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COMPILED FOR THE USE OF
THE METHODIST NEW CONNEXION.
FOUNDED A.D. 1797.
Sing praises to God, sing praises :
PsaL xlvii. 6, 7.
21, WARWICK-LANE, PATERNOSTER-ROW, E.C.
100. e. 107
This Hymn Book has been compiled under the direction of the Annual Conference of the Methodist New Connexion, for the use of its various churches and members in public and private devotion. It takes the place of another similar Book, which, though for many years the companion and guide of multitudes “ in the service of song in the house of the Lord,” has long been felt to be defective, not only as containing too small a number of hymns for the purpose intended, with occasional alterations of these from the original compositions which time has shown to be not always for the better, but also as including in this number some which might well be dispensed with for others of higher character and greater utility.
The present collection is larger than was first contemplated, and larger also than can soon be exhausted in any series of services connected with one congregation. But then, in the first place, it was quickly found that the stores at command were so rich as to offer great temptations to exceed the limits originally prescribed. Again, it was remembered that the collection was not designed for a single congregation or society, but for many such united in one Denomination; nor therefore for a single minister, whose ordinary selection of hymns might be limited to his own individual taste or type of ministry, but for a considerable number discharging the same religious functions each Lord's-day, in whom varieties of taste and modes of handling the Word of God might reasonably be supposed to exist great enough to turn to profitable account even a larger collection than is here brought together. Moreover, the wish was to cover with “ the service of song” as much of the whole field of Christian experience as possible,-to furnish a book of devotion for the closet, as well as a selection of "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs " for the sanctuary; and to do both with as much fulness and completeness as would minister to almost every variety of religious sentiment, either by first suggesting and exciting it, or, when excited, by supplying the language in which it should find most fitting expression.
For this purpose the works of nearly all our hymn-writers have been examined, and the best of them laid under heavy tribute. By far the largest contribution has been levied on the compositions of the two Wesleys, whose service in this department of Christian literature would probably be found, could we estimate its whole effect in the actual experience of now living and of glorified piety, the richest part of that entire legacy which their genius and sanctity have bequeathed to successive generations of believers from their own time to the end of all things. But to their compositions others have been added of men worthy to stand by their side, together with the choicest productions of many more only just inferior to these; not only because of their often equal and sometimes greater excellence, nor only because of their acknowledged suitableness for the purposes of religious worship, but also to render the book itself as much as may be, consistently with a purely evangelical faith, representative of the poetry and piety of the Christian world in general. Indeed, the hymns in this compilation have been taken from many sources, while a few of them have never before been incorporated in any English collection whatever.
Some of the hymns will be deemed long, but it has not been thought expedient to shorten them, since what is not required for public worship may be serviceable for private use, and since the verses selected at one time, or by one minister, may be omitted at another and by a second. As a rule it is not desirable, because fatiguing, to protract the singing in any one instance, but rather to sing frequently than to sing long.
Great pains have been taken to secure an authentic and accurate text. The hymns have been collated line by line with the original compositions, when accessible; when not, with the best editions that could be procured. In some cases emendations by later hands have been adopted in preference to the author's own words, but in no instance, it is believed, save where the emendation is a manifest improvement, or has been decisively accepted as such by the most competent judges, or by the voice of a common Christian sentiment.
In most cases the date of the first publication of the hymn has been appended, together with the author's name. When the name or date is enclosed between brackets, some uncertainty is denoted. The names of the authors of hymns of which translations are given are printed in italics, when not otherwise indicated.
Cordial thanks are due, and are here offered, to those who have permitted their copyright hymns to be used for this collection. Of these may be mentioned in particular the Rev. H. BONAR, D.D. : the Rev. H. Fish, M.A., for the copyright portion of his edition of C. Wesley's version of the Psalms; Miss WINKWORTH, for hymns from “Lyra Germanica ;" R. MASSIE, Esq., for his beautiful translations from the German ; the TRANSLATORS of “Hymns from the Land of Luther;" the Rev. W. MERCER, M.A., for hymns 172 and 267, from his “ Church Psalter and Hymn Book ; " Messrs. LONGMAN & Co., for permission to insert some hymns from the first series of “Lyra Germanica ” and “Lyra Domestica ;” and to all others whose contributions, still recognised as private property, add to the completeness and value of this Book OF PRAISE.
The compilers commend their work to the Church of Christ in general, but to the Denomination which they have especially sought to serve in particular, in the hope that, in instances which no man can number, it may be a means of manifold spiritual profit, kindling the fire of devotion in hearts where little or no such fire existed before and carrying up before the Lord, as incense ever grateful to Him, pow the prayer of penitence, and again the voice of praise.