19 NOVEMBER 1910, Page 61


Popular Hymns. By the Rev. Canon Duncan. (Skeffington and Son. 5s. net.)—In a series of thirty-six discourses Canon Duncan deals with as many hymns, beginning with "All nations that on earth do dwell," and ending with " Peace, perfect peace." He has made it a rule not to include in his selection more than one hymn of each writer. This is a good plan ; it necessarily excludes some favourites, but it has advantages that more than compensate. Each sermon has a biographical preface—it is noticeable that ten out of the thirty-six writers belonged to Communions other than the Anglican—and then there is an exposition and application of the hymn. The sub-title gives "Authors and Teaching" as the subject of the discourses. The idea is an excellent one, and there is much that is good in the execution, but there is something in it of what we may call the pseudo-popular. "Greece bewitched and seduced the world with her enchantments ; and, lo, Greece perished by the decrepitude produced by her own vices ! Rome stamped her iron impress upon her dependencies throughout the world, vainly seeking an atmosphere unpoisoned by herself." That Empires perish by the vices of the nations which constitute them is true, and we, of all people, have most need to observe the truth ; but mankind owes too much to Greece and Rome for us to accept this hasty dismissal.