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THE FIRST EDITION.
THERE are so many Collections of Hymns submitted to the religious public, of undoubted excellence and usefulness, as to render the present selection an intrusion, if it cannot justly lay claim to some peculiar advantages. The circumstance which first gave rise to this work, was the want of a proper Collection of Hymns suited to my Catechetical Seminary assembling on the afternoon of the Sabbath day. Hymns for Sabbath Schools were found adapted to a class of children very differently situated, and other hymn books were too voluminous and expensive. In my Catechetical Seminary, many of the pupils are advanced beyond the period of childhood, and a very considerable proportion have received the advantage of a liberal education. It was also an object, in preparing this work, that it should be adapted to the purposes of public worship in the congregation, particularly on a Sabbath evening. Popular hymns, not found in the books generally used by the congregation, have, on par
ticular occasions, been introduced: the lively and striking manner in which they have been sung, gives much encouragement for bringing forward the present compilation.
It now remains, that mention be made of the advantages of this work, which may entitle it to the patronage and acceptance of our congregation. In other hymn books there are many hymns too long for the purposes of public worship. In this work, long hymns are shortened, some words and lines have been altered, but care has been taken not to disturb the sense of the original authors. It was desirable that this Collection should contain, at a small price, a great variety of hymns and measures; and it will be found, that this variety is greater than in any other. It embraces the grand leading doctrines of our holy faith, and contains a great many subjects adapted to youth. It is intended as Companion to Dr. Watts's Psalms and Hymns, where that excellent work has been used; consequently, it does not interfere with it: yet, this Companion is enriched with various beautiful compositions from the Miscellanies of that distinguished author. It will be found, on strict perusal, that some subjects are not noticed in the Table of Contents; such as the Lord's Supper, there being an ample supply on that and some other particular points in Dr. Watts; although there are many hymns in this
Collection, under the heads of Christ, Spirit, Church, &c. quite applicable to that and other subjects.
Very great attention has been paid to the adaptation of tunes to the sense and subject of the hymns; and particularly in the application of repeating tunes. The expression of the music has been studied. Too few consider that the benefit of music is lost, where it is without expression: in this case it can never fire the soul with the fervour of sacred devotion. This work contains verses adapted to various popular airs and pieces, such as Denmark, Sheffield, Poland, &c.; also, a favourite air and chorus in Handel's Oratorio of Judas Maccabees, the latter of which is very suitable to missionary occasions. In the arrangement of the hymns, it was thought desirable to class them according to their measures, which will not only be assisting the precentor, by preventing mistakes in the setting a wrong tune to the hymn, which too frequently occurs, but will very much supersede the necessity of an enlarged Index. At the close of the hymns are added various sentences, chiefly from the Scriptures. These are inserted in the hope that, at no very distant period, such improvement will be made in the different congregations, that ey may be sung, on suitable occasions, by the general assembly of worshippers, with the same readiness as the most familiar tunes now are, being adapted to plain, easy
music. If the Scottish version is so acceptable to many in the churches, on cccount of its near approach to our approved translation, how much more acceptable must it be to sing in the very words of that Holy Book. One great object of this work has been, lively singing. Many ministers can give their testimony, how often lively preaching has been the consequence of lively singing. The pastor of Albion Chapel congregation has, in more instances than can be mentioned, felt, under God, his mind animated by the judicious use of tunes, sung in an expressive manner; and in many cases has derived, from the same cause, most material support in the delivery of divine truth. If great prophets, in ancient days, who had the gift of immediate inspiration, needed the aid of music, how much more do ministers, in these latter days, need its assistance. Nor are instances wanting to prove its beneficial effects among hearers of the gospel. Often has lively, animating singing, before the sermon, been the means of checking or removing drowsiness; while strangers have been invited by its due performance, and their attention has been drawn through its medium, to listen to the Word of Life, which, through the aid of the Holy Spirit, has been fastened "as a nail in a sure place:" the name of the preacher has sometimes been forgotten, but the means and the benefit have never escaped their remembrance.