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THE publishers would state, that the Rev. Rufus Babcock, Jr., formerly pastor of the First Baptist Church in Salem, and now president of the Waterville College, has labored jointly with Messrs. Mason and Greene, the compilers of the CHURCH PsALMody, in preparing the collection of hymns here presented to the Christian public. It was also by the labors of Mr. Babcock that the Church Psalmody was revised ; some hymns being omitted, and others substituted or added, for the purpose of adapting that work for use in the Baptist Churches in the United States; which revised edition has been published under the title of MANUAL of CHRISTIAN PsALmody. In preparing the present work, the gentlemen engaged in it have coincided entirely in opinion respecting the classes of hymns from which the selection should be made, and the character which the several pieces should sustain: and the publishers believe that it contains nothing in sentiment or expression that will displease any portion of the Christian community, usually denominated evangelical, while it will be found to embrace nearly every thing important for the purposes of social and family worship.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1834, by PERKINs, MARv1N, & Co., in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
STEREOTYPED AT THE
THE compilers of CHURCH PsALM opy, and the MANUAL of CHRisti AN PsALM opy, have frequently been solicited to prepare such an abridgment of those works as should be more especially adapted to use in smaller assemblies of Christian worshippers. With these solicitations they have now undertaken to comply, hoping that by such an attempt they might do something promotive of a purer taste, and of a more elevated, ardent, and consistent devotion in those assemblies where social praise constitutes a very important and interesting part of the services.
The design of the compilers has been to furnish a collection of hymns suitable for use in social religious meetings of all descriptions, and in family and private worship ; which should, at the same time, embrace hymns on stich a variety of topics, and of so elevated a character, that it might be used, where circumstances should require it, in the public worship of the sanctuary.
In selecting the materials, those psalms and hymns, in the larger collections just named, which seemed well adapted to the purposes of this, have been inserted, constituting about three fourths of the whole of this work. The remainder have been gathered from a great number of other collections and authors. About twenty of the pieces are original—written expressly for this work, and for the SPIRITUAL So Nas, from which they were taken by permission. As this book is not designed to be supplementary to any other, the hymns of Dr. Watts and other standard authors of lyric poetry, which seemed best adapted to its object, have been inserted. This, while it will gratify those who admire these authors, will present all the hymns of the desired character together, and thus prevent the inconvenience and confusion of using different books at the same meetings. The same general principles which are stated at considerable length in the preface to the larger works referred to, as having guided the compilers in selecting and preparing the materials for those, have been adhered to in making this collection. The aim has been to have every hymn conformed, in a good measure, to the requisitions of a correct taste, and to be of a truly lyrical character—capable of being set to music and sung with ease and spirit. That the principles of lyrical taste, heretofore advocated, should have secured such a degree of public approbation, as various circumstances show that they have already secured, is more than could have been expected ; and should be hailed with a gratification proportioned to their importance to the cause of sacred music. A few hymns have been admitted to this collection, of a more free and familiar character than would have been thought desirable in a work designed specially for Sabbath and congregational worship. The large number of pieces in peculiar measure, have been inserted, because they were thought to possess intrinsic excellence sufficient to entitle them to a place, or because they were associated with favorite tunes, or were suited, on some other account, to be useful as “spiritual songs.” The compilers trust that they are not wholly unaware of the high responsibility which they have assumed, in preparing for the Christian public collections of hymns, which, if adopted, must tend so greatly to promote the cause of truth or error, and to invigorate or chill the piety of God’s people: and they would consider themselves altogether unfaithful to their trust, if they could have consented to make the inculcation of correct religious sentiment subordinate to any other consideration. It has, therefore, been their constant endeavor to see that nothing should find a place here, which is not strictly in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Spirit. This they would regard as of peculiar importance in this collection, which they have aimed to adapt especially to the meetings and instructions connected with revivals of religion; and they would hope and pray that the pieces of this book may be found promoting, not impeding, the enlightening and sanctifying influences of that Divine Agent; and that, wherever they are sung, He may be present, to impress the truths on the minds of the worshippers, and to enable them to worship in spirit and in truth. Still, the compilers do not venture to hope that all the truth of God is embodied here ; nor that a full developement is made of all which every person may regard as important truth. This and all similar compilations must probably remain liable to objection, on account of their supposed or real deficiencies. The only reply is, as heretofore, that, on the most important topics, all the pieces have been inserted that seemed worthy of a place in so limited a collection. It requires but a moment's reflection to render it obvious, that a collection of hymns is not an appropriate place for a full and minute specification of the points in technical theology. Many things which would be proper, and even indispensable, in our confessions of faith, would be sadly out of place in our lyrical devotions. Nor has it seemed necessary to retain, in this abridgment, hymns having special reference to the Christian ordinances, as those are already provided in the larger collections, with which each denomination of Christians is already supplied. With fervent desires that this book may assist all those who use it to make melody in their hearts to the Lord, and thereby increase the union and spirituality of all those who ascribe PRAIs E UN to HIM THAT sit TETH on the Thros E, AND UN to THE LAMs, it is now sub
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