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To the Members of the Church and Congregation, meeting for the Worship of the Three One Jehovah, at Trinity Chapel, Devonshire Road, Hackney; and to the faithful in Christ Jesus; Grace, Mercy, and Peace be multiplied.
We have Divine guidance as to the form of Service acceptable to the Most High, seeing in the Holy Scriptures the Lord hath said, “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me." Ps. 1. 23; and again, “Praise the Lord, for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is comely.” Ps. cxlvii. 1. On referring to the New Testament the inspired Apostle Paul describes praise as the practice of the Primitive Church, and one of the manifestations of the Holy
Spirit. When writing to the Ephesian believers in the 5th chapter of that Epistle and 19th verse, we read," But be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in Psalms, and Hymns, and Spiritual Songs; singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord:” moreover, it is profitable and calculated for mutual edification, as set forth by the same Apostle thus, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms, and Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." Col. iii. 16.
Prayer may be regarded as the first evidence of Spiritual life, and praise the highest expression of that life; a prelude, and preparatory, to the untiring activities of that state of bliss awaiting the perfected Church of God, where prayer will be no longer needed; faith being exchanged for sight, hope for the full fruition; where no jarring note or discordant sound shall be heard, but the full diapason' of praise shall be rendered to all eternity to God, and to His Christ.
It is no new thought that a Hymn Book, more extensive than the one hitherto in use, has long been
needed for this portion of the Church of Christ; wherein a greater range of sanotified thought, and more extensive variety of subjects would be contained. În addition to which, during the last thirty years, our Hymnology has been greatly enriched by some of the most sublime Metrical Compositions that have ever appeared; thus affording a very favourable opportunity for meeting this requirement.
Your late esteemed Pastor felt the need of a more comprehensive Hymn Book, and doubtless would have carried to a successful issue this work many years since, had not the afflictive dispensations of the Lord prevented him. It now devolves upon his successor, according to his humble ability, to supply this lack which has been long, and is now increasingly felt.
The themes will be found to consist of the rich, free sovereign grace of God in choosing, redeeming, regenerating, calling, and sanctifying a people to Himself, to show forth His praise, as well the glorious hope of the Church of Christ, in the coming glory, when she shall reign with her Lord and Husband in the heavenly Jerusalem. Not merely holding the doctrine as an abstract sentiment, or intellectual theory, but also the Grace of the doctrine in an inward experience, in living manifestation, in a holy life, and Godly conversation; proving its possessors to be living opistles of Christ, known and read of all men, as those who have been orucified, and quickened with Christ-raised up from a death of sin to a life of righteousness, and made to sit with Him in the heavenlies. Thus it would be out of placo to sing the sorrows of sin and death, as is too often the case, but rathor to rojoice in resurrection life, and privilegos possessed and enjoyed by virtue of our inward, 'living, and abiding union, in and with our rison Lord; and thus gathered into the unity of the Spirit, as our new and living element, we may, with united heart and voice, stand up to "Praise the Lord.”
In presenting this token of love to the Church of Christ, few would have an idea of the amount of labour involved in such an undertaking. Though kindly assisted by a few friends (who desire to be nameless, but whose services have not been the less valuable, nor are they the less appreciated), the work has proved very considerable; having read, in whole or in part, equivalent to more than 20,000 hymns, and made selections from about 50 different Hymn Books, beside manuscript: thus bringing together the best thoughts, expressed in Scriptural language, of above 200 different dear servants of God. A better illustration of the unity of the Spirit it would be difficult to produce, from the fact, that while the Authors of the selected Hymns have been connected with various sections of the One Church-the mystical body of Christ-yet pot anything approaching sectarianism can be traced in these various compositions, but all harmoniously blend in ascribing the glory to Him, who is alone worthy to be praised.
The method adopted by the compiler has been, First. To discover the Grace of the Spirit in manifestation in the writer. Secondly. The best expression of that Grace in metrical numbers. Thirdly. The careful avoidance of narrative, indelicate expressions, and denunciatory language, or anything calculated to impede the free and uninterrupted flow of praise to our Covenant God, Father, Word, and Spirit. Fourthly. To call off attention from things, and to fix it upon the Person of our living and loving Saviour.
We desire to praise and adore the sacred Trinity in Unity; and to celebrate, with spiritual gratitude, the personal offices and gracious dispensations of the Spirit in and to the Church of the living God. Only sound Doctrinē, expressed in language which cannot be condemned, has been admitted ; and which will be found to be suited alike to the babe in Grace, the young man, or the Father in Christ; being the utterances of the hidden man of the heart, and therefore adapted for the service of the inner sanctuary.
Seeing this collection of Hymns is intended for Private and Social, as well as Public use, some few of them will be found of a peculiarly experimental character: adapted to the varying states of the believer, or that change of soul complexion the children of God are frequently the subjects of while engaged in inward conflict ;--under pressure of spirit; exposed to Satanic assault; the machinations of the ungodly; indwelling sin, felt, and mourned over ; or deploring the defiling influence of surrounding polluting elements upon the soul ;—the utterances of the dear children of God contained herein will be found in unison therewith; proving to the exercised in Spirit that no new thing has happened unto them, but proving afresh, "It is through much tribulation we must enter the Kingdom.” For our numerous meetings of a devotional nature, a large number of suitable Hymns and Doxologies have been inserted; in addition to which will be found one of the largest collections extant of those soul inspiring strains, relating to that glorious subject, the blessed Hope of the Church, now waiting for the coming of the Lord.
On the score of economy (with a due regard to excellency of workmanship at the same time), everything has been studied to place in the hands of those for whom intended, this book, at the lowest possible price. It is no trade venture,-not any person deriving any pecuniary advantage from it, beyond the payment of tradesmen for work, and materials supplied by them.
Thanks are especially due to Mrs. PENNEFATHER and Mrs. TREGELLES,
Dr. H. BONAR, Dr. W. REID, Sir EDWARD DENNY, Bart., the Revs. A. Hannay, C. H. SPURGEON, N. HALL, E. R. CONDER, W. SNEPP, and A. MIDLANE; T. FIRMINGER and W. KELLY, Esqrs.; who not only kindly granted the use of Hymns applied for, but with the permission wrote encouraging words, which have exercised a cheering and responsive effect upon the spirit of the compiler; illustrating the words of Holy Writ, “Behold, how good and how pleasant a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Should any hymns appear whose use has not been granted, an apology is offered, and if the use is objected to, shall be withdrawn in any future edition. Some few alterations have been made; where such exist an asterisk is added to the Author's name.
Accept, dearly beloved, this expression of pastoral affection, and earnest desire for your spiritual welfare, your growth in Grace and knowledge of Him, who is the Sender as well the Object of praise in the Church; Heb. ii. 12. To err is human; do not look for perfection, but let your charity hide all deficiencies.
And now, O! Lord, accept the work of our hands ; and "Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and Thy glory unto their children; and let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us; and establish Thou the work of our hands upon us, yea, the work of our hands establish Thou it.”. “And now, dearly beloved,” I commend you to God, and the Word of His Grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them that are sanctified.”
I remain your affectionate Pastor, and fellow partaker of resurrection life in Christ Jesus,
The High Elms, Hackney.