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BOSTON, CHARLES TAPPAN; NEW-YORK, Saxton AND MILES J
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845,
BY JEREMIAH DAY, BENNET TYLER, ELEAZAR T. FITCH, JOEL HA WES, AND LEONARD BACON,
in trust for
THE GENERAL ASSOCIATION OF CONNECTICUT, in the Cleric's Office of the District Court of the District of Connecticut
The General Association of Connecticut have noticed, for several years, an increasing diversity in the collections of Psalms and Hymns for public worship, used in the churches under their pastoral care. Not only is the use of different collections, in churches so intimately connected with each other, attended with many inconveniences; but it is obvious that the unity and fraternal communion of the constituent portions of our ecclesiastical commonwealth, will be greatly promoted, if the churches, without any Aoridgment of their liberty, can unite in the use of one book of Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs, in all their public assemblies.
In the hope of effecting such a union, this book has been prepared by the appointment, and under the direction of the General Association of Connecticut. Correspondence and consultations have been had with committees of ecclesiastical bodies in other States, as well as with individuals, honored as pastors, or skillful in sacred song: and in various ways, much, diligence has been used to form a collection suited to the use of evangelical Christians, on all the occasions of public and private worship.
The labor of compiling and editing, has been performed chiefly by the Rev. Horace Hooker, and the Rev. Oliver Ellsworth Daggett, whom we thought it expedient to employ, because the Head of the Church seemed to us to have qualified them for such a service, and because they were able for the time, to devote themselves wholly to the work. Yet all has been done under our close and constant superintendence; for it was only in this way that we could perform the duty to which our brethren, in behalf of the churches, had called us. Hardly anything has been admitted or rejected, hardly any change of expression, however trivial,, has been made, without our express direction or consent. The wish, on our part, to include not only all such pieces as commend themselves to our judgment by their intrinsic merit, but as many as possible of those which have been endeared to evangelical believers by long familiarity, or by local or personal associations, has made the book larger than we at first designed to make it. If any favorite hymns of any pastor or congregation are omitted, the omission must be referred, in some instances, to the claims of compilers, or of their legal representatives, in whose collections those hymns appear as original,—and, in other instances, to the impossibility of including all the hymns of a particular class without making the collection too large for use. Pieces of recognized merit, such as those of Watts, will be found for the most part unaltered, even when some slight improvement seemed to be in itself both practicable and desirable. Compositions less hallowed by long use in our churches, have been more freely corrected to adapt them to the work, to remove offenses against taste, and to make the form and expression more lyrical.
To all, then, in every place, who, in our language, worship God through Jesus Christ, and especially to those who hold the faith ana walk in the order of the ancient New England churches, we present this book with the prayer, that it may be for their edification, and for the honor of Christ, to whom be glory in the church forever.
FOR THE USE OF THIS BOOK.
I. To PASTORS, A,ND OTHERS CONDUCTING PUBLIC WORSHIP.
1. The use of the Psalm or Hymn, by a public assembly, ought to be an act of united worship. Hymns, therefore, of an argumentative or hortatory character, can rarely be used with propriety. For that reason, only a few pieces exclusively hortatory, have been admitted into this collection. The subject of the sermon, or the character of the occasion, may have an influence in determining the choice of pieces to be sung; yet the selection should be made chiefly with reference to the expression of those sentiments of adoration, thankfulness, confession, faith or hope, or those devout desires and impulses, which are fitly uttered in song. We may,indeed, 'teach and admonish one another in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs;' but singing should be worship, not preaching, and it can be effectual to our mutual edification, only as we 'make melody in our hearts To The Lord.'
2. The Book of Psalms is an inspired model of psalmody for the church of God, in every age. The Psalms, therefore, as versified in this collection, are distinguished from the Hymns; no piece being admitted among the Psalms, which is not a fair version of some part of the particular Psalm to which it is referred. And for the same reason, it is recommended that a due proportion of the pieces selected for use on the various occasions of public worship, and especially on the Lord's day, be selected from the Psalms.
3. The arrangement of the Hymns in this book, will be found to differ, in some respects from any hereto