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hrist and the Christian chstance, a typical or spiritheology; for if
hension of danger from its abuse by an over-heated imagination. It is agreeable, moreover, to the soundest principles of theology ; for if the Psalms have, in any instance, a typical or spiritual reference to Christ and the Christian Church, which cannot in fairness be doubted, these references can only be proved by the authority of the sacred writers themselves ; and wherever this authority applies, it is justifiable. to adopt such alterations in our metrical versions as will indicate it more clearly, provided they do not deviate too far from the original. By thus showing the true meaning and application of the Psalms, the edification of the worshipper is promoted; and the selections are rendered much more suitable to the devotions of a Christian assembly. For example, Ps. ii. is prophetical of Messiah's kingdom, and accordingly Mr. Horne omits the dialogue, retaining only what is applicable to the Messiah ; and in v. 5, altering “ appease,” in Tate and Brady, into “ approach the Son." Ps. xl. refers to Christ, Heb. x. 5—10; and the alterations which Mr. Horne has adopted, we believe from Mr. Kennedy, render this reference more clear, as will be evident from comparing his selection with v. 6, 7, 17, 5, of Tate and Brady. Ps. cxviii. is prophetical of Christ ; and in Pt. 2. v. 1, 2, Mr. H. has rejected the purely Jewish expressions in the Old Version, and substituted others more accordant with the prophetical character of the psalm. With these and similar alterations, the most zealous defender of the Old and New Versions may well be satisfied, when he recollects that the singing“ with the understanding," and the spiritual advantage of the congregation, are considerations in comparison with which all other things are of little moment.
The last rule we propose is, That such verbal alterations are admissible as render the version a more exact representation of the original. Fidelity, the primary virtue in all translations from other languages, is indispensable in those of the Sacred Writings. In a metrical version, the trammels imposed by the versification, and the necessity of adhering to a poetic diction, requires that some licence in this respect should be granted ; but the more faithful, consistently with the essential characters of poetry, the more excellent it is : those verbal deviations, therefore, from our metrical versions are to be approved, which are made for the sake of a nearer approximation to the original. In this part of his undertaking Mr. Horne has laboured with diligence and success; but not to weary our readers with the citation of examples, we shall merely refer to some of those places wherein the rule above stated has been applied : e.g. Ps. viji. 4.-xix. Pt. 1. v. 3.-xxxiii. Pt. 2. v. 4.- xxvii. Pt. 2. v. 4.-lxxxiv. Pt. 2. v. 4.--xciv. 1.-civ. Pt. 1. v. 1.-cxii. 2.--cxxxi. 1, 2.-cxliv. 3.-cxlix. 3.-cl. 3.
learned and distinational service of th corresponding
will ever rank
Such are the principles which ought to be applied to a selection of suitable portions from the Old and New Versions of the Psalms of David, for the purposes of congregational worship; and we have seen that Mr. Horne has been guided by them in the compilation before us.
A still nicer and more delicate task remained, namely, the selection of an adequate number of Hymns, adapted to, and corresponding with the pure, and mild, and rational service of the Established Church. Many learned and distinguished individuals, some of whom will ever rank among the brightest ornaments and ablest supporters of the Anglican Church, are hostile to the introduction of hymns; and the use of them in public worship has been stigmatized as a violation of ecclesiastical discipline, proceeding from a schismatical spirit, and fraught with incalculable mischief. Of some hymns this may certainly be affirmed, and we will go as far as any man in the condemnation of some collections which we could name; but to extend this sweeping charge to every selection for the use of congregations would surely be to overstep the bounds of reason and of candour. If some hymns, and some collections of hymns, are absurd, fanatical, unscriptural, we see not how this can be regarded as a valid argument for the exclusion of all. If there is danger lest erroneous doctrine should be instilled into the minds of the people by the use of hymns, so is there from the discourses of some who, in the opinion of many, are highly-gifted, and who unquestionably are popular preachers. It were no difficult task to lay our finger upon certain published sermons as much at variance with sober piety as any hymn, and which might seem to be intended rather to encourage the bodily mortification and the dreaming enthusiasm of the monastic cell, than an honourable and manly discharge of the civil and social duties of life. The utter worthlessness of some hymns, and the dangerous tendency of others, cannot therefore be urged for the entire rejection of such compositions in divine worship: and the most that can be allowed to the objection is, that it supplies a very cogent motive for the utmost care and caution in selecting, and for the exercise of a vigorous judgment in correcting them.
The Psalms of David are an inestimable treasure, abounding with strains of the most sublime piety, such as no human composition can equal, and calculated above all others to kindle the ardour of devotion to the common Father of all. Yet something in addition seems wanting to the due performance of Christian adoration, something more spiritual, something which more literally represents the history and doctrines, the hopes and promises, of the Gospel. In this feeling, at least, there appears to be an almost universal agreement, since in
nearly every large congregation in our National Church, some hymns founded on evangelical events and evangelical views, have been admitted. On this subject let us hear our author himself :
But highly valuable as the compositions of “the sweet Psalmist of Israel" confessedly are, as supplying the most considerable as well as the most important matter for church-music, and answering purposes which no uninspired compositions can answer; yet it has been long and generally acknowledged, that to a Christian Congregation, something is yet wanting in this department of public worship, which (to borrow the elegant statement of the Rev. Dr. Maltby), in addition to the holy effusions of the Old Testament, may convey that clearer view of God's dispensations, those astonishing hopes, and consoling promises, which are supplied by the inspired penman of the New. For, although, in sublime description of the attributes and perfections of the Almighty, in earnestness of supplication, and in warmth of adoration, the royal Psalmist must ever stand unrivalled; yet his knowledge of divine things was necessarily incomplete, because the day-spring had not yet dawned from on high. (Luke i. 78.) Even under the influence of prophetic inspiration, David saw, but as through a glass, darkly, the saving truths of redemption and sanctification. These truths, therefore,—taught as they were by our Lord and his Apostles, and illustrated by the great transactions of His life and death,—may surely form in a Christian Congregation as fit subjects for devotional melodies, as the events of Jewish History and the Precepts of the Mosaic Law suggested to the Holy Psalmist.”—Pp. xiv. xv.
That religious subjects are unfit for poetical ornament, and that * poetical devotion cannot often please," is maintained by Dr. Johnson in his life of Waller, with a vigour of thought and energy of diction, to which perhaps no parallel can be found in any other writer. We look up to this great critic and moralist with a respect little short of reverence; and we are slow to believe that his conclusions on any subject to which the powers of his vast and capacious intellect have been applied, are wholly erroneous. To form a right notion of the point at issue, poetry must be taken in the sense in which he understood it; and admitting his definition, we are constrained, by the overpowering force of his reasoning, to acquiesce in his decision. If, as he observes, “the essence of poetry is invention, such invention as, by producing something unexpected, surprises and delights,” poetry in this sense is an unfit vehicle for the topics of devotion, which“ being few are universally known; but few as they are they can be made no more; they can receive no grace from novelty of sentiment, and very little from novelty of expression.” But if there be, as unquestionably there is, a species of poetry which, though it proceeds not from the more exalted inspirations of genius, is soothing and delightful, which, though it does not surprise and transport, appeals to the heart and the affections, and which is by turns narrative, descriptive, argumentative, didactic; then such poetry may be applied, and often is, with advantage, to sacred themes.
In this conclusion, we doubt not, Dr. Johnson would have expressed his concurrence; but be the decision of the question what it may, the lofty flights of poetic genius are altogether out of place in the Christian hymn. Engaged in the holy office of worshipping the Creator, the mind spurns the embellishments and the colouring of imagination. It is not fine poetry that we want in these devout exercises, but sacred poetry: unfeigned piety, therefore, is the essence of the hymn, and simplicity is its appropriate garb. Every sentiment, every idea, should be scriptural, and the expressions, if not literally so, should at least be formed upon the model of scriptural phraseology. Not that every thought and image are to be rejected which are not found in the sacred writings; but that, both in matter and style, it should be in the most unqualified sense accordant with the spirit of Christianity. For this reason all attempts to describe invisible things by images of sense, overstrained expressions of love, joy, or hatred, terms of familiarity and endearment, ebullitions of fanatic fervour, every thing which agrees not with a reasonable service, every thing which is not tempered by the mild tone of the Gospel, should be rejected, as not only producing disgust in well-regulated minds, but inconsistent with the reverential awe inspired by genuine humility and faith. Hymns intended for the sacred services of the Church should be such as in subject and sentiments accord with the spirit of evangelical religion, or convey the sense of Scripture, in language plain, simple, and perspicuous, such as may at once animate the warmth of piety, and at the same time preserve the sobriety of Christian devotion. Of this description are those now under our notice.
It is also the design of Mr. Horne to present a collection of hymns adapted to the various festivals and occasions in which a Christian congregation may be engaged, and selected from the most approved sources. Hymns in our language are extremely numerous, and it is this very abundance which makes the task of selection difficult. When such a multitude are to be examined, some of the most excellent may be overlooked; and of many good it is not always easy to choose the best. That in the able hands of Mr. Horne the work would be executed with judgment and ability might reasonably be anticipated; and upon examination of the work itself, it will be seen that, in the arduous office of selection, he has exercised a sound discrimination.
Important as is the office of selecting hymns with judicious care, it is moreover requisite to review them with the keen eye of a critic and a theologian. There is scarcely a single hymn in the whole compass of our sacred poetry, in which some expression or other is not liable to objections, and in most of them occasional words and phrases may be advantageously altered for the sake of a more exact accommodation to the sense of Scripture, or of a more strict accordance with the spirit of genuine religion. To alter the compositions of others for the sake of some fancied elegance, is a liberty which we are scarcely warranted in taking ; but in this case, the importance of the end will
justify the adoption of those critical emendations by which it will be more effectually secured. Religious worship being of infinitely greater consequence than earthly fame, our deference to any writer or poet, however admired and eminent, must be circumscribed by the consideration of what will contribute to the spiritual advantage of the congregation. This is an object paramount to every other; and it is not only allowable, but ought to be regarded as an imperative duty, to make such alterations in merely human productions as will better fit them for congregational praise and adoration. Mr. Horne has adopted this undeniable principle, and in the application of it has exhibited a cool and discriminating criticism, avoiding the extremes of negligence on the one hand, and of rashness and temerity on the other. His deviations from the originals will, with very few exceptions, be acknowledged to be improvements, either by expunging what was open to some objection, or by drawing a nearer approximation to the tenor of Scripture, or by substituting what is better calculated for the public expression of praise and thanksgiving. We shall fortify our opinion by a few examples. Hymn 6, v. 2, for the Fourth Sunday in Advent, it is
“All nations join to magnify,
The great, the wondrous love." but as all nations do not join in this, Mr. Horne has altered it to “Let nations join to magnify,” &c. Hymn 9, for Christmas-day, is from the hymns annexed to the New Version of the Psalms, and v. 5 is,
“When shall we reach those blissful realms,
Where Christ exalted reigns ?" which Mr. Horne has altered into “O may we reach," &c. which is much better. In the beautiful anonymous hymn 23, v. 2, the original is,
“ Finished all the types and shadows
Of the ceremonial law;
Death and hell no more shall awe.”
“ Finished now is man's redemption,
Death," &c. Hymn 26, for Easter Day, is in the supplement to Tate and Brady, from Watts, but Mr. Horne's selection of verses and arrangement are certainly preferable. In v. 4, of hymn 38, from Logan, it is,
“She (i. e. Wisdom) guides the young with innocence,
In pleasure's path to tread.” which is ambiguous; and therefore Mr. Horne has changed it into “True pleasure's path to tread.” In the preceding verse also, instead of “ The prize of fame;" it is changed into “enduring wealth," to YOL. XI. NO. IV.