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be easy to comprehend, that poetry and beard, are remembered without effort piety may be as surely united on earth, remembered involuntarily, yet remember. as they are in heaven before the throne, ed with renewed and increasing delight in the songs of angels, and the spirits of at every revival! It may be safely afjust men made perfect.

firmed, that the permanent favourites in “ A hymn ought to be as regular in every collection are those, which, in the its structure as any other poem; it should requisites before-mentioned, or for some have a distinct subject, and that subject other peculiar excellence, are distinguishshould be simple, not complicated, so ed above the rest. This is so remarkably that whatever skill or labour might be the case with the compositions of Watts, required in the author to develope his Wesley, and Newton, the most prolific plan, there should be little or none re- writers of this class, that no farther ilquired on the part of the reader to un- lustration is needful than a recurrence to derstand it. Consequently, a hymn must their pages, when it will be found, that have a beginning, middle, and end. There the most neglected are generally inferior should be a manifest gradation in the in literary merit to the most hackneyed thoughts, and their mutual dependence ones, which are in every body's mouth, should be so perceptible, that they could and every body's heart. not be transposed without injuring the “ It may be added, that authors, who unity of the piece; every line carrying devote their talents to the glory of God, forward the connexion, and every verse and the salvation of men, ought surely adding a well-proportioned limb to a sym- to take as much pains to polish and permetrical body. The reader should know feet their offerings of this kind, as secular when the strain is complete, and be sa- and profane poets bestow upon their tisfied, as at the close of an air in music; works. Of these, the subjects are too

while defects and superfluities should be often of the baser sort, and the workman: felt by him as annoyances, in whatever ship as frequently excels the materials;

part they might occur. The practice of while, on the other hand, the inestimable many good men, in framing hymns, has materials of hymns,--the truths of the been quite the contrary. They have begun everlasting Gospel, the very thoughts of apparently with the only idea in their God, the very sayings of Christ, the very mind at the time ; another, with little inspirations of the Holy Ghost, are disrelationship to the former, has been for- honoured by the meanness of the workced upon them by a refractory rhyme; a manship employed upon them; wood, third became necessary to eke out a verse, hay, straw, and stubble, being built upon a fourth to begin one ; and so on, till, foundations which ought only to support having compiled a sufficient number of gold, silver, and precious stones; work stanzas of so many lines, and lines of so that will bear the fire, and be purified by many syllables, the operation has been it. The faults in ordinary hymns are vulsuspended; whereas it might, with equal gar phrase, low' words, bard words, techconsistency, bave been continued to any nical terms, inverted construction, broken imaginable length, and the tenth or ten syntax, barbarous abbreviations, that make thousandth link might have been struck our beautiful English horrid even to the out, or changed places with any other, eye, bad rhymes or no rhymes where without the slightest infraction of the rhymes are expected, but above all, numchain ; the whole being a series of inde- bers without cadence. A line is no more pendent verses, collocated as they came, metre because it contains a certain conand the burden a cento of phrases, figures, catenation of syllables, than so many and ideas, the common property of every crotchets and quavers, picked at random, writer who had none of his own, and would constitute a bar of music, The therefore found in the works of each, un- syllables in every division ought to ripimproved, if not unimpaired, from genera- ple like a rivulet,' one producing another tion to generation.—Such rhapsodies may as its natural effect, while the rhythm of be sung from time to time, and keep alive each line, falling into the general stream devotion already kindled; but they leave at its proper place, should cause the verse no trace in the memory, make no impres- to flow in progressive melody, deepening sion on the heart, and fall through the and expanding like a river to the close; mind as sounds glide through the ear, or, to change the figure, each stanza -pleasant, it may be, in their passage, should be a poetical tune, played down but never returning to haunt the imagi- to the last note. Such subservience of nation in retirement, or, in the multitude every part to the harmony of the whole of the thoughts, to refresh the soul. Of is required in all other legitimate poetry, how contrary a character, how transcends and why it should not be observed in that ently superior in value as well as in ine' which is worthiest of all possible prefluence, are those hymns, which, once eminence, it would be difficult to say ; VOL. XXIV.

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why it is so rarely found in hymns, may themes, therefore, are much more illusbe accounted for from the circumstance trious than those of the son of Jesse, already stated, that few accomplished who only knew 'the power and glory of poets have enriched their mother tongue Jehovah as he had seen them in the with strains of this description."

sanctuary,' which was but the shadow of After this able exposition of the the New Testament church, -as the face principles, so to speak, on which hymns of Moses, holding communion with God, should be composed, Mr Montgomery was brighter than the veil which he cast proceeds to characterise, which he does over it when conversing with his country. with much discernment, some of the best of our hymn-writers. He speaks

“ Dr Watts may almost be called the with fervour of the exemplary plaine inventor of bymns in our language ; for ness of speech, manly vigour of thought, he so far departed from all precedent, and consecration of heart, in the Morne that few of his compositions resemble those ing, Evening, and Midnight of Bishop of his forerunners,—while he so far esKenn-saying, “had he endowed three tablished a precedent to all his succes. hospitals, he might have been less a

sors, that none have departed from it, benefactor to posterity.” Passing by

otherwise than according to the peculiar Mrs Rowe and the mystical rhymers of of expressing Christian truths employed

turn of mind in the writer, and the style her age, he comes to the greatest name

by the denomination to which he belongamong hymn-writers-Dr Isaac Watts.

ed. Dr Watts himself, though & conThis assertion may startle many read- scientious dissenter, is so entirely catholic ers, but the enthusiastic Montgomery in his hymns, that it cannot be discoverdoes not fear to give him that praise; ed from any of these, (so far as we reand why should he," since it has plea collect,) that he belonged to any parsed God to confer upon him, though ticular sect; hence, happily for bis fame, one of the least of the poets of his or rather, it ought to be said, happily country, more glory than upon the for the Church of Christ, portions of his greatest either of that or any other, psalms and hymns have been adopted in by making his · Divine Songs a more most places of Worship where congrega. abundant and universal blessing than tional singing prevails. Every Sabbath, the verses of any uninspired man that in every region of the earth where bis ever lived ?"

native tongue is spoken, thousands and “In his ‘P-alms and Hymns,'(for they tens of thousands of voices are sending must be classed together,) he has em

the sacrifices of prayer and praise to braced a compass and variety of subjects, God, in the strains which he prepared which include and illustrate every truth for them a century ago; yea, every day, of revelation, throw light upon every "he being dead yet speaketh,' by the lips secret movement of the human heart, of posterity, in these sacred lays, some whether of sin, nature, or grace, and of which may not cease to be sung by describe every kind of trial, temptation, the ransomed on their journey to Zion, conflict, doubt, fear, and grief; as well so long as the language of Britain en. as the faith, hope, charity, the love, joy, dures—a language now spreading through peace, labour, and patience of the Christ- all lands whither commerce, civilization, ian, in all stages of his course on earth; or the Gospel, are carried by merchants, together with the terrors of the Lord, colonists, and missionaries." the glories of the Redeemer, and the

That a poet of Mr Montgomery's comforts of the Holy Spirit, to urge, al. Jure, and strengthen him by the way.

power and skill should be blind to the There is in the pages of this evangelist; Watts' hymns, is not to be supposed,

numerous faults and defects of Dr a word in season for everyone who needs and accordingly he speaks freely of it, in whatever circumstances he may require counsel, consolation, reproof, or

them all, and as truly, but not more instruction. We say this, without re.

so, than he has in the above eloquent serve, of the materials of his hymns : bad passage spoken of their merits. their execution always been correspond.

Next to Dr Watts, as a hymn-wrie ent with the preciousness of these, we

ter, stands, in Mr Montgomery's judg. should have had a Christian Psalmist' in ment, the reverend Charles Wesley. England, next (and that only in date, not Many of his hymns we committed to in dignity) to the "Sweet Singer of Israel. memory in very early life, having found Nor is this so bold a word as it may them in the cottage of a poor family seem. Dr Watts' hymns are full of the which we visited so often when a glorious Gospel of the blessed God ;' bis schoolboy, that we were as one of the humble household; we can repeat them he has carried on the action of a lyrical all still, though since we ceased to be drama; every turn in the conflict with a boy, and that is a long, weary while, the mysterious Being against whom he we never heard one of them breathed wrestles all night, being marked with pre. from human lips, except perhaps in cision by the varying language of the some dream of the olden time-some speaker, accompanied by intense, increatender reverie, peopled by the phan- sing interest, till the rapturous moment toms of the past from our own-as

of discovery, when he prevails, and exthey murmured almost unconsciously claims, 'I know Thee, Saviour, who Thou the melancholy music of other years. art,' &c.-The hymn, page 375, Come Of these strains Mr Montgomery thus on, my partners in distress,' &c. anticispeaks

pates the strains, and is written almost

in the spirit, of the Church triumphant.“ Next to Dr Watts as a hymn-writer, • Thou wretched man of sorrow,' &c. and undoubtedly stands the Rev. Charles its companion-piece, 'Great Author of Wesley. He was probably the author of my being,' &c. page 289–90, are compoa greater number of compositions of this sed with equal strength and fervency of kind, with less variety of matter or man. feeling,-feeling congenial, yet perfectly ner, than any other man of genius that contrasted, with that in the former incan be named. Excepting his short stance ; for here, instead of the society Hymns on Passages of Scripture,' which of saints and angels, he indulges lonely of course make the whole tour of Bille silent anguish, desiring to live and die literature, and are of very unequal merit, alone' with God, as if creature-commu-Christiau experience, from the deepsnion had ceased with him for ever.of affliction, through all the gradations of “Thou God of glorious majesty!' &c. page doubt, fear, desire, faith, hope, expecta- 169, is a sublime contemplation in antion, to the transports of perfect love, in other vein ;--solemn, collected, unimpasthe very beams of the beatific vision, sioned thought, but thought occupied Christian experience furnishes him with with that which is of everlasting import everlasting and inexhaustible themes; to a dying man, standing on the lapse of and it must be confessed, that he has ce- a moment between two eternities.'lebrated them with an affluence of dic. The hymn on the Day of Judgment, tion, and a splendour of colouring, rarely • Stand the omnipotent decree,' begins surpassed. At the same time, he has in- with a note, abrupt and awakening like vested them with a power of truth, and the sound of the last trumpet. This is endeared them both to the imagination altogether one of the most daring and and the affections, with a pathos which victorious flights of our author. Such makes feeling conviction, and leaves the pieces prove, that if Charles Wesley's understanding little to do but to acquiesce hymns are less varied than might have in the decisions of the heart. As the been desired for general purposes, it was Poet of Methodism, he has sung the doc- from choice, and predilection for certain trines of the Gospel, as they are expound- views of the Gospel in its effects upon ed among that people, dwelling especially human minds, and not from want of dion the personal appropriation of the words versity of gifts. It is probable that the of eternal life to the sinner, or the saint, severer taste of his brother, the Rev. as the test of bis actual state before God, John Wesley, greatly tempered the exand admitting nothing less than the full travagance of Charles, pruned his luxuriassurance of faith as the privilege of be. ances, and restrained his impetuosity, in lievers :

those hymns of bis, which form a large • Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,

proportion of the Methodists' collection ; Relies on that alone,

the few which are understood to be John's Laughs at impossibilities,

in that book, being of a more intellectual And says. It shall be done.'

character than what are known to be • Faith lends her realizing light,

Charles's, while the latter are wonderfulThe clouds disperse, the shadows fly, The Invisible appears in sight,

ly improved by abridgement and compresAnd God is seen by mortal eye.'

sion, in comparison with the originals, as “ These are glimpses of our author's they were first given to the public. manner, broad, indeed, and awful, but On the Four Hymns of Addison, signally illustrative, like lightning out of (or, as Mr Montgomery says, attri, darkness, revealing for a moment the buted to him—but why attributed ? whole hemisphere. Among C. Wesley's is there any doubt of their being his?) highest achievements may be recorded, too little praise is bestowed-for they • Come, 0 Thou traveller unknown,'&c. are beautiful throughout, and in many page 55, in which, with consummate art, places sublime. For the time being,

the inspiration of the subject made ance 'cast alike on every thing it him a poet, who, in common hours, touched. was no poet at all-though in his own The last hymn-writer whom Mr peculiar prose, he excelled all man- Montgomery mentions by name, is the kind. True, as Mr Montgomery says, Rev. B. Beddome, a baptist minister. it is to be regretted that the God of His compositions, it is remarked, are Grace as well as the God of Provi- calculated to be far more useful than dence, is not more distinctly re- attractive ; though, on closer acquaintcognised in them. But he should not ance, they become very agreeable as have been contented with merely call. well as impressive, for the most part ing them "pleasing;” and for our being brief and pithy. A single idea, sake—though it is perhaps rather too always important, often striking, and much to expect—we hope he will re- sometimes ingeniously brought out, consider that lukewarm epithet, and not with a mere point at the end, but apply another to compositions that, in with the terseness and simplicity of a many moods of many men, do assu- Greek Epigram, constitutes the basis redly thrill the heart and elevate the of each piece. Many of these were spirit.

composed as explanatory applications In the opinion of our amiable poet of the texts, or main topics of his ser. and critic--and in ours—all that can mons; and they might supply frequent be imagined deficient in Addison's hints both to ministers and people, Hymns, will be found to constitute who were disposed to turn them to prothe glory of Doddridge's. “They fit in the same manner. His name, cone sbine in the beauty of holiness ;” these tinues Mr Montgomery, would deserve offsprings of his mind are arrayed “in to be held in everlasting remembrance, fine linen;" and like the saints, they if he had left no other memorial of the are lovely and acceptable, not for excellent spirit

which was in him, than their human merit, (for in poetry the following few humble verses. they are frequently deficient,) but for that fervent, unaffected love to God, Erhorlation against Sectarian spirit. his service and his people, which dis

“ Let party names no more tinguishes them all.” “The following

The Christian world o'erspread : four lines,” our essayist adds,“ present

Gentile and Jew, and bond and free, the touchstone of Christian profession,

Are one in Christ their Head. experience, and practice ;" and we have heard them sung-sometimes

“ Among the saints on earth, often--not without tears :

Let mutual love be found;

Heirs of the same inheritance,
“ Hast thou a lamb in all thy flock,
I would disdain to feed ?

With mutual blessings crown'd.
Hast thou a fou before whose face, “ Let envy and ill-will
I fear thy name to plead ?”

Be banish'd far away;
The Hymns of the revered Augustus

And all in Christian bonds unite, Toplady form a striking contrast with

Who the same Lord obey. the mild and humane tone of Dod. “ Thus will the church below dridge's. There is, we are told, and be. Resemble that above; Jieve, a peculiarly etherealspiritin some Where no discordant sounds are beard, of them, in which, whether mourning But all is peace and love." or rejoicing, praying or praising, the writer seems absorbed in the full tris Amongst anonymous hymns, Mr umph of Faith ; " and whether in the Montgomery particularly directs our body or out of the body, caught up attention to one which he calls “anointo the third heaven," and beholde ble ode," by an unlettered man, as one ing unutterable things. He evidently that of itself amply refutes the slander kindled his poetic torch at that of his (by whom, pray, uttered ?) that hymns contemporary, Charles Wesley; and are necessarily the least intellectual or though inferior in breadth and vo- poetical species of literature. There is lume of flame, yet the light which it not, he avers, in our language, "a lyric sheds is not less vivid and sparkling, of more majestic stylemore elevated while it may be said to be more deli- thought or more glorious imagery ; its cate to the eye, and refreshing to the structure, indeed, is unattractive, and spirits, than that prodigality of radio on account of the short lines, occa

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sionally uncouth ;. but like a stately 7 “ There dwells the Lord our King, pile of architecture, severe and simple The Lord our righteousness, in design, it strikes less on the first Triumphant o'er the world and sin, view, than after deliberate examina.

The Prince of Peace : tion, when its proportions become On Sion's sacred height more graceful, its dimensions expand, His kingdom still maintains; and the mind itself grows greater in

And glorious, with his saints in light, contemplating it.”

For ever reigns.

8 “ He keeps his own secure, The God of Abraham.

He guards them by his side, I " The God of Abraham praise, Arrays in garments white and pure, Who reigns enthroned above ;

His spotless bride;
Ancient of everlasting days,

With streams of sacred bliss,
And God of love ;

With groves of living joys,
Jehovah, Great I Am!

With all the fruits of paradise,
By earth and heaven confess'd ;

He still supplies.
I bow and bless the sacred name,
For ever bless'd.

9 “ Before the Three in One,

They all exulting stand ; 2 “ The God of Abraham praise,

And tell the wonders he hath done, At whose supreme command

Through all their land. From earth I rise and seek—the joys The listening spheres attend, At his right hand :

And swell the growing fame, I all on earth forsake,

And sing, in songs which never end, Its wisdom, fame, and power,

The wondrous Name, And Him my only portion make,

My shield and tower. 3 “ The God of Abraham praise,

10 « The God who reigns on high, Whose all-sufficient grace, Shall guide me all my happy days,

The great archangels sing,
In all his ways :

And • Holy, Holy, Holy,' cry,

Almighty King! He calls a worm his friend!

Who was, and is the same, He calls himself my God!

And evermore shall be ;
And He shall save me to the end,

Jehovah--Father-Great I Am !
Through Jesus' blood.

We worship Thee.' “ He by Himself hath sworn;

11 6 Before the Saviour's face I on his oath depend;

The ransom'd nations bow; I shall on eagle's wings up-borne

O'erwhelm’d at his Almighty grace, To heaven ascend : I shall behold his face,

For ever new : I shall his power adore,

He shews his prints of love, And sing the wonders of his grace

They kindle to a flame,

And sound through all the world above,
For evermore.

The slaughter'd Lamb.
12 “ The whole triumphant host

Give thanks to God on high ; 5 Though nature's strength decay, Hail, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, And earth and hell withstand,

They ever cry; To Canaan's bounds I urge my way, Hail, Abraham's God and mine At his command :

I join the heavenly lays; The watery deep I pass,

All might and majesty are thine,
With Jesus in iny view;

And endless praise."
And through the howling wilderness,
My way pursue.

We have been borrowing, it will 6 “ The goodly land I see,

be seen, largely from Mr MontgoWith peace and plenty bless'd;

But as we meet with him but A land of sacred liberty,

seldom--and as the two little works And endless rest;

which have chiefly suggested our arThere milk and honey flow,

ticle, and from which some of its pages And oil and wine abound;

have been framed, may not have fallen And trees of life for ever grow, ---may never fall in the way of many With mercy crown'd.

thousands of our readers-we con

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