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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1844, by WM. CRosBY AND H. P. Nichols,
in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court for the District of -- Massachusetts.
THE following Collection of Hymns has been compiled by a Committee of the Cheshire Pastoral Association. The work was undertaken to meet the wants of several societies within its own limits, and may not, therefore, have a very extended circulation beyond them; for many compilations already engage public attention and patronage. Our object has been to make a selection embracing a large number and variety of hymns, adapted to all the purposes of public and private worship, and one which at the same time might be furnished at a low price.
We have sought to give it a lyrical character, and thus adapt it to the choir as well as to the pulpit. In pursuance of this idea, a greater variety of metres than usual has been introduced. By selecting also a large amount of introductory and closing hymns for worship, and by paying special regard to the Christian ordinances, to funeral and mourning occasions, to social and domestic worship, and to philanthropic, national, annual, and missionary celebrations, we have endeavoured to provide for wants which have not hitherto been sufficiently considered. Above all, we have made it our chief aim to give an earnest Scriptural tone to the work, by gathering together in one all the noblest strains of devotional poetry from whatever quarter and denomination, provided the sentiments were not inconsistent with our own faith. But if there should appear, here and there, the glimpse of a discarded doctrine, or the remnant of an antiquated creed, let it be remembered how difficult and ungracious a task it is to fetter the free wing of a rapt imagination and enkindled heart, though reason may sometimes pause and judgment condemn. We have culled from a most extensive field of both the later and the earlier poets, and have introduced not a few hymns of merit, which have appeared in no previous compilation. Slight alterations have occasionally been made, but we have preferred to restore rather than to change. While we have wished to assemble the holy minstrels of every name and church in a loving brotherhood of harmony and devotion, that should make us forget, if possible, 'while singing the praises of God, the jars and discords of the great Christian family, we have, nevertheless, welcomed with a peculiar delight “the goodly fellowship” of our own sweet singers. We are indebted to the names of Adams, Barbauld, Bowring, Bryant, Bulfinch, Flint, Follen, Frothingham, Furness, Gilman, Moore, Norton, Peabody, Pierpont, and Ware for some of the finest hymns in the English language.
To those friends, who have kindly afforded us their aid in making this compilation, we would here express our thankful acknowledgments.
In the title of the book, we embody our leading idea and purpose in this enterprise, which have been to provide a collection, not of Jewish psalms or elegant songs, but essentially Christian hymns, pitched, so to say, after the grand master-tone of our faith, whatever intermingling subordinate notes they might have of joy or sorrow, encouragement or warning, praise or confession. We have striven that the high doctrines, duties, and promises of our holy religion might shine forth from these pages in their noon-day distinctness, and arrayed in all the charms of taste and melody, that the great Master might be honored with the love of his disciples, and the greater Father worshipped with the fervent adoration, praise, and thanksgiving of his children.