Page:Olney Hymns - 1840.djvu/39
ening up his heart to prayer. Indeed, this collection contains so many beautiful and exhilarating views of the privilege and happiness connected with that duty, as show the writers to have been themselves men of prayer. Book ii, Hymn 60, Book iii, Hymns 12 and 19, may be specially adduced.— These hymns are often retrospective also, alluding to the real circumstances under which the individual (whether Cowper or Newton) was found by divine grace, and delivered from sin. See Book i, Hymns 41, 43, and 70, Book ii, Hymn 57.— For a cheerful strain of thanksgiving, Book i, Hymn 57, may be named.— Book i, Hymn 119, affectingly describes some of the finer internal conflicts which exercise the faith, the patience, and the love of God's people. Book i, Hymn 130, furnishes a lesson of close self-examination. A preceding hymn (126) in the same book well describes the warfare between sin and grace in the believer's heart. 'Jonah's Gourd,' Hymn 75, in the same Book, is pathetically applied to the writer's Christian trial, on losing the delight of his eyes and the desire of his heart.
A question too comprehensive to be discussed here may be touched upon, since it arises out of the character of the pieces of this First Book, and likewise peculiarly affects the experimental hymns in the other two. Are such compositions fit to be sung in great congregations, consisting of all classes of saints and sinners? It must be frankly answered, with respect to the far greater proportion— No!— except upon the principle, that whatever may be read by such an assembly may also be sung. On no ground can either the reading or chaunting of the Psalms from the Common Prayer-Book of the Church of England, or the singing of authorised versions of the same, be jus-