Page:Our Hymns.djvu/8

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iv PREFACE.

had the assistance of numerous ministers and others in all parts of the country. It includes one thousand of the best psalms and hymns, of nearly two hundred writers of almost every country and religious denomination, and of various ages of the world, from the time of David to our own. It has not heen prepared upon any narrow sectarian plan, but upon the broadest basis of Christian catholicity. A sale of more than half a million copies in a few years, has shown the favour with which it has been received, and besides the stimulus it gives to private devotion, it is from Sunday to Sunday ministering thought and life to the songs of numerous worshipping assemblies. The reader will find in this work biographies of the writers whose psalms and hymns are found in that collection, and a particular account of every hymn there given of which there was anything of interest to record. All the biographical sketches have been written on purpose for this work, and several living hymn-writers have most kindly supplied original autobiographical information that has never been published before.

Having to give the lives of so many eminent persons within the compass of one volume, it was necessary to pass rapidly over some parts of their history; but an attempt has been made to make the sketches as complete as possible. The best sources of information have been consulted; and in every case, the authors have been thought of as hymn-writers, and prominence has been given to what would inform us of them in that capacity. Each life is treated separately, and usually the biographical sketch is given first and the notes on the writer's hymns at the close of the sketch.

The necessary limits of the work did not allow of an attempt to trace the history of hymnology, but some light may be thrown upon that subject by the chronological order that has been adopted in the arrangement of the biographies. And it has been sought