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Approved and recommended for use in the churches by the General Synod
P. D. VAN CLEEF, Stated Clerk
Copyright, 1880, by John B. Thompson and William H. Piatt,
Toms book had its origin in the discovery that not more than three hundred hymns are in habitual, and not more than three hundred others in even occasional use, for public and social worship.
Both the tunes and the hymns here given are such as have been proved by trial promotive of true devotion.
The sentiment of a hymn is oftentimes equally well rendered by two or three different tunes. For this reason, different associations of hymns and tunes exist in different places. This fact has been recognized, and a choice between such tunes is here afforded. The names of these tunes are also given with the first line of the hymn, in the “ Topical Index," so that appropriate selections may be made from this index alone, without the trouble of referring to the body of the book.
Those who select hymns more for devotional, than for didactic, reasons, will find the arrangement of the book conducive to their convenience.
Facility of use is also furthered by the gathering together, at the end, of the hymns specially designed for evangelistic and social services.
Children readily learn and heartily enjoy these hymns and tunes when sung with sufficient vivacity. Indeed, generally, we sing too slow. The words of Dr. Watts need to be re-iterated still:
“If the method of singing were but reformed to a greater speed of pronunciation, our psalmody would be more agreeable to that of the ancient churches, more intelligible to others, and more delightful to ourselves."
With slight exceptions, dictated by good taste and tested by experience, the text of these hymns has been conformed to that of the authors' editions. Deviations, as well as names and dates, are indicated in the index of first lines.
The literary, as well as the musical, part of the work is greatly indebted to the taste and culture of the musical editor, William Hinchman Platt, A. M. (Yale); and I desire to express here my obligations not only to him, but also to the many literary and musical friends without whose generous aid it could not have been made what it is.
I trust the book will be found to reflect, toroughout, not only the doctrinal, but also the devotional, spirit of the appended Catechism and Liturgical Formulas ; and thus prove, in deed and in truth, a means of promoting true Christian Praise,
JOHN BODINE THOMPSON. OATSKILL, N. Y., March 4, 1880.
CHRIST is all and in all. In the progress of the race toward perfection in God, this ruth is more clearly apprehended than ever befcre. In this light, old things are passing way. History is rewritten. Theology becomes instinct with life. Devotion becomes nore intense. Worship takes on a higher phase. The service of song in the house of the Lord is ennobled. It becomes not only more definitely praise, but also more distinctively * Christian Praise."
From the great mass of material in most hymn-books, the instinct of good pious taste rejects what does not express this developed Christian feeling of the church.
It rejects mere dogmatic statements, as belonging to catechism, creed, confession.
school, anniversaries, etc., as foreign to the worship of one God. It rejects hymns of self-examination in public worship, as belonging rather to the closet. It rejects poetical compositions which have no lyrical character, as unfitted for musical
expression. Hymns which belong PREVAJLINGLY to these classes have been mostly omitted from this book. It is believed, however, that all the really good hymns in the language are here. Some favorite endeared by association may be missed, but a better hymn will probably be found supplying its place.
The fairest flowers into which the Christ-life in the church has blossomed have been culled from every age and every clime. These hymns are therefore catholic as well as Christian. They have not been mutilated and shorn of their power to fit them to any human standard, though many of them have been strengthened by the omission of the weaker verses.
The increasing Christliness of Christianity is increasing the devotional character of public worship. Where this feeling prevails, the hymns used are selected with reference co their emotional character. The arrangement of this book will facilitate such selection. There will be found in each metre a regular gradation in the character of the emotion and the variety of the praise.
The full Topical Index furnishes every facility also for a selection by subjects, and the location of every hymn in a book of this size speedily becomes familiar.
The sentiment of the hymns will generally be well rendered by using eithor of the tunes opposite.
Music is the language of the emotions, as words are of the intellect. Those two languages, in proper combination, must produce a much greater effect than either alone; yet music has been but little studied as a language. Three tunes are therefore given, from which selection may be made at will.
Music is both impressive and expressive.
special adaptations, or one of the tunes of the higher and more difficult style, may be sung by the trained choir.
If the object be to express the feelings in direct acts of worship, one of the simpler tunes, in which all can join, should be used. This book is specially designed for this end, while fustering also progress in the appreciation of musical language.
There is really no discrepancy between the words and the music of true hymns. Neither need be subordinated to the other. No compromise between them should be attempted, for none is needed. They are naturally adapted to each other. True hymus are compositions of a lyrical character, that is, they are made for music. All that is necessary, then, is to find the musical language w..ich expresses the sentiment of the hymn, and bring them together. Such music, once
Married to immortal verse, should never be divorced from it.
The ratification of such union of hymns with tunes by the universal consciousness of the Christian church is one manifestation of her devotional life. Such adaptations sound down through the ages, testifying to the communion of saints. The tunes as well as the hymns in this book represent the devotion of the universal church militant.
The tunes, the hymns, the prayers, the creeds of the church, must alike be the fruit of her own life. The business of the compilers has been to gather a part of this fruit for the convenience of those who partake of it. The enjoyment of communion with the best minds and the highest devotion of the church in this labor of love has been in tense. If our labor shall minister to others a tithe of the blessing it has brought to us, we shall rejoice and give thanks.
It remains to acknowledg, the kindness of the many clerical and musical friends, to whose suggestions and contributions (which are duly accredited) the book owes much of its value. Special obligation is due to The Rev. Ray Palmer, D.D., without whose valua. ble-hymns no collection can be complete;" to James Flint, Esq., the well-known organist and composer, (who has carefully revised all the music,) for many original contributions ; and to U. C. Burnap, Esq., Musical Editor of Hymns of the Church,' not only for unrestricted selection from his published tunes, but also for compositions written expressly for this work, and for other valuable assistance in its preparation.
No labor for Christ and His church is insignificant. Great pains were taken with the service of song in the Jewish church, “for so was the commandment of the Lord by His prophets.” (2 Chron. xxix. 25–30.). It is an equally important part of Christian worship, both on earth and in heaven. (Eph. v. 19; Rev. xiv. 2, 3.) With these views ce nava la bored at this work.
To Him who sang a hymn at the supper in Jerusalem we dedicate it.