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III Prayers

NOT with fond shekels of the tested gold,
Nor gems whose rates are either rich or poor
As fancy values them: but with true prayers,
That shall be up at heaven and enter there
Ere sunrise; prayers from preserved souls,
From fasting maids, whose minds are delicate
To nothing temporal.”

SHAKSPEARE.

      PYTHAGORAS said that the time when men are honestest is when they present themselves before the gods. If we can overhear the prayer we shall know the man. But prayers are not made to be overheard, or to be printed, so that we seldom have the prayer otherwise than it can be inferred from the man and his fortunes, which are the answer to the prayer, and always accord with it. Yet there are scattered about in the earth a few records of these devout hours, which it would edify us to read, could they be collected in a more catholic spirit than the wretched and repulsive volumes which usurp that name. Let us not have the prayers of one sect, nor of the Christian Church, but of men in all ages and religions who have prayed well.

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