and general approbation have laboured herein;
yet, when our Lord has only enjoined the thing to be done,
without settling the manner of performance, even an ordinary
man tliat is but conversant in tliese matters, has room humbly
to propose his own experience, as long as he assumes not magis-
terially to impose it upon his readers ; which in this present
undertaking, tlie Judge of all thoughts knows to be far from

I name no morning and evening prayers for particular per-
sons ; because here are so many occasional prayers, whereof
every one may take his clioice from time to time, for private
use, according to particular exigencies : and besides, those
families may as fitly serve for tlie closet, changing but the
plural number, into the singular. I have not directed to
conclude the evening devotions with tbe Lord^s Prayer; not


because I count it improper at that time to be used, but because
I think we have still a liberty of adding or omitting it ; and,
therefore, I have pointed to it for one parrt of the day, and left
it out on the other ; but they that are for it, as an appendage
to all the prayers used in their houses, may make it so, if they
please, notwithstanding that I shut up some of the family
prayers witliout it. I make no distinction of ordinary days :
for I understand not why the prayer that serves for Monday
or Tuesday, should not be as good and proper for any other
day of the week : yet I have otTered some variety, that you
may take sometimes one form, and sometimes another : or
some part of this form and some of that, as you see occasion,
and shall judge most pertinent. But I make a great difference
of the qualities of persons, and states of the soul, and scenes of
the life, according to which I have distributed and suited the
offices here proposed. And though it be not needful to adapt
a prayer to every man's particular errivloyment in the world,
yet no man, whatever be his place and calling, but may find
Tiany prayers here fitted to the condition of his soul, and to
Uie great emergencies of his life. Only 1 would caution any
who may need to be so advertised, that I do not intend the
particular prayers entitled for such and such persons of par-
ticular ranks and stations, as their excuse to supersede all
praying else, as if such persons needed to use no other prayers :
but those over and above, they may sometimes add to the rest :
and so prudently choosing agreeable offices, and taking this,
my whole performance, with a little of Christian candour, and
the allowance for common weakness, I am willing to hope it
may not be unacceptable to those in my neighbourhood (for
whom I am chiefly concerned) as comnig from one of your
own acquaintance (my brethren) and one not so utterly unac-
quainted with the practice and benefit of such exercises of
devotion, but that I am able to say somewhat from my own
experience (and that of many years) in this way. However
small (I must confess) is my proficiency, to what it might have
been, yet the several stages my soul has gone through, the
trials and temptations that I have had, the terrors and per-
plexities wherewith I have grappled, the conflicts and troubles
of mind that I have lain under, the many sins that I have
fallen into (grievous to myself, and heinous in the sight of
God, though not so scandalous as some others, to the view of
the world,) and the escapes that I have made, the preservations
and deliverances, the mercies and blessings, tlie revivings and
comforts, that I have found; are so many enticements to me,


and so mamj evgagements upon me, to do somewhat, accord-
ing to the ability which God hath given me, for the direction, the
support, and help of others, that may be in the like condition.
And may the thing here done be but well taken by any that
fear God (the generation of them that seek his face, and are
in love with prayer,) I shall then little concern myself, what
is the resentment or censure of any one else ; whether it be the
worldly drudge, the sordid earthworm, that throws prayers
out of doors, as his interruption and hindrance ; or the disso
lute epicure, that takes pleasure in nothing but his mire, and
shrinks from drawing nigh to the holy God, as his hated task
and torment ; or the prophane droll, that even laughs hit
Judge eternal in the face, and mightily applauds himself foi
daring to make scorn of all that is serious and sacred ; or tht
trifling impertinent, that is for all manner of exercises, but
only those of Religion ; or lastly, the formal hypocrite, thai
only now and then passes a slight compliment on the Majesty
of heaven, but still mortally hates the life and power of god
liness ; the sense and the satisfaction of one pious experiencea
Christian, that has known the grace of God in truth is mort
to me than the exceptions and the clamours of a thousand
su-ch as these.

If this piece fly further abroad than my first intention ; and
if others that know nothing of what concerns me, may pick
out any thing here to further them in the way of heaven
ward ; I shall have the more cause then to bless God foi
making me such an instrument of his grace. Yea, where ]
can but do the least good to any poor soul, I shall not think
my labour in vain in the Lord. But my great care is for tlie
souls of whom I have the charge: and for the rest of mj'
friends and neighbours within my reach, whom I have (you
know) so much and often importuned and called upon, to give
themselves to prayer, both in your families, and in youi
retirements every day. Not barely to read, or say over so many
words of prayer (as if it would presently make all whole and
isell, only to use such or such a form as you think pertinent
to your case, as a plaster lit for the sore,) but to do it with a
praying heart, with a viind intent upon the work, and youi
spirits engaged in his service. The reasons for whicb, and the
necessity of it, with the lawfulnet-s and expediency of using
forms (especially where other abilities are wanting) I shall
not insist upon here*; because I have done it already else,
where. [" Liberty of Prayer ass-rrted, tf-r."]

Indeed what some talk so much dgiilnsi nil forms of prayer ,

I think, is as little to be regarded, as what others do so bitterly
inveigh against all prayer that is out of form ; but in this
matter I cannot but much approve the temper of an eminent
Churchman, (afterwards made one of our Right Reverend
Bishops,) who in his method and order for private devotion,
thus freely and moderately gives his sense. [Bishop IVitten-
hall, " Enter into thy Closet."]

Page 62 — " Whether every particular expression or the
just words be fore-thought, it happily matters not very much :
but that some fit, significant, proper, and quickening expres-
sions for the several parts and substantials of my prayer be
prepared, it is expedient." P. 81 — " I profess myself no whit
guilty of undervaluing the free effusions of the soul before
God (in private especially) in such expressions as the affected
moved mind suggests ; or, as the Spirit gives utterance."
P. 284 — " If I am able to pray otherwise, I shall not haply
always see it fit or convenient to use set or composed forms;
for that there be many particular affecting circumstances in
my sins, which no form will express so plainly as I have need
to express them, for the moving of my sorrow." P. 285 — "If
I find my heart ready, and so composed, that I dare venture
'ipon what we call a conceived prayer, it being of my own
mvention by the assistance of the Spirit, may more perfectly
suit my condition in all, than one framed by another to my
hand." P. 81, 82—" Though constantly to use that way,
may make our devotion more slight and disorderly, through
the coldness, dulness, or heedlessness of our heart, or through
distractions, incumbrances, or like mischiefs ; and it may often
occasion the omission of many necessary things, through in-
cogitancy, and unavoidable forgetfulness." P. 8 — " But
whether the loords in which we utter ourselves, be fore-thought
or sudden, provided they fitly and reverently express the
inward sense of our hearts, it matters not, nor is it at all essen-
tial to prayer." P. 18 — " Be tlie words whose they will, my
praying them (that is, offering them up to God) with a heart
suitable to them, hath made them as much mine, as if I had
invented, contrived, dictated, or penned them at first."

The manner then of expressing yourselves in my words, or
in your own, or others, I leave (as here this Author does) at
liberty : and any helps that I have offered in the following
specimens, you may take or refuse as you see good : only I
must with all earnestness bese(;ch you to take care, and to
make conscience, that the thing be daily done, and that
heartily, as to the Lord : as ever you hope to reap any real

good from the labours of your ministers, or ever to see their
faces, or the face of God with comfort in that great day, when
we must all give up our last accounts, and be finally deter-
mined for our everlasting state. When such as could not be
prevailed with to give themselves to prayer, and to call upon
the name of God, now in the day of grace (this time of 7nercy)
shall with fruitless desires, wish themselves out of being ;
and no less vainly, than desperately, call upon rocks and
mountains to fall upon them and to hide them from his face,
ind to save them from his wrath in the day o? judgment, that
time of recompence and fury. And, therefore, according to
that most cogent admonition of the author of the Whole Duty
of Man, part 5. sect. 12. " Let no man that professes himself
a Christian, keep so heatheiwsh a family, as not to see that
God be daily worshipped in it." To which let that be added
of the other Author afore-quoted. P. 15 — " Prayer with the
family, no one, who would have God to bless his family, can
think that he may neglect." And I shall give no further
exhortation here to Family Prayer, because I have done so
much to that purpose since the first edition hereof, in another
book written upon that particular argument. [" The Bell
rung to Prayers."]

Beloved, I am more sensible of my own frailty, than to
reckon upon a much longer continuance in the world (which
we all shall find to be so short a thoroughfare to the place of
our eternal abode :) and, while I live, I desire nothing more
from you, than the consolation of observing your devotion,
and striving together with me in your prayers for your own
salvation. And when 1 am dead and gone, I would leave
behind me, not only some token of my love to you, but also
some assistance in that way of your duty, wherein you are to
follow those who are already entered into the heavenly glory

I am apt to think, that some who are convinced of this
duty (to use daily prayers) and who also feel an inclination
to it, and some disposedness for ii in their hearts, may yet be
under a discouragement for want of suitable helps in a readiness
to discharge the work. For sucli, alas ! is the dulness and
indifferency of sinful men to that which is best for them, and
which most highly concerns them, that they are not apt to be
solicitous (so as they use to show themselves in their worldly
concerns) to seek out after the provisions and conveniences ^or
the spiritual life, unless these fall directly in their way, and
are set just before them. And therefore this Prayer Book
1 have had in rny thought to provide, and put into tlie hands

of some of the poorer sort ; and (without imposing upon an)')
I would also move such able friends, as may favour the design,
to lend a charitable hand in assisting to furnish more of those
poor creatures, who by the help of such a gift, might l)e put
in a way to get the best and greatest riches : but I shall not
offer to disturb any that are in th(i possession of better means
already ; no, let them go on with the use of them, and God's
blessing be upon them ; and if but any thing here should be
found agreeable and useful to others, they are at liberty to
collect and take what they will, and pass over the rest. For
(as the celebrated Dr. Hammond tells us) [Pract. Cot. book 3.
sect. 2. answ. 5.] " The Church being obeyed in the obser-
vation of the prescribed Liturgy, in public ; it is not supposed
by our Church, but that every one, in private, may ask his
own wants in whdX form of icords he shall think fit : yet, that
he may do it fitly and reverently, it will not be amiss for him
to acquaint himself with the several addresses to God, which
the Book of Psalms, and other parts of Holy Writ, and other
Helps of Devotion, will afford him, either to use as he finds
them fit for the present purpose, or by those patterns, to direct
and prepare himself to do the like."

Now may this poor attempt of mine be an invitation to
some of my pious and learned brethren in the Ministry, to set
out some better entertainment for their people : and I shall
be abundantly satisfied and pleased, to see the thing promoted,
and still further improved : tliough my whole performance
should be vacated and excluded to make room for others de-
serving the precedence. In the mean time, may a blessing
from above follow these small endeavours of mine, and make
them prosperous (in any measure) to help your devotion : and
that you may in the use of any prayers here set before you
find some advantage to your souls, and tlie dnily promotion of
your sanctification, peace, and salvation, is the earnest desire
and prayer of

Your devoted Servant,

in the Work of our LORD,

B. J.


[. Morning— Page

The First 13

Second - - 15

Third 17

Fourth 19

Fifth 21

Skth 23

Seventh - - - - .26

[I. E\T.NING —

The First 27

Second 30

Tliird 33

Fourth 36

Fiftli 40

Sixth 43

Seventh 47

III. Sabbath —

Morning, Tl>e First 49

Second -... - -51

Mid-day 54

EvExNiNG, The First . - - ... 56

Second ... ... 59




I. Sacrament.

Before it—A Confession for the Commandments - - - 63

A Prayer - - - 68

At it — EjaculaUons, before receiving - •■ - - - 72

after receiving 74

After it — A Prayer 77

A Dedication 78

II. Fast-days (See page 63.)

Morning 80

Evening -.-.85

III. Holy Skasons.

The Incarnation of Christ 90

The Death of Christ 92

Tiie Resurrection of Christ 94

Tlie Ascension f)f Clirist - • - - 95

The Descent of the Holy Ghost - - 96

The Commeuioration of any Saint - - 97



[. Under Afflictive Circumstances, Page

1. Of a temporal nature.

Abuses and Provocations - - - 99

Infamy and Disj^ace - - - - lOJ

Crosses and Disappointments ... - - 103

Difficulties and Perplexities 103

Losses and Damages -..-. - 104

Imminent Dangers . - -. - 105

Bodily Accidents . - 107

Confinement and Loss of Liberty - - - . 108

Death of Neighbours 109

dear Friends - - - - HO

2. Of a spiritual nature.

A review of past Sins - - - - - _ no
Conviction of Sin - - - - - - -113

A dread of God's Wrath 117

Doubts and Fears -_. - .- ng

Temptations - 120

Backslidings 121

Relapse into gross Sin - - - 123

II. Under Prosperous Circumstances.

For temporal Blessings - - - log

In a state of Prosperity 127

In prospect of ilLirriage - - - 129

On undertaking any great Enterprise - - - - 130

When going from Home - - - 132

III. For Particular Graces and Blessings.

Illumination and Knowledge - - - 133

Faith - - - - - 135

Power to live upon tlie Promises - - - - 13(3

Repentance 140

Humility 142

Tenderness of Heart - - - - 143

IV. Obedience.

Fear of God 145

Love of God • 147

Hope In God 149

Love to Man 150

Chastity 152

Meekness 153

Patience _ - . - - - 154

IMorlification of Sin 15G

Sincerity - - - - - 158

V. Increasing Sanctification.

Increase of Grace . - .-.- IfiO

Quickening Grace - - - - 102

Assisting Grace - - - - 163

before hearing the Word - . - 164

after hearlnji the Word - - - 105



Mindfulness in God's Presence - - - 166

A devout Frame . - - . , . 167

Communion with God - - - . - _ 168

Comfort - 17]

Heavenly-mindedness - - .-. l7o

Earnestness in the pursuit of Religion - - - - 17^

Constancy in the profession of it 177

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Online LibraryBenjamin JenksPrayers and offices of devotion, for families and for particular persons upon most occasions → online text (page 1 of 23)