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METHODIST FREE CHURCH
O sing unto the Lord a new song.-Psalm xcvi, 1.
songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.-Ephesians v, 18, 19.
[Entered at Stationers' Hall according to Act of Parliament ]
HAYMAN, CHRISTY & LILLY, LTD., PRINTERS,
113, FALE:XG ON
a resolution of the Annual Assembly of 1884, it was decided that a hymn-book Free Churches since 1860, and a Committee was appointed to give effect to the resolution. Several reasons made a new compilation desirable. The first was that, in recent years, many hymns have been published, whose fervour and poetic power have won the approval and acceptance of nearly all
of the Christian Church. Other reasons were, the imperfect classification of the hymns in the book hitherto in use, and the fact that a considerable number of them had become obsolete, owing to their want of adapta. tion for public worship.
To introduce into the new volume the principal hymns that have enriched the literature and worship of the present day, and to avoid too large a compilation, it was necessary to consider well which of the hymns in the old collection should be omitted from the new. The Committee approached this part of its duty with no small anxiety, and has endeavoured to execute it with the greatest care. The object kept continually in view was to omit no hymn that had become familiar by use, or that, by other associations, had endeared itself to our Churches. In a few cases hymns that otherwise would have been excluded have on this account been retained. Archaic words or phrases in some of the hymns of the former book have been altered ; and hymns that were too long bave been shortened by the omission of one or two of the weaker verses, so that each hymn may be sung through without inconvenience.
In the selection of new hymns the compilers have spared no effort in searching for the best, the most poetical, but before all, the most spiritual of the productions of the poets of our own and other lands. No collection of hymns or sacred songs of any repute has escaped attention.
The principle which guided the Committee in the compilation of the book was to fulfil in the highest degree the purpose and conditions of Divine worship, and to afford fitting means for the outpouring of the heart in prayer, the up-lifting of the soul to nobler aims, holier aspirations and fuller consecration, and the realisation, through sacred song, of communion and fellowship wlth God.
Not less earnestly has the Committee endeavoured, in the inclusion of new hymns, to provide for the glad and grateful expression of praise. It is still, it will always be
a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.' In all ages praise has been the universal language of the children of God, and He reveals Himself in response, when they draw nigh to Him with songs of thanksgiving. Thus, at the dedication of the
temple, when they lifted up their voices,' 'the glory of the Lord filled the house of God;' and 'the great multitude which no man can number,' with the voice of many waters,' sing the new song 'unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever.'
The compilers have also striven, by the choice of suitable hymns, and through the classification and arrangement of the whole book, to stimulate the manifestation of practical Christianity, and to supply a medium for the devout utterance of the varied emotions and experiences of the Christian life. Many hymns are comprised that, to those who are afflicted, and to those in suffering and sorrow, will be full of consolation, and will be welcome' as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.'