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I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.-St. Paul.
Stereotyped by J. Fagan......Philadelphia.
Entered, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1843,
BY G IHO N, FAIR CHILD, & C O., In the clerk's office of the district court of the eastern district of Pennsylvania.
Many persons of piety and good taste in literature, have lamented the prosaic and inelegant style of most of the hymns and spiritual songs in general use. Watts, Rippon, the Wesleys, and other devout men, have undoubted claims to our grateful regard for their lyrical compositions—but we should not so reverence their labors as to forego the advantages of improvement.
In the preparation of the selected hymns in this volume, I profess to have disregarded the originals, wherever departure therefrom appeared desirable. Extensive alterations have been made in imagery, expression, rhythm and rhyme. In some cases, the hymns have been so remodelled as to present slight indications of their primitive form, and in many instances new stanzas have been substituted for exscinded portions. For this reason, the names of authors are omitted, and the alterations are not in any way designated. It is believed that much has been done in the way of improvement—and conceded, that much more remains to be accomplished. Many original hymns are inserted. To some of them the initials of the writers are affixed, and the authorship of others is acknowledged in the Index. These are not presented as specimens of what sacred lyrical poetry should be—but as a contribution to the materials from which a volume of better compositions may hereafter be arranged.
In the preparation of the music, simplicity and variety were consulted. The tunes are generally easy of execution; and a sufficient number is furnished to gratify every reasonable taste. The solemnity of Old Hundred, and other pieces of the olden time; the brilliancy of Refuge and Gospel Banner; the exultation of Ilford and Creation; and the pathos of Benneville and kindred harmonies,<are here presented in varied but not incongruous affinity. And believing that many of the most beautiful secular melodies might be profitably appropriated to devotional purposes, a number of them have been harmonized and inserted in this work. Care has been taken to select such as are disconnected with improper associations. But should some pious persons disapprove this appropriation, they may set aside the harmonies referred to, and find herein a sufficient variety of music originally composed for religious use.
In some of the tunes, those who have studied music as a science will find deviations from established rules. Were the book prepared exclusively for the use of scientific persons, these deviations would be excluded—but it should be remembered that a tune which is condemned as a barbarism by one, may be highly valued by another—and since a sufficient variety is presented to gratify the taste of all, without injury to any, it is hoped that occasional eccentricity will be considered admissible, even by musical critics.