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In Three Books.
ON SELECT PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE.
ON OCCASIONAL SUBJECTS.
ON THE RISE, PROGRESS, CHANGES, AND COMFORTS
JAMES TAYLOR, 31 CASTLE STREET.
LONDON: HAMILTON, ADAMS AND CO.
147. g. 557.
COPIES of a few of these Hymns have already appeared in periodical publications and in some recent collections. have observed one or two of them attributed to persons who certainly had no concern in them but as transcribers. All that have been at different times parted with in manuscript are included in the present volume; and (if the information were of any great importance) the public may be assured that the whole number were composed by two persons only. The original design would not admit of any other association. A desire of promoting the faith and comfort of sincere Christians, though the principal, was not the only motive to this undertaking. It was likewise intended as a monument, to perpetuate the remembrance of an intimate and endeared friendship. With this pleasing view I entered upon my part, which would have been smaller than it is, and the book would have appeared much sooner, and in a very different form, if the wise though mysterious providence of God had not seen fit to cross my wishes. We had not proceeded far upon our proposed plan, before my dear friend was prevented, by a long and affecting indisposition, from affording me any further assistance. My grief and disappointment were great; I hung my harp upon the willows, and for some time thought myself determined to proceed no further without him. Yet my mind was afterwards led to resume the service. My
progress in it, amidst a variety of other engagements, has been slow; yet, in a course of years, the Hymns amounted to a considerable number; and my deference to the judgment and desires of others has at length overcome the reluctance I long felt to see them in print, while I had so few of my friend's* Hymns to insert in the collection. Though it is possible a good judge of composition might be able to distinguish those which are his, I have thought it proper to preclude misapplication, by prefixing the letter C. to each of them. For the rest I must be responsible.
As the workings of the heart of man, and of the Spirit of God, are in general the same in all who are the subjects of grace, I hope most of these Hymns, being the fruit and expression of my own experience, will coincide with the views of real Christians of all denominations. But I cannot expect that every sentiment I have advanced will be universally approved. However, I am not conscious of having written a single line with an intention either to flatter or to offend any party or person upon earth. I have simply declared my own views and feelings, as I might have done if I had composed hymns in some of the newly discovered islands in the South Sea, where no person had any knowledge of the name of Jesus but myself. I am a friend of peace; and being deeply convinced that no one can profitably understand the great truths and doctrines of the Gospel any further than he is taught of God, I have not a wish to obtrude my own tenets upon others in a way of controversy; yet I do not think myself bound to conceal them. Many gracious persons (for many such I am persuaded there are) who differ from me, more or less, in those points which are called Calvinistic, appeared desirous that the Calvinists should, for their sakes, studiously avoid every expression which they cannot approve. Yet few of
*Cowper, Author of the Task,' etc.
them, I believe, impose a like restraint upon themselves, but think the importance of what they deem to be truth justifies them in speaking their sentiments plainly and strongly. May I not plead for an equal liberty? The views I have received of the doctrines of grace are essential to my peace: I could not live comfortably a day or an hour without them. I likewise believe, yea, so far as my poor attainments warrant me to speak, I know them to be friendly to holiness, and to have a direct influence in producing and maintaining a gospel conversation; and therefore I must not be ashamed of them.
The Hymns are distributed into three Books. In the first I have classed those which are formed upon select passages of Scripture, and placed them in the order of the Books of the Old and New Testament. The second contains occasional Hymns, suited to particular seasons, or suggested by particular events or subjects. The third book is miscellaneous, comprising a variety of subjects relative to a life of faith in the Son of God, which have no express reference either to a single text of Scripture, or to any determinate season or incident. These are further subdivided into distinct heads. This arrangement is not so accurate but that several of the Hymns might have been differently disposed. Some attention to method may be found convenient, though a logical exactness was hardly practicable. As some subjects in the several books are nearly coincident, I have, under the divisions in the third book, pointed out those which are similar in the two former. And I have likewise here and there, in the first and second, made a reference to Hymns of a like import in the third.
This publication-which, with my humble prayer to the Lord for His blessing upon it, I offer to the service and acceptance of all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in, sin