« AnteriorContinuar »
The present volume will, it is hoped, be found to contain a selection of Sacred Poetry, of such a character as can be placed with profit and pleasure in the hands of intelligent children from eight to fourteen years of age, both on Sundays and at other times.
It may be well for the Compiler to make some remarks upon the principles which have been adopted in the present selection.
Dr. Johnson has said that "the word Sacred should never be applied but where some reference may be made to a higher Being, or where some duty is exacted, or implied." The Compiler believes she has selected few poems whose insertion may not be justified by this definition, though several perhaps may not be of such a nature as are popularly termed sacred. Those which appear under the division of the Incarnate Word, and of Praise, and Prayer, are of course 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 b
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 religious.
The Compiler has selected freely from our English Poets, ancient and modern, and she believes that there is scarcely one of high note who is not represented in the present collection. She hopes that it may be thus, in some 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