« PreviousContinue »
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1835, by
CARTER, HENDEE, & Co.
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
As some account may be expected, of the principles on which this collection of hymns was made, it will be here given in a few words.
My main object has been, to gather from the existing body of divine poetry, those hymns which I deemed the best calculated to be sung in our churches. I consequently adopted all which appeared to me to possess the requisite poetical and devotional character, without regard to the particular denomination of Christians to which their authors belonged. Hymns from Wesley's collection, and some Moravian hymns from the Christian Psalmist of Montgomery, I regard as among the richest contents of this volume. Their delightful fervour, though by some it may be called methodistical, will be thought by others, I trust, to be the true spirit of devotional Christian poetry.
I have taken care to alter as little as possible from my originals, and to obtain all hymns, whenever it was practicable, as their authors wrote and published them. The effusions of Watts and Doddridge, the two principal classics in this high and difficult spe
cies of literature, will be found in a purer form in this volume than they are usually met with in other collections. Whenever a hymn by one of these, or any other author, seemed to require a great deal of alteration, it was not altered, but left; for it was my desire and intention that every hymn, as it appeared in this collection, should be really the production of the individual whose name is placed over it. I freely omitted such verses, however, as I did not approve, whenever it could be done without essential injury to the connexiun,
Those words and expressions which I consider as forming the peculiar and appropriate diction and imagery of sacred poetry, such as Zion, Israel, Canaan, Saints, &c., I have constantly retained.
The adaptation of musical emphasis and expression to the words, I have left with intelligent and well instructed choirs.
Although I undertook this work, because I was not altogether satisfied with any collection which I had seen, yet I cannot hope to have succeeded to the entire satisfaction of others. I am conscious that I must, at least, have omitted some hymns which many persons have been accustomed to regard as indispensable, and introduced some which may be thought unworthy of the place which they occupy. It is to be presumed that there is a considerable number of them which will be admired by some, and disliked by others. Among five hundred and sixty hymns, there
will be found, it is probable, sufficient range for a variety of tastes.
It is sincerely my prayer that this book, wherever it may be introduced, may be instrumental in heightening the interest of Christian worship, and serving the cause of religion and God ;-and as sincerely is it my wish that wherever and whenever it may be found inadequate to these great purposes, it may be superseded by one which will answer them better.
F. W. P. G. Oct 1, 1830.
NOTE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
In this stereotyped edition, the number and order of hymns remain precisely as before. The only alterations which have been made, besides the correction of a few typographical errors, are the two following :Instead of the hymn which stood as the 289th in the first edition, and which, through some oversight, was a repetition of the 187th, have been inserted four of those well known verses by Sir Henry Wotton, beginning, “How happy is he born or taught.' And in the place of the hymn which was numbered 539 in the first edition, has been introduced one on a similar subject, beginning, 'God of the changing year, whose arm of power'