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for we have freely borrowed from his Lyric Poems and his Hymns, as well as from his Psalms. Accordingly he has occupied much the largest proportion of our volume. Next to Dr. Watts, the chief sources of our collection have been supplied by Dr. Doddridge and Mrs. Steele, the author of the poetical works, published under the name of Theodosia. It will easily be supposed that Mr. Merrick's elegant translation of the Psalms has not been forgotten. To recite particularly all the names that have contributed to our collection would extend the preface too far. A list of them shall be subjoined, from which it will appear, that we have taken a wide
in our perusal of English poetry, in order to find out materials suited to our purpose. It will be seen that transcripts from our first poets have added to the value of the undertaking. Our pages will be found to be adorned by a Milton and a Dryden, a Pope and an Addison, a Barbauld and a Cowper. We have availed ourselves of the collections which have been made by others; and our readers will perceive that we have inserted no inconsiderable number of original compositions. The hymns which have been selected are not always printed word for word, but have occasionally received some slight alterations. Stanzas also are sometimes omitted or transposed, as appeared best adapted to our design. This
liberty we here mention once for all ; and
without taking it, our plan could not have : been executed in the manner intended. The
collection is divided into four parts, viz. Hymns adapted to the introductory part of worship; Hymns to be sung before sermon; Hymns suited to various subjects of
discourses; and Hymns for particular cirI cumstances and occasions. A considerable
degree of convenience will be found to arise from this division, though every minister will discern, that there is no occasion to confine himself strictly to it; since each of the three former parts may often be made use of, with the greatest propriety, in any of the portions of divine service. We have thought it best that one page should run through the whole; so that all the clerk will have to do, will be to mention the number of the hymn, and the page in which it occurs : indeed it may be sufficient barely to mention the page. On the whole, we have spared no pains in the accomplishment of our undertaking; though at the same time we are sensible of our not being free from errors, for which the indulgence of our . readers is entreated. The charge of which we are most apprehensive is that of superfluity : but this, we trust, will be forgiven us, as it affords a greater variety of choice ; aud. we hope, that no hymn will appear to
have been totally unworthy of being inserted. To conclude, we have sincerely endeavoured to form such a body of Hymns and Psalms, as shall contribute to the devotion, improvement, and pleasure of Christian worshippers ; and we humbly recommend this our attempt to promote the honour of God, and the happiness of mankind, to the divine blessing and favour.
London, Feb. 3, 1795.
Collection of Hymns was published with a view to promote just and rational sentiments of religion, in an interesting part of social worship and private devotion. And this design has received the sanction of the public in the sale of the work; the first edition of which, consisting of two thousand copies, being out of print, and a considerable number of the larger impression being likewise disposed of, in about eighteen months from the time of publication. The Compilers, therefore, with one exception occasioned by the decease of their excellent coadjutor, Dr. Kippis, are encouraged to print a new and improved edition. They do not, however, think themselves at liberty to make any change in the number of pages, or in the order of the hymns; as this would be attended with inconyenience
to those who are possessed of the former edi. tion. But they avail themselves of this opportunity, to introduce some verbal alterations ; and to correct a few errrors, which either had passed unobserved in preparing the multifari. ous matter that presented itself for selection and arrangement, or which did not appear to be of sufficient importance to be added to the list of Errata.
London, Feb. 7, 1797.