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SO *. 27 MAR. 1904
Explaining the obječt and nature of the work.
THE object of this compilation was to furnish to families and churches a collection of devout hymns, sufficiently numerous and various, for the purposes of social worship, and at the same time, as far as could be, neither offensive nor disgustful to any serious christian, in point either of doctrine, sentiment, or language. To attain this end, every liberty has been taken of transposing, altering, retrenching, adding; and the whole has been submitted to the censure of several of the compiler's friends, who have long wished for a selection 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, should occur in the pieces which compose this little volume, to embarrass or interrupt the devotion of the worshipper ; and it is hoped they will be found capable both of expressing and promoting all the good affections in which the christian character consists.
The principles upon which this selection has been made are these,
That no composition, consisting merely of ideas and propositions, unaccompanied with sentiments, can properly be set to music : Who would fing Locke's Effay, or Euclid's Elements, or a Confession of Faith, or an Act of Parliament?
That sentiments unconnected, or not closely connected, with devotion, such, for instance, as arise solely from pure picturesque description of natural scenes, are not proper subjects of sacred music: Let me be permitted, since no other instances at this moment. occur to me, to exemplify this observation in much of the fecond and fourth stanzas of Addison's twentythird pfalm; of Dr. Watts' hynin, 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 sentiments may properly be addressed to God in plain unmeasured language, and mere articulate enunciation, may, at least, as properly be expresied in the figurative lan