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“This is life eternal, that they may know thee, the
“ I will sing with the spirit, I will sing with the
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The foregoing Title indicates the purposes for which this Collection has been formed. It is especially designed for the use of those who, while they cherish reverential faith and grateful love towards the Lord Jesus Christ, deem themselves imperatively obliged to confine their religious worship, and the supreme homage of their affections, to Jehovah, his God and Father, who sent him to be the Saviour of the world. No serious candid persons, however, who make the teachings of Christ and his Apostles their guide in duty, faith, and worship, can find in it much, if any thing, to offend them. A very large proportion of the hymns are such as must approve themselves to the heart, and the judgment, of every one who understands and partakes the spirit of the Gospel.
This Hymn Book corresponds, in several respects, with that known by the appellation of the Exeter Collection; but it is considerably
more copious, as the latter contains only three hundred and thirteen hymns. It was a leading object in the compilation of the Exeter Collection, to increase the number of hymns peculiarly Christian-relating to the blessings of the Gospel, the character and offices of Christ, and the affections due to him. The course adopted in it has met with extensive accordance. The Collection has itself been adopted by many Unitarian Congregations ; and its system has, in this respect, been followed in most of those Collections which have been formed, for the use of others, since the first publication of it in 1812.
The class of hymns above specified, will be found considerably augmented in the present Collection : but the chief additions have been made in the Fourth Book, which respects the experience of the Christian life, its trials, and its duties.
The influence of devotional poetry, and perhaps especially of hymns, (from their general brevity, unity of thought, and musical rhythm,) is very great
the hours of despondency, of contrition, of solicitude, and of affliction, as well as in guiding the soul in its periods of thankfulness and confiding hope, and in strengthening its purposes of faithful duty. The hymn book often supplies valuable aid to devotion, support to fortitude, balm to the wounded spirit, and elevation and animation to all the pious affections. Consisting of the compositions of various in