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This work is adapted especially to PRESBYTERIAN AND CONGREGATIONAL CHURCHES. The Form of Government of the Presbyterian Church,—the Directory for Membership,--and the Book of Discipline, will be found in the Presbyterian edition. An edition of this work is also printed without a Form of Government, so that it may be adapted to any denomination. Any Church wishing the introduction of their own plan of Government, or Form of Admission or Confession of Faith, can secure it, at a slight additional expense, upon application to the publishers.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by
A. S. BARNES & BURR,
The History and purpose of the following Collection of Hymns and Tunes may be sufficiently set forth in a few words.
It has been prepared by a PASTOR; for the use, primarily, of the church to which it is his privilege to minister, in their public and private worship of almighty God. The Book is now offered to the Christian public, in the thought that what has thus been compiled for one congregation may, perhaps, be found acceptable and useful in others like it.
It is designed for use not only in the services of the Sanctuary, but also in the Social Meetings of Christians, in the Sabbath-School Concerts, and in the Family; to be a book, if God and his people shall honor it so far, familiar in the Home as well in the Church ; which children with their parents shall love and study; and by which all shall be aided and taught to take part more joyfully in the worship of the Redeemer.
In the selection of Hymns for this so wide and comprehensive use, the compiler bas intended to follow but one supreme rule; namely, to take those which have been most precious to himself in his own Christian experience and life, and those which have been found most helpful in his efforts as a pastor, to impress upon men the truths of the Gospel, and to quicken and cdify the Church of God. They have not, by any means, therefore, been chosen solely for their value as lyrical compositions. The spiritual power of a hymn resides in the Christian thought or feeling which it musically utters. The rhythmical form is plainly and wholly subordinate to this; though, where this primary clement of power is indisputably present, it is true, of course, the more perfect the form, the better is the hymn.
Regard bas been bad, however, especially in deciding between hymns of otherwise cqnal merit, to the tender and holy associations connected with some, to the exclusion of others; and to the fact that occasionally those, whose esthetic value is least apparent, have yet vindicated their right to a permanent place in such collections, by the hold they have gained on the affections of the Church at large.
Of hymns, which have not heretofore been in general use, whose worth has not, therefore, been subjected to an equal test with those of the older lyrists, it has, in like manner, been his aim, to take from the mixed multitude before him only those which most clearly contain, and sweetly express, the truths, the admonitions, and the cheerful promises of our holy Faith. And yet he has endeavored to bear in mind the fact, thar
that may be quickening and inspiring to one person which is not to another; or to any person in a particular mood of feeling, while in a different mood he would be entirely unmoved by it. Occasionally both modern and ancient hymns have been omitted, however, and sometimes with regret, simply because, in the necessary want of room for all, some selection must be made.
He has also attempted to introduce more hymns, and render those in common use more available, by reducing the number of stanzas printed, so as to allow them in most cases to be sung in their entireness, without destroying the symmetry of the parts of public worship. It is customary for pastors to omit certain stanzas in giving out hymns for singing; not a few books found in our pulpits are scored with brackets introduced, either penciled or printed. Why, then, not exclude this useless bulk at once, and take the room for that which is needed ?
Frequently a composition, even of our most venerated lyrists, runs endlessly on into seven, eight, and ten stanzas. Some rejection is, of course, here inevitable. And it sometimes happens that, while several stanzas of an established hymn are vigorous and in all respects excellent, others, usually combined with them, are weak and ineffective. The thought or the feeling toils through them as if burdened, instead of singing itself, as it did in the rest, joyfully heavenward.
In preparing this Collection, in order to avoid enlarging it beyond limits as to size, and at the same time to secure the greatest range and variety in the selections, it has been deemed wise to omit at the outset from the longer hymns those parts which, for any reason, are least likely to be used, and to print only those which are really rich in the moving and musical expression of the truth. It will be observed, that, although for symmetry and convenience no separation as to arrangement or numbering has been adopted, to distinguish between Ilymns and what are technically called Psalms, yet the best versions of these latter have been carefully and lovingly sought from every source, that each of the old songs of inspiration might, if possible, have its representative here.
And yet it ought to be said, that, in both the alteration and abridgment of hymns, the compiler of this book has allowed himself but very little liberty. Even when it seemed to him, that certain slight verbal changes would be real and great improvements, he has, in most instances, declined to make them on his own unsupported decision. He has, however, usually accepted the alterations which have heretofore been made, the practical adoption of which among the churches has given them familiarity and authority. And not unfrequently he has reproduced the amendments appearing in only a few of the previous collections, but which his own judgment and taste decidedly approved. As almost no one of his predecessors has been content to leave what he found, precisely as he found it, but in all hymn-books alterations and abridgments have been freely made, each compiler adopting or rejecting at will those which each other compiler suggested, now it remains only for any one that comes after to pick his own path through the chaos thus produced, and try to be as judicious as he can. As for a fixed standard, there is none.
No hesitation has been felt by the present compiler in availing himself, as those before him have constantly done, of any suggestions left in his way, when they seemed to him to have intrinsic value. Pains have been taken to preserve the essential completeness of every hymn. And while, no doubt, some worshipers will miss stanzas to which they have been accustomed and, perhaps, attached, and will meet now and then expressions which are novel, yet it is hoped with all earnestness, and confidently believed, that no true and healthful Christian sensibility will be startled with a sense of loss, or repelled by any changes that have been allowed. It is proper to add, that, although ministers and churches will find here nearly all they have most valued and most used, yet in a few cases stanzas have been quietly dropped, which the editor would gladly have retained, but which the mechanical requirements of the page constrained him to exclude.
AN ARRANGEMENT of the hymns according to subjects has been attempted in this Collection. No one without experience can at all appreciate the difficulty which falls in the way of an exact accomplishment of a purpose like this, when at the same timo the tunes are to be adapted for singing. It has not been possible even bere, to carry it out in every instance. Some of our best hymns have really more than one subject, and could easily find themselves at home under quite diverse headings. And in a few cases, for the sake of a familiar adaptation, or a more than usually excellent new one, a hymn has been taken from its proper place, and will have to be sought in the general Index. Yet it is believed, that even the extent to which this plan has been carried will ensure essential convenience.
THE MUSICAL ARRANGEMENTS and adaptations have been mostly under the care of Mr. JOSEPH P. HOLBROOK, of Cleveland, Ohio; whose faithfulness and taste are alike evidenced by the skill with which the work has been done. The few pieces of his own composition, with which the Collection is enriched, will be found among the best it contains. And this part of the Book has been also carefully supervised by two gentlemen in that congregation for which it was at first prepared, of large experience in the conduct of Church Choirs, and specially skilled in sacred song: Hon. Cyrus P. Smith and Thos. S. Nelson, Esq. To all of these gentlemen the compiler desires to make his sincere acknowledgments.
The plan here adopted has had for its purpose the settlement in some measure of that annoying difference of opinion which holds place in many quarters, concerning Artistic and Congregational Singing. A compromise has been attempted on this point. Two thirds of the Hymns are set to music, one third left free. But these latter are arranged in the same order, and contain the same variety of subjects as the others. It is proposed that in each service two hymns shall be given out in Part I., and one in Part II. This one the Choir are at liberty to adapt to any tune, in the Collection or out of it, at their own pleasure. The other two they are expected to lead the Congre. gation in singing to the music set. Some of the music, however, in Part I. will be found better adapted to Choir use, and Home use, than to the promiscuous worship of the Sanctuary, or the simpler service of a prayer-meeting. Some discrimination must be exercised by Pastors, and by Choristers also, in this particular.
In most cases a choice of Tunes is allowed. A known or old piece has been printed opposite a new or fresher one. It does not follow that a hymn standing under a tune is always to be sung to it. Mechanical reasons may have located it there, when the fitter music for its sentiment will be found on the other page. And sometimes a tune strictly belonging to the Choir has been placed near a hymn of merit, to avoid repeating the hymn in Part II. It is apparent at a glance, however, that this double adaptation could not be carried out perfectly without a large multiplication of hymns of the same metre upon a specific theme. But it is hoped that the attempt has been so far successful as to give frequent convenience. And since the Book in its two forms is intended for the Lecture Room as well as the Sanctuary, this choice of tunes will give opportunity for a little more variety, the Chorister selecting one tune, and the Leader in the prayer-meeting quite possibly using the other.
The Theory of choice in the musical adaptations has been simply this ;—what the churches at large love, it is hoped they will find here. Tunes which have a melodya fascination, a magnetism, call it what one will —have been preferred. Musical structure makes no difference. For all time critics have grown violent, and yet the people sung on. The compiler has had no disposition to defy the critics, but he has desired to keep the people singing on, by every means within his reach.
And now, at the conclusion of his self-imposed task, looking back over the many months which have been almost absorbed by it, the undersigned offers his fervent and grateful thanks to God for the kindness which has permitted him to begin, and at last to end it, and for the grace which has made it all to him a labor of love and Christian joyfulness, bringing its own reward in its hand.
He presents the humble result, of what has been to him very serious labor, to his own beloved people, and the Church at large, with unaffected pleasure, in the simple hope that it may be used by our divine Redeemer in building up his chosen in the most holy faith; and that it may be so accompanied by the grace of the Spiritwould that it might be even so honored !-as to be as the sound of silver bells calling those who know not our Lord to his most joyful feasts of love. may it advance, in its own measure, the worship of our King, till our eyes shall see Him in his beauty and behold the land that is very far off !
CHAS. S. ROBINSON,