In presenting this work to the public, the compilers would say, that they do not intend it as a rival of any other Hymn Book already in existence; but, if advancement in the light of other good works be allowable, as an improvement on them all. Although evidently designed in one sense for a denomination, they have also intended that it shall answer in some measure the demands of a liberal and progressive Christianity--a Christianity, under whatever name or pretension found, that would diffuse Christ's spirit and do his works of truth and love among men.
We have sought to give variety in these Hymns; to have the number ample enough; and while cautious in reference to their literary character, to select those of a devotional tendency, rather than those chiefly commendable for their poetical excellence. We have intended also to pay due respect to the old Hymns so justly familiar with those of every age among our worshippers, while we have not been unmindful of the new claimants of public favor.
It will be perceived that there is a greater variety of Hymns on several topics than in most other Hymn Books now in use among us; especially in reference to the philanthropic nature of our religion, and the peculiar indications of this nature in the present age. In the department of the book entitled "Triumph of Christianity," faithfulness in representing this great truth is designed. In all instances where the authorship of a hymn could be ascertained, it has been given. Of a few hymns, however, taken from a copy of the new Cambridge Unitarian Hymn Book, kindly handed us in sheets, it was not known whether they were original or not. They appear in this book, therefore, in company with quite a number of original ones, without any special mark thus to designate them.
To the friends who have so kindly aided us, by suggestions or contributions, we return our sincere thanks; and to the Christian public do we now humbly dedicate this work, invoking the blessing of God upon its use, and praying that it may be welcomed by many souls seeking the aids and blessings of Christian devotion.
J. G. Adams, E. H. Chapin.
Boston, August 1, 1846.