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carefully compiled, could remain exempt from the necessity of frequent periodical revisions to meet the inevitable changes required, and to admit of the incorporation of new hymns of merit. On the other hand, the very arguments which may be urged against an authorized hymnalare in themselves a call for further progress, in order that hymns which offend both the taste and conscience, and which in a literary point of view have no pretensions to be included in a national hymn-book, may be weeded out, and their places supplied, so far as possible, with worthier matter. And this is the more necessary, since greater attention has hitherto been given to the music than to the hymns themselves.
It has been the aim of the Compiler in the following pages to do in some small measure for the words of the hymns what has already been done in a much larger measure for the music, with the hope of making a further step towards raising the taste of the worshippers in our churches, and leading them to think as much of the meaning of the words that they are singing as of the tune to which those words are sung.
Of the principles which have guided him in the execution of his task he would now wish to say a few words.
Nearly all the hymnals which have obtained any large circulation have chiefly owed that circulation to the fact of their having been put forward by avowed representatives, or those who were supposed to be representatives, of different parties in the Church. Against this system of party hymn-books the Compiler wishes to enter his protest; for not only are congregations thereby
deprived of the use of some of the best hymns in our language, but the broad and primitive principles on which our Church is founded are narrowed; while those divisions, which it should be our great object to bring to an end, are encouraged and perpetuated. The Church of England is not the Church of a sect but of a nation; her Prayer-book is the much-prized inheritance of all Churchmen, not of a party.
The hymns, therefore, in the following pages have been selected from every source at the Compiler's command, many of them being new, and others hitherto but little known. In their selection, the Compiler has had present to his mind the following tests,—that each hymn should reach a certain standard of literary excellence, and should contain nothing contrary to the Church's teaching as set forth in her Prayer-book and Articles. To maintain an equal standard of excellence throughout was of course impracticable, and there are hymns-chiefly among those for use on special occasions--which the Compiler would gladly see exchanged for others; but he trusts that at all events there are none breathing that forced, exaggerated, and unhealthy sentiment with which some hymnals in large circulation abound. More especially has the Compiler taken care to omit all hymns, or passages in hymns, which contain those ecstatic longings and prayers for death, not only unreal in themselves, but, in his judgment, positively profane when put into the mouths of an ordinary congregation.
With regard to the text of the hymns, the Compiler has followed, as far as it can be ascertained, that of the authors; adopting, indeed, in some cases those alterations which have been generally accepted as real improvements, but otherwise adhering to the original text. The chief exception to this rule is that the Compiler has ventured to change some of those over-familiar epithets which are often applied to our Blessed Lord; and to make some slight alterations, where the choice seemed to lie between making an alteration or rejecting the hymn altogether. Great care has, however, been taken to alter as little as possible; in almost all such alterations the consent of the author has been first obtained, and in those instances where the Compiler has written or altered a stanza or hymn so much that it has in effect become a new one, he has affixed his initials.
The general arrangement is according to the order of the Book of Common Prayer; those hymns, however, which are applicable only to a particular season or day being placed under their several headings; all others, though in many cases suitable for a particular season or day,—with the exception of those to which attention will be drawn by a note,-are placed under the heading of General Hymns;' so that no hymn, as is so often the case now, will be practically rendered useless for the greater part of the year through being placed under a particular heading. In the latter part of the book will be found hymns for all additional services as occasion may require.
Although it has been thought advisable to number the 'Hymns for Children and School,' and those for the · Visitation of the Sick and Private Use,' as forming part of the same book, they may, if desired, be obtained bound separately. In regard to the latter, the Compiler takes this opportunity of saying, that he has not thought it necessary to bind himself down strictly to the hymn proper, but has introduced some short sacred poems; for such hymns being as a rule required for reading rather than singing, a greater latitude of choice is not only allowable but desirable.
The Compiler has made what he has been told is a somewhat dangerous experiment in introducing marks of expression in an edition of hymns without tunes. But he thinks it as much the duty of everyone who can sing to join in the singing, as it is of everyone who can read to join in the responses; and as it appears to him that these marks will help an ordinary congregation to join in the hymns with more care, attention, and feeling than they commonly do, he has not hesitated to adopt them.
The Compiler has been often asked whether he intends to publish a book of tunes. To this question he is unable to give an answer at present, although to a certain extent preparations have been made for such a work. The matter is, however, in his opinion of secondary importance, because every congregation is absolutely bound down to the particular hymn-book which happens to have been chosen for their use, while this is not the case with tunes, since few organists take their tunes exclusively from one book, but can, and do, select those which they think best. Thus a book of tunes adapted to any particular hymn-book is not to the public in general of the same consequence as the words of the hymns themselves ;
from the one there is an easy escape, from the other there is none.
In addition to the usual Indexes, the Compiler has added an Index of Texts as well as of Authors, so that by the aid of the former anyone who wishes to find a hymn suitable for the services of any day in the year, may at a glance see if there be a hymn with a text taken from the Epistle, Gospel, Psalms, or Lessons of the day.
There are also a few blank leaves at the end of the book, on which may be added any hymns which for local or other reasons it may be desirable to adopt.
It may perhaps be thought that the collection is too large, and that it would have been better to confine it to some three or four hundred of the best hymns to be found. It must, however, be remembered that the question is not how to compile a book which shall contain a limited number of hymns approved, in a literary point of view, by persons of the highest and most cultivated taste, but to form a collection which shall best satisfy the present requirements of our Church. All hymnals, for the present at any rate, must be to a certain extent of a tentative character. Many of the best hymns are still but little known, and only require time and good music to take their places in the first rank, whilst there are others which, either from having been set to good tunes, or from their having become from long use familiar to our ears, it would be found impossible to omit. Besides these, there is a large number of hymns which, though perhaps they do not take their place in the front rank, are