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RAWN from many sources, fugitive
and permanent, old and new, near and
distant, open and obscure, the contents of this volume cannot be better introduced than in the language of the Preface of the “Lyra Anglicana,” — from which some of the most striking and valued pieces are taken, - by the Rev. R. H. Baynes, M. A. of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, and Perpetual Curate of Holy Trinity, Maidstone:
“ A few words will explain the object of this Collection of Hymns and Sacred Songs. It is intended as a supplement to the many books of a similar character already published. I have therefore purposely excluded many well-known and favorite hymns, on the ground that nearly all of them are to be found in those Collections to which I have referred. A considerable number of those inserted in this Book will be new to the majority of read. ers, but I venture to believe that, when known and ap
preciated, they will be added to the list of those Sacred Songs most dear to Christian hearts.”
“ It would be almost impossible to overrate the value of really good hymns for private as well as public use. Next to the Bible itself, hymns have done more to influ ence our views and mould our theology than any other instrumentality whatever. There is a power in hymns which never dies. Easily learned in the days of childhood and of youth ; often repeated; seldom, if ever, forgotten, they abide with us, a most precious heritage, amid all the changes of our earthly life. They form a fitting and most welcome expression for every kind of deep religious feeling: they are with us to speak of Faith and Hope in hours of trial and sorrow ; with us, to animate to all earnest Christian esort; with us, as the rich Consolation of individual hearts, and as one common bond of Fellowship between the living members of Christ's mystical body."
If the present Collection should tend in any way to further these blessed ends, I shall indeed rejoice, and shall consider any labor on my part as more than abundantly repaid.”
To this may be fitly added Milton's musical prose definition of the purposes of such poetry :
“ To celebrate in glorious and lofty hymns the throne and equipage of God's almightiness ; and what Ile works, and what He suffers to be wrought with high providence in His Church ; to sing victorious agonies of saints and martyrs, the deeds and triumphs of just and pious nations
doing valiantly, through faith, against Christ's enemies ; to deplore the general relapses of kingdoms and states from justice and God's true worship : Lastly, whatsoever in re. ligion is holy and sublime ; in virtue, amiable or grave .. all these things to paint out and describe, teaching over the whole book of sanctity and virtue, through all the instances of example, with such delight to those especially of soft and delicious temper, who will not so much as look upon Truth herself unless they see her elegantly dressed,
- that whereas the paths of honesty and good life appear now to be rugged and difficult, though they be indeed easy
and pleasant, they will then appear to all men easy and pleasant, though they were rugged and difficult indeed."
The “ Palms” of Elim stand for majesty, strength, and victory. The “ Fountains ” for fruitfulness, beauty, and peace. These refreshing images represent the character of the grand and comforting compositions which are here brought together. Considering how rapidly the stores of Sacred verse including some of a really high order of poetical and spiritual excellence - have accumulated in our language within a few years, by research and by production, it may not be thought presumptuous to say that it has been endeavored to admit no one poem into this Collection that does not bear
some mark of poetic power and of a clear spiritual discernment. The compiler thinks, with equal confidence, that the whole volume will be found to be pervaded with the blessed Doctrine and Spirit of Christ, our Sacrifice and our Righteousness, — the indwelling Light and Eternal Life of believing souls.
F. D. II. ALL SAINTS' DAY, 1864.