« AnteriorContinuar »
Author of “The world Before THE FLood,” AND othen PoEMs.
AN INTRODUCTORY ESSAY.
“The liveliest emblem of Heaven that I know upon earth is,
• bounty, from hearts abounding with love and joy, join together,
SONGs and Hymns, in honour of their Gods, are found among all people who have either religion or verse. There is scarcely any pagan poetry, ancient or modern, in which allusions to the national mythology are not so frequent as to constitute the most copious materials, as well as the most brilliant embellishments. The poets of Persia and Arabia, in like manner, have adorned their gorgeous strains with the fables and morals of the Koran. The relics of Jewish song which we possess, with few exceptions, are consecrated immediately to the glory of God, by whom indeed, they were inspired. The first Christians were wont to edify themselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs; and though we have no specimens of these left, except the occasional doxologies ascribed to the redeemed in the book of Revelation, it cannot be doubted that they used not only the psalms of the Old Testament, literally, or accommodated to the circumstances of a new and rising Church, but that they had original lays of their own, in which they celebrated the praises of Christ as the Saviour of the world. In the middle ages, the Roman Catholic and Greek churches statedly adopted singing as an essential part of public worship; but this, like the reading of the Scriptures, was too fre