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IN PSALMS AND HYMNS, AND SPIRITUAL SONGS, SINGING WITH GRACE IN YOUR HEARTS
TO THE LORD.”
AMERICAN UNITARIAN ASSOCIATION.
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
M M 22 . | us
PRESS OF JOHN WILSON AND SON
THE leading aim of this work is to aid in congregational singing
It is well known that books on a similar plan have already come into general 'use in other denominations, and have been found to be of great advantage in increasing the interest of public worship; and a desire for a hymn and tune book expressly adapted to our wants and tastes has been growing more and more urgent, till it seemed a clear case both of duty and interest for the Association to assume the task of meeting it.
The book is not the expression of any hostility to choir music. On the contrary, it has been desired to make it, as far as possible, an acceptable collection of the most approved music for choir use; but with the hope, that it will promote a happy and successful union of choir and congregation, in at least a part of this pleasant portion of religious service.
Even if we had been possessed of a collection of hymns generally recognized as a denominational standard, the nature of this work would have compelled an entire re-arrangement.
In the absence of any such generally received collection, it seemed obviously best to make a new one, with more attention to the fitness of words for musical use than is generally given when only hymns are thought of.
With this reference to musical use as the foremost consideration, an endeavor has been made to bring together a collection of hymns,
as far as possible representing the very various tastes and tendencies of religious thought among us.
No especial effort has been made to gather new material. No theory has been followed as to changes of text. But the aim has been to cull from our already familiar and accepted wealth of sacred poetry that portion which is best adapted for musical use, and to follow that reading which seemed on the whole to be the best in each particular case.
The number of hymns is a medium between the extremes desired by different persons : some considering it an object to reduce the number to five hundred, or even less; others as earnestly approving an extension considerably beyond the number inserted.
In the arrangement of the hymns, the natural order of topics has been followed, as far as the need of grouping similar metres did not compel a departure from it. This was judged preferable to the more usual course of making the order of the hymns wholly subordinate to the musical adaptation.
In respect to a class of hymns addressed to Christ, as to the propriety of which there are considerable differences of opinion among us, the rule followed has been inclusive rather than exclusive : to insert hymns expressive of the highest standard of Christian faith, and ascribing to the Saviour all that is rightfully implied in his mediatorship and his own solemn assertions, -"I and my Father are one;" and " he that honoreth the Son honoreth the Father.”
Those portions have been made most full which afford the material for devout enjoyment in all religious services, in preference to extending the number of occasional hymns, which are less often available, and more likely to grow obsolete by the change of the special circumstances that give tone and a transient interest to their thought or sentiment.
Our thanks are due to the authors and publishers for the kind permission given to use selections from Miss H. M. Kimball's volume
of hymns, from Whittier's "Tent on the Beach," and from the "Hymns of the Spirit.” Also to the compiler and publishers of " Elim, or Hymns of Holy Refreshment.” From members of our own fellowship we have received many courtesies in the permission to use their works, original and selected, to which much of what is most valuable in this collection is due.
In selecting the tunes, no fixed rule has been followed. The old and long familiar have been generally preferred, but not to the exclusion of more recent compositions, when these approved themselves as well adapted for the object of the work. While the aim has been to promote a higher taste, it has not been assumed to be the function of this book to correct bad taste, or to compel the exclusive use of music scientifically correct, but to put into an available form the best selection of tunes actually known and approved among us.
In arranging the tunes, it has been the usual course to place. two of similar metre on the pages facing each other, and of such a kind that in some respect one should be the complement of the other ; an old tune facing a newer one; a simpler, one more difficult; a quieter, one more lively, &c., so as to allow of more freedom of choice, and to extend the range of tunes available for congregational use.
The chants, with a few exceptions, are intended to supply music for the selections introduced in the Liturgy, leaving it open to choirs to substitute other music of a richer or more difficult order, according to their ability and taste.
A special business arrangement has been made for the use of tunes of which Messrs. MASON BROTHERS are owners of the copyright; and it is to be understood, that all tunes taken from their publications are used by their permission. A similar arrangement has been made for the use of tunes from the collections published by O. DITSON & Co., with whose kind consent also free resort has