« PreviousContinue »
SONGS OF PRAISE
PUBLIC AND SOCIAL WORSHIP.
ROSWELL D. HITCHCOCK, ZACHARY EDDY,
A. S. BARNES & COMPANY,
751 BROADWAY, NEW YORK.
This Book is much larger than was at first contemplated. The Editors began their work together, now nearly four years ago, with the idea that six hundred Hymns, or, at most, eight hundred, are quite enough. Such a Selection we might have made for ourselves; and it might, perhaps, have suited some congregations. But we soon came to the conclusion that if many people are to be pleased, there must be many Hymns: a Collection, and not a Selection.
Fastidious critics may say that there are not more than two or three hundred really good Hymns in the language. And, to be sure, there are not many such Hymns as “When I survey the wondrous cross," “ There is a fountain filled with blood,” “ Jesus, Lover of my soul,” and “Rock of ages, cleft for me." But the number of Hymns that have long done good service, and will long continue to do it, is very much greater than many people suppose. And then new Hymns, which will certainly live, such as “My faith looks up to Thee," “ Lead, kindly light," "Just as I am," and“ Abide with me," are constantly appearing. Even the two or three hundred classic Hymns, which form the staple of our weekly use, will serve us all the better for not being made to serve alone.
Of the fourteen hundred Hymns here brought together, few, we think, could have been omitted without spiritual loss. Not all of them are designed for Public and Social Worship. Indeed, a considerable number are expressly set apart for Family Worship. And some, which need not be sung at all, are designed especially for closet use. Now and then a familiar Hymn may still be missed : omitted, perhaps, inadvertently; or because it could not be matched with appropriate music without making up an additional page; or because of its commonplace, prosaic character; or because of some doctrinal error or infelicity. But in all such cases the onnitted Hymns, it is believed, will be found to have been replaced by better ones of the same general scope.
Our aim has been to make a truly catholic Book. All ages, all nations, all communions, and all types and stages of Christian experience are here represented. The older objective Hymnology, and the later subjective, are admitted to equal fellowship. Saints who had little to do with one another in their life-time, but now singing together in Heaven, are together here. Of all this goodly company, Watts still sits highest, and Charles Wesley next.
In addition to the old standard Hymns, which must go into every Book, many fine, fresh, new Hymns will be found in this Collection, some of which have been written expressly for it. We are urder
semed, perhapse music with, prosaic shazie suchen with approfits commofelicity. But to have be
special obligations to Dr. Ray PALMER, the Rev. HERVEY D. Ganse, Dr. ALEXANDER R. THOMPSON, Dr. EDWARD HOPPER, the Rev. ARTHUR T. PIERSON, and Miss MARGARET E. WINSLOW.
While our Book has been carefully wrought in every part, special pains have been taken with the Hymns pertaining to Christ and the Christian life. That type of theology which makes the Person of Christ central, is here brought out in song. And while our first care has been to provide for constant and common daily and weekly wants, liberal provision has also been made for special occasions, and particularly for seasons of special religious interest.
The average length of Hymns in this Collection is somewhat greater than usual. Many chipped and fractured gems have thus been restored to their original integrity and beauty. We have seldom shortened a Hymn for merely mechanical reasons. With the quicker movement now generally practised in singing, six stanzas take no more time than used to be required for four. By making each Tune carry the first stanza of a Hymn, room has been found for many single stanzas which had better not be dropped, as well as for many additional Hymns which must otherwise have been excluded.
Immense labor, which, if foreseen, might have been thought impracticable, has been expended upon the text. In every possible instance resort has been had to original sources of information. Standard editions of Authors, instead of Hymn Books, have been employed : as, in the case of Watts, a London edition of all his Writings; and, in the case of the Wesleys, the exhaustive thirteen volume edition of their Poetical Works, recently completed. The Hymnological Library selected for the Union Theological Seminary by Mr. Daniel Sedgwick of London, has been of great service to us. Special acknowledgments are due also to the Rev. FREDERIC M. BIRD, of the Episcopal diocese of New Jersey, whose large library, and larger stores of Hymnological information, have been generously laid open to us.
With respect to the restoration of Hymns to their original forms, a middle course has been pursued. Innumerable alterations, of onesort or another, have long been current. And most of these alterations are for the worse. In all such cases restoration was felt to be simply a duty. But now and then a Hymn has been altered for the better, and the alteration has been deliberately and almost universally accepted. In such cases restoration was not to be thought of. But, of course, the alteration ought always to be acknowledged.
A word or two in explanation of the editing. The Author's name, if known, is always given in connection with the Hymn. This saves turning to an Index; and is quite as proper as naming the text of the sermon by Book, Chapter, and Verse, instead of quoting it merely as Scripture. At each opening of our Book, the dates of birth and death, if known, are given in brackets, where the Author's name occurs for the first time, or occurs but once. If it occurs again
at the same opening, only ihe date of the Hymn is given. If the Hymn has two dates, as in the case of Montgomery's “Songs of praise the angels sang,” Hymn 68 [:819, 1853), it indicates a revision of the Hymn by the Author himself. Abridgements are also indicated, as well as alterations; so that it niay in every case be known whether or not we are singing a favorite Hymn entirely and exactly as the Author wrote it.
The musical editing has been done by JOHN K. PAINE, Professor of Music in Harvard University, and U. C. BURNAP, Organist of the Church on the Heights in Brooklyn, assisted by JAMES FLINT, Organist in Orange, New Jersey. The work they have done must speak for itself. As the aim has been to encourage congregational singing, most of the Tunes are familiar and easy. But some of the best Tunes in the Book are new, and must, of course, be learned and practised before they will be available for congregational use. A few pieces, like Dies Irae, p. 502, Tempest, p. 427, and some others, which musicians will easily recognize, are not meant to be sung by congregations, but by well-trained choirs on special occasions.
ROSWELL D. HITCHCOCK,
ZACHARY EDDY, NEW YORK, March 20, 1874.
Suggestions to Ministers and Directors of Church Music. 1. Do not expect any congregation to sing a new Tune at sight..
2. New Tunes demand either congregational rehearsals, or a well. trained Choir.
3. In the selection of Hymns to be sung by the congregation, be careful to select such Hymns as have familiar Tunes set to them. It is safe to assume that every American congregation is more or less familiar with the following Tunes :
L. M.-Old Hundred Hebron, Hamburg, Ward, Windham, Wells, Duke Street, Uxbridge, Park Street (?) Retreat, Rockingham, Woodworth, Federal Street, Missionary Chant.
C. M.-Arlington, Avon, Balerma, Christmas, Coronation, Cowper, Dedham, Dundee, Downs, Heber, Maitland, Mear, Marlow, Naomi, Ortonville, Evan, Peterboro, Woodland.
C. P. M.-Meribah, Ganges, Ariel (3) S, P. M.-Dalston. S. M.-Boylston, Dennis, Laban, Olmutz, Silver Street, St. Thomas, Lebanon, Watchman 7.-Pleyel's Hymn, Nuremberg, Aletta, Horton (?) Benevento, Martyn, Toplady. 7,6.- Amsterdam, Missionary Hymn, Webb. 8, 7, 4.- Sicily, Greenville, Zion, Bavaria. 8, 7.-Nettleton, Bartimeus, Stockwell, Wilmot, Shining Shore. 10, 11.-Lyons 11.- Portuguese Hymn. 6, 4.-America, Olivet, Bethany, Italian Hymn.