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hymns in the same tongue. Among these, that made by the learned and pious Dr. Kuntze, then Senior of the New York Ministerium, and published in 1795, is excellent in its devotional tendency, but lamentably deficient in poetic beauty and purity of diction. The collection, subsequently made by a Committee of the New York Synod, appointed in 1812, not only merits a decided preference, but is indeed a most excellent work. Yet long experience has evinced that this selection does not afford a sufficient variety for all the purposes of ministerial duty and Christian practice, and many of the choicest and most devotional productions of the English muse are not contained in it.
Under these circumstances, the General Synod deemed it their duty, in accordance with their Constitution, and in obedience to the numerous calls made on them, to provide a hymn-book possessing alike sufficient amplitude, classical excellence, and devotional spirit, to serve as a permanent book for the churches of their connection, and for all others who may be disposed to use it. For this purpose the undersigned were appointed a committee in 1825, and have for several years devoted their most particular and prayerful attention to the important duty assigned them. They have found the work arduous far beyond their early expectations; but their conviction of its importance and necessity has continually increased. Their aim has been to combine in the highest possible degree practical excellence with the charms and graces of poetry. They have procured all the most excellent and valuable hymn-books used by sister churches, and have also examined very many hymns dispersed through the works of individual authors. They feel assured that the selection made will contain the major part of the best hymns extant in the English language. They have also, after mature consideration, constructed a new arrangement, which they deem decidedly more practical than any other which they have seen, and calculated to be more useful both to ministers and laymen.
A view of the general subjects, sufficiently minute for reference, is prefixed to the book. A portable size was adopted, not only for the sake of cheapness and convenience in public and domestic worship, but also that Christians who strive to walk with God, and delight to sing the songs of Zion, may carry this volume with them on their journeys, and in their social walks, and into the field of labor, and, as opportunity may offer, kindle anew the flame of their devotion at the fire of the sacred muse.
In conclusion, we would commend this work to the serious use of the disciples of our Lord in general, and our churches in particular; and more especially to the favor and blessing of that divine Redeemer, whose dying love will be the theme of our more perfect praises in the realms of celestial bliss.
S. S. SCHMUCKER,
C. P. KRAUTH,
J. G. SCHMUCKER, D. D.,
GETTTSBURG, Pa., May 16, 1828.
PREFACE TO THE NEW EDITION.
VARIOUS changes in this Hymn book having been called for, a committee was, at the meeting of the General Synod in 1845, appointed to examine what was desirable in this respect, and directed to report to the Synod at its next meeting in the city of New York in 1848. The committee having done so, their report was accepted, and their number having been increased by the addition of one member from each Synod not already represented in that committee, they were directed to make the alterations and improvements indicated as necessary, and to have the book stereotyped and published.
The committee, consisting of fifteen, being too unwieldy and too widely separated for frequent con. sultation, having had a meeting during the session of the General Synod, and agreed upon a mode of action for the decision of one or two points, committed the details of the work to a sub-committee of three who resided in the same place, (Gettysburg, Pa.,) and could therefore perform the task assigned them with the greatest deliberation. The results of their labors are herewith presented to the church.
It is needless to specify in detail the changes that they have made, but they may state in general that, in accordance with the report and resolutions under which they were appointed, they carefully revised the text of the whole work, making such verbal changes as seemed necessary or desirable, removed some fifty of the most objectionable hymns from the body of the book as originally prepared, threw out all duplicates, substituted improved editions of
hymns where they presented themselves, rejected such stanzas of hymns as seemed injurious to them, and re-arranged the whole Appendix, from which they removed those hymns generally to which well grounded exception appeared to have been taken in our churches. For the hymns removed they, of course, substituted others, and, without increasing the size or price of the book, have added some forty others, so as to make the whole number of new hymns in this edition about one hundred and fifty.
These changes, they believe, will generally commend themselves to those interested in this work. They might indeed have been carried further, but it was not contemplated that the book should be so remodeled as to be incapable of being used in connection with the previous editions. On a subsequent page will be found directions for the use of the new in connection with the old book, and the plan is so plain and simple that it is hoped that no inconvenience will be experienced in this respect.
To facilitate the use of hymns translated from the German, of which as many as seemed desirable under existing circumstances have been introduced, a table of tunes suitable to them, or the melodies of their originals, the metres of which have been preserved, is appended.
No table of scriptural passages has been introduced, because very little use seems to be made of such tables, and because the few references which were made to such passages at the headings of hymns in former editions, have been omitted in this for the sake of brevity and of uniformity. It is hoped that a careful statement of the subject of each hymn, at its head, and a copious index of subjects will supply all that is here needed.
Hoping that the book, thus revised and enlarged, will meet the wants and expectations of those for whom it is intended, and animate more and more the devotions of our churches and of individual Christians, and praying that all who use it may “sing with the spirit and with the understanding,” and that the Triune God may accept of the praises, and answer the prayers thus addressed unto Him, we herewith commit this volume to our ministers and people.
WM. M. REYNOLDS, Synod East Penna.,
S. W. Virginia,
North Carolina, P. A. STROBEL,
South Carolina, H. G. KEIL,
Committee of the General Synod.
EXPLANATIONS. † Placed after the number of a hymn shows that it is a new one, not found in former editions.
If After the number of a hymn shows that it is not in the first revised edition.
* At the end of a stanza shows that the following stanza of the older editions has been omitted.
** Indicates the omission of two stanzas, &c.
Where a hymn has two numbers thus, 537, (856,) the second number indicates the place of the hymn in the old books.