THE venerable Author of the following Hymns did not compose them with the view of their being published. During a long-continued and highly useful ministry, he was in the habit of preparing a few verses suited to the subject of his pulpit discourses, and which were sung in his own congregation, more or less frequently, at the close of the public services. Many of these compositions were afterwards given away in manuscript; others were taken down by some of the hearers at the time of delivery, and disposed of in a similar way; so that in process of time, several hundreds of them were in private circulation among the friends of the Author, and some few found their way into the periodical publications of the day.
Some years previous to his death, Mr Beddome collected and arranged a large proportion of these poetical effusions, and inserted them in a closely written MS for the use of his own family after his decease, as also several volumes of Sermons, but still without any design of their being printed. At the request of some of his friends, he permitted several of his Hymns to appear in a general Collection, intended chiefly for the use of his own denomination; and some years after his decease, several others were mserted in the same performance, without any due acknowledgement.
The present Editor was entrusted several years ago with the MSS, both in prose and verse, with, permission from the late Messrs S and B Beddome, Sons of the Author, to publish such parts of them as he might deem proper. He is also indebted to a descendant of the Rev W Christian, formerly pastor of the Baptist church at Sheepshead, Leicestershire, for some of the Author's valuable hymns, which had been carefully preserved in that family. From both these sources, as well as others of less consequence, the present interesting volume has been derived.
It will readily be perceived, that so large a quantity of original matter, not having been intended for publication, nor having had the benefit of- revision from its ingenious and learned Author, must appear under great disadvantages, such as to claim no ordinary degree of indulgence from the critical and candid Reader. The Editor has endeavoured to distribute the whole mass of materials into a form best adapted to modern use, and to the existing circumstances of the christian church, especially that section of it to which Mr Beddome belonged, and of which he was one of the brighest ornaments.
A variety of Hymns on the properties of Scripture, scattered throughout the MSS, have been collected and arranged, under the title of 'Bible Societies,' though these pious and benevolent institutions had no existence till sometime after the Author's death. The same may be said of 'Missions,' and of other departments of the christian church, which at the present time are occupied with honour and usefulness. The Hymns on 'Baptism,' it is presumed, will be found a real acquisition to those for whose use they are more immediately intended, while the sincere and ardent piety which pervades them will be sufficient to secure the serious and candid attention of such as are differently minded.