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Book I. On Select Texts of SCRIPTURE,
Book II. On Occafional SUBJECTS.
Book III. On the Progrefs and Changes of

Cantabitis, Arcades, inquit,

Montibus hæc veftris; foli cantare periti
Arcades. O mihi tum quam molliter offa quiefcant,
Veftra meos olim fi fiftula dicat amores!

VIRGIL, Ecl. x. 31.

And they fung as it were a new fong before the throne and no man could learn that fong, but the redeemed from the earth. Rev. xiv. 3.

As forrowful—yet alway rejoicing. 2 Cor. vi. 30


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Copies of a few of thefe Hymns have already appeared in periodical publications, and in fome recent collections. I have observed one or two of them attributed to perfons who certainly had no concern in them, but as tranfcribers. that have been at different times parted with in manufcript are included in the prefent volume; and (if the information were of any great import, ance) the Public may be affured, that the whole number were compofed by two persons only. The original defign would not admit of any other affociation. A defire of promoting the faith and comfort of fincere Chriftians, though the principal, was not the only motive to this undertaking. It was likewife intended as a monument, to perpetuate the remembrance of an intimate and endeared friend/bip. With this pleafing view, I entered upon my part, which would have been smaller than it is, and the book would have appeared much fooner, and in a very different form, if the wife, though myfterious providence of God, had not feen · fit to cross my wifbes. We had not proceeded far upon our propofed plan, before my dear friend was prevented, by a long and affecting indifpofi tion, from affording me any farther affistance. My grief and disappointment were great; I hung my harp upon the willows, and for Jome time thought myself determined to proceed no farther without him. Yet my mind was afterwards led to refume the fervice. My progress in it, amidst a variety of other engagements, has been flow; yet, in a course of years, the Hymns amounted


to a confiderable number: And my deference to the judgment and defires of others, has at length overcome the reluctance I long felt to see them in print, while I had fo few of my friend's hymns to infert in the collection. Though it is poffible a good judge of compofition might be able to diftinguifh thofe which are his, I have thought it proper to preclude a mifapplication, by prefixing the letter C to each of them. For the rest I must be responsible.

There is a fiyle and manner fuited to the com pofition of hymns, which be more fuccessfulty, or at least more eafily attained by a verfifier, may than by a poet. They should be Hymns, not Odes, if defigned for public worship, and for the ufe of plain people. Perfpicuity, fimplicity, and eafe, bould be chiefly attended to; and the imagery and colouring of poetry, if admitted at all, fhould be indulged very sparingly, and with great judgment. The late Dr Watts, many of whofe hymns are admirable patterns in this Species of writing, might, as a poet, have a right to Jay, That it cost him fome labour to refrain his fire, and to accommodate himself to the capa cities of common readers. But it would not become me to make fuch a declaration. It behoved me to do my best. But though I would not offend readers of tafte by a wilful coarfenefs and negli gence, I do not write profefedly for them. If the Lord, whom I ferve, has been pleafed to favour me with that mediocrity of talent, which may qualify me for ufefulness to the weak and the poor of his flock, without quite difgufting perfons of fuperior difcernment, I have reason to be fatisfied.

As the workings of the heart of man, and of the Spirit of God, are in general the fame in all uho are the fubjects of grace, I hope most of these


hymns, being the fruit and expreffion of my own experience, will coincide with the views of real Chriftians of all denominations. But I cannot expect that every fentiment I have advanced will be univerfally approved. However, I am not confcious of having written a fingle line with an intention either to flatter or to offend any party or perfon upon earth. I have fimply declared my own views and feelings, as I might have done if I had compofed hymns in fome of the newly-difcovered iflands in the South fea, where no perfon had any knowledge of the name of Jefus, but myfelf. 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 farther than he is taught of God, I have not a wifh to obtrude my own tenets upon others, in a way of controverfy: yet I do not think myself bound to conceal them. Many gracious perfons, (for many fuch I am perfuaded there are), who differ from me, more or less, in those points which are called Calvinistic, appear defirous that the Calvinifts fbould, for their fakes, ftudiously avoid every expreffion which they cannot approve. Yet few of them, I believe, impofe a like reftraint upon themfelves, but think the importance of what they deem to be truth juftifies them in fpeaking their fentiments plainly and strongly. May I not plead for an equal liberty? The views I have received of the doctrines of grace are effential to my peace; I could not live comfortably a day or an hour without them. I likewife believe, yea, fo 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-converfations and therefore I must not be afbamed of them..

The Hymns are distributed into three Books. In

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