The Book Of Praise From The Best English Hymn Writers

450 Christian Songs & Hymns Selected & Arranged By Roundell Palmer

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Preface,                             iii
they detect the traces of opinions which they dislike. It is also their frequent habit to cut down the compositions which they approve, with little discrimination or judgment, to such arbitrary dimensions, as suit their ideas of the time which ought to be occupied, during Divine service, by congregational singing.
The same regard to motives of (real, or supposed,) convenience and edification has in­troduced a system of tampering with the text of hymns, which has now grown into so great an abuse, that to meet with any author's genuine text, in a book of this kind, is quite the exception. Censurable as this practice is, in a literary point of view, it must be confessed that those who adopt it may plead, in their excuse, the examples of many of the writers, whose compositions they alter. The Wesleys altered the compositions of George Herbert, Sandys, Austin, and Watts. Toplady, Madan, and others, altered some of Charles Wesley's hymns, much to his brother John's discontent, as he testifies in the preface to his Hymn-Book for Methodists. Toplady's own hymns, even the "Rock of Ages," have not escaped similar treatment. James Mont­gomery complains much, in the preface to the edition of his collected hymns published in 1853, of his share in this peculiar cross of
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