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Speaking to yourselves, in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY J. & J. HARPI
NO. 82 CLIFF STREET.
4 5 3 8 18 A
ASTOR, LENOX AND
[Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1833, in the Office of the Clerk of the Southern District of New York.]
SACRED music has ever been considered an essential part of the exercises of the sanctuary. It is truly a delightful privilege, as well as a duty, to which we are frequently exhorted in the holy scriptures, to celebrate the high praises of God, and to lift up our hearts with our voices "in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation."
In the performance of this sacred duty, it is highly important that a strict regard be had to the sentiments contained in the language we employ. However great may be the poetical merits of the hymn, if it be found to contain expressions at variance with, or doctrines not explicitly and clearly taught in the word of God, it should be rejected.
Acting upon this principle, the compilers of this work have endeavoured to select such hymns only, as are in strict conformity with the language of scripture, and they confidently believe they have introduced none which may not be used by any body of Christians without offence to their peculiar views in matters of doctrine.
In making their selections, the compilers have had recourse to a great variety of collections of devotional poetry, and have examined, perhaps, most of the best publications which have appeared since the time of the pious and excellent Dr. Watts. A great proportion of the hymns, however, it will be seen, are taken from the compositions of Watts, Wesley, Doddridge, Cowper, Newton, Steele, Beddome and Montgomery, who are deservedly regarded as standard authors in sacred poetry.
This selection will be found to embrace compositions upon all the prominent subjects of the scriptures, including the emblematical figures and representations in which they abound, together with a great variety of hymns expressive of the affections and emotions of
the heart under particular circumstances in life. Many of the hymns relate to the superiority and importance of the active and personal virtues, or that religion which rests not merely on speculative belief, but which changes the heart and controls the life of its possessor.
The compilers have occasionally met with hymns requiring some slight alterations, which they conceived themselves justifiable in making in order to adapt them to the general plan and character of the work. Few alterations have, however, been made, except in changing the singular number into the plural, where it could be done without affecting the measure or harmony of the verse, the plural form of expression being considered more appropriate in social worship.
In the general arrangement of the work, it has been thought judicious to appropriate one portion to the psalms, another to the hymns, and a third to the spiritual songs. The several parts of each psalm, are arranged according to their metres, and numbered continuously. The hymns are distributed under their proper heads, and the songs are placed at the close of the book, and arranged under running titles as far as was practicable.
In the index to the first lines, and also in that to the subjects, the psalms, hymns and spiritual songs are referred to indiscriminately, and the reference is always to the page.
With these remarks and explanations the compilers submit this work, on which they have expended much time and labour, to the christian public. And, at the same time, they would affectionately urge the importance of singing "with the spirit and with the understanding also." Let the purport and energy of the sentiments contained in the hymn, be transfused into the heart, and we shall thus avoid the imputation of offering to the Most High the homage of our lips, while our hearts are cold and unmoved; and thus will God indeed be worshipped in his earthly temple. THE COMPILERS.
York, March, 1833.