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FOR EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR,
FOR THE FAMILY AND CHURCH,
WITI APPROPRIATE MUSIC.
THE HYMNS SELECTED, REVISED, AND ARRANGED
By JOHN SMITH, LL.D.
THE MUSIC COMPILED AND ADAPTED,
EXPRESSLY FOR THIS WORK,
GEORGE CAMERON, 67 VIRGINIA STREET.
EDINBURGH: OLIVER & BOYD.
The first object of the compiler has been to prepare a collection thoroughly Christian in its character. Compositions beautiful in sentiment, lofty in their moral tone, and highly poetical in their structure, are not suitable for worship unless imbued with the Spirit, and marked by the peculiarities of vital Christianity. The early Christians sung hymns to Christ as to God, and believers in every age cannot but desire that the person and work of the Redeemer should constitute the burden of their song. Christianity embraces the nature and duties of man; but while its range is wide as the universe it baptises everything it touches with its spirit and principles. Many Hymns have been excluded, because there is nothing in them which renders them peculiarly suitable for Christian worship, and nothing which would render it particularly incongruous for them to be sung by the worshippers of false gods. While the Bible embraces a wider range of topics than any other book, sin, atonement, grace, and love are intimately blended with its histories and prophecies as well as with its songs. The "Elohim” of the Old Testament includes the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost of the New, and worship not addressed to the undivided Three is not the worship of the Bible.
Next to a thoroughly Christian collection, it has been the aim of the compiler to provide a thoroughly unsectarian book ot sacred song. The sentiments are those about which Christians of every name are fully agreed, and disputed ground has been carefully avoided. In this respect the compiler has some confidence that the collection will have a great advantage over those professedly made to harmonize with the shibboleth of some particular ecclesiastical sect, or some particular set of ecclesiastical or doctrinal tenets. Care has been taken to introduce nothing into the book not clearly taught in the Bible, and, on doetrines about which there is diversity of opinion, the lan
guage of Scripture has been followed as closely as possible. It is remarkable how much is held in common by all Chriscians, and how small, in general, are the points which separate them, and these 'points are more matters of opinion than of devotion. After excluding all doctrinal and ecclesiastical disputed views, the entire of clearly revealed truth remains in all its preciousness and completeness. As a general rule it may be assumed that the more scriptural the sentiment the deeper the devotional feelings, and the more doubtful the matter of song the less profitable the exercise. While sectional collections do something to keep Christians asunder, this collection may do something towards drawing all who love the Lord into closer bonds. This feature of the Hymns, while it may provoke the opposition of those zealous for party, will, no doubt, render them more acceptable to a large class whose Christianity is dearer to them than any ritual.
And, hence, another object has been to exclude compositions that are merely hortatory, historical, and descriptive. It is no doubt quite proper for Christian men to call on all men, and on nature, animate and inanimate, to praise their Lord; but the propriety of Christians singing lines which are addressed to others to come and worship, may be questioned. Praise partakes largely of the character of prayer, and in both exercises God should be the object addressed. It may be profitable, indeed, to use occasionally God's own words in which he addresses man, but that is almost the only warrantable case of departure from the address direct. It is not necessary that the Hymns possess the usual form of address. It is sufficient that the language is such as to allow the mind of the worshipper to rise to heavenly places, where Christ sits at the right hand of God.
There is probably room to hope that this collection contains an unusually large amount of vigorous and healthful sentiment. Care has been taken to address Father, Son, and Holy Ghost according to Scripture example. All undue familiarities on the one hand, and all meaningless abstractions on the other, have been avoided. Jehovah is addressed in all the majesty and grace of his character. The worshipper, while he may intensely love the Saviour, is restrained by correct views of His dignity and glory from irreverent approaches, It is deemed enough that the modern Christian be as the first disciples. Even John, the beloved apostle who leaned on Jesus' bosom, spoke and wrote of his Lord with dignified respect, and profound veneration, while he admired and adored the glory of his condescension and grace. Correct views of the Saviour forbid those fiippancies of conventional intercourse with which not a few well-meaning, but partially informed men. speak and write of the Saviour and Judge. It is no evidence of enlightened piety to talk of the second person of the Trinity as it he possessed only the nature of man. The term "dear' is applied to Christ only when relationship with the Father is implied, as, “ God's dear Son." No disciple ever dared to speak of the Son of God as do some Hymn writers. The Saviour himself when addressing Jehovah instead of familiar appellatives says, “ Holy Father," " 0 Righteous Father,' and more frequently “ Father.'' The scripture is the safest guide in this as in other matters.
In regard to the psalms many attempts have been made to recast and adapt them for modern worship. Milton, Montgomery, and many inferior poets, have exercised their gifts in this work, and we may say that their success in this matter bas been small. The nearer translations are to the sublime original, the better in every respect will they be found. We have not found it necessary to depart, in many instances, from the authorised version. In some few cases other renderings have been preferred, and a few slight alterations have been made, which it is hoped will render them more suitable for social worship, without departing from their meaning.
Without invariably following the order adopted in the arrangement of this volume, families may find it useful, generally. Circumstances, such as Domestic Affliction, may determine the selection of others, instead of those occurring in the order given. Neither does the arrangement prevent the employment of the selection in public worship. Instead of the days of the week the indexes will direct in such cases.
There are large denominations who have no authorised Hymn Books, and not a few connected with those have expressed a wish to have one which they might use in their families. Some of these may find this collection suitable. This book does not come into competition with any other
ng collection, as none exists on the same principles. The compiler issues it without any recommendation but its own merits. He seeks no patronage but that of the Christian public, being confident, that if it deserves an extensive circulation it will obtain one. The Christians of this country allow no body of men, secular or ecclesiastical, to judge for them; they judge for themselves, and to that judgment the book is committed without the slightest misgiving. Minor defects will not be allowed to neutralise substantial merit.
The compiler needs not say that he has not the slightest