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( 549 )
Art . I . —Harrington-School Hymns Being a Collection of Hymns for the Social Worship of Children . By John Yates . Liverpool , printed by F . B . Wright . Sold in JLondon by Hunter . 1817 . Pp . 293 Crown 12 mo . fTlHE attempt to sow and water JL the seeds of Devotion in the minds of the young , is , doubtless , practicable . For what do we understand bv Devotion ? Is it not a deep and lively and efficacious sense of (? od on the heart- The habit of survevi )> ur him as our h « : ivenl father , supreme governor , perpetual wit riess , our friend , our coui . sei ^ or , our judge , of referring to him everv < hject and person and event and interest ? Now this habit may be fomied with particular ease in the infant aud the youthful breast , in consequence of the readiness with which children feel the force of
corresponding earthly relations . What idea , for example , is so fumiliar to them , and so pleasing , as that of a parent ? The name then and the thought of a human parent , may , without difficulty , he emplosed to impress on their souls a just sense of their ' « Father who is in heaven . '
Devotion is no innate principle , no sudden impulse , or momentary feeling : it is a certain state of the understanding , the affections , the will , the temper , and the character , in respect of Cod ; and , so far as men themselves are
concerned , it depends , for its existence and growth , on the use of proper means , and the operation of wellknown laws . The faculties of Man are calculated for the cultivation and
exercise of it : as the young mind is capable of veneration , gratitude , love , attachment , confidence , hope , in regard to human beings , who will maintain that it must necessarily be a stranger to the spirit of Devotion ?
ihese remarks are confirmed by facts . History and observation place before us illustrious examples of early piety . Our readers , we doubt not , have witnessed in many of the rising generation that enlightened and unostentatious , yet steady and influential , Devotion which is most pleasing to the Creator . The hearts of several young persons can attest that we have
not described a fictitious quality : for those hearts have been warmed with holy thankfulness , melted in contrition , risen to God in humble trust and profound submission , and triumphed in the hope of his everlasting favour .
If those to whom the care of Infancy and Childhood is entrusted employ every-fit opportunit y of bringing the young acquainted with their Maker , with his perfections , character , government and will , by means of the objects of creation , the events of life , and the records of historv , Devotion *
we may presume , will be an early attainment . In most tender minds there is a love of inquirv , a spirit of ingenuous curiosity . They seek , as it were , the Lord , if , haply , they may feel after him , and find hint , ft i ^ true , some of their first impressions of this
Infinite Being ma \ be very rude and incorrect : not a few of the questions which they address to their parents and teachcrs concerning him , will more easily awaken perplexity , and a degree of astonishment , than receive an answer . Bui their desire of
knowledge , on a subject of such mighty interest , ought not to be dis < ouraged . On the contrary , let it bo , as much as possible , countenanced and gratified . When Reason advances to maturity , those improper conceptions of the Divinity to which we have referred ,
will soon be rectified * If the feelings , however , of the infant and of the child have no tincture of Devotion , we may justly fear that there will bean almost total want of religious sensibility in the future man . Young persons , we think , are more prone to err respecting the natural attributes of God than
respecting" his moral character . It is with difficulty they can conceive of his eternal being , his universal presence , the spirituality of his nature , and his perpetual agency . They can sooner believe , and more readilv
acknowledge , that he is good , m every acceptation of the word . This distinction is important to be remembered j being not a little pleasing in itself , and capable of being applied to very useful purposes in Religious Education . While children are led to the know-
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Sept. 2, 1817, page 549, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2468/page/37/