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PSALMS AND HYMNS,
HENRY HERBERT WYATT, M.A.
INCUMBENT OF TRINITY CHAPRL, BRIGHTON.
100 m :229.
continuous flow of Hymn Books from the printing
press is only likely to be arrested by the appearance of an authorised collection. Whether, by the issue of a Hymnal which must be used to the exclusion of all others, a reasonable liberty would not be sacrificed to uniformity; or whether English Hymnology might not be in danger of becoming fossilised; is, in the compiler's judgment, a question more open to debate than it is commonly assumed to be. It would surely be a greater evil than the present diversity of usage, that the Church, in her public worship, should be unable, or only after a long interval, to avail herself of the inspirations of another Ken, or a Cowper, a Wesley, a Heber, a Keble, as they may successively or together arise. The specimens of authorised Hymnals which we see in those of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, and of the Episcopal Church in Scotland, need not make any impatient for the day, when, in our own Communion, we should be restricted to a collection by authority.'
The present compiler is quite aware, that, from the want of new materials (though 30,000 hymns have been examined in the preparation of this collection), a strictly new book, wholly distinctive from all that have gone before it, cannot for the present be produced ; and he feels, that whatever recommendations this or any other collection
may possess, will be chiefly negative, consisting in the degree in which exceptionable hymns are excluded, and the taste not offended. Not that all hymns that may be here missed were considered bad, only in some respect thought unsuitable for public worship. Some are omitted because the compiler especially desired that the hymns should be adapted for music, and that the collection should not be overloaded with difficult metres, and, therefore suited only to skilled choirs.
All who have been engaged in work of this kind, know the difficulty, or impossibility in some cases, of ascertaining what really was the original text; and all such know, that sometimes a reading must be altered, as by reason of the mechanical structure, or other necessity. But it can be truly said, that the license has been taken to a far less extent than in many recent and popular collections. In the • Evening Hymn,' the version, 'Glory to Thee, my God, this night,' has been retained (though of late there has been a disposition to read it ‘All praise, etc.'), on the authority of 'A Layman's Life of Bishop Ken,' p. 519, appendix.
The compiler tenders his thanks generally to all authors, collectors, and others, to whom he is indebted for Hymps, and specially, under the head of authors, to the Rev. J. Webb, Rector of Tretire, Herefordshire, and the Rev. T. Webb, Incumbent of Hardwick, Herefordshire, for valuable assistance, and for Hymn 37, expanded by the former, and Hymns 89, 94, composed by the latter; to the Right Rev. Bishop Trower, for Hymn 64; to the compiler's friend and former colleague, the Rev. Ernest Hawkins, Secretary to the Society for the Propagation of
the Gospel, for Hymn 216. And, under the latter head, to the Rev. E. Caswall, for leave to make use of some of his translations of early Latin Hymns; to Messrs. Longman, for Hymns 26, 82, 133, 168, taken by their perinission from Miss Winkworth's 'Lyra Germanica,' from which he would gladly, if allowed, have drawn far more largely; to Mr. Novello, for Hymn 36. The following are taken by special permission from the collection published by the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, 9, 92, 106, 110, 114, 161, 176.
The hymns are arranged under the head of Seasons, for convenience of reference, not with the view to restrict the use of any hymns to a particular period.
A Calendar is provided to point out the hymns bearing upon the teaching in the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels, throughout the year; and as this excludes some hymns, which could not be considered as fitted for one Sunday more than for another, there is subjoined a list of the hymns which may especially be classed as Songs of Praise.
An Appendix is added of a few hymns, which, while they could not be rightly included among those suitable to congregational singing, are too valuable to be omitted from a collection.
On the subject of the Psalms in metre, it will be enough here to say, that though, doubtless, some Psalms are fitly, some even finely, rendered in the quasi-authoritative Versions, yet, as a whole, not many will dissent from the