A Hebrew word, which, when prefixed to an assertion, signifies assuredly, certainly, or emphatically, so it is; but when it concludes a prayer, so be it, or so let it be, is its manifest import. In the former case, it is assertive, or assures of a truth or a fact; and is an asseveration, and is properly translated verily, John iii. 3. In the latter case, it is petitionary, and, as it were, epitomises all the requests with which it stands connected, Numb. 5:25. Rev. 22:20. This emphatical term was not used among the Hebrews by detached individuals only, but on certain occasions, by an assembly at large, Deut. 27:14, 20. It was adopted also, in the public worship of the primitive churches, as appears by that passage, 1 Cor. 14:16. and was continued among the Christians in following times; yea, such was the extreme into which many run, that Jerome informs us, that, in his time, at the conclusion of every public prayer, the united amen of the people sounded like the fall of water, or the noise of thunder. Nor is the practice of some professors in our own time to be commended, who, with a low though audible voice, add their amen to almost every sentence, as it proceeds from the lips of him who is praying. As this has a tendency to interrupt the devotion of those that are near them, and may disconcert the thoughts of him who leads the worship, it would be better omitted, and a mental amen is sufficient. The term, as used at the end of our prayers, suggests that we should pray with understanding,faith, fervour, and expectation.
Charles Buck (1771-1815) was an English Independent minister, best known for the publication of his “Theological Dictionary”. According to the “Dictionary of National Biography”, a Particular Baptist minister named John C. Ryland (1723-1792) assisted Buck by writing many of the articles for the aforementioned publication. One may conclude, based not only Buck’s admiration for his friend Ryland, but also on the entries in his Theological Dictionary, that he stood head and shoulders with the High-Calvinists of his day.