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what has been done for its deliverance. When every particle of fancied desert is eradicated, and our forfeiture and danger stand fully revealed to view, then comes the greatness of the rescue with home appeal to our bosoms. All nature then teems with benefits. God's hand is every where seen his munificence is every where felt. When the value of his gifts is thus measured by our indeserts, the very breath that he has given returns in vital homage. Our demerits thus acknowledged and felt, supply a sort of grammar to the language of our petitions and thanksgivings. They afford the elements, without which we cannot express our gratitude suitably or our wants effectually.

It may seem strange to the ears of some to talk of the language of thanksgiving as of a language to be learned; but it is in truth a lan-. guage which none speak correctly or fluently but those who have felt the deep conviction of their own sinful estate. It is observable that one who feels this conviction, and one who feels it not, express their thanks in very different dialects. There is even a way of giving thanks, by which the absence of gratitude may be plainly, I had almost said emphatically, indicated. Let the mode in which those whose gratitude is only skin deep say grace, as it is termed, before or

after meals, be attended to, and the pertinency of this observation may be understood by example. The lowest favour in the scale of beneficence which man receives at the hand of his fellow, is acknowledged by thanks more feelingly expressed than those which are given to God for the daily sustenance by which we are continued in existence, and of which he is the author and dispenser. The reluctant rising, the stifled utterance, the despatchful haste, the frigid levity, the heartless indifference, the alacrity in sinking back into the half-relinquished seat, the anxiety to avoid the suspicion of being in earnest, are all sure to characterize this ceremony when performed by the mere man of the world, ecclesiastic or laic. The bounties of the Great Giver are to him daga adwga, giftless gifts, and his returns are thankless thanks. Let the Christian gentleman well consider that Jehovah is insulted by unmeaning compliment; that his titles are not words of course; and that to mention him, much more to address him, without real homage, is constructively to blaspheme.

SECTION IV.

POETRY AND MUSIC.

THAT poetry and music may properly be adopted into family worship as the vehicles of praise and thanksgiving cannot be doubted, when the influence of these arts on the affections and sentiments is considered. The hymning voices of children, gathered about their parents on these solemn occasions, are beautiful appendages to prayer. Our sacred literature is opulent in devotional poetry; and the application of it to the expression of pious gratitude has the warrant of high and holy example. The Bible is replete with poetry and song. The plan of redemption, in all its depth, breadth, and altitude; the Man of Sorrows, the King of Glory, stricken, pierced, exalted; the Bridegroom of the Church; the Warrior of salvation; the Conqueror of the last enemy; appear in their genuine colours and characters in the poetry of inspiration.

Wherever genius and piety join their force to raise our imagination and affections above earthly things, the verse, though uninspired, has the models of inspiration to guide and consecrate its efforts. If holy things appear with less

grandeur through this secondary medium, it presents them to us under new and familiar aspects, and with a certain freshness and variety of adaptation. Its very inferiority touches us with a milder influence, and generates closer and more soothing sympathies of want, dependence, expectation, and trust. But sacred songs are sacred things, nor is every muse to be trusted on this hallowed ground.

Cowper and Watts, and Newton and Heber, and others of that class, may be trusted. They are the classics in this walk of literature: they became religious poets by first becoming religious men. Their productions are, therefore, without affectation; piety was their proper element; a holy tact, a vital heat, a conscious principle, a central feeling, gave the first impulse to their exertions, and a character of legitimacy to the results. But where writers essay to try their skill on this topic for the sake only of its poetical resources, leaving for a season their amatory themes, and all the trickery of their worn-out pathos, their specious but spurious performances should never find their way into the family of the religious parent, under whatever title they announce themselves, of hymns, or serious melodies, or sacred songs. From Eastern scenes of degrading pleasure, from ex

aggerated descriptions of painted bliss, from fascinating lies and medicated debauchery, the poet cannot, at least he gracefully cannot, on the sudden, turn himself towards Sion. With the feverish dreams of carnal riot still cleaving to his fancy, he cannot join harmoniously with the holy and humble of heart, in hallelujahs to Him who "is exalted above the heavens, and whose glory is above the clouds."

With respect to music and poetry as aids to piety, the Christian mind will readily acknowledge and appreciate their influence; but consistency and proper feeling condemn the intermixture, which is sometimes permitted in decorous families, of profane with sacred melodies. By such a combination the heart is not merely neutralized, but mis-directed and perverted; religion is lowered, sense is exalted; a compromise takes place, in which passion exults in the mimicry of devotion. The stability of right sentiment is shaken by such quick transitions and contrary emotions; the affections neither settle upon earth nor rise towards heaven: but while the Creator and his creatures are thus mixed in equal homage, the realities of life are falsified, and the quality of spiritual things debased.

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