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HYMNS.

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.

BISHOP KEN.

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

BISHOP KEN.

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 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 early 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 thoughts surveys.

391

Influenced by the light divine,
Let thy own light in gool works shine:

* Montgomery's "Christian Psalmist."

Reflect all Heaven's propitious ways,
In ardent love and cheerful praise.
Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart,
And with the angels bear thy part;
Who all night long, unwearied, sing
Glory to the Eternal King.

I wake, I wake, ye heavenly choir;
May your devotion me inspire,
That I, like you, my age may spend,
Like you, may on my God attend.

May I, like you, in God delight,
Have all day long my God in sight;
Perform, like you, my Maker's will:
O may I never more do ill!

Had I your wings, to heaven I'd fly,
But God shall that defect supply,
And my soul wing'd with warm desire,
Shall all day long to heaven aspire.

Glory to Thee who safe hast kept,

And hast refresh'd me whilst I slept.

Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake, may of endless life partake.

I

I would not wake, nor rise again,
Even heaven itself I would disdain,
Wert not Thou there to be enjoy'd,
And I in hymns to be employ'd.

Heaven is, dear Lord, where'er Thou art,
O never then from me depart!

For to my soul 'tis hell to be
But for one moment without Thee.

Lord, I my vows to Thee renew;

Scatter my sins as morning dew;
Guard my first springs of thought and will,

And with Thyself my spirit fill.

Direct, control, suggest, this day,
All I design, or do, or say;

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The faster sleep the sense does bind,
The more unfetter'd is the mind;
O may my soul from matter free,
Thy unveil'd goodness waking see!

O when shall I in endless day,

For ever chase dark sleep away,

And endless praise, with th' heavenly choir,
Incessant sing, and never tire?

You, my blest Guardian, whilst I sleep,
Close to my bed your vigils keep,
Divine love into me instil,

Stop all the avenues of ill.*

Thought to thought with my soul converse,
Celestial joys to me rehearse,

And in my stead, all the night long

Sing to my God a grateful song.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him, all creatures here below,
Praise Him above, ye angelic host,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

For Midnight.

Lord, now my sleep does me forsake,
The sole possession of me take;
Let no vain fancy me illude,
No one impure desire intrude.

Bless'd angels, while we silent lie,
Your hallelujahs sing on high;
You, ever wakeful near the throne,
Prostrate adore the Three in One.

I now awake do with you join,
To praise our God in hymns divine;
With you in heaven I hope to dwell,
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.

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