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are more suited to the closet; it is only those that are general that are applicable to the majority —that should be introduced in public. The contrition of the lapsed though penitent monarch, for his awful crime — the sorrow of his over-burdened heart, when driven from his royal city and hunted on the mountains — the weight of anguish he felt, on account of the treachery of his friend and minister -- beautiful and unrivalled poems as they may be, are only fit for individual use, are foreign to the local interests and circumstances of the solemn assembly. Watts seems to have felt this: “ There are several songs,” he observes, “ of this royal author, that seem improper for any person besides himself;" yet out of the one hundred and fifty psalms he has only omitted twelve. Hence, there are some of them that are never sung, and many more out of which only a stanza or two can be employed. Another and a serious defect is, the occurrence of harsh expressions - phraseology which seems to appeal to angry and vindictive passions and to give utterance to feelings incongruous with the pure and heavenly emotions which influence the spiritual worshipper. In the pulpit it might be explained, that the spiritual enemies of the Christian are intended, the world, the flesh, and the devil; that the denunciation is frequently nothing more than a prophetic announcement; and that the Hebrew is often equally capable of a future as well as an imperative signification : but these considerations will only present themselves in the fervour of singing to the pious and intelligent. To excel Watts, however, as a Christian psalmist, would be no trifling achievement: the qualifications requisite for the task, are rarely found united -- scholarship, poetry, and devotion. All these are indispensable to the individual who would do justice to these sublime compositions: he must be a scholar, or he will not perceive the terseness, energy, and vigorous simplicity of the originals; a poet, or he will not catch the spirit of the eastern bards; a devout man, or he cannot give expression to what he does not understand.

The dissenting congregations are under immense obligations to Watts, for the strains he has composed for their public assemblies and social meetings. Previous to the introduction of his Imitations, the sound of the gospel proceeded from the pulpit, but the praises of the Jew ascended from the hearers; the worshippers seemed to localise themselves in Judea — to retrace some two or three thousand years of the world's historyand withdraw from the “light that lightens the Gentiles,” to join their "fathers who were under the cloud.” It was no uncommon thing, if the minister and the people were not prone to retrospection -- if the retrograde movement was disli. ked— for some six or seven verses to be selected from as many different psalms, a stanza culled here and there, in order to compound one evangelical hymn. The demands of a few sabbaths' services, thus put the whole book in requisition; and it necessarily occurred, that the fragments were often joined together without the slightest connexion, presenting indeed a body, but without form, proportion, or symmetry. The days on which the ordinance of the Lord's supper recurred, brought with them the never-failing repetition of the 23rd or 118th psalms, slight as are the passages which can be construed into references to the solemn festival. The composition of the Psalms and Hymns was, thus, an invaluable acquisition ; and though the altered circumstances of the church have created fresh wants, and a rigid confinement to them would be improper where it can be avoided, yet the step from Patrick to Watts was, indeed, a leap “over many a gulf between.”

CHAPTER XI.

1720-1726.

DISPUTE WITH MR. BRADBURY.

SOUTH-SEA COMPANY. - PLAGUE AT MARSEILLES.- AURORA BOREALIS. -“SONGS FOR CHILDREN:" — THEIR POPULARITY :- DR. JOHNSON'S REMARKS: - INSTANCES OF USEFULNESS: -ARIAN EDITION, BY MRS. BARBAULD.-INSCRIPTION AT BROADSTAIRS.—“ART OF READING AND WRITING." - ILLNESS. – VOLUME OF “SERMONS.”-“CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY.”—THREE “DISSERTATIONS."-DEATH OF SIR THOMAS ABNEY :-OF SIR JOHN HARTOPP:-FUNERAL SERMONS.-PRO. FESSORS FRANK AND RAMBACH.“ DEATH AND HEAVEN." - LAST WORDS OF REV. SAMUEL ROSEWELL. SERMONS ON “CHRISTIAN MORALS "_"LOGIC:"-OPINIONS OF SECKER, BARRINGTON, AND JOAN. SON.-DISPUTE WITH MR. BRADBURY :-ITS CAUSES:-EXTRACTS FROM THEIR CORRESPONDENCE:-DISLIKES WATTS'S PSALMS:-CONDUCT AT PINNER'S HALL. - LORD BARRINGTON'S ELECTION. – MINOR PUBLICATIONS.-CORRESPONDENCE.

The formation and proceedings of the South-Sea Company, engaged the attention of the nation during the years 1720 and 1721. “ Clergy and laity, whigs and tories, churchmen and dissenters, statesmen and ladies, turned stock-jobbers ;” every mind seemed tainted with avarice, and all classes were occupied with golden prospects and elysian dreams. But, like the Trojan horse, what was ushered in and received with such acclamations of joy, was contrived for treachery and instrumental of ruin. Gay and Pope among the poets, and Chandler among the dissenting ministers, suffered severely by the prevailing mania; the latter, having lost the whole of his wife's fortune, established a bookseller's shop in the Poultry,

to assist his scanty salary.* Dr. Calamy congratulates himself upon raising the money for his new meeting-house at Westminster, at this period, when, dazzled with imaginary riches, the people were unusually liberal in their contributions.f These years of national infatuation and calamity, are noticed by Watts in an English and two Latin epigrams :

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The breaking out of the plague at this time, with its awful ravages in Marseilles, “when nature sickened, and each galė was death," was calculated to sober the minds of men, and to check their quixotic schemes for wealth. Though measures were adopted by the government to prevent the introduction of the contagion into this country; yet the apprehension of it happily led many to serious concern, and with the pious clergy and the dissenting ministry, it became a “labour of love," if not, like " Marseilles' good bishop," to serve their flocks in the midst of the pestilence, yet to prepare them for its expected approach. A lecture was established every Wednesday by the latter, with reference to this event, which, after the original cause had ceascd, was carried on at Fetter Lane, as an anti-arian lecture. It was upon this occasion that Mr. Bradbury preached his course of sermons upon the “ Power of Christ over Plagues and Health."S To add to the apprehen

* Gay, who lost his all, found an asylum in the Duke of Queensbury's mansion : Pope, who did not risk so much, soon remedied his losses; and Chandler's shop was only kept open two or three years. + Cal. Life, ii. 442.

Reliq. Juv. No. 69.

Neal's Sermon on the “Christian's duty and interest in a time of public danger, preached at Wapping, Oct. 27, being a time of solemn prayer on account of the plague.” This sermon is in the library of Queeu's College, Cambridge. Guyse's “Sermon on the Plague at Marseilles, Amos, iv. 12.”

sions of the nation at this period, the evenings of February, 1721, were brilliantly illuminated by the aurora borealis, and the harmless meteor was converted into a dire prognostic, and interpreted by some theological alarmists as a forerunner of the final day.*

The period in the life of Watts, upon which we are now entering, was one of continued bodily suffering, yet extraordi. nary mental exertion. It is probable, though the exact time is uncertain, that one of the most pleasing and useful of his publications appeared about the year 1720-“Divine and Moral Songs, for the use of Children.” Several of these pieces had been previously circulated in manuscript; the bymn commencing, “ Hush, my babe, lie still and slumber," was an early composition; and it was owing to the earnest wishes of intimate friends, that the collection was formed and printed. This humble and unpretending performance speedily obtained an unwonted popularity; edition after edition rapidly issued from the press in England and America; and translations have since appeared in many of the European and trans-atlantic languages. The number of copies that have been circulated throughout the world, must amount to many millions; upwards of thirty editions, in this country, are regularly kept in print; and, upon a moderate computation, the average annual sale in England only cannot be less than eighty thousand. It was stated some years ago upon authority, that two institutions, the Society for Promoting Religious Knowledge among the Poor, and the Religious Tract Society, had distributed upwards of one hundred thou

*“I would ask,” says Mr. Moyle to one of his correspondents, “the grave divine you mention, what warrant he has for this conceit from scripture, where we are told more than once that the day of the Lord shall come as a thief; that is, without giving any warning at all. I might tell him, that a superstitious observation of sigus in the heavens, is condemned in the Old Testament as a rag of heathepism, and a kind of idolatry. L'pon the whole matter, I am apt to think, that the brains of this divine are as full of vapours, as the air hath been of late, and that they have produced the same effect in his head, viz. new light, and set him a prophecying." Works of Walter Moyle, Esq. i. 368—371.

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