Графични страници
PDF файл

or elegance of expression; and these, we think, are not often very successful. For instance, where Dr. Watts occasionally introduces a bold apostrophe, exchanging the third person for the second :

Thy generation who can tell,

His generation who can tell, Or count the number of thy years! Or count the number of his years ! Why will ye, then, frame wicked laws, Why should they then frame wicked laws, Or why support th' unrighteous cause ? Or why support th' unrighteous cause ? When will ye once defend the poor, When will they cease t'oppress the poor, That sinners vex the saints no more? When will they vex the saints no more?

Or a metaphor or epithet may seem too bold : The prisoner leaps to lose his chains. The joyful prisoner bursts his chains. Thy throne was fixed on high,

Thy throne was fixed on high, Before the starry sky.

Ere stars adorned the sky! But Judah shout, but Zion sing,

Zion shall still his glories sing ! This dying world shall they survive. This fading world shall they survive. Unshaken as the sacred hill,

Unshaken as the sacred hill, And firm as mountains be,

And firm as mountains stand, Firm as a rock the soul shall rest, Firm as a rock the soul shall rest, That leans, O Lord, on thee!

That trusts th' almighty hand! No flesh can stand before thine eyes. O who could stand before thine eyes. Then shall our better thoughts approve Then shall our grateful voice declare The methods of thy chastening love. How free thy tender mercies are ! That sweetly forced us in.

That gently drew us in! O let us iy-to Jesus ily!

Lord, let us to our refuge fly!
Lord, here we bend our humble souls, Lord, here we bend our humble souls,
And awfully adore :

And awfully adore :
For the weak pinions of our mind Thy power we feelthy glory see,
Can stretch a thought no more. Thy mercy we implore !

7. Finally, some alterations can only be ascribed to accident, ignorance, or the want of poetic insight, taste, and judgment. Such are these: Sorrow and love flow mingled down. Sorrow and love flow mingling down. Worthy He who once was slain, Worthy is He who once was slqin, The Prince of Life, who groaned and died. The Prince of Peace, who groaned and

died. VOL. XVII.


Here the whole hymn is made up of antitheses—contrasting life and death, dominion and subjection, wisdom and madness, riches and poverty, strength and weakness, honor and shame, a crown of glory and one of thorns. Were every copy wrong, the above reading might fairly be restored from internal evidence. But, in fact, the older editions give it correctly; though (strange to say) all the more recent ones, both English and American, (even the Sabbath Hymn Book !) appear to have adopted the corrupt reading.* Again : Now they approach a spotless God. | Now they approach th' eternal God !

Surely the author of this alteration had forgotten the text : “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” To pour fresh life in every part. To pour fresh life on every part. Bless thy word to young and old, Bless thy word to old and young, Fill us with a Saviour's love:

Fill us with a Saviour's love :
And when life's short tale is told, When our life's short race is run,
May we dwell with thee above! May we dwell with thee above!
And deeply on my thoughtless heart, And deeply on my thoughtful heart,
Eternal things impress.

Eternal things impress.
There God, the Sun, forever reigns, There God the Son forever reigns,
And scatters night away.

And scatters night away.


Bright seraphs learn Immanuel's name. Sweet cherubs learn Immanuel's name.

The arrangement of hymns in any collection should, of course, be as natural and logically consecutive as possible. Praise to God, and worship in general, claim the first place ; then follow hymns pertaining to the being, character, and attributes of God, his word and works, the doctrines and duties of religion, and the varied forms of Christian experience. Next come the external aspects and ordinances of religion, various times and seasons, life and death, judgment and eternity, heaven and hell. Such is in fact substantially the arrangement of the Sabbath Hymn Book, carried out with a rare combination of accuracy, minuteness, and simplicity. The proportionate space which each of the numerous subjects here indicated should occupy, must, of course, be determined

* We have always had a strong impression that in the old editions of Watts, the 2d Hymn of the 1st Book, 5th verse, last line, read thus : “When through his flesh the Godhead shone;" but we cannot find any proof of it.

principally by the number of really good hymns on each which can be discovered.

After this long, and, we fear, tedious though necessary introduction, we may the more briefly indicate our estimate of the "Sabbath Hymn Book.”

In the first place, both the quantity, quality, and variety of its hymns must be admitted to be most creditable to the industry, taste, and judgment of its compilers. We know not what subject in the vast range of Christian lyrics has failed to be represented, more or less richly, in their selections. This is remarkably illustrated by the index, which (as might have been expected from the literary character and habits of the editors) is a model of copious, minute, and ready reference. The metrical hymns (1290 in number) are arranged in fourteen books, subdivided into numerous parts and sections. The fifteenth contains a rich collection of doxologies, and in the sixteenth (and last) are 58 chants, principally passages of scripture. While no department is deficient, the selection of hymns relating to the person and work of the Redeemer is peculiarly rich and beautiful, comprising a number which must be altogether new to the American churches, but which we are persuaded they will not willingly let die. Turning to the list of authors, we find above 250 credited to the prince of Christian lyric poets, Dr. Watts; more than fifty to Charles Wesley, nearly as many to Mrs. Steele, and at least forty (though far too few) to Doddridge. Cowper furnishes not half as many, much fewer even than Newton, and hardly more than Heber. One of the most striking features of the work is the numerous translations of old Latin, German, and even Greek hymns, some of which are rendered with rare felicity. The following is from St. Bernard :

Jesus! our fainting spirits cry,

When wilt thou shew thy face?
Oh! when our longings satisfy

And fill us with thy grace ?
We sinners, Lord, with earnest heart,

With sighs and prayers and tears,
To thee our inmost cares impart,

Our burdens and our fears.

(766.) Thy sovereign grace can give relief,

Thou source of peace and light!
Dispel the gloomy cloud of grief

And make our darkness bright.
Around thy Father's throne on high

All heaven thy glory sings ;
And earth, for which thou cam'st to die,

Loud with thy praises rings.
Dear Lord! to thee our prayers ascend;

Our eyes thy face would see:
Oh! let our weary wanderings end,

Our spirits rest in thee! Equally beautiful and most happily executed is the following imitation (suggested by Gerhard," as it is modestly phrased in the index) of some portions of one of the most touchingly beautiful but most untranslatable of German hymns, written some two hundred years ago. From its quaint and thorny idioms the skillful translator has culled the materials of the following stanzas : O sacred Head, now wounded,

With grief and shame weighed down ;
O sacred brow, surrounded

With thorns, thine only crown!
Once on a throne of glory,

Adorned with light divine,
Now all despised and gory,

Ijoy to call thee mine !
On me, as thou art dying,

Oh, turn thy pitying eye!
To thee for mercy crying,

Before thy cross I lie.
Thine, thine the bitter passion,

Thy pain is all for me;
Mine, mine the deep transgression,

My sins are all on thee,
What language can I borrow

To thank thee, dearest Friend,
For all this dying sorrow,

Of all my woes the end ?
O, can I leave thee ever ?

Then do not thou leave me :
Lord, let me never, never

Outlive my love to thee.

Be near when I am dying;

Then close beside me stand;
Let me, while faint and sighing,
Lean calmly on thy hand:
These eyes new faith receiving,
From thine eye shall not move;
For he who dies believing,

Dies safely in thy love.

The following is a free translation of a Greek hymn:

O blessed God! to thee I raise

My voice in thankful hyinns of praise;
And when my voice shall silent be,
My silence shall be praise to thee.

For voice and silence both impart
The filial homage of my heart;
And both alike are understood
By thee, thou Parent of all good,-

Whose grace is all unsearchable,
Whose care for me no tongue can tell,
Who loves my loudest praise to hear,
And loves to bless my voiceless prayer.*

"Blest one! I praise thee Now with my accents, Blest one! I praise thee

We will quote only one more specimen, which, (like all the preceding,) though not claimed by the editors as original, is new to ourselves and perhaps to most of our readers:

Tarry with me, O my Saviour!

For the day is passing by;
See! the shades of evening gather,

And the night is drawing nigh.
Deeper, deeper grow the shadows,
Paler now the glowing west,
Swift the night of death advances;
Shall it be the night of rest?
Feeble, trembling, fainting, dying,

Lord, I cast myself on thee;
Tarry with me through the darkness;
While I sleep, still watch by me.


Now with my silence;
For as my accents,
E'en so my silence

*As a literary curiosity we subjoin a literal version of this hymn, by the famous George Borrow:


Thou understandest,
Father unsearchable,
Father ineffable!"

« ПредишнаНапред »