« ZurückWeiter »
SOME years ago an experiment was made of a Hymnbook which should be suitable not only for Public Worship, but for Private Worship and for Children. The Hymns were arranged in these three divisions, alphabetically in each; and they were chosen for the most part from such as had the double sanction of worthiness and of common use. The experiment, though conducted on a small scale, was so successful, and attracted so much unexpected notice and approval, that, instead of issuing a new edition, it was determined to reconstruct the book.
The selection has been guided by the same principles, and the same order has been observed in the arrangement. The hymns for Public Worship are chiefly those which are familiar, which the common consent of Christians has approved ; and in introducing as well as in rejecting others, the Editor has been guided not only by the merits of the hymn, but by its subject. Many hymns have been excluded, not because they are inferior to those that were adopted, but because the subject was already sufficiently illustrated, and some, because, however admirable, they were not so simple as that the poor and unlearned of the congregation could make them their own. In the hymns for Family and Private Worship, this rule has not been so strictly followed, and the line between the two parts has not been so rigidly drawn but that some hymns in each will be found admissible in the other. A place has also been found here for some which, however broad and congregational in their character, yet, being translations and in unfamiliar metres, have not become rooted among us; and one or two, such as 427, would have been inserted in the first part, but that it was already in type. The hymns for Children have been separately numbered, to prevent those who use them from being puzzled by what would otherwise have been the highest figures; but they are an integral part of the book, from which they are not intended to be detached, and which necessarily includes in its other divisions hymns which children ought to know.
The text has received especial care, and where usage and propriety have not sanctioned an alteration, it has been restored to the form which the authors themselves considered the best. When
changes have been allowed, the original, if it was possible to procure it, has been inserted in the Notes, where also every stanza omitted is pointed out and the more important stanzas are supplied in full. In the second part, the hymns have been printed at greater length; but in the first, the requirements of public worship rendered curtailment frequently indispensable. Two hymns, 470 and C79, have been inserted, at the request of their authors, in their original as well as in their ordinary form.
An attempt has been made in a Biographical Index to supply information hitherto accessible only to a few. A slight sketch is furnished of the life of every author whose hymns have been used and who could be identified ; the works in which their hymns first appeared, and the date of publication, are noted; where it was possible to ascertain the date when a hymn was composed it has been inserted; and the hymns selected for the book are referred in every case to the original source from which they were taken. When the hymn is a translation, the first line of the original is always given; and the hymn will be found both under the name of the author and translator: some of these hymns have not been distinctly traced till now.
The tried convenience of an alphabetical arrangement has led to its adoption, and to compensate for its drawbacks there is a full Index of Subjects, in