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Again: these Hymns,—and of course the remark extends to all the ancient Hymns, enter much more deeply than any later ones, into the Symbolism or Sacramentality of what we call Nature. That Nature is thus Sacramental, and that herein consists her highest and noblest office, far higher and nobler than that of ministering to the perishing body, it were a waste of words to attempt to prove. For no process of argumentation, could convince a mind, which did not grasp the idea at once, and receive it in the same way that it would an axiom in the mathematics. Let a reference be made to simply the morning Hymns for the weeks, aud it will be seen how in regard to one thing only, namely, the gift of light, they
enter into all the fullness of its symbolism, and develop it in a rich variety.
Some peculiarities too remarkable to be undesigned, can hardly fail to attract the notice, in reading only the few Hymns here collected. Those for the third, sixth, and ninth hours, deserve attention. At nine in the morning, our prayer ascends that divine love may be shed in our hearts, and spread over the earth, even as the light of day is spreading as the sun mounts toward the meridian. At noon, the glow of heat, suggests the inward fierceness of sin, and we pray that God would temper it by His grace. At three in the afternoon, when now the declining sun warns us of the coming eventide, we cry out that our evening may not sink into night. · In all this we discover that deep insight into the symbolism of nature, just mentioned.
The morning Hymns for the week, all turn in some way upon light, that glorious gift which is made so sacred, by having been adopted by the Holy Spirit, to express the Incarnate Word. And in all the morning Hymns it will be seen, how as the coming day brings light to the eye of the body, the light itself suggests to the devout spirit, Christ the true Light.
The evening Hymns, all turn on the creation. A beautiful arrangement for leading back the mind of the Christian, at the close of his day's labor, to meditate on the power that brought into being, those material
things, with which, in his daily duties, he is placed in contact. Thus bidding him, as it were, to remember, how that they are hallowed in their origin, and not to be made ministers of sin by him.
There is too a noticeable distinction between the week Hymns, and the Hymns of the Festivals or Fasts. The former are exactly in accordance with the subdued, chastened, uniform tone of spirit, which characterizes the daily service of the Church. That repression and checking of feeling is seen in them, which in all daily worship should be seen; but which is as far removed from the coldness that cannot consist with any devotion, as it also is from the rapture which, however much it may
become great and stirring commemorations, would make daily worship very unreal. A glance at the Week and Festival Hymns, will abundantly show the contrast between the quiet and subdued tone of the one, and the jubilant expression of the other.
Many of these Hymns will be found in the Breviary. But when we recollect that
almost all the admirable Collects in our
Prayer Book are found there too, it will be felt that the fact does not in itself make any thing against them. Any one who has ever examined the Breviary,'knows very wel the plain distinction that every where meets the eye, between ancient Catholic truths, and modern developments. Nor is it too much to say, that one discerns at once, the