« PreviousContinue »
PSALMS AND HYMNS,
(6 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom:
TO THE THIRD EDITION,
The Selection of Psalms and Hymns of which the Third Edition is now offered, has been made with the view of comprising, ist, the best versions of the Psalms which have yet been produced ; 2ndly, a series of Hymns adapted to the Festivals of the Church, and other occasions of periodical recurrence; and 3rdly, a collection of Hymns, embodying the great truths of Christianity, and applicable to the usual topics of pulpit instruction. In forming and arranging this last division, one object has been to furnish that numerous class, whose reading is necessarily limited, with a compendious outline of Christian Doctrine, Practice, Experience, and Hope. This will account for the insertion of a few under these heads, scarcely admissible in public Worship, but almost necessary to complete the chain of religious truth which would otherwise have been defective.
The present work, whatever be its merits 'or defects, is the result of no small portion of time and consideratiov. Upwards of one hundred similar compilations have been carefully examined, and in all cases the original authors have been consulted, where they could be ascertained. It has been the Editor's aim to select from the immense number of published hymns, such as appeared to unite with harmonious versification and devout feeling, those views of Divine truth which are in strict accordance with the Sacred Scriptures, the Articles and Liturgy of our Church, and the general sentiments of all real Christians. If for some of them but a small share of literary merit can be claimed, this defect, it is hoped, will be compensated in the estimation of candid persons, by the importance of their subjects, and the excellence of their matter. Had poetical talent been more frequently consecrated to the service of its Author, there would be no cause to regret that any branch of Christian truth has not furnished a theme for the poet as well as the divine.
The extent to which alteration has been carried in most modern selections has been frequently complained of. This complaint, it must be acknowledged, is in some degree well founded, and many admired Hymns have been seriously injured and enfeebled by what were designed as emendations. In the present work, the Editors, while they have not deemed it either judicious or desirable to perpetuate expressions which every person of cultivated taste must disapprove, have been uniformly anxious to restrict, rather than extend the principle of change. No alteration they trust has been made which, on comparison with the original, will not be found to convey an idea more consonant with Scripture, more pleasing to a correct ear, or more intelligible to a plaiu understanding.
The arrangement preferred is that which seemed to offer the greatest facility of reference. To combine this with another object of no less importance, viz :--an adaptation to the subjects and order of the Liturgy, a table has been constructed pointing out Psalms and Hymus suitable for each Sunday in the year. These will commonly be found to bave reference to the first Lessons, Epistle, or Gospel, for the day; and where no such connection could be discovered, reference is made to the most useful Psalms and Hymns of a more general character. A guide is thus fur. nished to the minister, and a directory to the clerk in his occasional absence, før conducting the psalmody of the congregation, and thus every subject of prayer and praise may be introduced into Divine Worship in due proportion, and with a pleasing variety.
This selection having from its extensive circulation ac. quired a permanent character, is now stereotyped, and thus uniformity in all future Editions will be effectually secured. It has been finally revised and enlarged by the addition of Scriptural and Topical Indexes, and is now commended by the Compilers to their fellow Christians, in the hope that it may be a means under the Divine blessing, of enabling them to ' sing with the spirit, and with the understanding also ;" and that it may assist their public and private devotions in this “house of their pilgrimage," till they are called to exchange the services of time for the infinitely nobler services of eternity.
Churchill, near Kidderminster, } May 15th, 1835.
N. B. Any Minister of a parish, who may be desirous of obtriuing this selection for distribution at a reduced price, is requested to address a line to the Editors.