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HE material of this volume has been taken from a collection of more than fifty thousand English Psalms and Hymns, in thirty-two folio volumes, alphabetically arranged and indexed, commenced many years ago by Mr. Rylands and continued to the present time. They have been carefully and repeatedly examined, and those selected which seemed on the whole best adapted to express in becoming form the sentiments of the CHURCH UNIVERSAL.
As a contribution to a study which in our days has become of increasing interest both on literary and on devotional grounds, Mr. and Mrs. Rylands now offer the volume to their friends. They have no intention of publishing it; but, at the same time, would make grateful acknowledgment to those authors and holders of copyrights who have permitted the free use of their works.
In the prosecution of the task of selection, it has been very interesting to note the way in which common consent has fixed upon certain Hymns as specially adapted for congregational praise. It is not always easy to say on what special quality in the Hymns chosen this unanimity is based; and, instead of criticism, it may be useful to indicate the Hymns themselves, as among the best known, the most commonly employed, and the dearest treasures of the Christian Church.
Ten modern Hymn-books may be selected, representing every school of orthodox belief; four from the Church of England, six from different Nonconforming bodies. The Hymns which all of these contain in
common may justly be regarded as a possession of the Church Universal, forming of themselves a collection in which all who "worship God in the Spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus" agree to express their common prayer and praise. The war of creeds for the time is over, as the united voice of holy song ascends to heaven.
For the purposes of this examination, the selected Hymn-books of the Church of England are :—
1. Hymns Ancient and Modern, expressing the sentiments of the "high" or sacerdotal school; and with a circulation hitherto unparalleled.
2. The Hymnal Companion to the Book of Common Prayer, edited by the Rev. Dr. E. H. Bickersteth, now Bishop of Exeter; a favourite Hymn-book of the "evangelical" section of the Church.
3. Church Hymns, published by the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge; and fairly representing the via media of the Anglican Church.
4. The Church of England Hymn-book, edited by the Rev. Godfrey Thring, himself an accomplished Hymn-writer, and published by Messrs. Skeffington; a compilation marked by poetic taste and liberal churchmanship.
The six non-Episcopal collections are as follows:—
1. The Methodist Hymn-book, with Supplemental Hymns. This wellknown collection in its earlier forms has been the chief devotional manual of Methodism from generation to generation. The additions made under admirable editorship in recent years adapt it still further to the uses of the great Wesleyan community. A few Hymns in our list, marked with an asterisk, are not included in this collection, probably because their topics had been forestalled. We could not omit this great Hymn-book from our list, but could hardly range it with entirely modern collections.
2. The Congregational Hymn-book, with Supplement; prepared by the Congregational Union of England and Wales, and used in most of the churches of that body. A few Hymns, included in Dr. Allon's Supplement, although not in the other, have been noted with a dagger.
3. Psalms and Hymns for the use of the Baptist Denomination, with Appendix; the most widely used Hymn-book in the Baptist congrega
4. The Baptist Hymnal; prepared for the use of the "General Baptist" section of the denomination; but (with the less special title of The Christian Hymnal) offered to other congregations also.
5. Church Praise; a recent compilation made by authority of the Assembly of the English Presbyterian Church, and a noble specimen of the Hymnody in which the Presbyterians of England as well as of Scotland, after long and exclusive adherence to their Psalms and Paraphrases, have at length very generally consented to unite.
6. Congregational Hymns, edited by the Rev. W. G. Horder; the most recent among the important Hymn-books of our time, and claiming as its specialty the expression of Christian praise in the best attainable forms, and in spirit wholly unsectarian.
These ten books may be regarded collectively as so carrying with them the consent of the Churches that the innumerable other compilations of our time, whatever may be their other peculiarities, are almost sure to comprise the Hymns on which the ten are found to agree. The list therefore now presented may be regarded as the COMMON GROUND OF CHRISTIAN PRAISE. The Hymns are sixty-two in number.
HYMNS COMMON TO THE TEN HYMNALS, CHURCH OF ENGLAND AND NONCONFORMIST.
* LEAD, KINDLY LIGHT, AMID THE ENCIRCLING GLOOM
*LEAD US, HEAVENLY FATHER, LEAD US
NEARER, MY GOD, TO THEE
*O COME AND MOURN WITH ME AWHILE
O DAY OF REST AND GLADNESS *ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS *O PARADISE! O PARADISE ! ...
In some editions, "All praise to Thee," see No. 518.
2 In some collections the Hymn begins with the verse, "New every morning is the love."