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from the best authors in these United Kingdoms and America, will meet with general approbation.
This work, like Doctor Watts's FOURTH book, is arranged in an alphabetical order. Each new subject begins with L. M. C.M. S. M. &c. The first alphabetical order contains the Perfections of God; the second, the Characters and Titles of Christ; the third, the General Subjects.
I have endeavored to ascertain the Author of every hymn. In some cases my enquiries have been fruitless, and I have consequently said, Anon, (anonymous), Those verses which may, for the sake of brevity, be omitted, without destroying the unity, and connection of the hymn, are included in crotchets (). The lines or verses marked with single inverted commas, are those which I have deemed necessary to add, for the sake of giving a fulness or expression to the whole. The occasional alterations which will be observed in some hymns, are not, of course, in. tended to lessen their excellency, but to suit them to a particular subject for which they were not originally designed ; or to give a greater smoothness to the versification. After all, I am ready to acknowledge that many of the verses are rather rhyme than poetry; and, while they deprecate the severity of criticism, must rest their claims to regard on their sentiment and spirit. They will, as far as I can judge, be found full of the doctrines of grace, and the experience of those to whom Christ, in all his Characters, Offices, and Relations, is precious. In these superior excellencies, this edition is, I hope, equal to any that has yet appeared ; and will, with Doctor Watts's Psalms and Hymns, in four books, be sufficient for any church of Christ, in any cir. cumstances, and on all subjects.
The subjects in this volume, which are various, are adapted to console the saint and awaken the sinner-are suited equally for the public worship of God, the closet, and the family. And, as singing in families is an uncommon, though necessary part of worship, I embrace this opportunity of presenting to the reader the words of an old writer:" As the increase or decay " of christian piety is generally accompanied with the use or "neglect of family worship, so the duty is more or less defeca
" tive as singing in families is more or less used. If christians " would but consider the great necessity and usefulness of this " duty, and the decay of religion and piety that attends the neg" lect of it ; and if they had a due regard to their own souls, "the good of mankind, and the glory of God, surely they could "not make so light of it. I wish that all who make a profes"sion of religion would more seriously consider the happiness “ that results from it. The closet is a sweet employment, but "we should not, by any means, cause family worship and singu ing to be neglected thereby. Why should we be ashamed to " let our neighbors know that we owned and praised God in " our families as well as in our churches? The fear of being, " thought singular appears to be one great cause of this neglect. “ If those persons would consider how great a. Benefactor Ala "mighty God is to them, they would find no reasonable plea “ for the neglect of it. Let every one consider that the most “ ready and effectual means to make it universal is, for every “ family to begin. So let our light shine that others also may “glorify our Father which is in heaven. I appeal to any reli"gious person, whether they have not been much affected when " (as they occasionally walked the streets) they have heard a “ family thus employed. The occasion of the Jailor's convera “sion, was by the singing of Paul and Silas; and we know not " how many persons may be converted by our practising this “ duty ; and this I may say, that it is a very ready way to dis“ countenance profane songs, and to promote religion. O that " it could be said of us, as it was of the primitive christians, “ who, instead of profane songs, used nothing but spiritual and m divine hymns ; so that, (as St. Jerom relates of the place " where he lived), you could not go into the field, but you might W hear the ploughinan at his hallelujahs, the mower at his ** "hyinns, and the vine-dresser singing David's Psalms."
Ideem it unnecessary to make any apology for taking many of the following hymns from authors who differ in doctrinal sentiments from myself, and the churches with which I am connected. The hymns, themselves, superior in their kind, and on subyacts in which all real christians agree, must and will be their own apology.
Committing all my imperfect, but well-meant labors to the blessing of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, whose honor alone has, I trust, been my motive for engaging in them, and to the candor of the christian church, I remain, with unceasing affection, to all that love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, their brother and servant, for Jesus' sake.
JOHN DOBELL. Poole, Dorset, March 1st, 1806.
TO FIND ANY HYMN BY THE FIRST LINE,
ACCEPT, O Lord, our songs of praise
Awake, and sing the song
Cast thy burdens on, the Lord: