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portion of the New Testament: in each, and all of these, he readily concedes, might be found themes, inexhaustible, for poetry of the very highest order;poetry, the composition of which might require the full stretch of talents, to which he assuredly prefers no claim. Let this, then, be his apology to those whose taste may lead them to think lightly of his plan, or condemn, as dull and prosaic, many of his subjects;-that he has not been governed in his choice or selection by any insensibility or indifference to what may have appeared more captivating to them in the Inspired Volume; but that he has chosen what may seem a less attractive line, partly from a distrust of his own abilities for a more imposing one, but chiefly because his primary object has not been poetic effect, but the expression and inculcation of what has appeared to him SCRIP
Yet, while the Author would deeply regret, that any truly religious reader should be disappointed in the contents of his little volume, he would be still more sorry so to explain, or apologize for its scope and tendency as one ashamed of his choice, or regretful for his decision. If the knowledge of the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, be, indeed, life eternal; he may surely esteem it no reproach that one of his chief aims, in his selection of passages from the Old Testament, has been the devotional illustration of such as appeared to him to harmonize with the New, by reference or allusion to the gracious and glorious scheme of man's redemption by and through a crucified Saviour. Should he, in his desire to inculcate, enforce, and magnify this sublime and consoling truth, even to iteration, have been somewhat negligent of minor points; inattentive
to adventitious graces; careless of the seeming vantage ground afforded by circumstance, or scenery; he trusts, that such of his readers as may vitally feel the all-absorbing importance of this fundamental doctrine, will forgive what he has not done, for the sake of what he has been desirous of doing; so far, at least, as his humble means and limited opportunities have enabled him.
In the Author's view, indeed, the very title he has assumed for these little pieces, ought, in common candour, to exonerate him from the imputation of lofty pretence: he has entitled them devotional, because such, he hopes, their spirit and tendency will be found and felt; but the expression of devotional feeling is by no means necessarily descriptive, nor is its strongest appeal, either to the outward sense, the fancy, or the imagination; but, through the
Spirit, to spiritually awakened and spiritually enlightened hearts. Where his language may be unintelligible to these, the Author must regret his own darkness and deficiency; where such can fully appreciate and approve his meaning, he wishes no higher praise. Nor has he even ventured to designate his brief and simple records of thought and feeling by the name of poetry, but has preferred claiming for them the less aspiring appellative of Verses, as more appropriate, not only to what they are, but to what he wishes them to be. At the risque of rendering his pages less attractive to lighter readers, than even his modicum of poetic talent might, perhaps, have made them, the Author has endeavoured studiously to avoid all needless ornament, and has been solicitous to "use great plainness of speech;" he has done this, not only in accordance with his own taste in devotional verse,
but in compliance with, and reference to, a far more imperative principle,--that of duty. Whether his sense of duty, in this respect, may have been correct, or erroneous, it becomes not him to determine; but, in his view, neither the expression nor the inculcation of genuine devotional feeling is likely to be rendered at all more effective by the most elaborate and recondite efforts of poetic art. It constituted the very climax of Cowper's panegyric on his "Christian Veteran," that he was, on his favourite theme,
Ambitious, not to shine, or to excel,
But to treat justly what he lov'd so well."
Though the Author has thought it due to his readers, and not less to himself, thus to enter at some length into an exposition of his views and object, he candidly owns, that the gratification of the mere lover of poetry in the