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most exemplary soundness of doctrine atone for doggrel, or redeem from failure a prosaic didactic style.
There are many hymns in the English language, which will bear the test of these rules, as well, perhaps, as those of Germany, or of the ancient Latin Church. But they are apt to be presented in such company, or in such a manner, as to detract much from their effect From the operation of causes connected with the nature of such compositions, it happens, that writers, who do not in general rise above mediocrity, sometimes produce beautiful hymns; while, on the other hand, there is far more dross than gold in the works of all voluminous hymn-writers. Nor are the principles, on which popular collections of hymns for congregational use are formed, favourable to that kind of selection, which is here attempted. In such collections, as a general rule, the taste of the compilers is regulated by their theology : they seem to be very easily satisfied with all that they think orthodox and edifying, or liturgically appropriate; they do not submit hymns, derived from sources which they respect, to any free or independent criticism ; and, on the other hand, they reject, with morbid fastidiousness, every sentiment and expression in which they think