« PreviousContinue »
FOR THB USB OP
Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise.
Matt. xxi. 16.
TO ALL THAT ARE CONCERNED IN THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN.
MY FRIENDS, It is an awful and important charge that is committed to you. The wisdom and welfare of the succeeding generation are intrusted with you beforehand, and depend much on your conduct. The seeds of misery or happiness in this world, and that to come, are oftentimes sown very early; and therefore whatever may conduce to give the minds of children a relish for virtue and religion ought, in the first place, to be proposed to you.
Verse was at first designed for the service of God, though it hath been wretchedly abused since. The ancients, among the Jews and the Heathens, taught their children and disciples the precepts of morality and worship in verse. The children of Israel were commanded to learn the words of the song of Moses, Deut. xxxi. 19, 30, and we are directed in the New Testament, not only to sing “ with grace in the heart, but to teach and admonish one another by hymns and songs,” Ephes. v. 19. And there are these four advantages in it.
1. There is a great delight in the very learning of truths and duties this way. There is something 80 amusing and entertaining in rhymes and metre, that will incline children to make this part of their business a diversion. And you may turn their very duty into a reward, by giving them the privilege of learning one of these songs every week, if they fulfil the business of the week well, and promising them the book itself, when they have learnt ten or twenty songs out of it.
II. What is learnt in verse is longer retained in memory, and sooner recollected. The like sounds, and the like number of syllables, exceedingly assist the remembrance. And it may often happen, that the end of a song running in the mind may be an effectual means to keep off some temptations, or to incline to some duty, when a word of scripture is not upon their thoughts.
111. This will be a constant furniture for the minds of children, that they may have something to think upon when alone, and sing over to themselves. This may sometimes give their thoughts a divine turn, and raise a young meditation. Thus they will not be forced to seek relief for an emptiness of mind, out of the loose and dangerous sonnets of the age.
IV. These Divine Songs may be a pleasant and proper matter for their daily or weekly worship, to sing one in the family, at such time as the parents or governors shall appoint; and therefore I bare confined the verse to the most usual psalm tunes.
The greatest part of this little book was composed several years ago, at the request of a friend, who has been long engaged in the work of catechising a very great number of children of all kinds, and with abundant skill and success. So that you will find here nothing that savours of a party: the children of high and low degree, of the church of England or Dissenters, baptised in infancy, or not, may all join together in these Songs. And as I have endeavoured to sink the language to the level of a child's understanding, and yet to keep it, if possible, above contempt; so I have designed to profit all, if possible, and offend none. I hope the more general the sense is, these composures may be of the more universal use and service.
I have added at the end, some attempts of sonnets on moral subjects, for children, with an air of pleasantry, to provoke some fitter pen to write a little book of them.
May the Almighty God make you faithful in this importantówork of education; may he succeed your cares with his abundant grace, that the rising generation of Great Britain may be a glory among the nations, a pattern to the Christian world, and a blessing to the Earth!
Creatures (as numerous as they be)
Are subject to thy care ; A GENERAL SONG OF PRAISE TO GOD.
There's not a place where we can flee,
But God is present there. How glorious is our heavenly King,
In Heaven he shines with beams of love, Who reigns above the sky!
With wrath in Hell beneath : How shall a child presume to sing
'Tis on his earth I stand or move, His dreadful majesty?
And 'tis his air I breathe. How great his power is, none can tell,
His hand is my perpetual guard; Nor think how large his grace;
He keeps me with his eye; Not men below, nor saints that dwell
Why should I then forget the Lord, On high before his face.
Who is for ever nigh?
Can search his secret will;
PRAISE TO GOD FOR OUR REDEMPTION And my first offerings bring ; Th' eternal God will not disdain
Blest be the wisdom and the power, To hear an infant sing.
The justice and the grace, My heart resolves, my tongue obeys,
That join'd in counsel to restore
And save our ruin'd race !
Our fatber ate forbidden fruit,
And from his glory fell;
To Death and near to Hell.
Blest be the Lord, that sent his Son
To take our flesh and blood!
To make our peace with God. I sing th’ Almighty power of God,
He honour'd all his father's laws, Tbat inade the mountains rise,
Which we have disobey'd ; That spread the flowing seas abroad,
He bore our sins upon the cross, And built the lofty skies.
And our full ransom paid. I sing the wisdom that ordain'd
Behold him rising from the grave; The Sun to rule the day;
Behold him rais'd on high : The Moon shines full at bis command,
He pleads his merit, there to save And all the stars obey.
Transgressors doom'd to die. I sing the goodness of the Lord,
There on a glorious throne he reigns, That filld the Earth with food :
And by his power divine He form'd the creatures with his word,
Redeems us from the slavish chains And then pronounc'd them good.
Of Satan and of Sin. Lord, how thy wonders are display'd,
Thence shall the Lord to judgment come, Where'er I turn mine eye!
And with a sovereign voice If I survey the ground I tread,
Shall call, and break up every tomb, Or gaze upon the sky,
While waking saints rejoice. *There's not a plant or flower below,
O may I then with joy appear But makes thy glories known;
Before the Judge's face, And clouds arise, and tempests blow,
And with the blest assembly there By order from thy throne.
Sing his redeeming grace!
That I was born of Christian race,
And not a Heathen, or a Jew.
What would the ancient Jewish kings
And Jewish prophets once have given, How many poor I see!
VO Which Christ reveal'd and brought from Heaven ! What shall I render to my God For all his gifts to me?
How glad the Heathens would have been,
That worshipp'd idols, wood and stone,
If they the book of God had seen,
Then if this gospel I refuse,
How shall I e'er lift up mine eyes?
For all the Gentiles and the Jews
Against me will in judgment rise.
THE EXCELLENCY OF THE BIBLE. While others early learn to swear,
Gerat God ! with wonder and with praise And curse, and lie, and steal;
On all thy works I look; Lord, I am taught thy name to fear,
But still thy wisdom, power, and grace, And do thy holy will last th: 1 Ve
Shine brightest in thy book. } Are these thy favours day by day! The stars, that in their courses roll, To me above the rest?
Have much instruction given; Then let me love thee more than they,
But thy good word informs my soul
How I may climb to Heaven.
The goodness of the Lord;
But fruits of life and glory grow
EDUCATION IN In thy most holy word.
Here are my choicest treasures hid,
Here my best comfort lies;
Here my desires are satisfied, To thee my youngest hours belong;
And hence my hopes arise. I would begin my life with praise,
Lord, make me understand thy law; Till growing years improve the song.
Show what my thoughts have beer; "Tis to thy sovereign grace I owe
And from thy gospel let me draw That I was born on British ground;
Pardon for all my sin. Where streams of heavenly mercy flow,
Here would I learn how Christ has died And words of sweet salvation sound.
To sare my soul froin Helt: I would not change my native land
Not all the books on Earth beside For rich Peru with all her gold;
Such heavenly wonders tell. A nobler prize lies in my hand
Then let me love my Bible more, Than East or Western Indies hold.
And take a fresh delight How do I pity those that dwell
By day to read these wonders o'er,
And meditaté by night.
PRAISE TO GOD FOR LEARNING TO Warn me t' escape eternal fire.
READ. Thy praise shall still employ my breath, The praises of my tongue Since thou hast mark'd my way to Heaven;
I offer to the Lord, Nor will I run the road to Death,
That I was taught, and learn'd so young
To read his' holy word :
The danger I was in,
By nature and by practice too,
A wretched slave to sin:
That I am led to see And not to chance, as others do,
I can do nothing well;