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absorbing idea; till, by a final deception, the impression is attributed to a divine hand. But who does not see that it is more justly to be ascribed to morbid sensibility, to nervous excitement, and, most of all, to the want of a firmer confidence in the power and goodness of God? The language of Scripture is decidedly opposed to the theory of impressions. The Bible directs us never to indulge in anticipations of evil, and to "take no thought for the morrow." An habitual trust in a superintending Providence will ever prove to be the best preservative against imaginary or real evil, and will fill the mind with the sweet calm of a holy and abiding peace.
In returning to the subject of the Olney Hymns, we may remark that those contributed by Cowper are, with some few exceptions, distinguished by excellencies of no common kind. To the grace and beauty of poetical composition they unite the sublimity of religious sentiment, and the tenderness and fervour of devotional feeling. The nearer approaches to the Deity, which constitute the communion of the soul with God, and in which the believer is able to contemplate him as a reconciled Father in Christ Jesus; the sufficiency of divine grace to pardon all our sins, and to renew and sanctify the soul; the aspirations of prayer for the attainment of these blessings, and the song of praise in the consciousness of their enjoyment; the faith that reposes every care on his promises, and realizes their covenanted truth;-such are the subjects on
which Cowper delights to dwell with a fervour which gives new wings to our devotion, and raises us above the enfeebling vanity of earthly things.
To specify all the hymns which lay claim to our admiration, would far exceed the limits of our plan, and interfere with the judgment and discrimination of the reader. We cannot, however, avoid referring to the following:-"O for a closer walk with God:" "Ere God had built the mountains ;' "The Lord will happiness divine;" "There is a fountain fill'd with blood;" Hark, my soul, it is the Lord;" "God of my life, to thee I call ;" and especially, "The billows swell, the winds are high." There is a character of experimental piety pervading the hymns of Cowper, which singularly adapts them to meet the feelings of the contemplative or tried. Christian. The deeper and more secret emotions of the soul; the vicissitudes of joy and sorrow; the fears that depress, and the hopes that soothe and tranquillize the mind, are treated with a fidelity and pathos, that render Cowper emphatically the poet of the heart. His hymns possess one peculiar feature which powerfully engages our sympathies. They disclose the inward recesses, and deep exercises of his own mind. But the sorrows of Cowper are now ended. Every trace is obliterated, except the record of them which is stamped on his interesting page. He has entered within the vail, where the mysterious dispensations of Providence, which once cast their deep shade on his chequered path,
are vindicated and explained. He has joined "the general assembly and Church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and an innumerable company of angels, and God, the judge of all, and the spirits of just men made perfect, and Jesus, the Mediator of the new Covenant." There, freed from the sorrows and finite conceptions of erring reason, he unites with the redeemed of the Lord in that
nobler song of praise, "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
I. WALKING WITH GOD. Gen. v. 24.
OH! for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame;
That leads me to the Lamb!
Where is the blessedness I knew
What peaceful hours I once enjoy'd!
Return, O holy Dove, return!
I hate the sins that made thee mourn,
The dearest idol I have known,
Help me to tear it from thy throne,
So shall my walk be close with God,
II. JEHOVAH-JIREH. THE LORD WILL PROVIDE.
THE saints should never be dismay'd,
Nor sink in hopeless fear;
For when they least expect his aid,
This Abraham found: he raised the knife;
Yon ram shall yield his meaner life;
Once David seem'd Saul's certain prey;
When Jonah sunk beneath the wave,
Blest proofs of power and grace divine,
May every deep-felt care of mine
Be trusted with the Lord.
* 1 Sam. xxiii. 27.
+ Jonah i. 17.