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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, BY FREDERIC M. BIRD,
In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
THE Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania, at its Annual Meeting in 1863, appointed a Committee with instructions to prepare a ChurchBook which should contain such portions of its Liturgy as are necessary for the regular Sunday services, Luther's Small Catechism, the Augsburg Confession, and an ample Selection of Hymns, with special reference to the doctrine and usages of our Church. The present Collection of Hymns has been prepared by the Committee in the partial discharge of the duty assigned them. In order that the Collection might receive the most careful revision before it should be issued in permanent form, the Synod instructed the Committee to have a small number of copies printed for examination by the members of Synod, and by others who might feel an interest in the matter.
While the special occasion for the preparation of the present Collection was found in the wants of the Congregations connected with the Synod of Pennsylvania, it was believed that many others would concur in the judgment of that Synod, “that there is no English Hymn Book now in use in the Church, which fully satisfies the wants of our Congregations.” The Synod desires to secure the cooperation of such as are thus minded in the revision of this Collection. The Committee has endeavored to make a thorough and careful examination of all the treasures of English hymnology, original and translated, in order to select the hymns of highest literary excellence, restricted by a positive rule that no hymn should be admitted which is in conflict with the doctrine, spirit, or usages of the Lutheran Church. In order that the highest attainable excellence with regard to both these points may be secured, the Committee invite the co-operation and criticisms of those persons in any part of our Church who agree in spirit with them. Suggestions. relative to any feature or portion of the book will be gladly received and fully considered. The translations of German Hymns seem to demand especial examination. The preference has always been given to translations in the measure of the original, when of equal literary merit with others; but of a number of hymns included in this Collection, no satisfactory translation retaining the original measure could be found. Indeed, the extent to which the structure and genius of the English language allow the adoption of the varied and peculiar verse measures of German hymns is an interesting question. It is probable that our Lutheran Congregations, familiar with the German chorals, can use a larger number of translations than would be possible to others, and thus introduce them into more general use. The Committee hope that they may be favored with the opinion of those interested in this subject.
The date which accompanies the author's name, appended to each hymn, indicates the year in which the hymn was written or first published, so far as known; except when the letter d. is prefixed to the numerals, pointing out the date of the author's death. The letter a following a date, suggests that the original text has been more or less altered. When a hymn is of Greek, Latin, or German origin, the name of the English translator is given first, and that of the original author (when known) in a line below, prefixed by Tr.
Any communications with reference to the Book should be sent to the Rev. Frederic M. Bird, Darby Road hear Locust St., West Philadelphia.
While this edition is intended chiefly for the use of members of the Pennsylvania Synod, and of others disposed to co-operate with us in the preparation and use of the Book, a limited number of copies are for sale, and can be obtained by addressing Mr. Bird, as above.
September 23, 1865.