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SONGS OF PRAISE
PUBLIC AND SOCIAL WORSHIP.
ROSWELL D. HITCHCOCK, ZACHARY EDDY,
THIS Book is much larger than was at first contemplated. The Editors began their work together, now nearly four years ago, with the idea that six hundred Hymns, or, at most, eight hundred, are quite enough. Such a Selection we might have made for ourselves; and it might, perhaps, have suited some congregations. But we soon came to the conclusion that if many people are to be pleased, there must be many Hymns: a Collection, and not a Selection.
Fastidious critics may say that there are not more than two or three hundred really good Hymns in the language. And, to be sure, there are not many such Hymns as "When I survey the wondrous cross," "There is a fountain filled with blood," "Jesus, Lover of my soul," and "Rock of ages, cleft for me." But the number of Hymns that have long done good service, and will long continue to do it, is very much greater than many people suppose. And then new Hymns, which will certainly live, such as "My faith looks up to Thee," "Lead, kindly light," "Just as I am," and "Abide with me," are constantly appearing. Even the two or three hundred classic Hymns, which form the staple of our weekly use, will serve us all the better for not being made to serve alone.
Of the fourteen hundred Hymns here brought together, few, we think, could have been omitted without spiritual loss. Not all of them are designed for Public and Social Worship. Indeed, a considerable number are expressly set apart for Family Worship. And some, which need not be sung at all, are designed especially for closet use. Now and then a familiar Hymn may still be missed: omitted, perhaps, inadvertently; or because it could not be matched with appropriate music without making up an additional page; or because of its commonplace, prosaic character; or because of some doctrinal error or infelicity. But in all such cases the omitted Hymns, it is believed, will be found to have been replaced by better ones of the same general scope.
Our aim has been to make a truly catholic Book. All ages, all nations, all communions, and all types and stages of Christian experience are here represented. The older objective Hymnology, and the later subjective, are admitted to equal fellowship. Saints who had little to do with one another in their life-time, but now singing together in Heaven, are together here. Of all this goodly company, Watts still sits highest, and Charles Wesley next.
In addition to the old standard Hymns, which must go into every Book, many fine, fresh, new Hymns will be found in this Collection, some of which have been written expressly for it. We are under