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SELECTED AND ARRANGED BY
1 Thou art holy, 0 Thou that
"POR many years it was the cherished purpose of the late beloved Minister of Graham Street Chapel, to prepare for his Congregation a Selection of Hymns for their use in Public Worship. This task he had nearly completed when, in the autumn of 1874, his hand was stayed, and the work stood still.
But it was soon realized by the Church that, to them at least, this part of their Minister's care for them would now become enhanced in significance and value; and that as he could no longer be seen or heard amongst them, it would be a most befitting bond of union between them and one so singularly beloved, that he should still continue to direct them in the worship of the House of God. Nor could they be unmindful of the many qualifications possessed by him for the service he had undertaken on their behalf. Very rarely indeed has Christ been pleased to give to His Church such gifts of strength and beauty as were manifest to all men in Charles Vince. And it was felt, that while these qualities could not but secure for the people under his personal ministry such a selection of hymns from the vast treasures of the Christian Church as would in many respects be unique, they had here also some reason to hope for his work both permanence and general usefulness. While, therefore, this Hymn Book is published for the use of the Baptist Congregation assembling in Graham Street Chapel, Birmingham, it is also sent out with the conviction that it has special features of interest worthy of the regard of all who take delight in perfecting this most helpful part of Divine worship; and that, impressed as it is with the sweetness of spirit and catholic-heartedness characteristic of my late friend, its way is open among all, of whatever name, who hold the faith as it is in Jesus in simplicity and in truth.
It should be here observed that throughout the work the Compiler kept steadily in view the selection of hymns for use in public worship; the question of text therefore has been held as of secondary consideration, hence the volume is not intended as an authority on this matter. At the same time, and especially with regard to modern hymns, much care has been given to the subject, from a deep sense of what is due to authors, and a strong desire to maintain the integrity of their compositions; while in many instances it has given great pleasure to restore the original reading of old hymns which have suffered from alterations.
It will be seen, also, that while our oldest, and, for many reasons, our ablest hymn writers are well represented in the work, the names of very many modern authors occur, some of them quite new in any such selection as this; at once presenting the more recent method of handling Divine ideas, and giving to old and valued truths a fresh and acceptable complexion. It must have been matter of grave anxiety to select so much that is new, avoiding at the same time so much that is weak, in the hymn-writing of the day.
The tendency to questionable sentiment, especially in hymns expressive of the Divine life in Man or addressed to the Author of that life, has often been dealt with, and needs no protracted notice here, save as it suggests the remark—that while the hymns on Christian life and on the Lord Jesus Christ are numerous enough to constitute a special feature of the book, there is no hymn suggestive of unseemliness or feebleness. And it is surely to be hoped that the attempt to express the love of a man to his Redeemer, together with the high experience of a soul under His dominion, in the noblest language, will find wide acceptance.
It is my duty here, and my great pleasure, to render very hearty acknowledgment of the great kindness received from authors and proprietors of copyright. This work has been more difficult in many respects for another to carry through than it would have been for him whose hand gave to it form and tone; but that hand failed in death, and bequeathed the sorrowful