Attempted in the Easy Language of Children.
By I. Watts.
Out of the Mouth of Babes and Sucklings thou hast perfected Praise. Matt. xxi. 16.
Throughout, modern numerals have been substituted for their Roman equivalents.
In Watts' dedication the original capitalisation, italics and spelling are retained; the aim thereby is to convey more accurately the flavour of the original.
Mrs. SARAH ) Mrs. MARY and) ABNEY, Mrs. ELIZABETH )
Daughters of Sir THOMAS ABNEY, Kt. and Alderman of London.
My Dear Young Friends,
Whom I am constrained to love and honour by many Obligations. It was the generous and condescending Friendship of your Parents under my weak Circumstances of Health, that brought me to their Country-Seat for the Benefit of the Air; but it was an Instance of most uncommon Kindness, to supply me there so chearfully for two Years of Sickness with the richest Conveniences of Life. Such a Favour requires my most affectionate Returns of Service to themselves, and to all that is dear to them; and meer Gratitude demands some solemn and publick Acknowledgment.
But great Minds have the true Relish and Pleasure of doing Good, and are content to be unknown.
It is such a silent Satisfaction Sir Thomas Abney enjoys in the unspeakable Blessings of this Year, that brought our present King to the Throne: and he permits the World to forget that happy Turn that was given to the Affairs of the Kingdom by his wise Management in the Highest Office of the City, whereby the Settlement of the Crown was so much strengthen'd in the Illustrious Family which now possesses it. O may the Crown flourish many Years on the Head of our Soveraign, and may his House possess it to the End of Time, to secure all Religious and Civil Liberties to the Posterity of those who have been so zealous to establish this Succession!
The fair and lovely Character your Honoured Father hath acquired by passing thro' all the chief Offices of the City, and leaving a Lustre upon them, seems imperfect in his own Esteem, without the Addition of this Title, A Succourer and a Friend of the Ministers of Christ. And in this part of his Honour the Lady your Mother is resolved to have an unborrow'd Share, and becomes his daily Rival.
It is to her unwearied Tenderness, and many kind Offices by Night and Day, in the more violent Seasons of my Indisposition, that (under God) I own my Life, and Power to write or think. And while I remember those Hours, I can't forget the cheerful and ready Attendance of her worthy Sister, her dear Companion and Assistant in every good Work.
Under the Influence of two such Examples I have also enjoy'd the Pleasure and Conveniency of your younger Services, according to the Capacity of your Years; and that with such a Degree of sincere and hearty Zeal for my Welfare, that you are ready to vie with each other in the kind Imployment, and assist all you can toward my Recovery and Usefulness. So that whoever shall reap benefit by any of my Labours, it is but a reasonable Request, that you share with me in their Thanks and their Prayers.
But this is a small Part of your Praise.
If it would not be suspected of Flattery, I could tell the World what an Acquaintance with Scripture, what a Knowledge of Religion, what a Memory of Divine things both in Verse and Prose is found among you; and what a just and regular account is given of Sermons at your Age; to awaken all the Children that shall read these Songs, to furnish their memories and beautify their Souls like yours. The Honour you have done me in learning by heart so large a number of the Hymns I have publish'd, perhaps has been of some use towards these greater Improvements, and gives me rich Encouragement to offer you this little Present.
Since I have ventured to shew a Part of your early Character to the World, I perswade my self you will remember, that it must inlarge and brighten daily. Remember what the World will expect from the Daughters of Sir Thomas Abney's Family, under such an Education, such Examples, and after such fair and promising Blossoms of Piety and Goodness. Remember what God himself will expect at your hands, from whose Grace you have received plentiful Distributions in the Beginning of your Days. May the Blessings of his Right Hand more enrich you daily, as your Capacities and your Years increase; and may he add bountifully of the Favours of his Left Hand, Riches and Honour. May his Grace make you so large a Return of all the Kindness I have received in your Family, as may prevail above the fondest Hopes of your Parents, and even exceed the warmest Prayers of
Your most Affectionate Monitor and obliged Servant in the daily Views of a future World,
June 18. 1715.
PREFACE To all that are concerned in the Education of Children.
It is an awful and important charge that is committed to you. The wisdom and welfare of the succeeding generation are intrusted with you beforehand, and depend much on your conduct. The seeds of misery or happiness in this world, and that to come, are oftentimes sown very early, and therefore whatever may conduce to give the minds of children a relish for vertue and religion, ought in the first place to be proposed to you.
Verse was at first design'd for the service of God, tho' it hath been wretchedly abused since. The ancients among the Jews and the Heathens taught their children and disciples the precepts of morality and worship in verse. The children of Israel were commanded to learn the words of the song of Moses, Deut. 31. 19,30. And we are directed in the New Testament, not only to sing with grace in the heart, but to teach and admonish one another by hymns and songs, Eph. 5. 19. and there are these four advantages in it:
1. There is a greater delight in the very learning of truths and duties this way. There is something so amusing and entertaining in rhymes and metre, that will incline children to make this part of their business a diversion. And you may turn their very duty into a reward, by giving them the privilege of learning one of these songs every week, if they fulfil the business of the week well, and promising them the book itself when they have learned ten or twenty songs out of it.
2. What is learnt in verse is longer retained in memory, and sooner recollected. The like sounds and the like number of syllables exceedingly assist the remembrance. And it may often happen, that the end of a song running in the mind may be an effectual means to keep off some temptation, or to incline to some duty, when a word of scripture is not upon the thoughts.
3. This will be a constant furniture for the minds of children, that they may have something to think upon when alone, and sing over to themselves. This may sometimes give their thoughts a divine turn, and raise a young meditation. Thus they will not be forced to seek relief for an emptiness of mind out of the loose and dangerous sonnets of the age.
4. These Divine Songs may be a pleasant and proper matter for their daily or weekly worship, to sing one in the family at such time as the parents or governors shall appoint; and therefore I have confin'd the verse to the most usual psalm tunes.
The greatest part of this little book was composed several years ago, at the request of a friend, who has been long engaged in the work of catechising a very great number of children of all kinds, and with abundant skill and success. So that you will find here nothing that savours of a party: the children of high and low degree, of the Church of England or Dissenters, baptized in infancy or not, may all join together in these songs. And as I have endeavoured to sink the language to the level of a child's understanding, and yet to keep it (if possible) above contempt; so I have designed to profit all (if possible) and offend none. I hope the more general the sense is, these composures may be of the more universal use and service.
I have added at the end an attempt or two of Sonnets on Moral Subjects for children, with an air of pleasantry, to provoke some fitter pen to write a little book of them. My talent doth not lie that way, and a man on the borders of the grave has other work. Besides, if I had health or leisure to lay out this way, it should be employ'd in finishing the Psalms, which I have so long promised the world.
May the Almighty God make you faithful in this important work of education: may he succeed your cares with his abundant graces, that the rising generation of Great Britain may be a glory amongst the nations, a pattern to the Christian world, and a blessing to the earth.
Song 1. A General Song of Praise to God.
1 How glorious is our Heavenly King, Who reigns above the sky! How shall a child presume to sing His dreadful majesty?
2 How great his power is none can tell, Nor think how large his grace; Not men below, nor saints that dwell On high before his face.
3 Not angels that stand round the Lord Can search his secret will; But they perform his heavenly word, And sing his praises still.
4 Then let me join this holy train, And my first offerings bring; Th' eternal God will not disdain To hear an infant sing.
5 My heart resolves, my tongue obeys, And angels shall rejoice To hear their mighty Maker's praise Sound from a feeble voice.
Song 2. Praise for Creation and Providence.
1 I sing th' almighty power of God, That made the mountains rise, That spread the flowing seas abroad, And built the lofty skies.
2 I sing the wisdom that ordain'd The sun to rule the day; The moon shines full at his command, And all the stars obey.
3 I sing the goodness of the Lord, That fill'd the earth with food; He form'd the creatures with his Word, And then pronounced them good.
4 Lord, how thy wonders are display'd Where'er I turn mine eye, If I survey the ground I tread, Or gaze upon the sky.
5 There's not a plant or flower below But makes thy glories known; And clouds arise and tempests blow By order from thy throne.
6 Creatures (as num'rous as they be) Are subject to thy care: There's not a place where we can flee, But God is present there.
7 In heaven he shines with beams of love, With wrath in hell beneath: 'Tis on his earth I stand or move, And 'tis his air I breathe.
8 His hand is my perpetual guard, He keeps me with his eye: Why should I then forget the Lord Who is for ever nigh?
Song 3. Praise to God for our Redemption.
1 Blest be the wisdom and the power, The justice and the grace, That join'd in council to restore And save our ruin'd race!
2 Our father eat forbidden fruit, And from his glory fell; And we, his children, thus were brought To death, and near to hell.
3 Blest be the Lord, that sent his Son To take our flesh and blood; He for our lives gave up his own, To make our peace with God.
4 He honour'd all his Father's laws, Which we have disobey'd; He bore our sins upon the cross, And our full ransom paid.
5 Behold him rising from the grave; Behold him rais'd on high: He pleads his merits there to save Transgressors doom'd to die.
6 There on a glorious throne, he reigns, And by his power divine Redeems us from the slavish chains Of Satan, and of sin.
7 Thence shall the Lord to judgment come, And, with a sovereign voice, Shall call, and break up every tomb, While waking saints rejoice.
8 O may I then with joy appear Before the Judge's face, And, with the blest assembly there, Sing his redeeming grace!
Song 4. Praise for Mercies Spiritual and Temporal.
1 Whene'er I take my walks abroad, How many poor I see? What shall I render to my God For all his gifts to me?
2 Not more than others I deserve, Yet God hath given me more; For I have food, while others starve, Or beg from door to door.
3 How many children in the street Half naked I behold? While I am clothed from head to feet, And cover'd from the cold.
4 While some poor wretches scarce can tell Where they may lay their head, I have a home wherein to dwell, And rest upon my bed.
5 While others early learn to swear, And curse, and lie, and steal, Lord, I am taught thy name to fear, And do thy holy will.
6 Are these thy favours, day by day To me above the rest? Then let me love thee more than they, And try to serve thee best.
Song 5. Praise for Birth and Education in a Christian Land.
1 Great God, to thee my voice I raise, To thee my youngest hours belong; I would begin my life with praise, Till growing years improve the song.
2 'Tis to thy soveraign grace I owe, That I was born on Brittish ground, Where streams of heavenly mercy flow, And words of sweet salvation sound.
3 I would not change my native land For rich Peru, with all her gold: A nobler prize lies in my hand Than East or Western Indies hold.
4 How do I pity those that dwell Where ignorance and darkness reigns; They know no heav'n, they fear no hell, Those endless joys, those endless pains.
5 Thy glorious promises, O Lord, Kindle my hope and my desire; While all the preachers of thy word Warn me t' escape eternal fire.
6 Thy praise shall still employ my breath, Since thou hast mark'd my way to heaven; Nor will I run the road to death, And wast the blessings thou hast given.
Song 6. Praise for the Gospel.
1 Lord, I ascribe it to thy grace, And not to chance as others do, That I was born of Christian race, And not a Heathen, or a Jew.
2 What would the ancient Jewish kings, And Jewish prophets once have given, Could they have heard these glorious things, Which Christ reveal'd, and brought from heav'n!
3 How glad the Heathens would have been, That worship idols, wood, and stone, If they the book of God had seen, Or Jesus and his gospel known!
4 Then if the Gospel I refuse, How shall I e'er lift up mine eyes? For all the Gentiles and the Jews Against me will in judgment rise.
Song 7. The Excellency of the Bible.
1 Great God, with wonder and with praise, On all thy works I look; But still thy wisdom, power and grace Shine brighter in thy Book.
2 The stars that in their courses roll, Have much instruction given; But thy good Word informs my soul How I may climb to heaven.
3 The fields provide me food, and show The goodness of the Lord; But fruits of life and glory grow In thy most holy Word.
4 Here are my choicest treasures hid, Here my best comfort lies; Here my desires are satisfy'd; And hence my hopes arise.
5 Lord, make me understand thy law, Show what my faults have been; And from thy Gospel let me draw Pardon for all my sin.
6 Here would I learn how Christ has dy'd To save my soul from hell: Not all the books on earth beside Such heav'nly wonders tell.
7 Then let me love my Bible more, And take a fresh delight By day to read these wonders o'er, And meditate by night.
Song 8. Praise to God for learning to read.
1 The praises of my tongue I offer to the Lord, That I was taught, and learnt so young To read his holy Word.
2 That I am taught to know The danger I was in, By nature and by practice too A wretched slave to sin.
3 That I am led to see I can do nothing well; And whither shall a sinner flee, To save himself from hell?
4 Dear Lord, this book of thine Informs me where to go For grace to pardon all my sin, And make me holy too.
5 Here I can read and learn How Christ the Son of God Did undertake our great concern, Our ransom cost his blood.
6 And now he reigns above, He sends his Spirit down, To show the wonders of his love, And make his Gospel known.
7 O may that Spirit teach, And make my heart receive Those truths which all thy servants preach, And all thy saints believe!
8 Then shall I praise the Lord In a more chearful strain, That I was taught to read his Word, And have not learnt in vain.
Song 9. The All-Seeing God.
1 Almighty God, thy piercing eye Strikes through the shades of night, And our most secret actions lie All open to thy sight.
2 There's not a sin that we commit, Nor wicked word we say, But in thy dreadful book 'tis writ Against the judgment-day.
3 And must the crimes that I have done Be read and publish'd there, Be all exposed before the sun, While men and angels hear?
4 Lord, at thy feet ashamed I lie, Upward I dare not look; Pardon my sins before I die, And blot them from thy book.
5 Remember all the dying pains That my Redeemer felt, And let his blood wash out my stains, And answer for my guilt.
6 O may I now for ever fear T' indulge a sinful thought, Since the great God can see, and hear, And writes down every fault!
Song 10. Solemn Thoughts of God and Death.
1 There is a God that reigns above, Lord of the heavens, and earth, and seas: I fear his wrath, I ask his love, And with my lips I sing his praise.
2 There is a law which he has writ, To teach us all what we must do; My soul, to his commands submit, For they are holy, just and true.
3 There is a Gospel of rich grace, Whence sinners all their comfort draw; Lord, I repent, and seek thy face; For I have often broke thy law.
4 There is an hour when I must die, Nor do I know how soon 'twill come; A thousand children young as I Are call'd by death to hear their doom.
5 Let me improve the hours I have Before the day of grace is fled; There's no repentance in the grave, No pardons offer'd to the dead.
6 Just as a tree cut down, that fell To north, or southward, there it lies: So man departs to heaven or hell, Fix'd in the state wherein he dies.
Song 11. Heaven and Hell.
1 There is beyond the sky A heaven of joy and love, And holy children, when they die, Go to that world above.
2 There is a dreadful hell, And everlasting pains, There sinners must with devils dwell In darkness, fire, and chains.
3 Can such a wretch as I Escape this cursed end? And may I hope, whene'er I die, I shall to heaven ascend?
4 Then will I read and pray While I have life and breath; Lest I should be cut off to day, And sent t' eternal death.
Song 12. The Advantages of early Religion.
1 Happy's the child whose youngest years Receive instruction well; Who hates the sinner's path, and fears The road that leads to hell.
2 When we devote our youth to God, 'Tis pleasing in his eyes; A flower, when offer'd in the bud, Is no vain sacrifice.
3 'Tis easier work if we begin To fear the Lord betimes; While sinners that grow old in sin Are hard'ned in their crimes.
4 'Twill save us from a thousand snares To mind religion young; Grace will preserve our following years And make our vertue strong.
5 To thee, Almighty God, to thee Our childhood we resign; 'Twill please us to look back and see That our whole lives were thine.
6 Let the sweet work of prayer and praise, Employ my youngest breath; Thus I'm prepar'd for longer days, Or fit for early death.
Song 13. The Danger of Delay.
1 Why should I say, "'Tis yet too soon "To seek for heaven or think of death?" A flower may fade before 'tis noon, And I this day may lose my breath.
2 If this rebellious heart of mine, Despise the gracious calls of Heaven; I may be hard'ned in my sin, And never have repentance given.
3 What if the Lord grow wroth, and swear While I refuse to read and pray, That he'll refuse to lend an ear, To all my groans another day?
4 What if his dreadful anger burn, While I refuse his offer'd grace, And all his love to fury turn, And strike me dead upon the place?
5 'Tis dangerous to provoke a God; His power and vengeance none can tell: One stroke of his almighty rod Shall send young sinners quick to hell.
6 Then 'twill for ever be in vain To cry for pardon or for grace, To wish I had my time again, Or hope to see my Maker's face.
Song 14. Examples of early piety.
1 What blest examples do I find Writ in the Word of Truth, Of children that began to mind Religion in their youth.
2 Jesus, who reigns above the skie, And keeps the world in awe; Was once a child as young as I, And kept his Father's law.
3 At twelve years old he talk'd with men, (The Jews all wondering stand;) Yet he obey'd his Mother then, And came at her command.
4 Children a sweet hosanna sung, And blest their Saviour's name; They gave him honour with their tongue While scribes and priests blaspheme.
5 Samuel the child was wean'd, and brought To wait upon the Lord; Young Timothy betimes was taught To know his holy Word.
6 Then why should I so long delay What others learn so soon? I would not pass another day Without this work begun.
Song 15. Against Lying.
1 O 'tis a lovely thing for youth To walk betimes in wisdom's way; To fear a lye, to speak the truth, That we may trust to all they say.
2 But lyars we can never trust, Though they should speak the thing that's true, And he that does one fault at first, And lyes to hide it, makes it two.
3 Have we not known, nor heard, nor read, How God abhors deceit and wrong? How Ananias was struck dead Catch'd with a lye upon his tongue?
4 So did his wife Sapphira die When she came in, and grew so bold As to confirm that wicked lye That just before her husband told.
5 The Lord delights in them that speak The words of truth; but every lyar Must have his portion in the lake That burns with brimstone and with fire.
6 Then let me always watch my lips, Lest I be struck to death and hell, Since God a book of reckoning keeps For every lye that children tell.
Song 16. Against Quarrelling and Fighting.
1 Let dogs delight to bark and bite, For God has made them so; Let bears and lyons growl and fight, For 'tis their nature too.
2 But, children, you should never let Such angry passions rise; Your little hands were never made To tear each other's eyes.
3 Let love thro' all your actions run, And all your words be mild; Live like the blessed Virgin's Son, That sweet and lovely child.
4 His soul was gentle as a lamb; And as his stature grew, He grew in favour both with man And God his Father too.
5 Now, Lord of all, he reigns above, And from his heavenly throne, He sees what children dwell in love, And marks them for his own.
Song 17. Love between Brothers and Sisters.
1 What ever brawls are in the street There should be peace at home; Where sisters dwell and brothers meet Quarrels shou'd never come.
2 Birds in their little nests agree; And 'tis a shameful sight, When children of one family Fall out, and chide, and fight.
3 Hard names at first, and threatening words, That are but noisy breath, May grow to clubs and naked swords, To murder and to death.
4 The devil tempts one mother's son To rage against another: So wicked Cain was hurried on, Till he had kill'd his brother.
5 The wise will make their anger cool At least before 'tis night; But in the bosom of a fool It burns till morning light.
5 Pardon, O Lord, our childish rage; Our little brawls remove; That as we grow to riper age, Our hearts may all be love.
Song 18. Against Scoffing and calling Names.
1 Our tongues were made to bless the Lord, And not speak ill of men: When others give a railing word, We must not rail again.
2 Cross words and angry names require To be chastiz'd at school; And he's in danger of hell-fire, That calls his brother, fool.
3 But lips that dare be so prophane To mock and jeer and scoff At holy things, or holy men, The Lord shall cut them off.
4 When children, in their wanton play Served old Elisha so, And bade the prophet go his way, "Go up, thou bald head, go."
5 God quickly stopt their wicked breath, And sent two raging bears, That tore them limb from limb to death, With blood and groans and tears.
6 Great God, how terrible art thou To sinners ne'er so young! Grant me thy grace and teach me how To tame and rule my tongue.
Song 19. Against Swearing and Cursing, and taking God's Name in vain.
1 Angels that high in glory dwell Adore thy Name, Almighty God! And devils tremble down in hell Beneath the terrors of thy rod.
2 And yet how wicked children dare Abuse thy dreadful glorious Name! And when they're angry, how they swear, And curse their fellows, and blaspheme!
3 How will they stand before thy face, Who treated thee with such disdain, While thou shalt doom them to the place Of everlasting fire and pain?
4 Then never shall one cooling drop To quench their burning tongues be giv'n. But I will praise thee here, and hope Thus to employ my tongue in heav'n.
5 My heart shall be in pain to hear Wretches affront the Lord above; 'Tis that great God whose power I fear, That heavenly Father whom I love.
6 If my companions grow profane, I'll leave their friendship when I hear Young sinners take thy name in vain, And learn to curse, and learn to swear.
Song 20. Against Idleness and Mischief.
1 How doth the little busy bee Improve each shining hour, And gather honey all the day From every opening flower!
2 How skilfully she builds her cell! How neat she spreads the wax! And labours hard to store it well With the sweet food she makes.
3 In works of labour or of skill I would be busy too: For Satan finds some mischief still For idle hands to do.
4 In books, or work, or healthful play Let my first years be past, That I may give for every day Some good account at last.
Song 21. Against evil Company.
1 Why should I join with those in play In whom I've no delight; Who curse and swear, but never play; Who call ill names, and fight?
2 I hate to hear a wanton song: Their words offend my ears: I should not dare defile my tongue With language such as theirs.
3 Away from fools I'll turn my eyes, Nor with the scoffers go: I would be walking with the wise, That wiser I may grow.
4 From one rude boy, that's used to mock, They learn the wicked jest: One sickly sheep infects the flock, And poisons all the rest.
5 My God, I hate to walk or dwell With sinful children here: Then let me not be sent to hell, Where none but sinners are.
Song 22. Against Pride in Clothes.
1 Why should our garments, made to hide Our parents' shame, provoke our pride? The art of dress did ne'er begin Till Eve our mother learnt to sin.
2 When first she put the covering on, Her robe of innocence was gone; And yet her children vainly boast In the sad marks of glory lost.
3 How proud we are! how fond to shew Our clothes, and call them rich and new, When the poor sheep and silkworms wore That very clothing long before!
4 The tulip and the butterfly Appear in gayer coats than I: Let me be dress'd fine as I will, Flies, worms, and flowers exceed me still.
5 Then will I set my heart to find Inward adornings of the mind: Knowledge and virtue, truth and grace, These are the robes of richest dress.
6 No more shall worms with me compare, This is the raiment angels wear: The Son of God, when here below, Put on this blest apparel too.
6 It never fades, it ne'er grows old, Nor fears the rain, nor moth, nor mould: It takes no spot, but still refines; The more 'tis worn, the more it shines.
7 In this on earth would I appear, Then go to heaven, and wear it there: God will approve it in his sight; 'Tis his own work, and his delight.
Song 23. Obedience to Parents.
1 Let children that would fear the Lord Hear what their teachers say; With reverence meet their parents' word, And with delight obey.
2 Have you not heard what dreadful plagues Are threaten'd by the Lord, To him that breaks his father's law, Or mocks his mother's word?
3 What heavy guilt upon him lies! How cursed is his name! The ravens shall pick out his eyes, And eagles eat the same.
4 But those who worship God, and give Their parents honour due, Here on this earth they long shall live, And live hereafter, too.
Song 24. The Child's Complaint.
1 Why should I love my sports so well, So constant at my play, And lose the thoughts of heaven and hell, And then forget to pray?
2 What do I read my Bible for, But, Lord, to learn thy will? And shall I daily know thee more, And less obey thee still?
3 How senseless is my heart, and wild! How vain are all my thoughts! Pity the weakness of a child, And pardon all my faults.
4 Make me thy heavenly voice to hear, And let me love to pray; Since God will lend a gracious ear To what a child can say.
Song 25. A Morning Song.
1 My God, who makes the sun to know His proper hour to rise; And, to give light to all below, Doth send him round the skies:
2 When from the chambers of the east His morning race begins, He never tires, nor stops to rest, But round the world he shines.
3 So, like the sun, would I fulfil The business of the day; Begin my work betimes, and still March on my heavenly way.
4 Give me, O Lord, thy early grace, Nor let my soul complain That the young morning of my day Has all been spent in vain!
Song 26. An Evening Song.
1 And now another day is gone, I'll sing my Maker's praise! My comforts every hour make known His providence and grace.
2 But how my childhood runs to waste My sins how great their sum! Lord, give me pardon for the past, And strength for days to come.
3 I lay my body down to sleep, Let angels guard my head; And, through the hours of darkness, keep Their watch around my head.
4 With cheerful heart I close mine eyes, Since thou wilt not remove; And in the morning let me rise Rejoicing in thy love.
Song 27. For the Lord's Day Morning.
1 This is the day when Christ arose So early from the dead: Why should I my eyelids close, And waste my hours in bed?
2 This is the day when Jesus broke The powers of death and hell; And shall I still wear Satan's yoke, And love my sins so well?
3 To-day, with pleasure, Christians meet, To pray, and hear thy Word; And I would go with cheerful feet To learn thy will, O Lord!
4 I'll leave my sport, to read and pray, And so prepare for heaven: O may I love this blessed day The best of all the seven!
Song 28. For Lord's Day Evening.
1 Lord, how delightful 'tis to see A whole assembly worship thee! At once they sing, at once they pray; They hear of heaven, and learn the way.
2 I have been there, and still would go 'Tis like a little heaven below! Not all my pleasure and my play Should tempt me to forget this day.
3 O write upon my memory, Lord, The text and doctrines of thy Word, That I may break thy laws no more, But love thee better than before!
4 With thoughts of Christ and things divine Fill up this foolish heart of mine: That, hoping pardon through his blood, I may lie down, and wake with God.
The TEN COMMANDMENTS out of the Old Testament put into short Rhime for Children.
1. Thou shalt have no more Gods but me. 2. Before no idol bow thy knee. 3. Take not the Name of God in vain: 4. Nor dare the Sabbath Day profane. 5. Give both thy parents honour due. 6. Take heed that thou no murder do. 7. Abstain from words and deeds unclean: 8. Nor steal, though thou art poor and mean. 9. Nor make a wilful lie, nor love it. 10. What is thy neighbour's, dare not covet.
The Sum of the Commandments out of the New Testament.
Matt. 22. 37.
With all thy Soul love God above; And as thyself thy Neighbour love.
Our Saviour's Golden Rule.
Matt. 7. 12.
Be you to others Kind and True, As you'd have others be to you. And neither do nor say to Men Whate'er you would not take again.
Duty to God and our neighbour.
Love God with all your Soul and Strength. With all your Heart and Mind; And love your Neighbour as your self: Be faithful, just, and kind.
Deal with another as you'd have Another deal with you. What you're unwilling to receive, Be sure you never do.
Out of my Book of Hymns, I have here added, the Hosanna and Glory to the Father, &c. to be sung at the end of any of these Songs, according to the Direction of Parents or Governors.
The Hosanna; or Salvation ascribed to Christ.
1 Hosanna to king David's Son, Who reigns on a superior Throne; We bless the Prince of Heav'nly Birth, Who brings Salvation down to Earth.
2 Let every nation, every age, In this delightful work engage; Old Men and Babes in Sion sing The growing glories of her King!
1 Hosanna to the Prince of Grace; Sion behold thy King; Proclaim the Son of David's Race, And teach the Babes to sing.
2 Hosanna to th' Eternal Word, Who from the Father came; Ascribe Salvation to the Lord, With Blessings on his Name!
1 Hosanna to the Son Of David and of God, Who brought the News of Pardon down, And bought it with his Blood.
2 To Christ, th' anointed King, Be endless blessings giv'n, Let the whole Earth his Glory sing Who made our Peace with Heav'n.
Glory to the Father and the Son, &c.
To God the Father, God the Son, And God the Spirit, Three in One, Be Honour, Praise, and Glory giv'n, By all on Earth, and all in Heav'n.
Now let the Father and the Son, And Spirit be ador'd, Where there are works to make him known, Or saints to love the Lord.
Give to the Father Praise, Give Glory to the Son, And to the Spirit of his Grace Be equal Honour done.
A Slight SPECIMEN of MORAL SONGS,
Such as I wish some happy and condescending Genius would undertake for the use of Children, and perform much better.
The sense and subjects might be borrow'd plentifully from the Proverbs of Solomon, from all the common appearances of nature, from all the occurrences in the civil life, both in city and country: (which would also afford matter for other divine songs). Here the language and measures should be easy and flowing with cheerfulness, and without the solemnities of religion, or the sacred names of God and holy things; that children might find delight and profit together.
This would be one effectual way to deliver them from the temptation of loving and learning those idle, wanton or profane songs, which give so early an ill taint to the fancy and memory, and become the seeds of future vices.
1 'Tis the voice of the Sluggard. I heard him complain "You have waked me too soon! I must slumber again!" As the door on its hinges, so he on his bed, Turns his sides, and his shoulders, and his heavy head.
2 "A little more sleep, and a little more slumber;" Thus he wastes half his days, and his hours without number: And when he gets up, he sits folding his hands Or walks about sauntering, or trifling he stands.
3 I past by his garden, and saw the wild bryar The thorn and the thistle grow broader and higher: The clothes that hang on him are turning to rags; And his money still wasts, still he starves, or he begs.
4 I made him a visit, still hoping to find He had took better care for improving his mind: He told me his dreams, talk'd of eating and drinking, But he scarce reads his Bible, and never loves thinking.
5 Said I then to my heart, "Here's a lesson for me," That man's but a picture of what I might be: But thanks to my friends for their care in my breeding: Who taught me betimes to love working and reading!
1 Abroad in the meadows to see the young lambs, Run sporting about by the side of their dams With fleeces so clean, and so white; Or a nest of young doves in a large open cage, When they play all in love without anger or rage, How much may we learn from the sight!
2 If we had been ducks, we might dabble in mud: Or dogs, we might play till it ended in blood; So foul, or so fierce are their natures. But Thomas and William, and such pretty names, Should be cleanly and harmless as doves, or as lambs, Those lovely sweet innocent creatures.
3 Not a thing that we do, nor a word that we say, Should injure another in jesting or play; For he's still in earnest that's hurt. How rude are the boys that throw pebbles and mire! There's none but a mad-man will fling about fire, And tell you, "'Tis all but in sport."
1. A General Song of Praise to God. 2. Praise for Creation and Providence. 3. Praise to God for our Redemption. 4. Praise for mercies Spiritual and Temporal. 5. Praise for Birth and Education in a Christian Land. 6. Praise for the Gospel. 7. The Excellency of the Bible. 8. Praise to God for learning to read. 9. The All-seeing God. 10. Solemn Thoughts of God and Death. 11. Heaven and Hell. 12. The Advantages of early Religion. 13. The Danger of Delays. 14. Examples of early Piety. 15. Against lying. 16. Against Quarrelling and Fighting. 17. Love between Brothers and Sisters. 18. Against scoffing and calling Names. 19. Against swearing and cursing, and taking God's Name in vain. 20. Against Idleness and Mischief. 21. Against Evil Company. 22. Against Pride in Clothes. 23. Obedience to Parents. 24. The Child's Complaint. 25. A Morning Song. 26. An Evening Song. 27. An Hymn for the Lord's Day Morning. 28. An Hymn for the Lord's Day Evening. The Ten Commandments. The Sum of the Commandments. Our Saviour's Golden Rule. Duty to God and our Neighbour. The Hosanna in Long Metre. in Common Metre. in Short Metre. Glory to the Father in Long Metre. in Common Metre. in Short Metre.
A slight Specimen of Moral Songs, viz. The Sluggard. Innocent Play.
The End of the Table.
ADDENDUM to the Moral Songs.
In the 1715 edition, for the reasons explained by Watts in his Preface, there are only two moral songs, namely "The Sluggard" and "Innocent Play." Those added later are included in this Addendum. The texts are from an 1866 printing in New York, posted into the public domain by the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL) at
Song 3. The Rose. 12,8,12,8
How fair is the Rose! what a beautiful flower! The glory of April and May: But the leaves are beginning to fade in an hour, And they wither and die in a day.
Yet the Rose has one powerful virtue to boast, Above all the flowers of the field! When its leaves are all dead and fine colours are lost, Still how sweet a perfume it will yield!
So frail is the youth and the beauty of man, Though they bloom and look gay like the Rose; But all our fond care to preserve them is vain, Time kills them as fast as he goes.
Then I'll not be proud of my youth and my beauty, Since both of them wither and fade; But gain a good name by well doing my duty: This will scent like a Rose when I'm dead.
Song 4. The thief 8,7,8,7
Why should I deprive my neighbour Of his goods against his will? Hands were made for honest labour, Not to plunder, or to steal.
'Tis a foolish self-deceiving By such tricks to hope for gain:
All that's ever got by thieving Turns to sorrow, shame, and pain.
Have not Eve and Adam taught us Their sad profit to compute, To what dismal state they brought us When they stole forbidden fruit?
Oft we see a young beginner Practice little pilfering ways, Till grown up a harden'd sinner, Then the gallows ends his days.
Theft will not be always hidden, Though we fancy none can spy: When we take a thing forbidden, God beholds it with his eye.
Guard my heart, O God of heaven, Lest I covet what's not mine; Lest I steal what is not given, Guard my heart and hands from sin.
Song 5. The ant, or emmet. 11,11,8,11,11,8
These Emmets, how little they are in our eyes! We tread them to dust, and a troop of them dies, Without our regard or concern: Yet, as wise as we are, if we went to their school, There's many a sluggard and many a fool Some lessons of wisdom might learn.
They wear not their time out in sleeping or play, But gather up corn in a sunshiny day, And for winter they lay up their stores: They manage their work in such regular forms, One would think they foresaw all the frosts and the storms, And so brought their food withindoors.
But I have less sense than a poor creeping Ant, If I take not due care for the things I shall want, Nor provide against dangers in time; When death or old age shall once stare in my face, What a wretch shall I be in the end of my days, If I trifle away all their prime!
Now, now, while my strength and my youth are in bloom, Let me think what shall serve me when sickness shall come, And pray that my sins be forgiven. Let me read in good books, and believe, and obey; That, when death turns me out of this cottage of clay, I may dwell in a palace in heaven.
Song 6. Good resolutions. 7,8,7,8
Though I'm now in younger days, Nor can tell what shall befall me, I'll prepare for every place Where my growing age shall call me.
Should I e'er be rich or great, Others shall partake my goodness: I'll supply the poor with meat, Never showing scorn or rudeness.
Where I see the blind or lame, Deaf or dumb, I'll kindly treat them: I deserve to feel the same, If I mock, or hurt, or cheat them.
If I meet with railing tongues, Why should I return them railing, Since I best revenge my wrongs By my patience never failing?
When I hear them telling lies, Talking foolish, cursing, swearing, First I'll try to make them wise, Or I'll soon go out of hearing.
What though I be low or mean, I'll engage the rich to love me, While I'm modest, neat, and clean, And submit when they reprove me.
If I should be poor and sick, I shall meet, I hope, with pity; Since I love to help the weak, Though they're neither fair nor witty.
I'll not willingly offend, Nor be easily offended: What's amiss I'll strive to mend, And endure what can't be mended.
May I be so watchful still O'er my humours and my passion, As to speak and do no ill, Though it should be all the fashion.
Wicked fashions lead to hell; Ne'er may I be found complying; But in life behave so well, Not to be afraid of dying.
Song 7. Summer's evening. 11,11,11,9
How fine has the day been! how bright was the sun! How lovely and joyful the course that he run; Though he rose in a mist when his race he begun, And there followed some droppings of rain: But now the fair traveller's come to the west, His rays are all gold, and his beauties are best; He paints the skies gay as he sinks to his rest, And foretells a bright rising again.
Just such is the Christian. His course he begins Like the sun in a mist, while he mourns for his sins, And melts into tears! then he breaks out and shines, And travels his heavenly way: But when he comes nearer to finish his race, Like a fine setting sun, he looks richer in grace; And gives a sure hope, at the end of his days, Of rising in brighter array.
Song 8. Cradle hymn. 8,7,8,7
Hush, my dear! Lie still, and slumber! Holy angels guard thy bed! Heavenly blessings, without number, Gently falling on thy head.
Sleep, my babe! thy food and raiment, House and home, thy friends provide; All without thy care or payment, All thy wants are well supplied.
How much better thou'rt attended Than the Son of God could be, When from heaven he descended, And became a child like thee!
Soft and easy is thy cradle: Coarse and hard thy Saviour lay, When his birthplace was a stable, And his softest bed was hay.
Blessed Babe! what glorious features,— Spotless fair, divinely bright! Must he dwell with brutal creatures? How could angels bear the sight?
Was there nothing but a manger Cursed sinners could afford, To receive the heavenly stranger? Did they thus affront the Lord?
Soft, my child! I did not chide thee, Though my song might sound too hard: 'Tis thy mother sits beside thee, And her arm shall be thy guard.
Yet to read the shameful story. How the Jews received their King, How they served the Lord of Glory, Makes me angry while I sing.
See the kinder shepherds round him, Telling wonders from the sky! Where hey sought him, there they found him, With his Virgin-mother by.
See the lovely Babe a-dressing: Lovely infant, how he smiled! When he wept, his mother's blessing Sooth'd and hush'd the holy Child.
Lo, he slumbers in a manger, Where the horned oxen fed!— Peace, my darling, here's no danger: There's no ox a-near thy bed.
'Twas so save thee, child, from dying, Save my dear from burning flame, Bitter groans and endless crying, That thy blest Redeemer came.
May'st thou live to know and fear him, Trust and love him all thy days, Then go dwell for ever near him: See his face, and sing his praise!
I could give thee thousand kisses! Hoping what I most desire, Not a mother's fondest wishes Can to greater joys aspire!