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THE present is an attempt, not to add to the great and constantly increasing multitude of hymn-books intended for congregational use; but to present, under a convenient arrangement, a collection of such examples of a copious and interesting branch of popular literature, as, after a study of the subject which for several years has occupied part of his leisure hours, have seemed to the Editor most worthy of being separated from the mass to which they belong.
A good hymn should have simplicity, freshness, and reality of feeling; a consistent elevation of tone, and a rhythm easy and harmonious, but not jingling or trivial. Its language may be homely; but should not be slovenly or mean. Affectation or visible artifice is worse than excess of homeliness: a hymn is easily spoiled by a single falsetto note. Nor will the