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The hymn lore of the Christian Church offers a fascinating field for profitable research and study. To know the hymns of the Church is to know something of the spiritual strivings and achievements of the people of God throughout the centuries. Henry Ward Beecher has well said: “Hymns are the jewels which the Church has worn, the pearls, the diamonds, the precious stones, formed into amulets more potent against sorrow and sadness than the most famous charm of the wizard or the magician. And he who knows the way that hymns flowed, knows where the blood of true piety ran, and can trace its veins and arteries to the very heart.”

This volume has been inspired by a desire on the part of the author to create deeper love for the great lyrics of the Christian Church. In pursuing this purpose an effort has been made to present such facts and circumstances surrounding their authorship and composition as will result in a better understanding and appreciation of the hymns themselves.

A hymn is a child of the age in which it was written. For this reason the author has followed a chronological arrangement in an endeavor, not only to set forth the historical background of the hymns, but also to trace the spiritual movements within the Church that gave them birth.

The materials contained in this volume have been gathered from sources too numerous to mention here. The author feels a special sense of gratitude for information drawn from David R. Breed’s “The History and Use of Hymns and Hymn-Tunes,” Edward S. Ninde’s “The Story of the American 6 Hymn,” and John Julian’s monumental work, “Dictionary of Hymnology.” No claim is made to originality, except in the manner of presentation and interpretation. A popular style has been adopted in order to appeal to the lay reader.

Thus we send forth this book with the earnest prayer that it may inspire many hearts to sing with greater devotion the praises of Him who redeemed us with His blood and made us to be kings and priests unto God.

Ernest Edwin Ryden.

St. Paul, Minnesota, November 14, 1930.

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