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Explaining the object and nature of the work.

THE object of this compilation was to furnish to families and churches a collection of devout hymns, fufficiently numerous and various, for the purposes of focial worship, and at the fame time, as far as could be, neither offenfive nor disgustful to any ferious chriftian, in point either of doctrine, fentiment, or language. To attain this end, every liberty has been taken of tranfpofing, altering, retrenching, adding; and the whole has been fubmitted to the cenfure of several of the compiler's friends, who have long wished for a felection of this kind, and whose knowledge, taste, and devotional turn of mind, qualified them to judge of the work and to improve it. It was meant that nothing, of whatever nature, fhould occur in the pieces which compofe this little volume, to embarrass or interrupt the devotion of the worshipper; and it is hoped they will be found capable both of expreffing and promoting all the good affections in which the chriftian character confifts.


PEICH. 27 MAN- 1801



The principles upon which this selection has been made are thefe,

That no compofition, confifting merely of ideas and propofitions, unaccompanied with fentiments, can properly be fet to mufic: Who would fing Locke's Effay, or Euclid's Elements, or a Confeffion of Faith, or an Act of Parliament ?

That fentiments unconnected, or not closely connected, with devotion, fuch, for instance, as arise folely from pure picturefque description of natural scenes, are not proper fubjects of facred mufic: Let me be permitted, fince no other inftances at this moment occur to me, to exemplify this obfervation in much of the fecond and fourth ftanzas of Addison's twentythird pfalm; of Dr. Watts' hymn, beginning with, "There is a land of pure delight;" and of Mrs. Barbauld's hymn, beginning thus, Jehovah reigns, let every nation hear."


That whatever fentiments may properly be addreffed to God in plain unmeafured language, and mere articulate enunciation, may, at leaft, as properly be expreffed in the figurative language

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