Imágenes de páginas

in some cases directly hymns, and in all cases

founded upon the great doctrines of the Christian

faith, or upon the events of the Redeemer's life. Many of the poems under the head of the Written Word, and indeed in all the divisions, are of an equally decided religious character. But in illustrating some passages of Holy Scripture, in delineating the various phases and duties of life, in tracing out the hopes and fears which encompass death, in picturing the feelings and passions of the human heart, she has freely availed herself of pieces whose tendency is moral and elevating, though the language may not be directly

reiigiou^j^y '::. /':=:/:

The- Gomptfer has VeKctcd Sriely from our English Poets -^icif^{«idjNbdern, and she believes that tKefeis-scareely one of high note who is not reprWeBJed'fti {fcp'flteyerft collection. She hopes that ft may* b'e'triifsyiTf^Dme sort, a kind of informal introduction to the highest works of English literature. It might be thought that pieces from writers so diverse as Milton and Keble, Toplady and Crashaw, Heber and Bonar, must necessarily contain heterogeneous doctrine; but it will be found that these poems, from so many writers of different schools, contain nothing which is not in accordance with those great truths of the Gospel of Christ, " which are most


surely believed among us." It was remarked at the Great Exhibition, that the works of all Christian lands bore a family likeness. Is it strange that a finer and closer family likeness should be found in the works of Christian men and women, hymning the same Incarnate Lord, and contemplating life, death, and nature, from so many common points of view?

It is possible that some persons may consider many of the poems in the present volume too difficult for children of the ages indicated. The Compiler is assured, however, by actual experiment, that there is little, if anything, in the entire collection, which is not capable of giving pleasure to such children, if they are of ordinary intelligence. A namby-pamby, childish style is most unpleasing to children, especially to boys; it is surprising how soon they can understand and follow a high order of poetry, (always supposing it is not subtle or metaphysical,) especially when it assumes a narrative form, and has the aid of rhyme.

The Compiler is, as a general rule, most averse to the practice of garbling or altering poems. A rash collector may work as blindly with a fine poem as a rash restorer with a fine picture; but the exigencies of children's tastes and capacities, and the necessary limits of the work, have required frequent abbreviation. Thus, in selecting from the works of Wordsworth, and the great author of " The Christian Year," she has sometimes taken a single thought or picture detached from the context, having to make her choice between this course and the omission of some of the holiest and loveliest lines in English sacred song. Once or twice only she has altered a word, or transposed a line for the sake of connection, or changed into modern language the obsolete expressions of some very old writer.

The Compiler cannot close her task without the prayer that this volume may in some measure tend to make Sunday a pleasant day to children. May it help to teach them to praise God the Father, Son, and Spirit; to contemplate life and death and their own hearts as Christians should; to understand the spirit of the Bible; and through this fair creation to look up to Him who is its Creator.


[graphic][merged small][merged small]


PRAYER is the soul's sincere desire,
Uttered, or unexpressed;
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast .

Prayer is the burthen of a sigh,

The falling of a tear,
The upward glancing of the eye,

When none but God is near.

Prayer is the simplest form of speech

That infant lips can try;
Prayer the sublimest strains that reach

The Majesty on high.

Prayer is the contrite sinner's voice

Returning from his ways,
While angels in their songs rejoice,

And cry, Behold he prays!

Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,

The Christian's native air;
His watchword at the gates of death;

He enters Heaven with prayer.

The saints, in prayer, appear as one
In word, and deed, and mind,

While with the Father and the Son
Sweet fellowship they find.

Nor prayer is made by man alone,

The Holy Spirit pleads;
And Jesus, on th' eternal throne,

For sinners intercedes.

O Thou, by whom we come to God!

The Life, the Truth, the Way! The path of prayer Thyself hast trod:

Lord ! teach us how to pray.

J, Montgomery

« AnteriorContinuar »