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The HYMN BOOK of the LEEDS SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION was first published in 1833.
The present Executive of the Union, believing that the time had arrived for a complete revision and reconstruction of their Book of Sacred Song, again appointed to this congenial duty the Editor who had, twenty-five years before, been honoured with the confidence of their predecessors.
Enlargement of the book being thought undesirable, it became needful, in order to make room for many beautiful, appropriate, and popular compositions of recent years, that a very considerable number of the former Hymns should be omitted. In making such exclusion, the Editor sought the advice of two experienced and judicious friends--a Superintendent and a Teacher--whose valuable aid in this depart. ment he gladly acknowledges. He has also had much pleasure in adopting some excellent suggestions received from a Sub-Committee of the Union.
Since the Leeds S. S. Hymn Book first appeared, the limits of Sunday School duty have been widely extended ; and now, under the same superintendence, are often gathered both infant and adult scholars, among whom, either collectively or in classes, many Teachers are called to alternate their labours. This consideration led the Editor to separate from the rest the Hymns for the little ones; a division which has enabled him to descend to the level of infant minds, without incurring the risk of misleading any one to dictate to our young men and maidens expres. sions which for them must be puerile and inconsistent.
In preparing the renewed Hymn Book, he has retained very few mere didactic compositions, and has greatly multiplied the number of direct addresses to God in praise and prayer. Those who are familiar with the sacred songs of our schools and homes will observe an occasional omission or alteration. Abbre. viations were rendered necessary by the restricted size of the book. Other changes,-marked by an asterisk (*) where the author's name is given in the
index,--have been made only where direct and suitable worship could not otherwise be offered in using the Hymn ; or where, by slightly modifying its language, some still popular composition of earlier days might be made better to harmonize with Scripture phraseology, or with the literary requirements of present times.
Moreover, while shrinking from no timely recognition of the most solemn truths of Holy Scripture, the Editor has striven to maintain throughout the book a tone of cheerful and loving gratitude ; which, aided by a free intermixture of the livelier measures in versification, will make the use of it, he trusts, not profitable alone, but winningly pleasant to all young persons.
The Hymns for Teachers' Meetings—forming the Third part of the Selection,-have received several additions from the stores of sacred poesy now so abundantly furnished ;-and, in all the three parts, instead of a mere reference, each Hymn is now headed with an appropriate text-which, though often necessarily abbreviated, is always scrupulously given in the words of Holy Scripture.
May the God of the Shepherd-Psalmist richly bless this Hymn Book to all who use it--from the youngest lamb in our flocks, to their most venerable guardian ; and His Holy Name shall have all the glory, through our blessed Lord and only Saviour, Jesus Christ.
JOIN PEELE CLAPHAM. LEEDS, JUNE, 1802.
P.S. October, 1865. In compliance with many urgent applications, an APPENDIX is now published. It contains several admirable Hymns, which, had they been earlier presented, the editor would gladly have incorporated with those of the last edition. Of some others, he is bound to say that they owe their position here rather to the popularity of the tunes to which they have been wedded, than to their intrinsic excellence.
April, 1878.-Several Hymns which have been used in connection with Anniversaries, and others suitable for similar occasions, have been appended as “ Additional Hymns," and it is hoped they will tend to make the Sabbath School services both more pleasant and useful,
PARTS I: II.