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CHIEFLY OF THE
IN THREE BOOKS.
1. TO DEVOTION AND Piety.
BY I. WATTS, D.D.
Si non Uranie Lyram
Hor. Od. I. Imitat.
PRINTED BY GALEN Y. FAY,
fined world, that poesy, whose original is divine, should be enslaved to vice and profaneness; that an art inspired from heaven, should have so far lost the memory of its birth-place, as to be engaged in the interests of heli. How unhappily is it perverted from its most glorious design ! How basely has it been driven away from its proper station in the temple of God, and abused to much dishonour! The iniquity of men has constrained it to serve their vilest purposes, while the sons of piety mourn the sacrilege and the shame.
The eldest song which history has brought down to our ears, was a noble act of worship paid to the God of Israel, when his right band became glorious in power; when thy right hand, O Lord, dashed in pieces the enemy; the chariots of Pharaoh and his bosts were cast into the Red-Sea; thou didst blow with thy wind, the deep covered them, and they sank as lead in the mighty waters. Exod. xv.---This art was maintained sacred through the following ages of the church, and employed by kings and prophets, hy David, Solomon, and Isaiah, in describing the nature and the glories of God, and in conveying grace or vengeance to the hearts of men. By this method they brought so much of heaven down to this lower world, as the darkness of that dispensation would admit: And now and then a divine and poetic rapture filled their souls far above the level of that occonomy of shadows, bore them away far into a brighter region, and gave them a glimpse of evangelic day. The life of angels was harmoniously
breathed into the children of Adam, and their mind's raised near to heaven in melody and devotion at once.
In the younger days of Heathenism, the Muses were devoted to the same service : the language in whiclı old Hesiod addresses them is this;
Pierian muses, fam'd for beavenly lays,
Descend, and sing, the God your father's praise. And he pursues the subject in ten pious lines, which I could not forhear to transcribe, if the aspect and sound of so much Greek, were not terrifying to a nice reader.
But some of the latter poets of the Pagan world have debased this divine gift ; and many of the writers of the first rank, in this our age of national Christians, have, to their eternal shame, surpassed the vilest of the Gentiles. They have not only disrobed religion of all the ornaments of verse, but have employed their pens in impious mischief, zo deform her native beauty, and defile her honours. They have exposed her most sacred character to drollery, and dressed her up in a most vile and ridiculous disguise, for the scorn of the ruder herd of mankind. The vices have been painted like so many goddesses, the charms of wit have been added to debauchery, and the temptation heightened where nazure needs the strongest restraints. With sweetness of sound, and delicacy of expression, they have given a relish to blasphemies of the harshest kind; and when they rant at their Maker in sonorous numbers, they fancy.themselves to have acted the hero well.
Thus alınost in vain have the throne and the pulpic cried Reformation; while the stage and licentious poems have waged open war with the pious design of church and state. The press has spread the poisoil far, and scattered wide the mortal infection: Unthinking youth have been enticed to sin beyond the vicious propensicies of nature, plunged early into diseases and