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THE REV. HUGH WHITE, A.M.
The soothing influence of sacred poetry, when it breathes the spirit of Scriptural piety, has been felt and acknowledged by many a mourner in Zion, whose troubled soul has been tranquillized, and its anguish alleviated, by the sweet strains of heavenly consolation, embodied in the beautiful language of hymns, long endeared to the Christian Church, as having poured a healing balm into many a bleeding, and almost broken heart.
But there is one class of sufferers, whose case calls for peculiar tenderness of sympathy, and discrimination of judgment, in providing a suitable selection of hymns, adapted to their peculiar character and circumstances. Whoever has known, by painful experience, or witnessed, in the course of affectionate attendance on beloved relatives, the results of long-continued sickness to the Invalid, will be best able to appreciate the value of a selection, specially designed to meet the peculiar requirements of their case. The bodily languor, which is the almost inevitable consequence of protracted illness, often indisposes the Invalid for enjoying a class of hymns, (to be found in all general collections,) which require a greater energy and vivacity of spirit, than sickness in most cases will allow. Hence arises the necessity of selecting such as are more congenial to a wounded spirit—such as embody the pathetic lamentations of resigned grief -or suggest the cheering motives for Christian consolation. The eye long dim med by tears, that is too weak to bear the brightness of more triumphant strains, will gaze with gladdened interest on the ten
derer images and associations, which harmonize with the feelings of a sorrowful, though unmurmuring heart. To such a heart, the hymn, that pours forth the chastened complainings of a suffering, yet submissive spirit—that pleads, with almost agonizing earnestness, for supporting strength-that expresses the thankful trust of cheerful resignation, or the solemn joy which the prospect of death, as the gate of everlasting glory, inspires, is inexpressibly sweet, and soothing. It finds a responsive echo in the mourner's heart-and enables it to give utterance to its secret griefs and aspirations, in language endeared by the recollection, that it has been breathed forth from a heart, which has been touched with sorrows like its own.
Such was the design of the present little work, which was originally undertaken by one, pre-eminently qualified for the task, from her experience, both of the wearisome days and nights appointed for the Invalidand of the rich and precious consolations, with which the Gospel of our Lord Jesus