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the great truths of scripture revelation, yet there will ever be in minds of the greatest reach and capacity, a striving after that which is good and holy, and a knowledge, approximating to the truth, of the relationship between the Creator and the created; for

"Spontaneously to God will tend the soul,

Like the magnetic needle to the pole."

Would that all whose "tranced hands have woke the lyre," and chanted such strains as the world would not willingly let die, had had such clear views of the nature of the obligation which lay on them to dedicate their powers to the service of true religion, as our own Milton, who commenced his immortal epic thus:

"And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all temples, the upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for Thou know'st: Thou from the first
Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss,
And mad'st it pregnant. What in me is dark
Illumine; what is low, raise and support;
That to the height of this great argument
I may assert eternal Providence,

And justify the ways of God to men."

Would that all could bear some such testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus, and exclaim with

"O, unexampled Love!

Love no where to be found less than Divine!
Hail, Son of God, Saviour of men, Thy Name
Shall be the copious matter of my song
Henceforth, and never shall my harp Thy praise
Forget, nor from Thy Father's praise disjoin."

A similar spirit of fervent piety animated the breast of the Italian poet Lorenzo de Medici, who made this solemn request at the footstool of the Almighty, previous to entering on the composition of a poem:

"In ardent adoration joined,

Obedient to Thy holy will,
Let all my faculties combined

Thy just desires, O God, fulfil!
From thee derived, eternal King,

To thee our noblest powers we bring:

O, may thy hand direct our wandering way!

O, bid thy light arise, and chase the clouds away!"

Listen, also to the author of the "Night Thoughts," and hear his acknowledgment of the true sources, of poetic inspiration:

"O Thou bless'd Spirit: whether the Supreme,
Great ante-mundane Father; in whose breast,
Embryo creation, unborn being, dwelt,
And all its various revolutions rolled,

Present, though future; prior to themselves;
Whose breath can blow it into nought again;
Or, from His throne some delegated power;
Who, studious of our peace,, dost turn the thought
From vain and vile, to solid and sublime!
Unseen Thou lead'st me to delicious draughts

Of Inspiration, from a purer stream,

And fuller of the God, than that which burst
From famed Castalia."

Alas! how often has been, and is, this noble gift of poesy abused and prostituted to base purposes; of how few could it be said that he had written no line which dying he might wish to blot. Dryden, we may remember, exclaims

"O gracious God! How far have we
Profaned Thy heavenly gift of poesy!
Made prostitute and profligate the muse,
Debased to each obscene and impious use,
Whose harmony was first ordained above

For tongues of angels, and for hymns of love!"

Yet even he cannot altogether escape the reproach conveyed in these lines to such as have, at times, shown themselves unworthy of the sacred gift, and of this he appears to be conscious when he says "how far have we," etc. Cowper

might with great propriety act the censor on such a dereliction of duty, and say—

"Debased to servile purposes of pride,

How are the powers of genius misapplied!
The gift, whose office is the Giver's praise,
To trace Him in His word, His work, His ways,

Then spread the rich discovery, and invite

Mankind to share in the divine delight;
Distorted from its use and just design,
To make the pitiful possessor shine,
To purchase at the fool-frequented fair

Of vanity, a wreath for self to wear,

Is profanation of the basest kind

Proof of a trifling and a worthless mind."

So also might one of the sacred poets of our own day, many of whose strains of simple, earnest, and pure devotion, will be found in our volume. He has just passed from hence to sing in a heavenly choir; and fain would we embody in this preface a slight tribute of our admiration for his genius, and our gratitude for the service he has rendered to the Christian Religion.


SWEET minstrel, who through life hast turned thy face
Unto the city of the heavenly king;

Of infinite mercy, and of boundless grace,

And God's high attributes hast loved to sing;
E'en like a pilgrim onward journeying,
To whom this world was no abiding place;
But through whose mists of sin and sorrowing
Thou hadst a light the devious way to trace.
The river thou hast crossed, the shining gate
Hath oped to bid thee welcome to thy rest;
Thy voice, which sounded in our ears but late,
Now swells the chorus of the truly blest:
Thou hast departed, but hast left thy lays,
A rich bequest of holy prayer and praise.





I WILL sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office.--Exodus, xxix. 44.

And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there in the top of the mount: and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount.-Numbers, xx. 28. Aaron the saint of the Lord.--Psalm cvi. 16. Called of God, as was Aaron.--Hebrews, v. 4.

So, with trembling hand,

He hasted to unclasp the priestly robe,
And cast it o'er his son, and on his head
The mitre place; while, with a feeble voice,

He blessed, and bade him keep his garments pure
From blood of souls. But then, as Moses raised
The mystic breastplate, and that dying eye
Caught the last radiance of those precious stones,
By whose oracular and fearful light

Jehovah had so oft His will revealed

Unto the chosen tribes, whom Aaron loved

In all their wanderings-but whose promised land
He might not look upon-he sadly laid

His head upon the mountain's turfy breast,

And with one prayer, half-wrapped in stifled groans, Gave up the ghost.

Mrs. Sigourney.


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