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In the present collection, those pieces which are founded on passages of scripture, including therefore the versions from the Psalms, are intermingled with the rest of the volume. In thus doing, the example has been followed, of all recent compilers of any note ; who have abandoned the practice as needless and unwise, of giving a distinct and entire classification of the Psalms of David. The judicious mind at once perceives how unnatural and absurd must be the attempt to transfer many of these compositions, strictly national, local or personal in their subject, to the condition and wants of all worshippers in all ages. The scripture refer. ences have been pretixed to most perhaps of the pieces spoken of above; but in many instances, also, it has unhappily been forgotten.
The arrangement which has been preferred as most simple and convenient, it will be seen, is that of four principal sections ; with occasional pauses in the two latter, denoting the changes of topic. It has been an object of some solicitude to exhibit a variety in subject answering as far as may be, to that of our pulpit discussions, and to arrange this variety in its most natural order. It may be proper to say that the anonymous pieces are not origina' but are thus given for the most part, from norance of their primitive source.
Many of the hymns and psalms in this collection have been altered in various ways to suit the purpose of former compilers; to what extent is not always known. Some changes, though few of them very material, have been made in the present work. Of the lawfulness of this practice, much has been said, yet it cannot be here discussed at length. It will suffice to say that "it has become so common that nothing now remains but to give this notice, that no one may be misled.”.
It is hoped that devotion and taste will be found combined to a considerable extent in the present work; and the favour be secured in proportionate degree, of the serious and the refined. To such acceptance, there will be no check at least, it is thought, from the intrusion of a sectarian temper. Yet popularity is any where but of little account in the balance with truth; and least of all in a work devoted to religion. To have preserved the simplicity without losing the spirit of the gospel, has been the compiler's object and hope; and to render this offering to the cause of Christ, not unacceptable to his followers generally. With this persuasion, it is now commended to their candour, and to the blessing of Him 6 of whom and to whom and through whom are all things.”
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Absurd and vain attempt to bind