Page images


It is with no assumed feelings of apprehension that this volume is submitted to the public; nor is it from any degree of latent vanity, that allusion is made to the difficulty of the undertaking. Conscious as the author is, of all that may probably and with justice be said of the execution of her design, she professes no more than she painfully feels, nor entreats for greater indulgence from her readers than she knows to be necessary.

This alone she ventures confidently to affirm, that the work was begun in a humble spirit, and with an anxious desire to supply a deficiency which she believed to exist -a manual of religious poetry, aided by concise explanatory remarks on parts of the Church Service, fitted for the comprehension of youth, and the devout though unlearned reader, which might serve as an introduction to superior information in a higher class, and obviate the want of further instruction in a lower, No display of knowledge, therefore, which she does not possess, will, she trusts, be found in the following pages. No presumptuous attempt to impart instruction to others on points on which she herself needs information—no departure, in short, from that modesty which becomes her sex and station.

That she has found the undertaking in its execution far more difficult than she at first anticipated, she unreservedly avows.

That she did not abandon it, she entreats may be ascribed to a feeling stronger than the mere mortification arising from a sense of defeat—the hope of so far succeeding as to benefit those at least, who may be considered beneath the exertions of powers superior to her own. If this result should follow her labours, and a kind and considerate public should so far appreciate her motives, as to spare that severity of judgment, which, under other circumstances, they might have been inclined to exercise, she will be amply recompensed; for, to promote the best interests of the rising generation, is the principal aim and wish of her heart; and, surely there is no better prospect of effecting this desirable end than by calling forth religious feeling, by means of sound religious principles, and simple but correct religious knowledge.

It may, perhaps, be proper to state that the poetical part of the volume was written before the idea suggested itself of prefixing a few preliminary observations upon each Sunday. As soon, however, as it did arise in her mind it was adopted; for its utility was apparent. Guided by divine inspiration, our Holy Church, it may be reverently said, “has done all things well,”—well alike in the doctrines she sets forth, in the regulations she adopts, and in the harmony subsisting between the various parts of her service. Yet numbers, not only of the young,

but even of those who are in the constant habit of presenting themselves in her courts, are entirely ignorant of this judicious agreement, and consider what they hear or read as detached parts, and not as connecting links; and, consequently, lose much of the instruction as well as the comfort, designed for her faithful members.

To many it has never occurred, that there is an intimate connection and correspondence between the Collect, the Epistle and Gospel, and the Proper Lessons of the day. Much, indeed, is it to be lamented, that a want of knowledge in this respect, should retard the progress of religious feeling, or of firm attachment to the Church in the young, or deprive the devout, though uninstructed mind, of the cheering and salutary impression which the Church, in her wisdom, intended to convey. It was with a modest hope to obviate this disadvantage, therefore, that the suggestion of the moment was adopted. Approaching the subject, however, with great reverence and humility, the author has scrupulously confined herself to condensing the remarks of those eminent divines of the Church of England, whose writings, though familiar to the more learned, are yet unknown to and out of the reach of many for whose use this volume is designed.

It has been with a view to attract the attention of her readers, and to avoid that monotony which is always irksome to the youthful mind, that the author has endeavoured to vary as much as possible the metre of her poems. She makes this remark because she apprehends she has occasionally sacrificed strict poetical propriety and taste, to a desire to please, and may even have laid herself open to an imputation which would be very painful to her -- that of affectation. A long acquaintance with young persons, and an unabated affection for them, have shown her the necessity as well as the policy, not to say the kindness, of a certain degree of compliance with their peculiarities and inclinations.

For pain or for pleasure, for mortification or joyful gratitude, the volume is now, however, fairly launched into the world ; and it becomes the author, without further comment, to commit it with all deference to the judgment of the public, and its result with all humility and submission to Him, for whose glory it was humbly undertaken, and whose blessing alone can make it prosper.

« PreviousContinue »