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The eighteenth century gave England nearly all its hymns. If any popular collection were analysed, it would be found that the chronology of its chief contents ranges between 1709, when Watts published his “Spiritual Songs," and 1800, when Cowper died.
The three favourite compositions of Bishop Ken are a little older, and some delightful additions have been made to our sacred minstrelsy by writers of more recent date -by Heber and James Montgomery, by Keble and Canon Stowell, by Sir E. Denny and Horatius Bonar; but still the great staple of British hymnology is to be found in Watts and Doddridge, in Toplady, Cowper, and the Wesleys, and in those contemporaries of theirs who clothed ardent devotion in vivid words and melodious numbers. Consequently, readers who are familiar with this kind of literature will at once recognise nearly all our specimens. It has been our object to bring together a few of those Christian lyrics which have been crowned by general acclamation, rather than to move for a new trial in behalf of candidates who, however graceful or ingenious, lacked that kind of excellence which compels the popular favour.
Regarding the three following hymns, Mr Montgomery has said—“Had he endowed three hospitals he might have been less a benefactor to posterity. There is exemplary plainness of speech, manly vigour of thought, and consecration of heart in these pieces. The well-known doxology, 'Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,' &c., is a masterpiece at once of amplification and compression-amplification, on the burthen ‘Praise God,' repeated in each line; compression, in exhibiting God
as the object of praise in every view in which we can imagine praise due to Him ; praise for all His blessings—yea, for all
2 blessings, none coming from any other source; praise, by every creature specifically involved, here below,' and in heaven above ;' praise to Him in each of the characters wherein He has revealed Himself in His word—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Yet this comprehensive verse is sufficiently simple, that by it out of the mouths of babes and sucklings praise might be perfected ;' and it appears so easy, that one is tempted to think hundreds of the sort might be made without trouble. The reader has only to try, and he will quickly be undeceived." **
This devout and conscientious prelate was born at Berkhampstead—also the birthplace of Cowper-July 1637, and died at Longleat, March 19, 1711. For four years he held the bishopric of Bath and Wells, but, refusing the oath of allegiance to King William, he was deprived, and spent the rest of his life in peaceful retirement.
For Morning. Awake, my soul, and with the sun Thy daily stage of duty run ; Shake off dull sloth, and carly rise, To pay thy morning sacrifice. Redeem thy misspent time that 's past, Live this day, as if ’twere thy last: T'improve thy talent take due care ; 'Gainst the great day thyself prepare. Let all thy converse be sincere ; Thy conscience as the noon-day clear ; Think how all-seeing Gol thy ways, And all thy secret tugits surveys. Influenced by the light divine, Let thy own light in good works shine:
* Montgomery's ". Christian Psalmist."
Reflect all Heaven's propitious ways,
Direct, control, suggest, this day,
That all my powers, with all their might,
Glory to Thee, my God, this night,
The faster sleep the sense does bind,
And bid the night and world farewell. * It would have been better if this prayer had been addressed to the Divine Spirit Himself. As it is, it is too like the Romish invocation of angels.