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The

Plymouth Hymnal

For the Church
the Social Meeting

and the Home

Edited by Lyman Abbott

With the coöperation of Charles H. Morse and

Herbert Vaughan Abbott

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Preface

T has been the aim of the Editor to make this Hymnal a

discriminating selection, not a comprehensive collection, of sacred song

For this purpose more than five thousand hymns and poems have been critically examined, and as many tunes.

This selection has been based on the belief

that beauty of form and depth of feeling are consistent, not inconsistent, qualities; that the act of worship calls for man's highest powers, — moral, intellectual, and ästhetic; that the perfunctory and the didactic, no less than the merely quaint and the ingenious, have no place in public devotions; and that a hymn is all the profounder expression of universal experience for being so heartfelt an expression of its author's experience as to be pervaded by his individuality, and even touched by his idiosyncrasies.

The Editor has not asked that the hymns he has selected should conform to any school of thought or any customary mode of expression. He has laid stress on intrinsic excellence alone, which he has not thought should be sacrificed to merely temporary convenience or musical effect or ecclesiastical habit. He has drawn from all sources, — the English of Dryden and of Carlyle; the German of Luther and of Goethe; the Danish of Hans Christian Andersen ; the French of Lamartine and Madame Guyon ; the mediæval Greek and Latin; the American verse of Longfellow, Bryant, Holmes, Whittier, Harriet Beecher Stowe. In a similar spirit, all phases of Christian experience, — the Arminian and the Calvinistic, the tender and the strong, the distinctively personal and the ecclesiastical, — he has sought to represent.

Hymns intended for public worship should be expressions either of prayer, of praise, of consecration, or invitations thereto. With rare exceptions, only such are to be found in this Hymnal. Poems adapted for devotional reading, such as Keble's narrative, “When God of old came down from Heaven," and metrical definitions of doctrine or of spiritual experience, such as Montgomery's descriptive verse, “Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,” however beautiful they may be, are not included.

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