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Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1837,
By B. B. MUSSEY, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
STEREOTYPED BY E. SHEPARD AND CO.
The following Collection contains a greater number of hymns and probably a greater variety of topics, than any compilation hitherto made for the use of Universalist churches in this country. I will not say that it excells also in the character of the selections. It is hoped, however, that in this respect it will be found equal to other works of the kind, justly approved among us.
It has been my aim to furnish, l. a good supply of hymns for exercises purely devotional ; 2. hymns adapted to every special occasion that may be observed in our churches, or occur in the labors of the ministry; 3. hymns on all the subjects commonly urged from our pulpits, so far as they are compatible with the spirit of sacred song; and 4. hymns for private and domestic use.
In selecting for these purposes, I have paid particular attention to what I deemed correctness of sentiment on all of the important points; allowing, however, free scope to poetic figure and imagery, in the form of expression. With regard to character, style, &c., it has been my wish to exclude, on the one hand, all effeminate, insipid nicety-every thing in which cordiality and fervor are sacrificed to formal correctness; and, on the other, all downright awkwardness, fondling endearments, puerile sentimentality, and rant. It should be observed that not every species even of good poetry, and of the religious kind, suitable for hymns. They should be as plain as possible, easy in their versification, and yet full of vige
orous or moving spirit. On very impressive subjects, the austerest simplicity is doubtless preferable to the more brilliant style which is too often sought after. I cannot say that I have not, at times, erred in some of these respects. There may be a few pieces too wild and sparkling for hymns; and others, again, that sink down towards prosaic flatness.
The names of the authors, so far as I have been able to ascertain them, are prefixed. I had wished to insert the hymns just as their authors left them, only omitting such stanzas as were superfluous or objectionable. But after spending a considerable time in tracing them back to their original state, and finding that many, which were excellent on the whole, did absolutely require some changes, I concluded to take them in the best form in which I could find them, and sometimes to venture my own hand at their improvenent. But in every case of known alteration, (except bare omission,) I have been scrupulous to signify the fact by prefixing a star [*] to the author's name. As for the anonymous hymns, I could seldom determine what was their original state ; and in them, changes have been admitted or made, without notice. The alterations, after all, will be found, I think, to be much less, than in sɔme compilations which make greater professions of adhering to the originals.
The book is now humbly submitted, with an earnest prayer that it may prove an effic aid to the spirit of devotion both in public and in private. Roxbury. February, 1837.
HOSEA BALLOU, 2D.
INDEX OF FIRST LINES.
ABIDE with us,—the evening shades
BEFORE Jehovah's awful throne
Before the rosy dawn of day