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SERVICES OF THE CHURCH,
OXFOED And LONDON:
M DCCC LVI.
A Few words of Preface seem needed for this new Compilation of Hymns.
It is unquestionable, that all Hymns for general use ought to be at once fervent, reverent, expressive of the Christian Faith, easily intelligible, and, in poetical merit, not unworthy of their high subject. All such Hymns as are cold, irreverent, erroneous in doctrine, obscure, insipid, or prosaic, are evidently out of place in a Christian Hymn-book.
It is unnecessary to say much against the exclusive use of the " Old and New Versions of the Psalms," which, although never sanctioned by the authority of the Church, are found at the end of some Prayer-books: nor is this the place for a criticism in detail of these collections. But it may be well to observe, that the Inspired Psalms have their proper place in the Service, where they may be found in all their beauty and integrity. There would seem to be an inherent hopelessness in the attempt to translate them into a metrical form; and it cannot be maintained that any, even the best, version of the Prophetical Psalmody of the Old Testament can b
be perfectly adequate, alone, to express the feelings of those who live in the fuller light of the Christian Dispensation. A few of the best verses, in our judgment, of the Metrical Psalms from the Old and New Versions, will be found in this book.
"With this conviction, it has been our most earnest endeavour to collect from every quarter all such Hymns as combine the essential qualities of a good Hymn; and we hope and believe that few of real excellence have been omitted. Some in this collection are ancient, some modern, very few only are original. The entire number may appear small; but we feel persuaded that it will be found quite large enough for practical purposes.
"We have appended, in the Second Part, several beautiful Hymns for private use, which are less suitable for public worship.
In attempting to make a Hymn-book worthy to come into general use, we have felt ourselves not only authorized, but under a positive obligation, to alter, as best we could, all faulty passages in the Hymns which we have chosen. This has often been done before; and obviously must be done, whenever, as often is the case, a long Hymn requires to be abridged. In truth, every published Hymn must be regarded as public property, devoted to the good of the Church of Christ.
We have spared ourselves no trouble in preparing this little book. May our labours be prospered, by the blessing of our Lord, to His glory, and to the edification of His Church!
Some expressions in the Preface have been modified, in consequence of having been misunderstood.