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object. In our opinion, a book of geography is not at all iinproved by the insertion of much miscellaneous matter. Some of Mr. Butler's etymological and historical notes are curious and useful, and may very properly be retained ; but among some which have no business, we may specify those which occur at pp. 23, 62, 76, 91, 125, 126, 136, and 234. The last of these will only excite a smile. Statues are not erected, in general, ' because of' any such good reason.
Attempts at delineating national character (as at pp. 53 and 86) are always out of place in such a work, as they must be defective and partial, if not erroneous. The biographical notices should be very select: Philips and Kyrl have surely no claim to mention. The account of Germany is in perfect : the whole of the thirty-eight states ought to have been at least enumerated. The following are among the few and immaterial inaccuracies that we have detected, and which we hope to see corrected in a new edition. Valladolid is not in Leon, but in Old Castile. Merida should be mentioned, as it was the ancient capital of Lusitania. La Mancha is a separate province. Granada is a province of Andalusia, Seville, Cordova, and Jaen being the other three. The geography of Arabia requires correction. Yemen and Tehama are not the same; aud a considerable part of the interior is not included in the six provinces enumerated. Mr. Butler has been misled by Malte Brun. The account of the Hindoo and Birman religion is both defective and erroneous. Budha is not generally called Fo, though Fo is one of the names of Budha. Oxacaca should be Oaxaca. The account of Colombia is far from being correct or adequate. The article Colombia in the Encyclopedia Metropolitana, and the volume of the Modern Traveller descriptive of Colombia, will enable Mr. Butler to extend and rectify it. Paraguay does not yet form one of the united provinces of S. America. The account of Brazil is very defective. Amazonia is no proper geographical division. But these and similar errors are common to almost every geographical work we have seen ; and upon
the whole, we can reconimend this as an excellent school book.
Art. XII. Psalms and Hymns, principally for Public Worship: Se.
lected from Dr. Watts and other Authors, by Henry Forster
Burder, M.A. 18mo. Price 4s. London, 1826. N
EARLY six years ago, in noticing Mr. Russell's Appendix
to Dr. Watts, we suggested the expediency of a Selection on the plan of the present work, that should include all the psalms and hymns adapted for public worship in Dr. Watts's invaluable volume, together with the best that could be found in the publications of later writers. We are very glad at length to see realised something very much like our idea of what has so long been a desideratum. If Mr. Burder's selection is not every thing that we could wish, (which arises indeed from his having in some measure compromised his judgement in deference to existing prejudices,) we do not scruple to pronounce it altogether the best collection we have yet seen for public worship; and we trust that it will have the effect of promoting in no small degree an object which we have much at heart, the reformation of our Psalmody. Mr. Burder's views on the subject will be best learned from the Preface.
• It appears to be the prevailing opinion in our churches, that, in addition to the excellent Psalms and Hymns of Dr. Watts, it is desirable to avail ourselves of some of the devotional compositions of Jater and of living Poets. With this view, numerous selections of Hymns, in the form of a Supplement or Appendix, have been presented to the Public, and introduced into social worship. The necessity, however, thus imposed upon a congregation, of obtaining and having in use more than one Hymp-book, occasions considerable inconveniences, especially to the poor. In reflecting on the practicability of obviating these evils, it occurred frequently and forcibly to my mind, that, by the omission of such of Dr. Watts's Psalins and Hymns as we are not usually accustomed to sing, there might be introduced a sufficient number from the best Authors to answer every valuable
purpose, without the necessity of an additional volume. On suggesting these views to several judicious friends, I had the satisfaction to ascertain, not only that they cordially approved of the plan, but that more than one had long entertained the same ideas, and had fully intended to carry the principle into effect. Encouraged by these representations, as well as by the wishes expressed by not a sew in the circle of my pastoral engagements, I have endeavoured to accomplish the object desired..........
• It was at first my intention to select only such hymns as are unquestionably adapted to public worship. In making this attempt, however, l'found it far more difficult than I had anticipated, to draw with accuracy the line of demarcation between such as are adapted to the public and social worship of believers in Christ, and such as may be employed with more advantage for the purposes of private devotion. The prosecution of the attempt would also have rendered necessary the exclusion of many of Dr. Watts's Hymns, which most Christians would deem it desirable to retain. It is to be remembered also, that the most careful discrimination in collecting and arranging hymns for public worship, can by no means supersede the exercise of a sound judgeinent in selecting the hymns which may be on any occasion, whether public or private, the most appropriate. It may be expedient here to intimate, that under the head of “ the Christian Life,” will be chiefly found such hymns as may not be deemed eligible for indiscriminate adoption. Among the Morning and Evening Hymns at the close of the volume, and in a few other instances also, will be found some chiefly applicable to personal and retired devotion.'
Of the 600 hymns contained in this collection,-a more than ample variety,–313 are by Dr. Watts, 38 by Charles Wesley, 39 from Wesley's Collection, 37 by Dr. Doddridge, 15 by Mr. Newton, 10 by Mr. Kelly, 9 by Cowper, 9 by Toplady, and the remaining 130 from miscellaneous sources. The proportion taken from Dr. Watts, though not by any means too great, will probably be deemed no small recommendation of the volume; and it is to the credit of the Editor, that an exemplary impartiality and freedom from party bias have guided him in the selection. This is particularly shewn in the large proportion taken from Mr. Wesley's Hymn-book and the compositions of Charles Wesley. Highly as we admire the genius and seraphic piety of the Poet of Methodism,' we cannot, however, say that we deem his compositions for the most part suitable for congregational worship; and Mr. Burder has admitted several which we should certainly on this ground have excluded. Indeed, we think that Mr. Burder has erred on the side of comprehension, rather than on that of omission. In departing from his first intention, he may have yielded to expediency; and we are quite aware that the acceptableness and popularity of his volume would have suffered, in the first instance, had he rigidly adhered to the plan of inserting such hymns only as are fit for congregational singing. Such a selection, in proporțion as it was well executed, would be very slow in making its way. A vitiated taste has been so widely diffused, and the proprieties, which should regulate the choice of hymns for public worship are so little understood or observed, that it must be a long time before an unexceptionable Hymn-book would obtain a general adoption. Mr. Burder refers to two valuable hymn-books compiled on principles similar to those which have guided his own attempt. These we have not seen, but, according to his description, one of them errs still more on the side of excess, containing nearly double the number of hymns that are contained in this collection. Now, even on the supposition, which strikes us as a most improbable one, that from a thousand to twelve hundred hymns could be found in the English language, that should be adapted for congregational worship, including good, bad, and indifferent in point of literary merit, still, we should strongly object to the introduction of so great a variety, both on the ground of the bulk and cost of the
book, and the additional difficulties which it would
throw in the way of a judicious choice of hymns suitable for the occasion.
The remark may seem paradoxical, but experience proves, that variety is not obtained in fact by extending the range of choice. The multiplication of hymns (and the same remark will apply to tunes) is generally found to lessen the variety observed in the use of them. We have no doubt that the chances of a wearisome iteration of the same hymn or tune, would be much greater where the collection in use should comprise 1200 in number, than if it contained only 600 ; and that they would be still fewer if the hymns allowed to be sung amounted to only half the smaller number. How few persons are acquainted with a fourth part of the hymns in our popular collections! Much less can they be the subject of distinct remembrance ! Yet, for that specific recollection which is necessary to guide the choice aright, an index is a poor substitute. "We are no advocates, however, for this boundless variety, even were it desirable. We think that the passion for change and novelty has been most injudiciously fostered and catered for. Although we object to the eternal iteration of the same liturgical forms of prayer, a very little freedom and variation would content us. We scarcely think that a good hymn, one entirely unexceptionable, can be sung too often; and were we compelled to hear the Old Hundred tune, well sung, once a month to the same words, we should not complain of it as any intolerable grievance. But we dare not attempt to legislate in these matters. Let us, however, look at the subject a little more closely. Take the case, where there are three services in the same place every Lord's day, and in each service three hymns are sung ; nine times fiftytwo are 468; to which we will add 12 for sacramental occasions; making the total 480. Now would it, we ask, be absolutely too much to be endured, that the same hymn should be sung three times in the course of the same year? If not, for these 480 occasions, 160 hymns only would be required. For our own parts, we should be quite satisfied with that allowance, were the selection guided by a sound discretion. As a public hymn-book, however, might conveniently include many hymns suitable only for particular occasions, we should be disposed to double that number; and 300 or 320 hymns would, we are persuaded, not only answer every purpose, but answer better than a greater variety, every good purpose of public devotion.
The difficulties in the way of such an innovation are, we are well aware, neither few nor small; and we shall advert to one or two of them. In the first place, we should have to VOL. XXV. N.S.
encounter that most unmanageable of all difficulties, which arises from clashing interests and a depreciation of literary property. The attempt to set aside the use of Dr. Watts's Psalms and Hymns in Dissenting congregations, would be viewed by not only the lords of Paternoster Row, but all printers and publishers throughout the country, with no small displeasure and indignation. Dr. Watts is a most valuable marketable commodity, and the editions are almost innumerable, which annually find a vent. There is no danger that the sale would be suddenly affected to any great extent by the substitution of our proposed public hymn-book; and it would indeed be more difficult to undersell Dr. Watts, than to improve upon him. The objection would nevertheless bave its influence.
Printers and publishers are not the only persons who contrive to pick up a little wealth by supplying Dissenting congregations with singing-books. The private property which exists in the shape of selections, collections, and appendices, is considerable. A great many chapels have their own peculiar hymn-book, which is a source of profit to some party or other. Several Selections are in extensive use, and an attempt to supersede them would be regarded as a personal injury : it would, in fact, operate to the depreciation of individual property. Thus it is, that serious obstacles have been created, by the multiplication of these snug little paper copy-holds, in the way of any general adoption of an unexceptionable Hymnbook for public worsbip. We inpute no improper motives, no mercenary feeling to the editors of these collections. Indeed, the profits of sale, in many cases, have not come into their hands; and if they have, they are undoubtedly entitled to them. We should be sorry to lessen the income even of a worthy pew-opener, by superseding the chapel hymn-book. Let them not fear. The desideratum, if supplied, is not likely to be generally adopted for the next twenty years.
We must frankly confess that our hope of getting a hymnbook of the description we refer to into general use, would rest in great measure on its cheapness. Eighteen pence, the price of a New Testament, is quite as much as a poor man ought to have to pay for a hymn-book; and that is 3d. more, we believe, than the cost of a Common-prayer-book. In Dr. Watts's book, there are 700 hymns, which are to be purchased for 2s. We should propose to give 350 for Is. 6d. "But alas ! who would venture on so bad a speculation, as printing a new hymn- book on terms that would admit only of such slender and doubtful profits?
But other difficulties present themselves, in the shape of