Imatges de pÓgina
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PRELIMINARY REMARKS.

In introducing this part of the work, we are naturally reminded of the following striking observation of one of the most justly.esteemed of our English classical writers, respecting the peculiar excellence of Scriptural language, as a vehicle of devotional sentiments.

“ How cold and dead," says Mr Addison, “ does a prayer appear, that is composed in the most elegant and polite forms of speech which are natural to our tongue, when it is not heightened by that solemnity of phrase which may be drawn from the Sacred Writings. It has been said by some of the ancients, that if the gods were to talk with men, they would certainly speak in Plato's style; but I think we may say with justice, that when mortals converse with their Creator, they cannot do it in so proper a style as in that of the Holy Scriptures.”. SPECTATOR, No 405.

Something of the effect attributed in this passage to the language of Scripture, may, no doubt, be accounted for, from the circumstance of its being that style which we have always been accustomed to hear employed in the most solemn services, and in the most holy places. Still more may be attributed to the impression which we all have of it, as the word of the living God,-given by his inspiration,—and breathing, therefore, an air of solemnity and of dignity from this association, which cannot belong to any other words.

But, independent of these considerations, the style of Scripture is really marked, in its devotional passages, by an elevation and beauty which are quite unrivalled. The Psalms, in particular, abound with expressions of the purest and most fervent piety; and, in general, these compositions are characterized by a depth and grandeur of devotional feeling, which entitle them, not merely as inspired writings, but as specimens of a peculiarly difficult kind of poetry, to the admiration of all intelligent minds.

In the following selection of Scripture passages, the author has been much assisted by Mr Henry's

Method of Prayer,-a small volume containing a great variety of texts, arranged under distinct heads, —though it must be added, that the selection is not always executed with perfect judgment, nor the language of Scripture kept pure.

He has also derived much pleasure from the perusal of a small, but judiciously-executed volume, recently published by Mary Anne Davis, and entitled, Helps to Devotion, entirely in the language of Scripture. The plan of the following collection, however, differs essentially from that of either of these works.

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