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from the best authors in these United Kingdoms and America, will meet with general approbation.
This work, like Doctor Wutts's FOURTH book, is arranged in an alphabetical order. Each new subject begins with L. M. C.M. S. M. &c. The first alphabetical order contains the Perfections of God; the second, the Characters'and Titles of Christ; the third, the General Subjects.
I have endeavored to ascertain the Author of every hymn. In some cases my enquiries have been fruitless, and I have consequently said, Anon, (anonyinous). Those verses which may, for the sake of brevity, be omitted, without destroying the unity and connection of the hymn, are included in crotchets [ ]. The lines or verses marked with single iriverted commas, are those which I have deemed necessary to add, for the sake of giving a fulness or expression to the whole. The occasional alterations which will be observed in some hymns, are not, of course, in. tended to lessen their excellency, but to suit them to a particular subject for which they were not originally designed; or to give a greater smoothness to the versification. After all, I am ready to acknowledge that many of the verses are rather rhyme than poetry; and, while they deprecate the severity of criticism, must rest their claiins to regard on their sentiment and spirit, They will, as far as I can judge, be found full of the doctrines of grace, and the experience of those to whom Christ, in all his Characters, Offices, and Relations, is precious. In these superior excellencies, this edition is, I hope, equal to any that has yet appeared; and will, with Doctor IVatts's Psalms and Hymns, in four books, be sufficient for any church of Christ, in any ciricumstances, and on all subjects.
The subjects in this volume, which are various, are adapted to console the saint and awaken the sinner-are suited equally for the public worship of God, the closet, and the family. And, as singing in families is an uncommon, though necessary part of worship, I embrace this opportunity of presenting to the reader the words of an old writer :-“ As the increase or decay “ of christian piety is generally accompanied with the use or. “ neglect of family worship, so the duty is more or less defec
" tive as singing in families is more or less used. If christians " would but consider the great necessity and usefulness of this “ duty, and the decay of religion and piety that attends the neg. “lect of it ; and if they had a due regard to their own souls, " the good of mankind, and the glory of God, surely they could “ not make so light of it. I wish that all who make a profes“sion of religion would more seriously consider the happiness ** that results froin it. The closet is a sweet employment, but
we should not, by any means, cause family worship and sing“ing to be neglected thereby. Why should we be ashamed to " let our neighbors know that we owned and praised God in
our families as well as in our churches? The fear of being " thought singular appears to be one great cause of this neglect. " If those persons would consider how great a Benefactor Al. “ mighty God is to them, they would find no reasonable plea " for the neglect of it. Let every one consider that the most " ready and effectual means to make it universal is, for every
fainily to begin. So let our light shine that others also may
glorify our Father which is in heaven. I appeal to any reli“ gious person, whether they have not been much affected when “ (as they occasionally walked the streets) they have heard a “ family thus employed. The occasion of the Jailor's conver“sion, was by the singing of Paul and Silas ; and we know not “ how many persons may be converted by our practising this " duty; and this I may say, that it is a very ready way to dis
countenance profane songs, and to promote religion. O that "" it could be said of us, as it was of the primitive christians, “ who, instead of profane songs, used nothing but spiritual and “ divine hymns ; so that, (as St. Jerom relates of the place " where he lived), you could not go into the field, but you might “ hear the ploughman at his hallelujahs, the mower at his “ hymns, and the vine-dresser singing David's Psalms."
I deem it unnecessary to make any apology for taking many of the following hymns from authors who differ in doctrinal sentiments from myself, and the churches with which I am connected The hymns, themselves, superior in their kind, and on subjects in which all real christians agree, must and will be their own apology.
: Committing all my imperfect, but well-meant labors to the blessing of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, whose honor alone has, I trust, been my motive for engaging in them, and to the candor of the christian church, I remain, with unceasing affection, to all that love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, their brother and servant, for Jesus sake.
JOHN DOBELLPoole, Dorset, March 1st, 1806.
TO FIND ANY HYMN BY THE FIRST LINE.
A debtor to mercy alone
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Bright as the sun's meridian blaze