The General Convention of the year 1913 entrusted to a Commission the revision of the Hymnal. The General Convention of 1916, accepting a book then submitted, referred it back to the Commission with instructions to perfect it and give it to the Church. In its effort to obey this command, the Commission now presents this book.
Some hymns which were in the former collection have been omitted because it was discovered by careful inquiry that they were seldom if ever used. One of the principles of the revision was to make the new book as compact as excellence and variety would permit. Some old hymns which are perhaps below the general standard are retained because they have the affection of a considerable number of people.
The hymns added find a place either because they are great religious verse, or because they express the experience and aspirations of our time. These are hymns intended to voice our yearning for larger social service, for deeper patriotism, for a more eager obligation to the winning and maintaining of a free world, for a higher enthusiasm towards the unity and extension of Christianity. This Hymnal of 1918 cannot escape the marks of the Great War, -- its tragedy, its sympathy, its loving sacrifice, its gratitude because God has given us the victory for the right and the true.
The hymns have been arranged as nearly as possible in the Prayer Book order, with the hope that people will recognize that they have a companion for the Book of Common Prayer in a Book of Common Praise.
The Commission has tried to retain and to add such hymns as express reality in the religious life. At the same time there has been generous thought for a wide diversity of temperament and training. From stern simplicity to exuberant emotion, the ways in which men would praise God are manifold. Accordingly there are hymns of objective adoration, august and distant, side by side with hymns which unburden the singer's heart and tell what God has done for him alone.
The members of the Commission charged with the task of selecting the music of the hymns have tried first of all to select music which congregations as well as choristers can sing. The number of sentimental and weak melodies has been reduced. It is hoped that the many fine new tunes will so far win their way that such inferior music as is retained will lose its attraction. By such additions as certain Plainsong settings and tunes for adult male voices, the effort is made to appeal to various temperaments and abilities. No one parish will care to use all the tunes, but out of the book every parish will find a sufficient number for all its needs, which it can sing with enthusiasm. As with the words, so with the music, the Commission has endeavoured to provide a book which will make our Communion a singing Church.
The prayer which goes up with the finishing of the book is that, in spite of its limitations and imperfections, it may bring the Church into greater joy, as the people sing these hymns of the ages to the grateful honor of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost.
Cortlandt Whitehead Roland S. Morris
G. Mott Williams Robert C. Pruyn
Thomas F. Davies Miles Farrow
William F. Faber Walter Henry Hall
James W. Ashton Horatio Parker
Charles Lewis Slattery T. Tertius Noble
Frank Damrosch, Jr. Monell Sayre
Winfred Douglas Peter Christian Lutkin
Morris Earle Wallace Goodrich
|Amen| is printed only with those hymns which are prayer, praise, or otherwise addressed to God. Nevertheless, the necessary music for |Amen| has been supplied throughout, for the use of those who desire it.
The dates throughout this book are arranged as follows, both for the Hymns and the Tunes. A single date, without a hyphen, is the earliest obtainable for the given Hymn or Tune: whether of composition, or of first publication. When such a date is wanting, the dates of the author's or composer's birth and death are given, separated by a hyphen. A date followed by a hyphen is that of birth; preceded by a hyphen, or by the letter d, is that of death. The letter c. (circa), indicates an approximate date.
When no composer is known, the place and date of publication are given when possible.