Our purpose in compiling this volume is to bring together some of the best Christ-centered hymns, embracing the choicest hymns on the unique Person and effectual work of our Lord from all ages, persuasions, and tongues. The Church before the Reformation celebrated mainly the great objective facts of the life of Christ — namely, “Christ For Us.” The hymn writers after the Reformation, while not neglecting those objective themes, brought to light more fully the subjective appropriations of Christ’s work of redemption in our relationship to Him — namely, “Christ In Us.”
Whatever hymns deemed appropriate and relevant to this hymnal have been placed here with great care. The area of our research has been as wide as the bounds of existing Christian literature — Protestant and Romish, ancient and modern. Whatever hymn that met the criteria of our choice has been used without prejudice. A good hymn has not been rejected because of the character of its author. If the hymns before us have echoed the heart’s yearnings, anxious cares, inner struggles, calming comforts, and heavenward hopes under the leading of the Holy Spirit, need we care about its outward source?
Hymns should be simple, full of the experiences of Christ and the appreciation for Christ, and in some measure elevated so as not to be mere prose. A desirable hymnbook may be compared to a majestic building, under which its foundations are solid with accurate truth and sound doctrine, its superstructure elevated with the spirit of poetry, and its interior compartments containing the radiance of spirituality. Spirituality has been the fundamental test in our choice of hymns more often than some high poetic literary standard. The polished workmanship of the ‘vessel’ did not carry as much weight with us as the perfect potential of the ‘treasure’ it contained in order to convey the water of life for the thirsty soul.