Excerpt from Hymns for Divine Worship
The present collection is larger than was first contemplated, and larger also than can soon be exhausted in any series of ser vices connected with one congregation. But then, in the first place, it was quickly found that the stores at command were so rich as to offer great temptations to exceed the limits originally prescribed. Again, it was remembered that the collection was not designed for a single congregation or society, but for many such united in one Denomination; nor therefore fora single minister, whose ordinary selection of hymns might be limited to his own individual taste or type of ministry, but for a considerable number discharging the same religious functions each Lord's-day, in whom varieties of taste and modes of handling the Word of God might reasonably be supposed to exist great enough to turn to profitable account even a larger collection than is here brought together. Moreover, the wish was to cover with the service of song as much of the whole field of Christian experience as possible, - to furnish a book of devotion for the closet, as well as a selection of psalms and hymns and spiritual songs for the sanctuary; and to do both with as much fuhiess and completeness as would minister to almost every variety of religious sentiment, either by first suggesting and exciting it, or, when excited, by supplying the language in which it should find most fitting ex press1on.
For this purpose the works of nearly all our hymn-writers have been examined, and the best of them laid under heavy tribute. By far the largest contribution has been levied on the compositions of the two 'wesleys, whose service in this department of Christian literature would probably be found, could we estimate its whole effect in the actual experience of now living and of glorified piety, the richest part of that entire legacy which their genius and sanctity have bequeathed to successive generations of believers from their own time to the end of all things. But to their compositions others have been added of men worthy to stand by their side, together with the choicest productions of many more only just inferior to these.
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