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IN the compilation of this Hymnal, the chief aim has been to
produce a book sufficiently catholic to appeal to all bodies of Christians, and sufficiently varied in its contents to meet every demand of the Church for all purposes of worship.
Christian song has ever been recognized as one of the most valuable agencies in the expression of Christian truth and the developing of Christian life; but reverent and hearty expression of the sentiment embodied in the hymns can be given only when they are set to tunes that lend inspiration to congregational singing. To enhance the use of music as a means of worship has been the dominant desire in the compilation of this book.
While the important familiar hymns of the Church form the basis of the book, it is rich in modern poetry, covers a wide range of religious thought and human experience, and is especially strong in hymns that emphasize the present-day thought and action of the Church. Ample provision has also been made for popular services, and for times of deep religious feeling, by the inclusion of a large section of the best known and most desirable Gospel Hymns.
The recognized associated settings of familiar hymns have been retained, and new tunes have been selected with particular reference to their availability for congregational worship. Familiar tunes, heretofore too high for such use, have been transposed to lower keys; and in all cases where a choice of harmony was optional the most churchly and simplest has been retained.
The Liturgical Forms and Prayers, together with those aids to worship designed especially for the choir, will be appreciated by those churches whose services are of a more formal or ritualistic character. Appreciating the desire of many churches for distinctively choir hymns, a second setting of a decidedly processional character has been given to several hymns, and a few others widely used for this purpose have been included.