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selves to our judgment by their intrinsic merit, but as many as possible of those which have been endeared to evangelical believers by long familiarity, or by local or personal associations, has made the book larger than we at first designed to make it. If any favorite hymns of any pastor or congregation are omitted, the emission must be referred, in 'some instances, to the claims of compilers, or of their legal representatives, in whose collections those hymns appear os original,--and, in other instances, to the impossibility of including all the hymns of a particular class without making the collection too large for use. Pieces of recognized merit, such as those of Watts, will be found for the most part unaltered, even when some slight improvement seemed to be in itself both practicable and desirable. Compositions less hallowed by long use in our churches, have been more freely corrected to adapt them to the work, to remove offenses against taste, and to make the form and expression more lyrical.
To‘all, then, in every place, who, in our language, worship God through Jesus Christ, and especially to those who hold the faith ana walk in the order of the ancient New England churches, we present this book with the prayer, that it may be for their edification, and for the honor of Christ, to whom be glory in the church forever.
FOR THE USE OF THIS BOOK.
I. TO PASTORS, AND OTHERS CONDUCTING PUBLIC
1. The use of the Psalm or Hymn, by a public assembly, ought to be an act of united worship. Hymns, therefore, of an argumentative or hortatory character, can rarely be used with propriety. For that reason, only a few pieces exclusively hortatory, have been admitted into this collection. The subject of the sermon, or the character of the occasion, may have an influence in determining the choice of pieces to be sung; yet the selection should be made chiefly with reference to the expression of those sentiments of adoration, thankfulness, confession, faith or hope, or those devout desires and impulses, which are fitly uttered in song. We inay, indeed, 'teach and admonish one another in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs; but singing should be worship, not preaching, and it can be effectual to our mutual edification, only as we'make melody in our hearts to THE LORD.'
2. The Book of Psalms is an inspired model of psalmody for the church of God, in every age. The Psalms, therefore, as versified in this collection, are distinguished from the Hymns; no piece being admitted among the Psalms, which is not a fair version of some part of the particular Psalm to which it is referred. And for the same reason, it is recommended that a due proportion of the pieces selected for use on the various occasions of public worship, and especially on the Lord's day, be selected from the Psalms.
3. The arrangement of the Hymns in this book, will be found to differ, in some respects from any hereto
fore adopted by compilers. In the synopsis of the contents, at the end of the volume, the Psalms are classified according to the arrangement of the Hymns. Thus, the minister who would select a Psalm for the commencement or the close of public worship, or for any special occasion, or for any particular topic of discourse, can find it referred to, not only by its first line in the index of first lines, but also in the synopsis by the uses to which it is applicable.
4. The number of pieces applicable to the commencement of public worship, is such that a pastor may select one for every Lord's day in the year, without repetition. Yet it should be borne in mind, that some of these pieces, as well as of the pieces appropriated to particular topics of discourse, are of such a character that the frequent use of them in worship will be found highly conducive to edification.
5. The variety of meters in this collection, is not greater than in other collections now extensively used. Yet the minister ought not to give out a piece of any unusual meter, without knowing beforehand that the congregation or the choir can sing it.
6. In giving out a Psalm or Hymn from this book, it is never necessary to announce the meter. Every Hymn is sufficiently designated by its number. piece from the Psalms is sufficiently designated by the number of the Psalm and the number of the version.
7. Sometimes a Hymn selected from those appropriated to private and family worship, may be used with good effect in a public assembly. This, however, should be done with discretion.
II. TO THOSE WHO DIRECT THE SINGING.
1. Remember that singing in a religious assembly, is not of the nature of a musical exhibition, but is a serious and important part of the worship of God.
2. Remember that the words sung are not for the
tune, but the tune for the words. The tune, therefore, should be selected, not for its novelty, nor for the sake of showing how well you can perform its difficult passages, nor even for its intrinsic beauty, considered merely as a piece of music; but simply because in that tune, the words can be fitly and expressively uttered.
3. Those who, in the use of this book, would sing with the spirit and with the understanding, must make themselves familiar with the Psalms and Hymns which it contains. The leader of the music, especially, ought to study the book thoroughly, so as never to be at a loss in the selection of a tune. It may be well for him to write for himself, in the margin of every Psalm or Hymn, the name of the tune which he judges most appropriate to that piece.
4. Many favorite Psalms and Hymns are associated by use, with favorite tunes. Where such associations exist, they should not be broken up without some strong reason. On the contrary, it deserves consideration, whether devotion would not be promoted, if every Psalm or Hymn in the book were thus associated, in the minds of the congregation, with some particular tune. There is no harm in singing the same tune twice, if need be, on two successive sabbaths, or even on the same sabbath.
5. We have affixed to the pieces in this book, no marks of musical expression; for the reason that good sense, on the part of the leader, and a tolerable apprehension of the sense and sentiment of the words, on the part of the singers, will be a better guide. Let the leader, then, and the singers, understand and feel the words they sing, and not attempt any thing great in the way of expression, and they will do much to promote the worship of God in spirit and in truth.
III. TO WORSHIPERS GENERALLY. 1. Let it be remembered, that the habitual and gen
eral use of Psalms and Hymns, in private and family worship, will greatly promote simplicity, devoutness, and fervency, in this part of public worship.
2. Although certain Hymns, in this book, are placed by themselves, as chiefly appropriate to occasions of private and domestic devotion, the use of the book at home ought not to be limited to those Hymns. The whole book should be a household book to the families, and a closet book to the individuals, of the congrega. tions in which it is used for public worship. The versions of Psalms, when compared with each other, and with the scriptural text to which each version is referred, will be found to constitute a lucid evangelica) exposition of almost every sentence of that portion of the written word. The Hymns, if studied in their arrangement, will be an efficient help to catechetical and other didactic instruction, in impressing the system of evangelical truth, not merely upon the memory, but, by God's blessing, upon the heart.
3. All worshipers should be diligent to cultivate in themselves, and in their children, the common natural faculty of praising God in song; that so, in all our dwellings, and in all our sanctuaries, all voices and all hearts may make melody to God.