This collection of poetical pieces was written when Toplady was between the ages of fifteen (1755) and eighteen (1758), that is immediatly following his conversion in 1755. It was originally published in 1759 in Dublin and republished in 1860 as Hymns and Sacred Poems, incoportaing the 1759 contents together with a biographical sketch of the author.
The following Pieces are not recommended to the Patronage of the Public on account of any excellency in Themselves, but merely for the Importance of their Subjects : for, however defective the Superstructure may be, it's Foundation is unquestionably good. All the Doctrines here advanced, deduce their Authority from the sacred Scriptures, and their faithful Epitome—the Homilies of the Established Church.
And that the Dignity of Truths so momentous might be impaired as little as possible by the manner of expressing them, they are often introduced in the very Words of the inspired Writers, and our venerable Reformers ; as every Reader, who is intimate with the two invaluable Books just mentioned, cannot fail of observing.
Since all the Essentials of Religion are compris'd in these two, Sound Faith, and a suitable course of Obedience, every thing that may give offence to Christians dissenting from each other in Points merely indi fferent, is studiously avoided, and no particular Tenets any where struck at, except one or two, which apparently tend to invalidate the Authority of Revelation, and, by consequence, to subvert the whole Subject of Christianity.
The Author wishes it was in his Power to do justice to the Sublime Doctrines here treated of ; but, 'till Death is swallowed up in Victory, the glorious Privileges and ineffable Benefits redound ing to Believers from the Manifestation of God in the Flesh, cannot be perfectly Conceived , much less properly Exprest.
Lest a continued Sameness should Pall, and want of Method Confuse the Reader, the Metre is occasionally varied, and the whole presents itself to his View digested as follows :
1 Petitionary Hymns.
2 Hymns of Praise.
3 Paraphrases on some Select Portions of Holy Writ.
4 Hymns of Invitation.
5 A few Pieces occasioned by the Death of Friends. And,
Lastly, several Pieces not properly referable to any of the preceding Heads, thrown together by way of Appendix.