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My dear Brethren, among whom I labour.
This Selection was undertaken at your request, and for the purpose of comprising in a small compass, in one volume, the Hymns which are considered most Evangelical in the various Collections already published; and I doubt not they will be esteemed by you, and those congregations where the lost condition of sinners is declared; the Lord Jesus Christ exhibited as “ mighty to save;" and a particular regard maintained by ministers and people to the doctrines, ordinances, and laws of Christ.
To please all is impossible, while men's ideas of propriety and utility are so various ; to attempt it therefore would be a fruitless toil, the offspring of folly, and the parent of disappointment. Suffice it to say, that in the present undertaking I have proposed the greatest and most general good to those among whom. I am called to minister; and with dependence upon the Head of all gifts and graces—the adorable Person whose glory in the salvation
of his people, is the sublime and delightful subject of this volume of Hymns- I have pursued that end according to the best of my judgment: and I cannot help indulging a pleasing hope, that the cause of truth,—the profitable knowledge of God our Saviour, the edification of believers,—and the increase of fervent love among brethren, will be promoted by the present attempt.
I am convinced that nothing short of a just, consistent, and comprehensive acquaintance with the gospel-a disinterested and earnest regard to the glory of God-a fervent love to the Redeemer, and the souls of men for his sake-the continual teaching and influences of the Spirit of all grace-a most steady faith in the divine promises—deep humility, and diligent attention in learning the whole revealed will of God—the spirit of prayer and sublime devotion-an experimental foretaste of heavenly bliss and glory—with a delightful mixture of patient hope, submissive longing after the end of faith, and an unwearied prosecution of that end in the appointed means -nothing but those delightful blessings (which are indeed the fruit of the Spirit wrought on the soul) appear necessary to keep pace with this volume before you, as well as with the precious word of God. And these Hymns open many of the everlasting springs of life, love, and peace, contained in that word, which is the rule of our conversation
while we live, and the hope of our glorifi. cation when we die. These are some of the blessings that I have sought of my covenant God and Father for the Church of Christ in general-but more peculiarly for those among whom I labour-for myself, and all his sent ministers of every denomination.
In the arrangement, great care has been taken to class such Hymns together as belong to the same subject. In each class also a regular method has been aimed at, that a proper connection might be maintained in the dependence of one branch of the subject upon another. This, it is hoped, will prove a great convenience to clerks, and others, in finding almost any hymn without a reference, except the general order; and in tracing the top of the page, you may find a hymn on any doctrine of the gospel. The subjects are so numerous, and various, that few circumstances can occur where a suitable hymn may not be found.
It has frequently been observed, “ that praise is the noblest employ of the Church of God, and that it bears the nearest affinity to the employ of Heaven. To this subject, the inspired Psalmist tuned his lyre, and observed, that “ whoso offereth praise, glorifieth God,” Psa. I. 23. In singing the praises of God, Paul and Silas found their happiness in a dungeon, Acts xvi. 25. The Incarnate Saviour composed his mind, in the