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ENTERED ACCORDING TO ACT OF CONGRESS, IN THE YEAR 1841, BY WILLIAM P. LUNT, IN THE CLERK'S OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT
COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS.
This Collection of Psalms and Hymns, it will be seen, depends mainly upon Watts and Dodd,idge, whose superiority to all other English hymn-writers is generally conceded. The compiler has not regarded it a sufficient reason for omitting any of their hymns, that they are familiar; but has rather wished to increase the number of pieces by authors of such decided and acknowledged merit.
The writings of the various authors, whose compositions are here given, have been consulted when they could be procured; and much the largest portion of the contents of this volume has been copied from original sources, and not from previous compilations.
It has not been the design of the present Collection, by frequent alterations of the hymns, to force them to conform minutely to any particular standard of taste or of theology. In poetry, it seems unnecessary to judge by the same rigid rules that would be applicable to a philosophical treatise in prose on the several points of Christian doctrine. The authors of the various books of Scripture did not measure their language and thoughts with the exactness of logicians; and modern sacred poetry may be allowed a similar freedom in regard to imagery, sentiment, and expression.
In the present volume, while those parts of hymns have been omitted, which did not suit the purpose of the com
piler, and in some few cases the stanzas of a hymn have been transposed, and in a single instance, a stanza taken from one hymn by Watts has been united with a stanza from another hymn, by the same author, on a kindred subject,—the principle has, at the same time, been adopted, to adhere to the words which the authors themselves used, so far as they could be ascertained. Some hymns, as they here stand, may therefore appear to be altered, merely because the original has been restored. An example occurs in the excellent version, by Watts, of the one hundredth psalm. Many readers will probably be surprised when they learn that the familiar line with which this version commences in most collections - “Before Jehovah's awful throne" was not written by Watts. The alterations which have been made so freely by compilers, have seldom proved as happy as in the instance just given. Most commonly they mangle the original unnecessarily, weaken its vigor, quench its fire, and reduce what is striking and peculiar to a tame mediocrity.
It is hoped that the mode of classifying the hymns, adopted in this volume, may be found, by those who may have occasion to use it, so simple and comprehensive as to render unnecessary a more extended and particular index of subjects.
With the sincere prayer that it may contribute somewhat to increase the interest which is felt in a delightful part of Christian worship, this compilation is now submitted to the public.
WILLIAM P. LUNT.
Quincy, October 11, 1841.
INDEX OF FIRST LINES.
And must this body die...
At God's command the morning ray
Awake, my soul, and with the sun..
Awake, my soul, stretch every nerve......