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Title: Hymns in Human Experience
Author: Hart, William John
Language: English
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    [Illustration: IRA D. SANKEY]

                         _In Human Experience_

    [Illustration: Decoration]

                        _WILLIAM J. HART, D.D._

    [Illustration: Decoration]

    [Illustration: Harper & Brothers]

                   Publishers    _HARPER & BROTHERS_
                     _New York and London_    1931

 _Copyright, 1931, by Harper & Brothers. Printed in the U. S. A. First
                           Edition_    _D-F_

                        _My Wife and Daughters_

    [Illustration: Decoration]

                           THE GOOD OLD HYMNS

  _There’s lots of music in ’em, the hymns of long ago;
  An’ when some gray-haired brother sings the ones I used to know
  I sorter want to take a hand—I think o’ days gone by—
  “On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand and cast a wishful eye.”_

  _There’s lots of music in ’em—those dear, sweet hymns of old,
  With visions bright of lands of light and shining streets of gold;
  And I hear ’em ringing—singing, where memory dreaming stands,
  “From Greenland’s icy mountains to India’s coral strands.”_

  _We hardly needed singin’ books in them old days: we knew
  The words, the tunes, of every one, the dear old hymn book through!
  We had no blaring trumpets then, no organs built for show;
  We only sang to praise the Lord, “from whom all blessings flow.”_

  _An’ so I love the dear old hymns, and when my time shall come—
  Before the light has left me and my singing lips are dumb—
  If I can only hear ’em then, I’ll pass, without a sigh,
  “To Canaan’s fair and happy land, where my possessions lie!”_

                         —Frank L. Stanton in _The Atlanta Constitution_


    Preface                                                            xi
  I. A Singing Faith                                                    1
  II. Songs in the Night                                               29
  III. Hymns Mothers Loved                                             52
  IV. When Preachers Sing                                              67
  V. Songs of Soldiers                                                 80
  VI. Heard within Prison Walls                                        95
  VII. The Music of Submerged Lives                                   103
  VIII. Songs of Salvation                                            113
  IX. “The Old Rugged Cross”                                          127
  X. Hymns of Youth                                                   136
  XI. Hymns As Prayers                                                153
  XII. Songs of the Negroes                                           165
  XIII. Christmas and Easter Melodies                                 173
  XIV. Funeral Music                                                  188
  XV. Hymns on Patriotic Occasions                                    204
    Index of Hymns                                                    217


Half a million hymns, it is estimated, are written in more than two
hundred languages and dialects in which Christianity is preached. Some
of these are translations, but many are original expressions of the
Christian faith. This extraordinary production is an impressive
testimony from Christian experience.

Having for many years made a study of the influence of hymns in human
experience, I have during that time gleaned material from newspapers,
periodicals (both American and British) and books; and to both the
authors and the publishers of these I here express my indebtedness.
Little is said in this volume concerning the origin of hymns and tunes,
or of their place in literature. These aspects of the subject are well
discussed in “The English Hymn” by Louis F. Benson, “The Hymn as
Literature” by J. B. Reeves, “The Story of the Hymns and Tunes” by T.
Brown and H. Butterworth, “The Evolution of the English Hymn” by F. J.
Gillman, “Stories of Great Hymns of the Church” by Silas H. Paine,
“English Hymns: Their Authors and History” by S. W. Duffield, and many

The chief purpose of this volume is to show how hymns have been actually
used, and how people have been helped by them in different circumstances
of life. Each chapter has a brief introduction bearing on the special
topic, and the various incidents are linked together in a manner which
gives continuity to the whole.

Some of this material was used in addresses at church services, and also
in Chapel Addresses at the Northern New York Summer School for
Ministerial Training. As dean of this school the author desires to
associate both the members of the faculty and the student body with this
volume. Their expressed appreciation of the incidents which they heard,
and their urgent request for the publication of the same, encouraged me
to complete this work.

I desire to make special mention of the assistance received from the
Rev. Oscar L. Joseph, Litt. D. His wise counsel has been invaluable.
Furthermore, he has edited the volume with the utmost care, and its
final form is the result of his experience as an author and his
painstaking labors. The introductory notes in each chapter were also
written by Dr. Joseph and these constitute an important feature of the

Ministers and laity alike, it is believed, will find this book of value.
My hope is that it may help towards a renewed emphasis upon the value of
Christian experience, and a broader recognition of the rich heritage
which Christianity has in its songs.

                                                         William J. Hart

  _Utica, New York_

                      _Hymns In Human Experience_

                               CHAPTER I
                           _A Singing Faith_

Christianity came to the world on the wings of song. From that memorable
night when the angels celebrated the divine grace in “Glory to God in
the Highest” up to the present day, song has been a powerful agency in
spreading the Gospel of Redemption. Consider the influence of hymns in
leading people to God, in giving courage to the depressed, hope to the
disappointed, comfort to the sorrowing, guidance to the perplexed; in
creating and confirming faith; in inspiring for the performance of duty
and for steadfastness in fidelity.

The hymn holds a premier place in the literature of poetry, but it is
much more than poetry. “It belongs with the things of the spirit, in the
sphere of religious experience and communion with God.” Some of the best
hymns which have touched and transformed the depths of human life may
not meet the tests of literary critics. But more important than such
academic standards is the conclusive proof that these writings have
animated and sustained faith, hope and love. They have done this more
effectively than any other means employed to produce these exhilarating
and virtuous qualities of Christian character.

It is true that Christianity came out of a religion which has its rich
heritage in the Psalter. Indeed, this is the world’s greatest hymn book;
its sentences of prayer and praise have captured the hearts of
generations of pious souls and ministered to their religious and moral
needs. It is equally true that Christianity has liberated song far more
effectively than any other religion. Of all the liturgical aids to
private and public worship hymns are the most popular because of their
freedom from any sectarian note and their wholesome ability to rouse
emotion and direct life in ways of humane service.

This chapter is a selection of incidents which illustrate how hymns have
voiced the deep instincts of the soul under a variety of circumstances.
They witness to the power of the Gospel to soothe, calm and sustain in
ways hardly otherwise possible. They show how hymns are woven into the
fabric of life and that in times of pressure they express the latent and
active emotions which give evidence of the real worth and dignity of
human personality.

Tastes differ about hymns, but many will agree with these two men

                            The Supreme Hymn

Emerson and Oliver Wendell Holmes were once discussing what they
considered the best hymn ever written. Holmes said that the hymns
published by the various churches were mere bits of cabinet-work—phrases
from the Scriptures or from devotional writers such as Thomas à Kempis
being patched together in metrical form. Emerson signified his assent;
and then Holmes, rising, continued, “In my opinion the greatest hymn
ever written is this:

  ‘Thou hidden love of God, whose height,
    Whose depth unfathomed, no man knows,
  I see from far Thy beauteous light,
    Inly I sigh for Thy repose:
  My heart is pained, nor can it be
  At rest, till it finds rest in Thee.’”

“I know, I know!” exclaimed Emerson. “That is the supreme hymn.”

Its author was Gerhard Tersteegen, one of the most prolific of German
hymn writers. It was translated by John Wesley when he was in Savannah,
Georgia, in 1736. It must have made a profound impression upon Holmes
who wrote the hymn:

  “Lord of all being, throned afar,
  Thy glory flames from sun and star;
  Center and soul of every sphere,
  Yet to each loving heart how near!”

Harry Lauder, in _Roamin’ in the Gloamin’_,[1] refers to it as “that
gorgeous bit of poetic imagery,” and adds that Holmes would have been
the greatest hymn writer in the world had he only written some more.

The reference to John Wesley recalls an interesting incident:

                       When Two Hymn-Writers Met

On a fine summer’s day in the first half of the eighteenth century a
traveler on horseback, crossing one of the lovely hills of Derbyshire in
England, was aroused from his meditations by the voice of singing.
Pausing to listen, these words came on the still air from the valley

  “Could we but climb where Moses stood,
    And view the landscape o’er,
  Not Jordan’s stream, nor death’s cold flood,
    Should fright us from the shore.”

Instantly, in a clear voice, the traveler sent ringing down the hills
the glad response in his brother’s words:

  “The promised land, from Pisgah’s top,
    I now exult to see:
  My hope is full, O glorious hope!
    Of immortality.”

And then the two greatest little men in all England, John Wesley and
Isaac Watts, met and talked together of the deep things of God.

How indebted we are to these two men for the enrichment of English
hymnody! Watts sang of the majesty of God while Charles Wesley, the
brother of the founder of Methodism, magnified the love of God, but all
three were one in purpose. We join with Watts in singing, “Jesus shall
reign where’er the sun,” and with the same enthusiasm we sing with
Charles Wesley, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.”

How profoundly Watts had influenced his contemporaries is seen in

                        John Wesley’s Last Hymn

The great evangelist had reached the age of eighty-eight and his passing
hence was in a cloud of glory. Arnold Lunn thus describes it in his book
_John Wesley_:[2] “The end was very beautiful. He lingered for three
days, surrounded by those who loved him. No pain, only a growing sense
of weakness, and a tranquil acceptance of the inevitable. He slept much
and spoke little, but sometimes the dying flame flickered up, and the
inner light which had changed the face of England glowed with its old
intensity. On the afternoon before he died, he surprised his friends by
bursting into song:

  ‘I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath,
  And when my voice is lost in death,
  Praise shall employ my nobler powers.’

He sang two verses and then sank back exhausted. These lines were from
Watts’ well-known hymn. Some hours passed as Wesley continued to sink,
and with ebbing strength his last words of triumphant faith were: “The
best of all is, God is with us.”

Such a consciousness of the divine presence has sustained many others.
Here is one instance entitled:

                         Singing Their Farewell

Having spent forty years in educational work in England, a Scotch
schoolmaster and his wife moved back to their native land to spend their
days of retirement. Since they were active in one of the local churches,
the membership came together for a farewell service. When they came to
sing the closing hymn, choice was made of an arrangement of Psalm 34.[3]
Doubtless the aged couple going into the sunset period of life
afterwards recalled the words which they and their friends in Christian
service sang that evening:

  “Through all the changing scenes of life,
    In trouble and in joy,
  The praises of my God shall still
    My heart and tongue employ.

        . . .    . . .    . . .

  Fear Him, ye saints, and you will then
    Have nothing else to fear;
  Make you His service your delight,
    He’ll make your wants His care.”

Cheerful and encouraging words were these in which to voice a farewell.

The happy outlook of a faith which breaks out in song impressed me when
I was a patient

                            In the Hospital

Christmas was near, and I was a patient in a hospital away from home.
The attending physician informed me that Dr. William D. Marsh, the
founder of “The League of the Kindly Tongue,” an organization which has
a large membership in the United States as well as in some other
countries, was in the same hospital on the floor below. The day he was
discharged, he came to visit me. During the conversation he stated that
he had recently been relearning and trying to live a hymn which he found
very precious. It was one of Toplady’s:

  “If, on a quiet sea,
    Toward heaven we calmly sail,
  With grateful hearts, O God, to Thee,
    We’ll own the favoring gale.”

Special reference was made to the last verse:

  “Teach us, in every state,
    To make Thy will our own;
  And when the joys of sense depart,
    To live by faith alone.”

Such was the hymn beloved by the man who endeavored to enlist men and
women to bring their daily conversation into harmony with the Golden

This experience brought to my mind the gracious sufficiency of Him whom
every believer confesses as

                            “Sun of My Soul”

Years of constructive service were given by Dr. Charles N. Sims to the
important task of building up Syracuse University. It was during the
time of the early struggles of the development of that institution that
he served heroically as the Chancellor. Later there followed some years
of pulpit activity. Then came the time of retirement from educational
and pastoral leadership, and he returned to his native state of Indiana
to spend the eventide of life.

When it was evident that the time of his home-going was near, a member
of the family went to the piano and played the hymn he greatly loved.
Softly also it was sung:

  “Sun of my soul, thou Saviour dear,
  It is not night if Thou be near.”

The second stanza was reached:

  “When the soft dews of kindly sleep
  My wearied eyelids gently steep,
  Be my last thought, how sweet to rest
  Forever on my Saviour’s breast.”

Relatives, looking on the peaceful form, then observed that he had
quietly answered the call of his Lord, and that the spirit had gone to
the home of many mansions.

Here is an incident which recalls one of the bitter tragedies of the
ocean. See also page 30.

                          Their Last Sing-Song

Permission was obtained from the purser of the _Titanic_ to hold a song
service in the saloon one Sunday evening. The Rev. E. C. Carter, of
Whitechapel, London, a clergyman of the Anglican Church, was in charge.
A young Scotch engineer presided at the piano.

The passengers were asked to make their selections. It was significant
that many of the hymns chosen had to do with dangers at sea. There was a
hushed tone with which all sang: “For those in peril on the sea.”

The service lasted until after ten o’clock, with wishes exchanged by all
that they might soon reach the end of their pleasant voyage by landing
in New York. Little did they realize at the time that only a few miles
ahead lay one peril on the sea in the iceberg that sank the great liner.
The leader of this service and his wife were among the hundreds who
perished ere the dawn of the next day.

The power of hymns to calm and sustain is seen in

                        Other Refuge Have I None

An air raid of the enemy threatened the destruction of a munitions
factory “somewhere in England” where thousands of women were working,
according to Mrs. Burnett Smith. A very tense feeling prevailed, for it
was realized that the worst might happen at any moment. Nerves began to
break a little, while sobs and screams were being heard. Then some one
in a far corner began softly to sing:

  “Jesus, Lover of my soul,
  Let me to Thy bosom fly.”

The others quickly joined in the song until all were singing softly and
quietly. The danger passed, and the women were unharmed.

One can imagine the courage of that group of women rising as they
prayerfully sang the words:

  “Other refuge have I none;
    Hangs my helpless soul on Thee:
  Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
    Still support and comfort me:
  All my trust on Thee is stayed,
    All my help from Thee I bring;
  Cover my defenseless head
    With the shadow of Thy wing.”

Their help in giving the fortitude of faith is illustrated by

                          An Unforgotten Song

A British writer has told us of an evening which he spent at a
fashionable watering place in Scotland. The visitors were seated in the
drawing-room, spending the evening in a leisurely manner in reading or

Presently two ladies walked up to the piano, one to sing, the other to
play her accompaniment. Conversation still continued, as the air was
played over. But as soon as the words were reached, a hush fell upon the
audience. The piece was Topliff’s setting of “Remember now thy Creator
in the days of thy youth.” The drawing-room was a large one, capable of
seating some hundreds of people, and furnished in a way calculated to
deaden sound. Yet every word was heard distinctly.

The man who tells the story says that next to him was sitting a man,
apparently from the west of England, “endowed with a wise and gracious
Christlike spirit, the fruit of many years’ experience in his Master’s
service.” This man listened with rapt attention. Then he turned to his
neighbor, and whispered in a hushed voice, “I can tell by the way that
girl sings that she is a Christian.”

The narrator of the incident, anxious to know more about the young lady,
learned something of her experience. He records it as follows: “She had
been engaged to be married to a medical man—a very fine Christian. One
day, when he was staying at a place far distant from the home of his
fiancée, he was suddenly stricken with typhoid fever, and died almost
immediately. The lady was not told about it till after the funeral was
over. The shock was so great that she was prostrated for some days. When
she was able to get about again, her lovely voice, her greatest gift,
was gone. Something like paralysis of the throat prevented her speaking
above a whisper. Many months after, the voice gradually came back. When
she was able to sing once more with her old power, she made a solemn vow
that she would devote her voice very specially to God’s service.
Thenceforth her most treasured possession was the Bible of her beloved.
I saw it. It was crowded with notes from cover to cover, for the book
was woven into its owner’s life.”

The secret of such a faith is finely expressed in

                      Sounding the Silver Trumpet

“I had read in the biography of Sir Edward Burne-Jones a legend which he
had noted,” said Dr. R. G. Gillie. “When Lucifer was cast out of the
Holy City he founded a kingdom of his own, and one of his retainers,
greatly caring, asked what he missed most now that he was shut out of
Heaven. Pondering, the Prince of Evil paused and answered: ‘I miss the
sound of the silver trumpets in the morning.’ According to the legend
all the glad populace was called each day to labor and achievement by
silver trumpets.”

  “Today on weary nations
    The heavenly manna falls;
  To holy convocations
    The silver trumpet calls.”

The response to this call is touchingly related in an incident:

                 Grandchildren of Cannibals Praised God

Stirring reports were brought back from Africa by Mr. W. J. W. Roome
when he went there in 1929 for the British and Foreign Bible Society.
The main station of the great English Baptist Mission on the Congo is at
Yakusu. When Mr. Roome arrived at this point the children of the
mission, who were the grandchildren of cannibals, greeted him by singing
Lyte’s great hymn.

  “Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
  To His feet thy tribute bring;
  Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
  Who like me His praise should sing?
  Praise Him! praise Him! praise Him! praise Him!
  Praise the everlasting King!”

The irrepressible faith in missionary work was recently advertised by

                     A Song Which Belted the Globe

Over four thousand women attended a communion service in Columbus, Ohio,
October 30, 1929. It was held in connection with the sixtieth
anniversary of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, and was thus described by Eloise Andrews Woolever in
_The Christian Advocate_:

“The last great day opened with the communion service at 6:45, conducted
by Bishop William F. McDowell. At 4:30 on that dark, rainy morning eight
hundred women were standing on the steps of Memorial Hall. For nearly
three hours the procession passed forward to receive the broken bread
from the brass communion plates sent from Korea, and to drink the wine
from the Chinese communion cups, and to stand a moment in prayer. And in
the solemn hush one thought of the communion services being held around
the world on this day, when the communion song, ‘The Light of the World
is Jesus,’ would belt the globe.”

This is the theme, announced with variations, concerning

                           The Wondrous Story

A company of friends were in the _Sunday School Times_ party which took
a trip by water from Philadelphia to the Pacific coast. In an article on
“Cruising to California,” in 1930, Dr. Charles G. Trumbull related the

“They were gathered together on the after-deck of the steamer, singing
the old hymns. Night had come down over the ocean, the myriad stars of a
tropical sky were twinkling overhead, and more than one of the Sunday
School Times party who were joining in the singing were thanking God for
the precious memories the old hymns brought them. Stewards and
stewardesses in the service of the ship were on deck near by, resting in
steamer chairs, enjoying the cool breezes and listening to the hymns.

“It was interesting to note the deep interest with which the passengers
on board listened to the singing of the old hymns. Some joined in; the
lips of others were seen moving as words of the hymn were being
repeated; one man removed his eyeglasses to wipe a certain mistiness
from his eyes, then he rather timidly asked that a certain hymn might be
sung, ‘I Will Sing the Wondrous Story.’”

Some incidents are parables of life as when a congregation

                         Sang Amid the Darkness

Many years ago the Bishop of Ripon preached at Harrowgate on the text,
“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children
of light” (John 12:36). Earnestly and impressively he presented Christ
as the Light of the World. Those away from Christ were pictured as being
out in the darkness. Tenderly urging the congregation to come into the
light, he announced the hymn, “Abide With Me!” The large congregation
had joined with the choir in singing the first line:

  “Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide,”

when every light in the church suddenly went out.

Without a moment of pause, however, the choir continued to follow the
organ, and sang:

  “The darkness deepens—Lord, with me abide!
  When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
  Help of the helpless, O abide with me!”

While singing the next lines, a few of the gas jets were lit. These
words were:

  “Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
  Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;”

But the lights feebly flickered and died, and the congregation, again in
darkness, continued:

  “Change and decay in all around I see:
  O Thou, who changest not, abide with me!”

But the choir sang on to the end. When they reached the last stanza some
of the gas jets were burning; and in the dim light the words were
stirringly appealing:

  “Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes:
  Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies:
  Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee:
  In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me!”

_The Christian Advocate_ gives two illustrations of the popularity of
the hymn,

                      “God Will Take Care of You”

A blind man was seen crossing the street at a dangerous place in the
Bronx, New York City. When a friend approached he saw that the lips of
the blind man were moving, and as he listened he heard him singing
softly, “God will take care of you.” When the friend made himself known
to the blind man he carelessly inquired, “Why are you singing that
hymn?” He replied: “The reason is that I must cross this dangerous
crossing just ahead of me in about a minute, and I was thinking that
possibly one of the many wagons or trucks might strike me and I would
get killed. But the thought came to me that even if it did occur my soul
would go straight to God. And if He led me across all right it would be
just another evidence of His care of me. So I just could not help
singing to myself, ‘God will take care of you.’ Hallelujah!”

A young woman who had lost both her husband and little daughter, and was
left to support herself in sorrow, took a slip of paper on which was
written the song, “God will take care of you,” and pinned it over the
place where she did her dishwashing, and testified to the great comfort
the song brought to her.

A different kind of testimony, both interesting and exceptional, is
given in

                     A Sexton’s Tribute to a Singer

Traveling amid the great artificial lakes in the Elan Valley, from which
Birmingham receives its water supply from the Welsh mountains, the
visitor had pointed out to him by the driver a little church on the
hillside. The visitor was interested in the “little sanctuary, nestling
among the green mountains,” and confessed that he liked to think of
places which recall the words, “It’s quiet down here... And God is very
near.” Being a newspaper man, however, he was particularly impressed by
a somewhat garbled version of the time when Dame Clara Butt sang in the
little building. Later, in London, he had the opportunity of hearing the
story from Dame Clara Butt herself. She was motoring with some friends
through the valley beyond Llandrindod Wells and espied this simple and
tiny church, without spire or tower, standing alone on the hillside. It
seemed so like a little private sanctuary that she exclaimed, “I wish
that little church were mine!” and halted the car, and crossed the river
to have a closer look.

It happened that a service was almost due, and the sexton and an old
companion were there; so the visitors were able to enter the sanctuary.
They remained in silence a few minutes, when one of the party, pointing
to the little organ, asked Dame Clara to play it and sing. She shook her
head; the request was repeated; the impulse came and the singer sat at
the instrument, and sang the opening lines of Liddle’s setting of “Abide
With Me.”

In a few minutes she was conscious that the old sexton was chiming in
with notes which harmonized; but, as the great voice rang through the
little church, he stopped to listen, for nothing like it had ever been
heard there. When the last notes died away, he said, “But who is this
lady who has sung to us?”

When he was told he held up his hands, and with tears falling,
exclaimed, “The great Madame Clara Butt has come to our little church
and sung to us!” Then pointing upward, he said reverently: “Ah! They
heard that up there!”

This tribute, coming from the sexton who had himself once sung in Welsh
choirs, was all the more gratifying because it was simple and

Here is an interesting sidelight upon

                      The Author of “Beulah Land”

Edgar Page Stites, the author of “Beulah Land” and many other popular
hymns, was a local deacon of the Methodist Episcopal Church and served
as a supply preacher in Dakota. At the outbreak of the Civil War he
lived in Richmond, Virginia. After enlisting he was stationed in
Philadelphia and had charge of feeding the troops which passed through
that city. At the time of his death in Cape May he was the oldest
insurance agent in New Jersey.

During his retirement he once wrote to a friend: “I am whittling away on
my eighty-second year. Have written a great many songs the last fifty
years signed ‘Edgar Page,’ which is the front of my name. I was enabled
by great spiritual help to write ‘Beulah Land’ in 1876, at Philadelphia.
I was wonderfully converted sixty-five years ago this month [November,
1852] and am still on board the old ship Zion.”

“Uncle Joe” Cannon, ex-Speaker of the House of Representatives, once met
Mr. Stites in Cape May and told him he would rather have written “Beulah
Land” than to have been President of the United States. Chaplain McCabe
was the first to introduce this now famous hymn to the public, singing
it at a ministers’ meeting in Philadelphia. Since then it has been sung
around the world and during the World War it was a general favorite of
the soldiers overseas.

And another sidelight upon the writer of

                         A Hymn of Consecration

Miss Frances Ridley Havergal was visiting a home in Cavendish Square,
London, where the aristocracy live. She was to be a guest for five days.
Knowing that several members of this family were not rejoicing
Christians, she made a prayer, “Lord, give me _all_ in this house.” The
way was opened through her singing and she entranced everyone in this
home. The father, mother, children and servants were all brought clear
into the Kingdom of joy and peace before she left. On the last night of
her visit she was too happy to sleep, and spent the greater portion of
it in meditation and prayer. Then it was that there came to her the hymn
which she wrote with buoyant feeling,

  “Take my life and let it be
  Consecrated, Lord, to Thee,”

ending with the line, “Ever, only, all for Thee.”

The energy and endurance of this singing faith come from the Holy
Spirit. I quote a description of a singular event in Heidelberg,
Germany, written for _The Christian Advocate_ by Professor J. Newton
Davies. It might be called

                  Kindling the Torches at the Bonfire

“On a June evening, the student corporations of the university, a
thousand strong, assembled on the banks of the Neckar to celebrate the
coming of summer. Each student carried in his hand an unlighted torch.
At a given signal, they marched, singing, across the old bridge, and up
the steep path to the Bismarck tower, where a bonfire blazed. At this
bonfire each man lighted his torch, and then continued his march to the
valley below. The thousand burning torches glinting through the dark fir
trees were an unforgettable sight.

“In Jerusalem, at Pentecost, the fires of a religious enthusiasm were
kindled, at the blaze of which a small band of Christians lighted the
unlit torches of their personalities. With loins girt, and lamps lit,
that gallant group of torchbearers set forth, singing songs of victory
and triumph, to herald the advent of a New Day. As we today, nineteen
centuries afterward, look back on their astonishing victories, we cannot
but fervently join in Charles Wesley’s prayer:

  ‘O Thou, who camest from above,
    The pure celestial fire to impart,
  Kindle a flame of sacred love
    On the mean altar of my heart!

  There let it for Thy glory burn,
    With inextinguishable blaze,
  And trembling to its source return,
    In humble love and fervent praise.’”

One of the hymns which stirs our spirits for valiant endeavor is

                      “Onward, Christian Soldiers”

The Rev. S. Baring Gould was the author of one hundred and forty books,
showing versatility of genius in these works of religion, fiction,
folklore, mythology, travel, biography, art. Many of these writings will
doubtless be forgotten when a hymn which he improvised and wrote in
great haste, as a marching song for a band of schoolchildren in his
parish, will continue to be remembered. About this hymn, “Onward,
Christian Soldiers,” the author once wrote, “Certainly nothing has
surprised me more than its great popularity.”

The universal appeal of this hymn has justly made it a heritage of
Christian civilization. It belongs to every church and nation and no one
thinks of the author as an Anglican rector but as a large-hearted soul,
which he truly was. It is sung by surpliced choir boys in the
incense-laden air of Roman Catholic churches; and by lads without
vestments in the plain country church; by the Knights of Columbus and by
the Knights Templar; by Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists and every
other denomination. Indeed, it is used by all Christians as a rallying
call and it will so continue till the church militant becomes the Church

The romance of American history is impressively illuminated by

                       A Shrine Created by a Song

“There’s a church in the valley by the wildwood”—this song has been sung
for threescore years and more in all the world. It has furthermore made
famous “The Little Brown Church in the Vale,” located in the village of
Nashua, Iowa. The associations of this sanctuary go back to early
pioneer days when the settlers contributed lumber, logs, stone and labor
for its erection. Dr. W. S. Pitts, a physician who had helped to build
this church, was inspired to write the song.

The railroad came in 1868 to Nashua and the Little Brown Church began to
thrive as the population had now increased to about a thousand. Dr.
Pitts taught a singing school in Bradford, a few miles away. It was
necessary to have an organ but the only instrument in all this region
was in the Little Brown Church. His song at once gained popularity.
Jubilee singers took it up and concert companies carried it all over
America and Europe. It was even heard in New Zealand, Australia and
South America.

The song was then forgotten and with the drift of the population away
from the country the Little Brown Church was abandoned. But about
twenty-five years ago the old song was revived and an interest in the
little church was quickened. It was restored to its original condition,
largely due to the song it had inspired. Every year thousands of
visitors go to Nashua to see it. It has also become a sort of Gretna
Green, for over five hundred couples have been married there. Indeed,
the church is largely supported by these fees and it continues to do the
work of a real country church. Seldom have a church and a song been so
closely identified as in this instance.

                               CHAPTER II
                          _Songs in the Night_

The quality of our faith is made known in times of stress and storm,
when appearances are anything but favorable and the outlook is bleak and
barren. Just as the courage of the soldier is shown in the thick of the
battle rather than at the camp fires, so the fortitude of the Christian
is exhibited in the strife and strain of untoward circumstances. These
may be caused by some calamity such as sickness or death or some serious
loss. The pessimist sees only darkness and danger and is ready to let
go. The optimist sees only brightness and security but is nonplused
before mishaps. They are both one-sided and superficial because they
reckon with a limited set of facts. The meliorist, on the other hand, is
convinced that, because his faith is fixed trusting in God, he can
weather the tempest and survive the severe ordeal.

It has been said that many hymns are weakened by excessive
sentimentalism. This criticism carries the point too far and overlooks
the fact that in the final analysis we are influenced far more by the
monitions of the heart than by the admonitions of the head. What Dr.
Joseph Collins calls “adult infantilism” is due, according to this keen
analyst, to our failure to educate and regulate our emotions. To be
sure, there is such a thing as frothy emotionalism, but when we go to
the other extreme and pretend we are living in an ice pack it is often
due to the inferiority complex. Better a sentimentalism which stirs our
emotions than a rationalism which suppresses them.

The answer to this inept criticism is given in the following incidents.
They illustrate how men and women have expressed the buoyancy of
religion in the darkness of peril, accident, sorrow, suffering and other
trials. It was their faith which made use of hymns to carry on until the
day dawned.

Here is an incident from a memorable tragedy which tells how one

              Played a Hymn on the Deck of a Sinking Boat

                          “Wallace H. Hartley
                          Died April 15, 1912
                       ‘Nearer, my God, to Thee’”

Such was the simple inscription on the rosewood coffin of one of the
heroic figures of the musical realm, whose name was carried all over the
world when the _Titanic_ was sunk. As the boats were hurrying away from
the wreck the marine band continued to play until their instruments were
choked by the swirling water that closed about the musicians and sent
them to heroes’ graves. Of the eight bandsmen six were Englishmen, one a
German and one a Frenchman.

Their leader was Mr. Wallace H. Hartley. One who had been with him on
twenty-two voyages on the _Mauretania_ states that he once casually
asked him what he would do if he were on a boat which was wrecked. He
promptly replied that he would play “Nearer, my God, to Thee.” And this
was the hymn he led the bandsmen in playing after they had long been
rendering popular tunes, when he had to make a last selection before the
great ship made her final plunge.

Among the 815 passengers and 688 crew who were drowned was W. T. Stead,
editor of _The Review of Reviews_. A few years previous he had published
“_Hymns That Have Helped_.” In this list of the best hundred hymns,
“Nearer, my God, to Thee” stands seventh. The Prince of Wales, later
King Edward VII, sent a letter to the editor in which he expressed a
preference for this hymn and said, “There is none more touching nor one
that goes more truly to the heart than No. 7 on your list.” Mr. Stead
made the terse comment, “The hymn is as dear to the peasant as it is to
the prince.”

Mr. E. J. Elliott, president of the local musicians’ union at
Louisville, at the time of the disaster said there is a standing rule in
the national organization requiring bands attending funerals of dead
members to conclude the rites with this tune. “That is the last thing we
play at the grave of a musician—‘Nearer, my God, to Thee.’ I believe
that, knowing they were doomed as the result of their own heroism, the
members of the ship’s orchestra thus commended their own souls to their
God, giving expression to their petition in the notes of their

What a fitting expression for souls about to wing their way into

Equally impressive is this incident when

            Rescuers Steered in the Direction Of the Singer

When the English steamer _Stella_ was wrecked on the Casquet rocks
twelve women were put into a boat which the waves whirled away, leaving
them helpless without even an oar. They passed a terrific night not
knowing what awaited them. Wet and cold they would have perished but for
the courage of one of them, Miss Marguerite Williams, who was a
contralto singer.

There was no thought of ruining her voice at such a crisis, and through
the night she sang parts from “The Messiah” and “Elijah” and also hymns.
This cheered the desolate women. About four o’clock in the morning a
lifeboat which was sent out to save any surviving victims came to a
pause in the waters as the men heard a woman’s voice singing in the
distance. The words, “Oh! rest in the Lord,” were carried to them by the
wind and they promptly steered in their direction. Before long they
sighted the boat with the twelve women who were taken aboard the steam

The singing of Miss Williams not only braced up her companions and
herself but led to their rescue.

Dr. W. T. Grenfell recounts a rescue under similar circumstances in his
book[4] entitled

                         “Adrift on an Ice-Pan”

He had returned home on Easter Sunday after the service when he received
an urgent call to go sixty miles to help a young man on whom he had
previously operated. Crossing the ice the next day, as it was breaking
up, he found that he was on a piece which was drifting into the open
Atlantic. Three of his dogs were killed, and from their bones he made a
flagpole; while their coats were used to keep him warm during the night.

All night long he drifted, but was rescued in the morning, although
there seemed little probability that he would be. Through the night,
expecting death at any moment, there ran through his mind the words of
an old hymn which came back to him from his boyhood days:

  “My God, my Father, while I stray
  Far from my home, on life’s rough way,
  O teach me from my heart to say,
          Thy will be done!”

Referring to this rescue, Dr. Grenfell said: “As I went to sleep that
first night there still rang in my ears the same verse of the old hymn
which had been my companion on the ice, ‘Thy will, not mine, O Lord.’”

There is much significance in a ceremony associated with

                         Dedicating a Lifeboat

Five hundred lives had been saved by a lifeboat service at the Scilly
Islands just off the coast of Cornwall, England, between 1828 and 1930.
These islands are near the main lines of Atlantic travel.

A new lifeboat costing $42,500 was dedicated in August, 1930. It was
named the _Cunard_ in honor of the donors, the Cunard Steamship Company.
This boat is fitted with twin screws and two engines, each of forty
horsepower, which could work even though the engine room were filled
with water. She has water-tight compartments, generates her own
electricity and is manned by a crew of eight men.

Two prayers were offered by ministers, and two hymns were sung. Led by
the local band, the assembled company, who fully realized the perils of
the great waters, joined in singing:

  “Eternal Father, strong to save,
  Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
  Who bidds’t the mighty ocean deep,
  Its own appointed limits keep;
  O hear us when we cry to Thee
  For those in peril on the sea.

  “O Christ, whose voice the waters heard
  And hushed their raging at Thy word,
  Who walkedst on the foaming deep,
  And calm amid the storm didst sleep;
  O hear us when we cry to Thee
  For those in peril on the sea.”

Equally appropriate was the second hymn rendered:

  “O God, our help in ages past,
    Our hope for years to come,
  Our shelter from the stormy blast,
    And our eternal home!”

The confidence of such faith is illustrated in

                      What Led to “He Leadeth Me”

The birthplace of this world-renowned hymn was marked in Philadelphia by
a tablet containing the first stanza and the following inscription:

  “‘He Leadeth Me,’ sung throughout the world, was written by the Rev.
  Dr. Joseph H. Gilmore, a son of a Governor of New Hampshire, in the
  home of Deacon Wattson, immediately after preaching in the First
  Baptist Church, northwest corner Broad and Arch Streets, on the 26th
  day of March, 1862. The church and Deacon Wattson’s house stood on the
  ground on which this building is erected.

  “The United Gas Improvement Company, in recognition of the beauty and
  fame of the hymn, and in remembrance of its distinguished author,
  makes this permanent record on the first day of June, 1926.”

The subject of the sermon was the Twenty-third Psalm, especially the
words “He leadeth me.” After the service a few met with the minister and
rehearsed the impression, emphasizing the timeliness of the sermon,
since this was the darkest hour of the War of Rebellion. “Then and
there,” wrote Dr. Gilmore, “on a blank page of the brief from which I
had intended to speak, I penciled the hymn, handed it to my wife, and
thought no more about it.”

It was later published in a Boston paper, which attracted the attention
of William B. Bradbury, who set the hymn to music. Since then it has
gone on its mission, translated into several languages and sung by
people of different churches. Bishop Paddock had it included in the
revised hymnal of the Protestant Episcopal Church, saying “how could I
conduct a service in a home for the aged if I couldn’t give out ‘He
Leadeth Me’?”

This hymn was once sung in a Chinese court of justice by a native who
had never seen a white missionary, to show the presiding judge what a
Christian hymn was like. The man was being tried for renting a building
to some Christians who had opened an opium refuge. When he told the
justice that at their meetings the Christians prayed and sang hymns, he
was asked for a specimen and sang “He Leadeth Me.”

How a crisis was averted is seen when

            A German Girl Led in Singing “A Mighty Fortress”

A few years ago there was a fearful accident at the coal mines near
Scranton, Pennsylvania. Several men were buried for three days and all
hopes of their rescue seemed to be futile. Most of the miners in this
region were Germans. Their excitement was intensified by sympathy for
the wives and children of the buried men and their failure to rescue

On the third day at evening, a mob assembled at the mouth of the mine in
a sullen temper because it was hopeless to dig further since the men
were probably dead by this time, and in their mad rage they blamed the
rich mine owners for the tragedy. They were ready for any violence if
only some reckless word was spoken.

The atmosphere was tense but it was suddenly changed when a little
German girl, about eleven years of age, pale with fear, lifted her voice
in song. She began in a hoarse whisper but her childish voice gathered
strength as she went on with the first verse of Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty
Fortress Is Our God.”

There was silence as these lines fell on the ears of the Germans,
familiar with them from the cradle. Others joined and before long the
whole company were singing:

  “Did we in our own strength confide,
    Our striving would be losing;
  Were not the right Man on our side,
    The Man of God’s own choosing.
  Doth ask who that may be?
  Christ Jesus, it is He;
  Lord Sabaoth is His name,
  From age to age the same,
    And He must win the battle.”

The tide was turned and, encouraged, they resumed their work and kept at
it. Before morning the joyful news came up from the pit that the men
were found and that they were alive. What a word in season was this
girl’s hymn!

Here is a touching story about

                  What a Blind Soldier Wanted to Hear

When a Salvation Army officer was conducting a song service in the wards
of the hospital at Bazeilles, France, where there were many wounded
American soldiers during the World War, a blind lad asked them to sing
something for him. The choice was appropriate and pathetic as he
expressed a desire to hear the old hymn:

  “Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom,
                Lead Thou me on!”

One can easily imagine that the words prayerfully expressed the deepest
desire of his soul.

The theme of this chapter is impressively brought home concerning a girl
who was

                  Blind and Lonely, But Still Singing

She had just entered her ’teens when she was stricken with tuberculosis.
Sent to the Adirondacks, she did not recover. Later she went to the home
of her grandparents, and there she died. She was a member of the Sunday
School in the church of which I was then pastor. She had a sweet, clear
voice, and on special occasions she was generally on the program for a

When called to conduct the funeral, her relatives told me that the night
before she died she became blind. Unable to see, she three times called,
“Papa, Papa, Papa!” But her father was not present to respond to her

Not long afterwards she broke into song. Those watching with her were
deeply moved as she began:

  “Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
    God will take care of you;
  Beneath His wings of love abide,
    God will take care of you.”[5]

She sang the entire hymn, even to the last verse:

  “No matter what may be the test,
    God will take care of you;
  Lean, weary one, upon His breast,
    God will take care of you.

  God will take care of you,
    Thro’ ev’ry day, o’er all the way;
  He will take care of you,
    God will take care of you.”

When the morning came, God took her into the heavenly home, and she had
passed from darkness and pain to light and joy.

How a night of sorrow ended is seen when a man was

                    Transfigured by Matheson’s Hymn

Dr. George Matheson, the blind preacher of Edinburgh, is best remembered
by his hymn, “O Love, that wilt not let me go,” written when forty years
of age. “It is the quickest composition I ever achieved,” wrote the
author. “It was done in three minutes. I was sitting alone in my study
in a state of great mental depression, caused by a real calamity. My
hymn was the voice of my depression. It was wrung out spontaneously from
the heart.” A close friend of Matheson testified that the distinctive
ideals of this hymn “possessed him all his life.” Many thousands of
people have been stirred and comforted by its gracious message.

A missionary from India attended a service in Algiers, Africa, where
about sixty people were present, mostly tourists. After the sermon this
hymn was announced, and as the minister was reading the first verse a
man of perhaps fifty was seen to change seats with the lady organist.
Suddenly the keys were touched and the little American organ seemed to
take on new life. Surely a master was at the keys. He played and sang
and carried the congregation to heavenly heights of rapture. The deep
emotion of the organist, his face stained with tears, passed to the
audience and the climax was reached when the last verse was sung:

  “O Cross that liftest up my head,
    I dare not ask to fly from thee;
  I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
  And from the ground there blossoms red
    Life that shall endless be.”

After the service several went forward to thank the organist. He
received them with a quiet smile and quickly left the church. It was
discovered later that he was a distinguished British singer. Two years
previous to this incident, his wife lay dying. She was an American lady
of great musical ability. She asked him to sing this hymn as she was
passing into the shadow of death. And this was the first time he had
ventured to sing it again since that trying day. No wonder his soul
spoke from the depths, as through this hymn he was passing from the
Darkness of sorrow to the Light which followed all his way, like many
another pilgrim on the journey of trial and travail.

The secret of strength in weakness is given in this confession of faith:

                   “Through Cheerful Years My Guide”

Consecrated and cultured, a young man began his work in the ministry of
Jesus Christ in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Unsparing of
himself, he labored with intense earnestness. Popularity was soon
achieved, and he was placed in responsible centers of influence. Success
came to him in each successive field of activity.

Faith and character had to meet severe tests. While in the very prime of
life, health failed. Operation after operation was performed, but
without avail. Courageously he met the situation, and though unable to
do much public work, he continued to cultivate his brilliant mind.

Over and over again during those last days of weakness and suffering he
quoted the hymn of Dr. Frank Mason North, which had grown to be his
favorite among the many hymns he knew. He (the Rev. Charles L. Peck)
told the writer he believed the hymn was destined to become increasingly
popular. It was sung at his funeral.

  “Jesus, the calm that fills my breast,
    No other heart than Thine can give;
  This peace unstirred, this joy of rest,
    None but Thy loved ones can receive.

        . . .    . . .    . . .

  O Christ, through changeful years my Guide,
    My Comforter in sorrow’s night,
  My Friend when friendless—still abide,
    My Lord, my Counselor, my Light.

  My times, my powers, I give to Thee;
    My inmost soul ’tis Thine to move;
  I wait for Thy eternity,
    I wait, in peace, in praise, in love.”[6]

The Christian heroism of another young man is described in what might be

                “Through Every Day” for A Thousand Days

He was in training to be a physician when he was stricken with a deadly
disease. He then resolved to face the situation manfully. Dr. Merton S.
Rice thus refers to this case:

“He immediately adopted every precaution in what he knew must be a long,
long contest, if he should live. Day after day, for weeks, months and
years, that indomitable young soul fought that fight with death. Every
day he held scientific record of his life for one thousand and fifteen
days. He has charted on an unbroken chart the full record of his heart
and his temperature, and in eleven volumes of carefully listed
observations of life pursued by death he has left us this great story.
Through it all, and down to the very last breath of it all he has sung,
and then asked us to sing when he was gone:

  “‘Through every day,
  O’er all the way,
  God will take care of you.’”

Here is what a veteran confessed at a time when he

                     “Sank in Blissful Dreams Away”

“I am now in my seventy-third year, and just completing the fiftieth
year of my ministry,” said the Rev. T. Ferrier Hulme, D.D., fraternal
delegate from the Wesleyan Methodist Church of England to the General
Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Kansas City, May, 1928.
In closing his address he said:

“May I give you my experience? I have known Jesus for many years. I have
been preaching for fifty years. Twelve years ago it seemed as if my work
was done. I was laid low by a terrible illness, and had to undergo a
major operation that might well have been fatal. My life was in the
balance. I said: ‘Charles Wesley, What have you for me? Give me
something short and sweet.’ And he gave me:

  ‘Jesus, the first and last,
  On whom my soul is cast;
  Thou didst Thy work begin
  In blotting out my sin;
  Thou wilt the root remove,
  And perfect me in love.

  Yet when the work is done,
  The work is but begun;
  Partaker of Thy grace
  I long to see Thy face;
  The first I prove below,
  The last I die to know.’

“I repeated it to the last line, and then sank in blissful dreams away.
When I came out from that nursing home, before I could walk, I just
crawled to Charles Wesley’s grave near this home and gave God thanks for
all that Charles Wesley had been to Christendom, and especially for what
he had been to me.”

The following letter, quoted in part, from a woman who underwent an
operation tells of the influence of

                           Hymns in Hospital

“I am sending you my testimony for the prayer meeting. First I want you
to thank God with me and for me that all is well. Then ask God to bless
each and every nurse up here because they certainly are a splendid lot.
They hold chapel here every morning. The day I was operated they sang,
‘I need thee every hour.’ I felt they were just singing that for me.

“I was terribly frightened when I lay on the table but I prayed that God
would be near me. I certainly felt His presence. I could not see Him,
neither could I see the two doctors in the operating room but I knew
they were there just the same. Do you wonder that the first words I said
after the operation were, ‘O Light that followest all my way’?

“It surely means something to have a Friend who can go with you down
even to the valley of the shadow of death. The next morning was the
worst yet and they sang:

  ‘Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
  Still support and comfort me.’

“What do you think of that? Why, if I had been the only one in the
hospital they could not have sung anything better for me.

“Just across the way from me there lies a lady very ill, and the other
night while I was awake, I heard her singing, soft and sweet and

  ‘Or if my way lie
  Where death o’erhanging nigh,
  My soul doth terrify
  With sudden chill.’

And then her voice came out strong:

  ‘Yet I am not afraid:
  Whilst softly on my head
  Thy tender hand is laid,
  I fear no ill.’”

Here is another testimony when

                  Patients Listened to “Precious Name”

Early one morning in a city hospital, above the distracting noise, there
was heard the sweet voice of a woman repeatedly singing the refrain:

  “Precious Name, O how sweet!
  Hope of earth and joy of heaven.”

No silver bell ever sounded more clearly and no appeal was more winsome
than these lines as they were heard by the sick and dying. It is not
known whether she herself was a sufferer. In any case her message wafted
through the air came with cheering timeliness to the men and women on
their beds of sickness. One who heard it then has not forgotten its
effect after fifteen years, and it will be a choice memory for years to

The reference to the bell recalls an incident when

                Church Bells Reminded Her Of an Old Hymn

An aged saint who dwelt beneath the shadow of her church was lying in a
last sickness and it occurred to her pastor that the peals, breaking the
stillness of the night, might disturb her. On being told about it, she

“Not at all, I love to hear them. It’s the kirk bell; and whenever I
hear it, it makes me think of the hymns we used to sing:

  ‘Far, far away, like bells at evening pealing,
  The voice of Jesus sounds o’er land and sea.’”

She then added, “It’s His voice, and it’s sic a comfort to me. I aye
weary to hear it.”

                              CHAPTER III
                         _Hymns Mothers Loved_

It may be disputed whether religion is an inheritance or an acquisition
but the fact remains that the influence of personality is the final
explanation. And who has exercised such a power more beneficially than
mothers? They constitute the heart of every home, the first and the last
in everything. Whoever may fail us in the tumult and struggle of life,
our mothers have never gone back on us but have remained steadfast even
at the cost of incredible sacrifices. Indeed, mothers hold the key to
every difficult situation in life, and they have opened doors closed to
every other approach. During the World War most of the letters from the
Front were written by the boys to their mothers, and this daily mail ran
far into the tons.

By their faith, devotion and consolation our mothers have done for us
what no other mortals have ever been capable of doing. Even when we are
inclined to make an exception of our wives, it is really the mother
instinct in them which makes them so indispensable to us. Quick in
sympathy, ready in resource, patient in trials, versatile in ability and
adaptability, mothers stand sentinel in the crises of life, and because
of intuition and inspiration they are the saviors of society.

God be praised for our mothers, and may the blessing of the Eternal
Father abide with all mothers, that they may continue to fulfill their
gracious ministry for the highest welfare of mankind. This sheaf of
testimonies bears glowing witness from grateful hearts to the
sacramental virtue of mothers. May their memory be forever blessed!

The Bible and the hymnal were the two books from which our mothers
received their spiritual replenishment. This poem by the Rev. G. H.
Winkworth tells of the hymnal which he fittingly describes as

                           The Old Brown Book

  “The old brown book was worn and finger-stained.
  To touch it gently children’s hands were trained.
  It had within the hymns that mother sang
  In peaceful worship after church bells rang.

  I hear her voice again so sweet and clear,
  According praise to Christ her Saviour dear.
  The old brown book had words that blessed her soul;
  She sang them, ‘While the nearer waters roll.’

  ’Tis years since mother gently passed to rest,
  And hands were gently folded on her breast,
  She sleeps, but in our ears the old hymns ring—
  The sweet old hymns that mother used to sing.

  The years are passing onward one by one,
  And with them changes to the church have come;
  The old brown book no longer fills its place;
  We struggle now to sing new hymns of grace.

  But when the Sabbath evening takes us home,
  And we are gathered there with friends alone,
  We take the old brown book and once more sing,
  ‘Hide thou beneath the shadow of Thy wing.’

  And who can tell but what in heaven above
  They sing again the old sweet hymns we love?
  We only know that when we sing them here
  They bring to us the Heavenly Presence near.

  Thus we can fight life’s battle calm and sweet,
  Each unborn day with courage wait to meet,
  ‘Blest be the tie that binds,’ we smooth the way,
  ‘Nearer my God to Thee’ each closing day.

  The old brown book a treasure still we keep,
  The same old hymns that rocked our friends to sleep;
  And if we fail to catch the newest strain,
  Our hearts would sing the old hymns once again.”[7]

The same theme is continued in another poem by Maud Frazer Jackson in
_The Sunday School Times_, entitled,

                           “My Mother’s Song”

  “I heard a song that touched my heart
    And filled my eyes with tears.
  It was the song my mother sang
    In long-departed years,—

      ‘Only trust Him, only trust Him,
      Only trust Him now;
      He will save you, He will save you,
      He will save you now.’

  How sweet the words that gave me hope
    That I might be restored,—
  ‘Come, every soul by sin oppressed,
    There’s mercy with the Lord.’

  I seemed to hear her gentle voice
    As in the long ago,—
  ‘Plunge now into the crimson flood
    That washes white as snow.’

  She knows tonight, my mother knows,
    Up there, her prayers are heard;
  For Jesus gives the wanderer rest,
    I’m ‘trusting in His Word.’”

Dr. W. J. Dawson, in his reminiscences entitled _The Autobiography of a
Mind_,[8] thus refers to

                 The Note of Assurance in the Old Hymns

“I came the other day upon a Methodist hymnal bearing the date of 1877,
and in it I found the hymns which my mother loved to quote, and I was
struck with their depth of emotion, their genuine spiritual quality.
They have a note of profound assurance which I miss in the modern hymns.

  ‘Leader of faithful souls, and guide
    Of all who travel to the sky,
  Come and with us, even us, abide
    Who would on Thee alone rely.
  On Thee alone our spirits stay
    While held in life’s uneven way.’

“How fine is the crusading note in this verse! Particularly noble in
sentiment and emotion are the numerous hymns dealing with death and the
future state. Here is one which I confess I read with tears:

  ‘Rejoice for a brother deceased,
    Our loss is his infinite gain;
  A soul out of prison released,
    And freed from its bodily chain.
  With songs let us follow his flight
    And mount with his spirit above,
  Escaped to the mansions of light,
    And lodged in the Eden of love.’

One can fancy this hymn sung by Cornish fishermen over one of their
numbers lost at sea.”

The sacred memories of the past may slumber for a while but they are
often awakened under favorable conditions, as seen on this occasion, as
reported in _The British Weekly_, when

             Canadian Railroad Men Sang In Memory of Mother

A student of Manitoba University, Winnipeg, accepted camp service for
the long vacation in connection with the building of the last
transcontinental railroad in Canada. He became one of the men and soon
made friends with them. After the midday meal on the first Sunday he
asked “the boys” if they would “roll up” to the service he proposed to
hold? The tent was crowded. He started the service by asking if any of
them remembered their mother’s favorite hymn. He was answered at once by
one who said his mother liked best “Rock of Ages, Cleft For Me.” So it
was sung, and, like other “mothers’ favorites,” it was sung over and
over again. The service continued till eleven o’clock and under that
star-lit northern sky they left the tent for their bunks, resolving that
the God of the old home should be their God. By many a bunk that night
the prayer went to heaven:

  “Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
  Let me hide myself in Thee.”

The result was equally beneficial in another instance when John Callahan

                    Heard Mother’s Hymn in a Mission

He was long superintendent of Hadley Mission in New York City, and known
as “the Bishop of the Bowery.” He said, “It was ‘Abide With Me’ that I
heard in a mission, and that I had not heard since it was sung when I
was six years old at my mother’s funeral, that brought me to my senses
and made me realize that I was not traveling on the right road.”

The same effect was produced at the front when fond memories made

                       Voices Husky With Emotion

The message of the Gospel took on a reality it had never worn before as
the story of the Cross was recounted by the Salvationists to the
American soldiers in France. The thunder of artillery was heard; and the
flashing of signal lights, together with the hum of the airplanes,
vivified the whole background of war. After an address on the God of
their mothers a young woman began to sing:

  “I grieved my Lord from day to day,
    I scorned His love so full and free,
  And though I wandered far away,
    My mother’s prayers have followed me.

  I’m coming home, I’m coming home,
    To live my wasted life anew,
  For mother’s prayers have followed me,
    Have followed me the whole world through.”

Many hearts echoed the words; and the voices of the men were husky with
emotion when they tried to join in the closing hymn.

A different testimony is given where one

            Wanted to Hear the Hymns That Mother Loved Best

Countess Somers, the mother of Lady Henry Somerset, presented Frances E.
Willard with a music-box. This may still be seen in Rest Cottage,
Evanston, Illinois. The little guide-book, _Historic Rest Cottage_,

“When this music-box was to be made, Miss Willard was asked what music
she would most enjoy and she instantly replied: ‘The hymns that mother
loved best.’ So the visitor hears, ‘How firm a foundation’; ‘Nearer, my
God, to Thee’; ‘While the days are going by’; ‘There is a land of pure
delight’; ‘Home, sweet home’ and ‘In heavenly love abiding.’”

Concerning this first hymn the following incident tells how Miss Frances
Willard’s mother

                       Saluted Her Favorite Hymn

“There was the gay summer ‘garden party’ at Rest Cottage (Evanston,
Illinois) in honor of Anna Gordon’s birthday with Miss Willard as master
of ceremonies, when speeches and presentation of gifts, poems and
tributes, were in order. And at the close all united in singing ‘How
firm a foundation,’ as the aged saint, Miss Willard’s venerable mother,
then in her closing eighty-eighth year, rose on the upper balcony, where
she sat enjoying the bright scene in the garden, to wave her
handkerchief in salutation at the words of her favorite hymn,

  ‘And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
  Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.’”

The substantial faith of mothers is illustrated in the case of one who

                         Sang the Nicene Creed

The sixth child in a family of eight, Joseph Von Wittig was born in a
one-room cottage. He tells us how his mother used to sing before her
marriage in the choir of the village church. “What did you like best to
sing, mother?” he once asked her, and she answered, “The Creed.” He
remembered a day when she was busy with field-work, and he heard her
clear voice rising in the closing words of the Nicene Creed, _et vitam
venturi sæculi_, “and the life of the world to come.”

The foretaste of the life to come has been enjoyed in the present life,
to judge from these words by Bishop Adna W. Leonard, in his book,
_Evangelism in the Remaking of the World_,[9] concerning his mother’s

                         Singing While Sleeping

“My own dear mother as she lay upon her dying bed, after many years of
the severest suffering and invalidhood, fell into a very sound sleep. It
was only a night or two before her outgoing. My father was keeping his
faithful vigil, when suddenly he heard a familiar voice singing,

  ‘O Thou, in whose presence my soul takes delight,
    On whom in affliction I call,
  My comfort by day, and my song in the night,
    My hope, my salvation, my all!’

“It was my mother’s voice singing in a marvelously clear tone the hymn
that had been a favorite with her all her life. Though asleep she sang
every verse clear through to the end. Other members of the family were
awakened by it and listened in breathless silence, for it was like the
song of an angel. She did not waken for some time after she had ceased
singing, and when told of what had taken place she was not surprised,
for the hymns of the church had been such a comfort to her throughout
her entire life.”

Another witness is Dr. Oscar L. Joseph who on every Mother’s Day has his
congregation sing

                         “Peace, Perfect Peace”

Beyond all other hymns, his mother loved this one written by Bishop
Edward H. Bickersteth. She often sang it in the family circle. No burden
or distraction could interfere with the “perfect peace” which Christ
imparted to her soul. Hence, when she died, it was the message she
wished to have set over her resting place. So on her tombstone in Ceylon
may be found the three words:

                        “Peace, Perfect Peace.”

When the members of the congregation hear this bit of family history
from the lips of their pastor, they most feelingly sing at his request:

  “Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
  The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.

  Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
  To do the will of Jesus,—this is rest.

        . . .    . . .    . . .

  Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
  Jesus, we know, and He is on the throne.

        . . .    . . .    . . .

  It is enough: earth’s struggles soon shall cease,
  And Jesus call us to heaven’s perfect peace.”

The sacrificial loyalty to Christ is seen when

                     A Mother Answered with a Hymn

A missionary secretary of one of the Methodist churches in England once
went to see a mother whose only remaining son had offered himself for
foreign mission service. Two other sons had gone to the same country and
there they had laid down their lives in the service of Christ and the
natives. The secretary sympathetically referred to this pathetic fact,
and wished to ascertain from the mother whether the last of her boys was
to go with her full consent.

The mother grasped the trend of the visitor’s conversation, and, without
waiting for the secretary to put the direct question, she very quietly
repeated the lines she so often sang in church, which conveyed her
spirit of surrender:

  “Were the whole realm of nature mine,
    That were a present far too small;
  Love so amazing, so divine,
    Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

There was no need for further questioning. The secretary said in my
hearing, “I knelt with that mother and her boy and we had a tearful but
beautiful season of prayer.”

It is not surprising that in the soldiers’ hours of danger, according to
_The War Romance of the Salvation Army_, by Booth and Hill,[10]

                 Mother Held Her Place in Their Hearts

The night of the St. Mihiel drive was the blackest night ever seen. It
was so dark that one could positively see nothing a foot ahead of him.
All that was heard was the sound of thousands of feet tramping, through
the mud and slush, as the soldiers went to the front. In groups they
were singing softly as they went by. One group was singing “Mother

  “There’s a spot in me heart that no colleen may own,
  There’s a depth in me soul never sounded or known;
  There’s a place in me memory, me life, that you fill,
  No other can take it, no one ever will;
  Sure, I love the dear silver that shines in your hair,
  And the brow that’s all furrowed and wrinkled with care.
  I kiss the dear fingers, so toil-worn for me;
        O, God bless you and keep you!
              Mother Machree!”

The simple pathos of the men’s voices, many of whom were tramping
forward to their death, brought tears to the eyes of the Salvation Army
lassies in the canteen.

After an interval, sweetly and solemnly through the chill of the
darkness there came floating by, with a thrill in the words, another
group of voices:

  “Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide,
  The darkness deepens—Lord, with me abide!”

                               CHAPTER IV
                         _When Preachers Sing_

Even in these days of pulpit exchanges, ministers show their
denominational alliances in their sermons. Not so when it comes to
hymns, which are more catholic and comprehensive than creeds and other
ecclesiastical pronouncements. Indeed, the hymnal of any church contains
the writings of Catholics and of Protestants of every variety, for most
hymns express the deeper aspirations of the soul without any sectarian
accent. They are admitted into these compilations because of their
intrinsic worth as transcripts from Christian experience, dealing with
the essential truths of the Gospel. There is a healthy omission of those
incidentals which interrupt whole-hearted Christian fellowship with all
who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and accept Him as their central

If our preaching were as free and fervent as the hymns sung by ministers
and people, and if our practice more closely harmonized with the
sentiments in hymns, the day of Christian union would come more quickly.
Here are some incidents which illustrate the ability of ministers to
make melody in their hearts as unto the Lord.

It is in a crisis that the depths of the heart are exposed as here when

                 A Minister Requested His Favorite Hymn

Dr. R. W. Dale, of Birmingham, England, preached a beautiful sermon in
memory of his college friend, the Rev. E. S. Glanville, of Warwick. He
told how the dying minister had requested his father and sister to sing
to him his favorite hymn, and they sat in the chamber of death and sang:

  “There is a land of pure delight,
    Where saints immortal reign;
  Infinite day excludes the night,
    And pleasures banish pain.”

Equally significant was the

                   Marching Song of Veteran Ministers

When the names of the forty-five retired ministers were called in the
Baltimore Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1930,
these men who were facing the sunset period of life stood and sang:

  “Come, we that love the Lord,
    And let our joys be known;
  Join in a song with sweet accord
    And thus surround the throne.”

“The light that never was on sea or land” crept into their faces as they
recalled the days and the songs of their pilgrimage, and blended their
voices in the triumphant refrain:

  “We’re marching to Zion,
    Beautiful, beautiful Zion;
  We’re marching upward to Zion,
    The beautiful city of God.”

Then, to give emphatic expression to their Christian joy, when Dr.
Charles W. Baldwin, a veteran leader, ninety-one years of age, gave the
signal, they exclaimed in unison: “Hallelujah!”

But those who are in active service show their spirit of consecration by

                      Ready for Another Day’s Work

The business had been transacted, the committees had reported, and the
resolutions of appreciation had been read. The closing moments of the
Methodist Conference were approaching. Soon the presiding bishop would
read the appointments, and one hundred and eighty ministers would enter
on a new year of ministry. Several of these would be assigned to new

Many had seen years of service. For some of them this would probably be
the closing year, for it generally happens that during the year some
fall at the post of duty. But among the number there were nine young men
who for the first time would enter on their great adventure of
ministerial service.

The closing hymn selected was one rarely heard at such a moment, yet it
was impressively appealing, and soon all the ministers were blending
their voices in the words of Miss Warner:

  “One more day’s work for Jesus,
  One less of life for me!
    But heaven is nearer,
    And Christ is dearer
  Than yesterday, to me.”

In connection with what was said above about young ministers, it was an
impressive occasion

              When a Bishop Sang at the Ordination Service

A group of young men were ordained into the ministry of the Methodist
Episcopal Church on a glorious Sunday afternoon in May in the presence
of many hundreds of ministers, relatives and others. The service
apparently was about to end when Bishop Adna W. Leonard knelt inside the
altar by the side of these young preachers. By pre-arrangement with the
organist, the strains of music softly came and then the voice of the
bishop was heard singing the expressively appropriate words:

  “It may not be on the mountain’s height,
    Or over the stormy sea;
  It may not be at the battle’s front
    My Lord will have need of me;
  But if by a still small voice He calls
    To paths that I do not know,
  I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in Thine,
    I’ll go where You want me to go.”

The young ministers who had just taken upon themselves the solemn vows
of the ordination service then joined with the soloist in the chorus:

  “I’ll go where You want me to go, dear Lord,
    O’er mountain or plain or sea;
  I’ll say what You want me to say, dear Lord,
    I’ll be what You want me to be.”

The voice of the bishop was again heard:

  “Perhaps today there are loving words
    Which Jesus would have me speak;
  There may be now in the paths of sin
    Some wanderer whom I should seek.
  O Saviour, if Thou wilt be my guide,
    Tho’ dark and rugged the way,
  My voice shall echo Thy message sweet,
    I’ll say what You want me to say.”

Then for the second time, the young ministers united their voices with
the one who was leading them in song, as together they rendered the

The third stanza followed, by the Bishop:

  “There’s surely somewhere a lowly place,
    In earth’s harvest fields so wide,
  Where I may labor through earth’s short day,
    For Jesus the crucified;
  So trusting my all to His tender care,
    And knowing Thou lovest me,
  I’ll do Thy will with a heart sincere,
    I’ll be what You want me to be.”[11]

Hundreds of eyes by this time were mist-filled, and it was with
difficulty that many could control their voices when Bishop Leonard
asked the entire company to sing the refrain. Soon, however, about
twelve hundred voices were songfully pledging their loyalty to their
Lord as they sang the words of the chorus.

Few were the words spoken by the leader of the service before another
hymn was rendered:

  “I need Thee every hour,
    Most gracious Lord;
  No tender voice like Thine
    Can peace afford.”

These lines voiced a prayer for divine strength, guidance and blessing.
With the young ministers now standing at the altar, young people were
asked to consecrate their lives to the service of Christ. From all parts
of that historic church young men and young women moved forward until
sixty of them had publicly registered their decision. Some of them for
the first time took their stand for Christ, others expressed a desire to
become ministers, missionaries, workers in their home churches.

The effects of this service will remain for many years. For there went
forth from that church in the central part of the Empire State of New
York a great company of hearts touched by the Spirit of God and resolved
to render faithful devotion to Christ’s cause.

The consciousness of the divine providence was emphasized in the

                    “Thou My Daily Task Shall Give”

When sixty ministers, heads of various Summer Schools of Ministerial
Training in the Methodist Episcopal Church, met in Evanston, Illinois,
to review the work of the previous year and to plan for the future, the
leader of the devotions one morning called attention to a hymn of great
personal value. Then, on that January day, it was sung with deep feeling
as the ministers were just entering on their task for another year. This
hymn was written by a layman, Josiah Conder, who “passed a busy life as
bookseller, editor and author.” It is well worth committing to memory;
at least, such was the conviction of that group of ministers who sang:

  “Day by day the manna fell:
  O to learn this lesson well!
  Still by constant mercy fed,
  Give me, Lord, my daily bread.

  ‘Day by day,’ the promise reads,
  Daily strength for daily needs:
  Cast foreboding fears away;
  Take the manna of today.

  Lord! my times are in Thy hand:
  All my sanguine hopes have planned,
  To Thy wisdom I resign,
  And would make Thy purpose mine.

  Thou my daily task shalt give:
  Day by day to Thee I live;
  So shall added years fulfill,
  Not my own, my Father’s will.”

The assurance of divine guidance was expressed in the declaration:

                    “All My Help From Thee I Bring”

“When ... storms of unpopularity and tempests of financial disaster
threaten the tiny bark upon life’s troubled seas,” wrote Sir Henry Lunn,
“my friend and colleague, Hugh Price Hughes, whose ministry in some
small degree I shared, asked me to believe with confidence that there
was One ‘in the heavens to give attention to our personal concerns,’ and
taught me to say with a new emphasis, ‘Thou, O Christ, art all I want,’

  ‘Other refuge have I none,
    Hangs my helpless soul on Thee,

        . . .    . . .    . . .

  All my trust on Thee is stayed,
    All my help from Thee I bring.’

“And now that the limit of three score years and ten is passed and
life’s journey must be drawing to a close, I say triumphantly: ‘Here I
raise my Ebenezer. Hitherto the Lord hath helped me and hither by His
grace I have come.’”

Episcopal dignity was enriched on a recent occasion when, according to
_Zion’s Herald_,

                    Bishops Sang Their Special Hymn

When the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church held their
semi-annual meeting in San Francisco, in November, 1929, they were given
a reception and a banquet. Eight hundred persons assembled to do them
honor, including officials of the city and the state. The bishops
contributed a vocal number to the evening’s entertainment. Bishop
Francis J. McConnell, with his richly melodious voice, led his
colleagues in the episcopal hymn, ‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God,
and it doth not yet appear what we shall be.’ Those present insisted on
an encore, but as the episcopal repertoire is limited to a single
number, the bishops could only modestly bow their acknowledgments to the
sustained applause.

But these bishops are not really confined to just one hymn, for they
also sang on another occasion

                    “Land Me Safe on Canaan’s Side”

The most remarkable feature of the singing of the Board of Bishops of
the Methodist Episcopal Church, wrote Bishop Francis J. McConnell, when
reporting one of their meetings in Boston in May, 1930, consisted in
their skill in fitting almost any song to the “only tune which I have
heard them sing with any conspicuous success.” Reference was then made
to a dramatic moment “when that one tune was sung with marvelous power.”
Bishop Earl Cranston, at the age of eighty-nine, “had just made a
farewell speech in which he had said that he did not see how he could
again attend the Bishops’ Meeting. At the conclusion of the address the
bishops sang, adapting their favorite tune, the stanza: ‘When I tread
the verge of Jordan.’”

One can easily imagine that scene, and how deeply affected the others
were after listening to the words of the veteran leader. It is difficult
to conceive anything which would have been more appropriate for such a
time than the words in which the company blended their voices:

  “When I tread the verge of Jordan,
    Bid my anxious fears subside;
  Bear me through the swelling current,
    Land me safe on Canaan’s side:
          Songs of praises
      I will ever give to Thee.”

This confidence of immortality is also shared by others as seen on a
memorable occasion when

                       Ministers Sang Their Hope

Many ministers had assembled to pay their last tribute to a comrade who
had fallen while in the ranks of service. Words of commendation were
spoken concerning the fidelity and devotion of the one whom God had
called in the prime of life. Prayers were offered. Soon the body,
accompanied by the bereaved relatives, would start for the little
cemetery in the boyhood home. But before leaving the church where the
services were conducted, the ministers stepped forward, surrounded the
casket, and united their voices in singing:

  “There’s a land that is fairer than day,
    And by faith we can see it afar;
  For the Father waits over the way,
    To prepare us a dwelling-place there.”

The refrain voiced the assurance of immortality cherished and preached
by that company of pastors:

  “In the sweet by-and-by,
  We shall meet on that beautiful shore.”

                               CHAPTER V
                          _Songs of Soldiers_

When faced by the stern realities of life and death, it is not easy for
any person to practice the subtle art of camouflage so far as faith and
destiny are concerned. The experiences of G. A. Studdert-Kennedy, one of
the war chaplains at the Front, were similar to those of other men
engaged in ministering to the religious needs of the soldiers. He was
once brought face to face with one of the boys in a crisis, and was
asked the pointed question: “What is God like?” The soldiers who know
that God is like Christ the Sufferer and Sympathizer, have an assurance
that gives them courage to go through the rough and distracting ordeal
on the field of battle. This was true in the World War and in all
similar grim encounters.

Another chaplain, Thomas Tiplady, wrote that when the great hours draw
near, and even in the lighter hours, the soldiers like hymns most of
all, and at the religious services they cannot have too many hymns. They
care little for patriotic songs since they are living their patriotism
in the severe struggle with the enemy. The hymns for which they have a
special preference are those which give them cheer and hope and deepen
their consciousness of the presence of the Comrade Christ.

These incidents belong to our Civil War and to later wars. But in
essence they bear on the same themes and frankly reveal the recesses and
the resources of the soul.

The unexpected turns in war are illustrated in

                     A Memory of Pickett’s Brigade

Reminiscences were being exchanged by veterans of both sides of the
Civil War at a banquet given in their honor by the Board of Trade of New
York City. Colonel J. J. Phillips, of the Ninth Virginia Regiment,
Pickett’s Division, presided. Speaking of night attacks, he recalled one
in particular because of the peculiar circumstances which resulted
almost in the compulsory disobedience of orders, in response to a higher

“The point of attack had been carefully selected,” said Colonel
Phillips, “the awaited dark night had arrived, and my command was to
fire when General Pickett should signal the order.

“There was that dread, indescribable stillness; that weird ominous
silence that always settles over everything before a fight. You felt
that nowhere in the universe was there any voice or motion.

“Suddenly the awesome silence was broken by the sound of a deep, full
voice rolling over the black void like the billows of a great sea,
directly in line with our guns. It was singing the old hymn, ‘Jesus,
Lover of My Soul.’

“I have heard that grand old music many times in circumstances which
intensified its impressiveness, but never had it seemed so solemn as
when it broke the stillness in which we waited for the order to fire.
Just as it was given there rang through the night the words:

  ‘Cover my defenseless head
    With the shadow of Thy wing.’

“‘Ready, aim! Fire to the left, boys!’ I said.

“The guns were shifted, the volley that blazed out swerved aside, and
that ‘defenseless head’ was ‘covered’ with the shadow of His wing.”

A Federal veteran who listened to this story spoke up and said, “I
remember that night, Colonel, and that midnight attack which carried off
so many of my comrades. I was the singer.”

Such confirmation produced a deep impression, and after a silence
“Jesus, Lover of My Soul” was again sung as on the fatal night in 1864
when it rang across the lines at Bermuda Hundred.

The reference to the same leader is brought out under exceptional
circumstances in

                        The Song of the Defeated

“Written in Defeat, After the Battle of Five Forks,” is the heading
given to a letter written by General George E. Pickett to his wife,
April 2, 1865. It is included by Arthur Crew Inman in his volume, _A
Soldier of the South_.[12] Here is part of it:

“All is quiet now, but soon all will be bustle, for we march at
daylight. Oh, my darling, were there ever such men as those of my
division? This morning after the review I thanked them for their valiant
services yesterday on the first of April, never to be forgotten by any
of us, when they fought one of the most desperate battles of the whole
war. Their answer to me was cheer after cheer, one after another calling
out, ‘That’s all right, Marse George!’ and ‘We only followed you!’ Then
in the midst of these calls, silencing them, rose loud and clear old
Gentry’s voice, singing the old hymns which they all knew I loved:

  ‘Guide me, oh, Thou great Jehovah,
  Pilgrim through this barren land.’

“Voice after voice joined in till from all along the line the plea rang

  ‘Be my sword and shield and banner,
  Be the Lord my righteousness.’

“I do not think, my Sallie, the tears sounded in my voice as it mingled
with theirs; but they were in my eyes, and there was something new in my

“When the last line had been sung, I gave the order to march ...”

What the soldiers felt in the depths of their life is revealed in

                        A Chorus of Ten Thousand

The night after the Battle of Shiloh, when there were thousands of
wounded on the field, one Christian soldier as he lay there dying under
the starlight began to sing, “There is a land of pure delight.” When he
reached the next line there were scores of voices singing, “Where saints
immortal reign.” The song was caught up all through the fields among the
wounded until it was said there were at least ten thousand wounded men
uniting in the triumphant closing verse of that beautiful hymn:

  “Could we but climb where Moses stood,
    And view the landscape o’er,
  Not Jordan’s stream, nor death’s cold flood,
    Should fright us from the shore.”

Mrs. Margaret Bottome relates an incident about

                           Marching to Music

“I had a brother who was in the Battle of the Wilderness during the
Civil War. He told me of a day in that dreadful wilderness when the
Connecticut regiment was traveling through such deep mud that they could
hardly pull their boots out of it as they took one step after another.
They were thoroughly dispirited and they had no music—the band was far
in the rear, but all at once they heard the sound that told them the
band was coming, and as it drew nearer they caught the strain. The band
was playing a tune known to every Methodist:

  ‘Come on, my partners in distress,
  My comrades through the wilderness,
    Who still their bodies feel.
  Awhile forget your griefs and fears
  And look beyond this vale of tears
    To that celestial hill.’

“My brother said it acted like magic on that regiment, the largest
proportion of which were Methodists; new life entered into them. A
moment before their feet had stuck in the mud, and they did not see how
they were ever to get along, for again and again they had to pull their
boots out of the mud with their hands, but from the time that tune, with
the words that memory made so distinct, was heard, not a step

This story from the Crimean War might be duplicated from other wars for
it tells of

                        A Soldier Saved by Song

Duncan Matheson, a Bible reader to the soldiers in the Crimea, was
returning one night to his lodgings in an old stable. Sickened by the
sights he had seen, and depressed with the thought that the siege of
Sebastopol was likely to last for months, he trudged along in the mud,
knee-deep. Happening to look up, he saw the stars shining calmly in the
clear sky. Weariness gave place to the thought that in heaven is rest,
and he began to sing aloud the old hymn:

  “How bright these glorious spirits shine!
    Whence all their bright array?”

The next day was wet and stormy. While going his rounds he met a
soldier, soiled and in ragged clothes; his shoes so worn that they did
not keep his feet from the mud. In the course of conversation this man

“I am not what I was yesterday. Last night I was tired of life and of
this blundering siege. I took my musket and went down yonder, determined
to blow out my brains. As I got around that hillock I heard some one
singing, ‘How bright these glorious spirits shine!’ It recalled to me
the Sunday School where I used to sing it, and the religious truths I
had heard there. I felt ashamed of being such a coward. I said to
myself, ‘Here is a comrade as badly off as I am, but he is not a
coward—he’s bearing it!’ I felt that man had something which I did not
possess to make him accept with cheerfulness our hard lot. I went back
to my tent, and today I am seeking that thing which made the singer so

Here is another from the World War, related in _The War Romance of the
Salvation Army_, by Booth and Hill,[14] how

                  Sunshine Came Into a Soldier’s Heart

It was one Sunday afternoon in Bazeilles, France, at a service conducted
by three Salvationists. One of the girls sang:

  “There’s sunshine in my soul today,
    More glorious and bright
  Than glows in any earthly skies,
    For Jesus is my light.

  O there’s sunshine, blessed sunshine,
    When the peaceful, happy moments roll;
  When Jesus shows His smiling face,
    There is sunshine in the soul.”[15]

The sequel is best explained in a letter written to his mother by one of
the boys:

“You will be surprised to hear that I am in the hospital, but I am
getting well quickly and am having a good time. But best of all, some
Salvation Army people came along and sang and talked about sunshine, and
while they were talking the sunshine came through my window—not into my
room alone, but into my heart and life as well, where it is going to
stay. I know how happy this will make you.”

An incident from the Spanish-American War reveals the unity of Christian
faith in the way

                  American Soldiers Greeted Christmas

Christmas Eve, 1898, found the Seventh Army Corps encamped along the
hills at Quemados, near Havana, Cuba. Suddenly from the camp of the
Forty-ninth Iowa rang a sentinel’s call, “Number ten; twelve o’clock,
and all’s well!” Lieutenant-Colonel Curtis Guild thus wrote about it:

“It was Christmas morning. Scarcely had the cry of the sentinel died
away, when from the bandsmen’s tents of that same regiment there rose
the music of an old, familiar hymn, and one clear baritone voice led the
chorus that quickly ran along the moonlit fields: ‘How firm a foundation
ye saints of the Lord!’ Another voice joined in, and another, and
another, and in a moment the whole regiment was singing, and then the
Sixth Missouri joined in with the Fourth Virginia, and all the rest,
till there on the long ridges above the city ... a whole American army
corps was singing:

  ‘Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
  For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
  I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
  Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.’

Protestant and Catholic, South and North, singing together on Christmas
day in the morning,—that’s an American army!”

We next go to Palestine for two stories. One is about

                      Soldiers and Sankey’s Hymns

At a meeting in Blackheath, London, some time ago, according to a writer
in _The British Weekly_, a missionary to the Jews related one of his
experiences at a Jewish settlement in Palestine. He asked to see the
head of the settlement, who said, “Are you an Englishman?” He answered,
“Yes,” feeling that perhaps he would not be pleased. Then he said, “Are
you a missionary?” And he answered “Yes,” feeling certain now he would
not be pleased. To his astonishment the man said, “Oh, I am so glad, so
very glad. And can you play the piano?” to which he answered “Yes.”

The missionary was then told that when the soldiers were there they came
almost daily and played Sankey’s hymns on the piano, and sang them. The
people in the house crowded round to listen, and others gathered
outside. The result was that there were about thirty people in the
settlement who wanted to become Christians, and the missionary stayed
there for a month, at the end of which time they were baptized.

The other is from Mrs. Carrie J. Bond about

                              Marching Men

“A few years ago I was in Jerusalem in the American Colony Home. It was
a bright moonlight night and I heard the marching feet of soldiers. Soon
they began singing ‘The End of a Perfect Day.’ I looked out to see about
twelve soldiers marching by. In the morning I asked my host about it and
he brought out an old worn sheet of ‘A Perfect Day’ and told me this
story: Two American boys had been billeted to the American Colony House
and every evening during their stay one had played and the other had
sung that song. When they were well enough to leave they left the music
as a token of their gratitude.”

Now we go to the Transvaal for a testimony to the influence of Fanny
Crosby’s hymn, “Blessed Assurance,” as related by Mr. Sankey,[16] which
might be entitled

                            “Six Further On”

“‘During the recent war in the Transvaal,’ said a gentleman in my
meeting in Exeter Hall, London, in 1900, ‘when the soldiers going to the
front were passing another body of soldiers whom they recognized, their
greetings used to be, “Four-nine-four, boys, four-nine-four;” and the
salute would invariably be answered with “Six further on, boys; six
further on.” The significance of this was that, in “Sacred Songs and
Solos,” a number of copies of the small edition of which had been sent
to the front, Number 494 was “God Be With You Till We Meet Again”; and
six further on than 494, or Number 500, was “Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is

The last incident brings us back to the World War in the touching words,

                        “Sing It Again, Laddie”

In times of stress, Scotsmen turn toward God, for in the heart of them
they are all religiously inclined. During the World War a service in the
historic church in Ayr, Scotland, began with that beautiful Psalm
paraphrase: “I to the hills will lift mine eyes”, sung to the tune of

The sermon had a reference to a young Highlander who was wounded in a
recent battle and lay stretched on the field. In his youth he had
learned “I to the hills” in Gaelic. He now began to sing that old Psalm
in his native tongue, and out over the field his singing reached as far
as his voice would carry. Just then a Scotch regiment came marching by
and the men heard it. One of them noted the spot from which the song
proceeded and at night, after the conflict, he went back to look for the

All was quiet as this Highlander wandered backward and forward and it
seemed as though his quest would be futile. He then raised his voice and
called out: “Sing it again, laddie, sing it again.” The laddie heard and
responded and sang on till the searcher found him and carried him back
to the base. In due course he returned home wounded but thankful that He
had not slumbered who kept him.

The higher unity of faith carries further than the discordant notes of
mere nationalism. This was illustrated by a writer in the Kansas City
_Times_, relating the experience of

                      A Violinist in the Trenches

Outside of the dugout, shells whined and machine guns spattered with a
staccato of rat-tat-tats. Inside a violin sang and sobbed. The magic of
its music made men forget. They forgot the homesickness. They forgot the
mud. They forgot the cold. They forgot the ever presence of danger and

They listened, heads propped up on sand bags and feet wrapped in
blankets as they stretched on mattresses of sand bags covering the rough
planks of their underground cots.

In another dugout, across No Man’s Land on the German side, others were
also listening. They heard the strains of Mendelssohn’s “Spring Song,”
as sweet and gentle and refreshing as an early summer shower. A strange
thing happened. A German picked up a cornet, and floating to the Allies’
dugout came the notes of the horn harmonizing with the violin.

                               CHAPTER VI
                      _Heard Within Prison Walls_

Some of the world’s greatest books were written in prison. Think of the
Epistles of St. Paul which came from such secluded confines. _The
Pilgrim’s Progress_, which has been translated into more languages than
any other book except the Bible, was written by Bunyan in Bedford Jail.
Silvio Pellico, an Italian man of letters, recounted his ten years of
imprisonment at Spielberg, Austria, and declared that religion was his
chief consolation. The singing of St. Paul and Silas during their
imprisonment at Philippi had memorable results. There are many other
instances of beneficial consequences in connection with these dismal

The incidents in this chapter have to do with the influences upon the
prisoners themselves and how they were converted to Christ and comforted
in their distress. Such transcripts of life under inconceivably trying
circumstances give evidence of the power of the Gospel. One of the most
remarkable recent books is entitled _A Gentleman in Prison_, giving the
experiences of Tokichi Ishii, a converted Japanese criminal, who was
executed in due course for murder.

The first one tells how

                    Prisoners Sang “The Glory Song”

“The Glory Song” attained a marvelous popularity soon after it was
published in 1900. In less than five years it was being sung in many
languages all over the world. Several interesting incidents are related
of its influence but one that Homer Rodeheaver wrote in _Zion’s Herald_,
Boston, is worthy of note:

“I have heard it in a number of instances sung by over ten thousand
people, but the most impressive rendering I ever heard given to it was
by a certain audience of over one thousand men. These men were all
dressed in steel gray suits, and sat with folded arms; the man who
played the organ and the man who held the baton and led the song were
dressed in exactly the same way. Down the right side, across the rear
and up the left side of the chapel room, on high stools, sat a row of
men in blue uniforms, holding heavy canes across their knees, these men
seemed never for an instant to take their eyes from certain spots in
front of them. Not a man whispered during the service—for it was a
state’s prison. Among the congregation of 1077 men, 256 were there for
life—there to live and die—and on each of their cell doors, where they
would read it every time they left and re-entered, was that startling
word ‘Life.’

“How strangely their voices impressed me—these men without a country,
without a home, without a name, deprived of every privilege accorded to
all men by the Almighty, and known only by a number. As I sat before
them, the prison pallor of their faces against its background of gray
within that frame of blue, made a picture never to be forgotten. With
few exceptions, every man sang. Here sat one with downcast eyes, there
another with mute lips, while yonder near the center a large, strong
fellow was weeping like a little child—but silently. They told me he had
been there but a short time, and I wondered if he had heard the song
before, under different circumstances—and where, for he had a kindly
face. Softly they sang that last stanza:

  ‘Friends will be there I have loved long ago;
  Joys like a river around me will flow;
  Yet, just a smile from my Saviour, I know,
  Will through the ages be glory for me.’

The song ended, the chaplain said a brief prayer, and that great crowd
of men, at signals from the guards in blue, marched out squad by squad,
keeping step to the music of the organ played by the man in gray.”

Their deepest feelings are portrayed in

                        The Hymn of the Prisoner

Describing a chapel service in Auburn (New York) prison, a newspaper
correspondent wrote:

“One of the hymns the men sang was ‘Pardon the Debt and Make Me Free.’
They sang that over and over again, and it seemed to express the
feelings of every convict.”

The extraordinary circumstances in which a hymn was used are described
in this incident when

               A Condemned Man Wanted “Face to Face” Sung

The story of the writings of Mrs. Carrie Ellis Breck, who spent her
girlhood days on her father’s fruit farm in New Jersey, was related by
A. L. Lawson in _The Christian Herald_. From that article the following
is taken:

“Perhaps the experience that touched her most deeply of all, and the one
she most treasures, is that of the time when a poor condemned man,
sentenced to be hanged, asked that her hymn, ‘Face to Face with Christ
My Saviour,’ be sung before his execution. As the doomed wretch was led
out, and looked for the last time upon what was left him of the world,
there came to him the sweet words of her hymn—

  ‘Face to face with Christ my Saviour,
    Face to face, how can it be,
  When with rapture I behold Him,
    Jesus Christ, Who died for me?

  Face to face shall I behold Him
    Far beyond the starry sky;
  Face to face in all His glory,
    I shall see Him by and by!’”[17]

The pathos of the situation is recounted by a prison chaplain in England
who tells of

                      Hymns Selected by Prisoners

This chaplain, the Rev. G. A. Metcalfe, found men confined for various
crimes. One was convicted of murder, but his sentence of death had been
commuted to penal servitude. During the first service this murderer sat
alone on the front seat. “There were hardened criminals behind, and here
and there some mothers’ lads with fine faces and soulful eyes glistening
with tears.” After his address he asked the prisoners to select two or
three hymns. One was “Jesus Is Tenderly Calling” and they sang it with
the utmost fervor. Then a young fellow called out his choice and there
was a sob in the voices as they sang:

  “Holy Father, in Thy mercy,
    Hear our anxious prayer:
  Keep our loved ones, now far absent,
    ’Neath Thy care.”

An experience of the days before prohibition was recorded in _The
Youth’s Companion_, when

            Judge and Criminals Listened To “The Holy City”

Thirty men, red-eyed and disheveled, lined up before a judge of the San
Francisco police court. It was the regular morning company of “drunks
and disorderlies.” Just as the momentary disorder attending the bringing
in of the prisoners quieted down, a strange thing happened. A strong,
clear voice from below began singing:

  “Last night I lay a-sleeping,
  There came a dream so fair.”

Last night! It had been for them all a nightmare or a drunken stupor.
The song was such a contrast to the horrible fact that no one could fail
of a sudden shock at the thought the song suggested.

  “I stood in old Jerusalem,
  Beside the temple there,”

the song went on. The judge had paused. He made a quiet inquiry. A
former member of a famous opera company, known all over the country, was
awaiting trial for forgery. It was he who was singing in his cell.

Meantime the song went on, and every man on the line showed emotion. At
length, one man protested.

“Judge,” said he, “have we got to submit to this? We’re here to take our
punishment, but this—” and he began to sob.

It was impossible to proceed with the business of the court, yet the
judge gave no order to stop the song. It moved on to its climax:

  “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Sing for the night is o’er!
  Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna for evermore!”

In an ecstasy of melody the last words rang out, and then there was

The judge looked into the faces of the men before him. There was not one
who was not touched by the song; not one in whom some better impulse was
not stirred. He did not call the cases singly—a kind word of advice, and
he dismissed them all. No man was fined or sentenced to the workhouse
that morning. The song had done more good than punishment could have

                              CHAPTER VII
                     _The Music of Submerged Lives_

Hope is the great gift of Christianity. It pierces through the darkness
and rejoices in the light beyond. It looks through the cloud and is
assured that the sun is shining in the heavens. It insists on looking at
the bright side even when it knows that there is a dark side. The
English artist, George Frederick Watts, painted Hope as a blindfolded
figure sitting on the top of a globe above a yawning abyss, playing upon
a lyre with only one string, in harmony with the music of the Evangel,
while in the distance a star is shining. Fanny Crosby, the blind hymn
writer who died at the age of ninety-four, once said: “Hope’s star
shines clearer on my pathway today than it did fifty years ago.” It is
this same spirit of hope which Gilmour of Mongolia had when he declared
that the future is as bright as the promises of God.

So long as we are thus inspired we cannot be soured by cynicism, because
we are sweetened by the confidence which insists that “the day must dawn
and darksome night be past.” This is the triumph of lives handicapped by
harsh circumstances but rising above what would submerge them because of
their assurance that hope is the anchor of their soul, sure and
steadfast. Here are some illustrations of this truth from unexpected

A letter giving the impression of a radio service by Dr. S. Parkes
Cadman tells how

                      A Cripple Stood on Crutches

The writer related that he was greatly stirred by the singing of

  “Stand up, stand up for Jesus!
  Ye soldiers of the cross.”

He then added: “I have been on crutches for more than twelve years but
today when you sang ‘Stand up for Jesus’ I got up from my bed and stood
on crutches out of respect for the Master.”

Another somewhat like the above is about the

                  Song of the Man with the Wooden Leg

“Adah Vachell of Bristol” is the story of a brave, gifted, delicate lady
who devoted her life to the blind, deaf, crippled poor of the city of
Bristol. Her contact with the maimed and halt was made in the ceaseless
round of slum visitation, dens of filth and want, sometimes revealing a
brave endeavor to triumph over adverse conditions.

A guild was formed with a startling motto, _Lætus sorte mea_, “Happy is
my lot.” Indissolubly linked with it was the tug of war hymn, “The Son
of God Goes Forth to War.” “I can picture him so well, sitting close to
the fire ... the wooden leg stretched out, his rough rugged old face
softened as he sang in husky voice:

  ‘Who best can drink his cup of woe,
    Triumphant over pain,
  Who patient bears his cross below,
    He follows in his train.’”

Here is a story of a famous hymn which was

                        Sung for the Scrub Woman

While the choir was waiting for the delayed organist, a celebrated
soprano recounted one of her experiences. She said: “I have sung before
all the greatest folk in America. I sang before a company of titled
folks from Europe who were visiting here in this country. But the
greatest thrill I ever got in my life was singing before one lone woman,
and she a scrubwoman.” “Tell us about it,” said the tenor. “We were
getting ready for a great musical event, and had been in the church
rehearsing. As I passed out on my way home, the scrubwoman, with duster
in hand, stopped me and said, ‘Lady, you sing so beautifully—I wonder if
some day you would sing “Face to Face” for me,—it isn’t asking too much,
is it, lady?’ I told her I would be glad to do so some day. When I got
to the doorstep something said to me, ‘Do it now,’ so I turned back. The
organist was still there, and I asked him to play. When the scrubwoman
heard the strains of the organ on the familiar tune, she came into the
church and sat on the very front seat with the duster in her lap, and
her eyes intensely upon me with a strange light in them. I never had
such a thrill in all my life of song. I never felt so lifted up, for
there in that front seat sat the Lord Jesus Himself listening to me sing
to Him.

  ‘And I shall see Him face to face
  And tell the story—Saved by grace.’”

Another of the annals of the poor is

                       What the Washerwoman Sang

During his early ministry, Bishop William Burt was a pastor in Brooklyn.
From that period he carried the memory of a woman who earned her living
by taking in washing. Sometimes when making his round of pastoral calls
the young pastor would hear the woman, as she was working at her daily
task at the washtub, singing snatches of hymns which were used at the
services of the church and the prayer meeting. But one which
particularly impressed him was the day when he was approaching her
humble rooms and heard her voice, as she sang:

  “I’m the child of a King.”

Assurance was in her voice, and there was a note of triumphant certainty
on the part of this humble daughter of toil that she was the King’s
child, and therefore heir to all the promises made in the Bible.

Billy Bray, the Cornish miner, had the same happy consciousness.
Frequently he would exclaim, “I’m the King’s son!”

The ability to rise above depressing circumstances is seen in this

                             Before Worship

A few had gathered at the Goodwill Chapel service fifteen minutes before
the time to begin. The leader often allowed his audience to select the
opening hymn. And these early comers were making their choices.

“Here’s a hymn I like,” said one. “It’s ‘We’re Marching to Zion.’” “I
like it, too,” said another, “but why do you like it?”

“Well,” replied the first speaker, “there’s nothing uncertain about that
hymn. It knows where it’s going. A person can stand a whole lot of
hardship if she knows the end is worth it. Yes, I like that hymn. If Mr.
Dawson asks us what we want to sing, this morning, I am going to ask for
this one.” And so they talked happily among themselves.

Others came in and took their seats, a motley company of depressed old
age wearing the marks of poverty and sorrow. The leader entered and this
time he gave out the hymn. “I don’t care. I like this just as well,”
observed the one who had chosen “We’re Marching to Zion.” Well might she
and the others, for it expressed faith and hope in the lines:

  “Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
    God will take care of you;
  Beneath his wings of love abide,
    God will take care of you.”[18]

Thus encouraged they went from that service to the humdrum routine of
daily drudgery.

The power of the Gospel to reach those on the outskirts of civilization
is evidenced

            When Lumberjacks Sang “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”

Thomas D. Whittles tells of many an interesting incident in his book,
_The Parish of the Pines_[19]—the story of Frank Higgins, the
Lumberjacks’ Sky Pilot.

One morning after breakfast the men went to the bunkhouse to wait for
the word of the “push” ordering them to “the works.” While they waited a
rich tenor struck up the hymn,

  “Jesus, Lover of my soul,
  Let me to Thy bosom fly!”

One by one the men joined in and the solo passed into the chorus of a
hundred voices. Out through the twilight the melody rolled, waking the
sleeping pines, crossing the frozen lakes. The men in the stables,
harnessing their horses, heard the song and softly whistled it; the
cook, busy with the pots and pans, hummed it in unison and the swearing
cookee closed his profane mouth and listened in astonished silence. Over
in the office where the officials slept, the song caused silent
amazement, for it was unlike the morning hour when oaths and curses
break the stillness.

  “Other refuge have I none;
  Hangs my helpless soul on Thee.”

sang the men, unconscious of aught save the song.

  “Leave, ah! leave me not alone”—

and it came from the hearts of those who knew the weight of lonely weeks
and months. The Sky Pilot in the office turned his face to the wall and
prayed while they sang this hymn which the men had sung at the service
the night before.

“All out,” cried the “push.”

From the shack streamed forth the men, singing the song of comfort. Into
groups they separated, each going his appointed way, but the hymn
continued in all parts of the forest until the sweet melody died to
tender murmurs and was lost in the distant evergreens. In all that North
Star State no happier body of men went forth to toil, for with them went
the spirit of song.

Here is an instance of gratitude expressively shown in the words,

                              “Pass It On”

Henry Burton’s famous hymn, “Pass It On,” was inspired by a story
relating to the early life of the Rev. Mark Guy Pearse, noted as a
preacher and a writer, and who died just a few months before Dr. Burton.
The latter married a sister of Mr. Pearse. How he came to write this
hymn was related in _The British Weekly_.

“Returning from school in Holland, Pearse once found himself on a steam
packet bound from Bristol to Hayle in Cornwall, having had a hearty
supper, and later finding that he had reached the limit of his finances.
The steward was inclined to be severe, but on hearing the lad’s name he
changed his tone. Pearse’s father had recently helped the steward’s
mother in a difficulty, now the opportunity had come for the old debt to
be repaid. The steward paid the supper bill with the remark, ‘Now pass
this on to some one else.’”

This furnished the inspiration for the appealing lines:

  “Have you had a kindness shown?
        Pass it on!
  ’Twas not given for thee alone—
        Pass it on!
  Let it travel down the years,
  Let it wipe another’s tears,
  Till in heaven the deed appears,
        Pass it on!

  Did you hear the loving word?
        Pass it on!
  Like the singing of a bird?
        Pass it on!
  Let its music live and grow,
  Let it cheer another’s woe,
  You have reaped what others sow—
        Pass it on!

        . . .    . . .    . . .

  Love demands the loving deed!
        Pass it on!
  Look upon thy brother’s need,
        Pass it on!
  Live for self, you live in vain;
  Live for Christ, you live again;
  Live for Him, with Him you reign—
        Pass it on!”[20]

                              CHAPTER VIII
                          _Songs of Salvation_

It has been rightly observed that the three ideas most frequently
expressed by Jesus are translated by the words lost, last, least. He
constantly repeated the message that the lost shall be found, that the
last shall be the first, that the least shall be the greatest. This is
the Gospel of the World’s Saviour who saw possibilities in what others
called hopeless lives. He appealed to what was latent in them and
secured a response from the despised, the outcast, the depraved. To all
appearances they were incapable of better things but Jesus knew better
and He was not disappointed.

These unfortunate individuals belong to the “broken earthenware” of
humanity. Scarred by sin, hurt by temptation, haunted by fear, torn by
passion, repressed by prejudice, their lives have been redeemed by the
Saviour, and transformed. So much so that their present has not the
slightest resemblance to their past, and their future has the glow of
greater progress toward holiness and happiness. As long as such results
are obtained by the Gospel it is certainly good news to all classes and
conditions, and should be broadcast to earth’s remotest bounds. Here are
some recent proofs of the glory of the divine grace.

There are no hopeless cases as seen in the instance of one who was

                       Saved by Sankey’s Singing

Mrs. Emily Sullivan Oakey was a well-known writer but she is best
remembered by her hymn, “Sowing the Seed by the Daylight Fair.” In the
winter of 1876, W. O. Lattimore, who had been separated from his wife
and child by drink and had become a miserable drunkard, stumbled in an
intoxicated condition into Moody’s Tabernacle in Chicago. When he came
to, he realized his mistake and was about to leave when Sankey’s solo
held him. He was singing the stanza:

  “Sowing the seed of a lingering pain,
  Sowing the seed of a maddened brain,
  Sowing the seed of a tarnished name,
  Sowing the seed of eternal shame:
      O, what shall the harvest be?”

These lines followed Lattimore even to the saloon and he returned to the
Tabernacle and was converted. He went back to his family, engaged in
active work at the Moody meetings, accepted the call to the ministry and
was pastor of a flourishing church in Evanston, Illinois, for twenty

This hymn was doubtless suggested by the Apostle’s words: “Whatsoever a
man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

The insight of Jesus is finely illustrated by

                     Hymns from the Bowery Mission

Fanny Crosby was a friend and devoted worker at the Bowery Mission for
several years and many of her hymns were inspired by experiences at this
center of aggressive evangelism. Few hymns by any writer show deeper
sympathetic insight than “Rescue the Perishing,” especially the lines:

          “Down in the human heart,
          Crushed by the tempter,
  Feelings lie buried that grace can restore:
          Touched by a loving heart,
          Wakened by kindness,
  Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.”

The circumstances under which this hymn was written are worth recounting
in her own words:

“I recall the period of more than sixteen years ago when it was my
privilege to be a humble worker in the Bowery Mission. The world is
still, and I am holding communion with the past; sweet, hallowed
communion, carrying me back to the fervent heartfelt testimonies of
those who, evening after evening, told of the peace flowing like a river
which had entered their stained lives, had washed away their sins, and
made them clean through the precious blood of our Lord’s atonement.

“One evening a man for whom we had been praying, said, his face radiant
with joy, ‘Now I can meet mother in heaven, for I have found her God.’
That night I wrote my hymn, ‘Rescue the Perishing.’”

Here is a remarkable case of one who, while

                  Singing of Christ, She Accepted Him

In the absence of the organist at East Northfield, Massachusetts, at one
of the meetings during the summer gathering, a woman stepped forward and
volunteered her services. She made a deep impression by her playing and
also by the sweetness of her singing, with the result that she was in
constant demand at the other services. When urgently requested she
related her experience.

She used to be one of the leading singers of New York, going from place
to place, singing classical and operatic music, but hymns she disliked.
One evening, while attending a mission service, she was invited to sing
a solo, which she did with pleasure. Then someone asked her to sing a
Gospel hymn. She first laughed at the idea, and refused. Later she
consented. Opening the book at random, she began:

  “My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
  For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.”

The words caused her to think of her past life. She continued:

  “I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
  And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath.”

These words struck her forcefully, and she began to wonder if she really
meant them. The last verse followed:

  “In mansions of glory and endless delight
  I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
  I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,
  If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.”

It was enough. She arose from her seat at the organ a Christian woman,
and henceforth served Christ whole-heartedly.

The initiative is always taken by God, as seen in the story where

                           God Was the Seeker

“How long since ye sought and found God, Jamie?” said some of the
friends of an old Scotch elder as he lay dying.

“Oh, Robin, Robin, I never sought and found him,” answered the dying

“Oh, his mind is gane, and he will never recognize us again,” remarked
the friend sadly.

But the old saint opened his lips, and faintly said: “Listen! Not I—not
I—I never sought Him:

  ‘Jesus sought me when a stranger,
    Wandering from the fold of God,
  He, to rescue me from danger,
    Interposed His precious blood.’”

The old Scotchman had grasped the fundamental fact of Christianity, that
Christ came to seek and to save the lost.

Dr. Charles A. Blanchard once related the conversion of a friend of his

                           A Song at Midnight

This friend was for many years an infidel, a hard drinker, a Sabbath
breaker, unkind to his wife. One day, after a debauch, he went out on a
stringer belonging to a wharf in process of building, drank two bottles
of whisky, and lay down on the stringer, expecting to fall asleep, and
roll over into the water in his sleep. He wanted to end his miserable
existence, but had not the courage to do it in any other way. He did
fall asleep, but did not turn over, and awoke with the stars shining in
his face. He went home at midnight, saw his wife through the window
still at work ironing, and heard her singing, “What a Friend we have in
Jesus.” The thought came to him, “If Jesus can make my wife sing at
midnight, He can make me stop drinking whiskey.” He never touched a drop
of intoxicating liquor after that, and he became a sincere, trusting

The truth of the words, “Cast thy bread upon the waters and thou shalt
find it after many days,” finds an illustration in this story of a
writer who was

                     Handed a Copy of Her Own Hymn

Charlotte Elliott first published her famous hymn,

  “Just as I am, without one plea
  But that Thy blood was shed for me,”

in a volume entitled _The Invalid’s Hymn Book_. The sister of the author
related this incident:

“A lady was so struck with it that she had it printed as a leaflet and
widely circulated without any idea by whom it was composed. It happened
rather curiously that while we were living at Torquay, our valued
Christian physician came to us one morning, having in his hand this
leaflet. He offered it to my sister, saying, ‘I am sure this will please
you;’ and great indeed was his astonishment on finding that it was
written by herself, though by what means it had been thus printed and
circulated she was utterly ignorant. Shortly after we became acquainted
with the lady who had printed it.”

Mr. Sankey saved many hymns from obscurity by singing them at the Moody
meetings. Here is the story of

                        “Throw Out the Lifeline”

This hymn and the tune were written by the Rev. E. S. Ufford of
Springfield, Massachusetts, although it was greatly popularized by Mr.
Sankey’s singing of it with such signal results. Mr. Ufford relates that
he lived for many years near the seashore in a little village thirteen
miles from Boston. In the summer he would often stroll along the beach
and see an old wreck half hidden in the sands and rubbish and wonder
whether such a wreck might have been avoided if a life line had been
thrown out to the passengers and crew. He wished that he might write a
hymn with a searching message. After a meeting held on the sands by the
old wreck, he offered the help of the Gospel to the wrecks of manhood
who were present.

The inspiration of this service so stirred him that he sat down and in
fifteen minutes wrote four stanzas of the hymn which has justly become
famous. Sankey got hold of this hymn and at once began to sing it. It
was Moody’s favorite. When Mr. Ufford later took a trip round the world
the fact that he was the author of this hymn gave him a welcome
everywhere. It was his privilege to hear it sung by the natives of
Honolulu in their own tongue.

Mr. Sankey also popularized another hymn which he casually came across

                             In a Newspaper

It was in 1874 that he discovered “The Ninety and Nine” in a weekly
newspaper which he bought at the Glasgow railway station. He cut out
this poem, hoping to use it if he could get a suitable tune. After an
address on “The Good Shepherd,” Mr. Moody turned to him with the request
for an appropriate solo. To quote his own words: “At this moment I
seemed to hear a voice saying, ‘Sing the hymn you found in the train.’ I
thought this impossible as no music had been written for the hymn. Again
the impression came strongly upon me that I must sing the beautiful
appropriate words I had found the day before, and placing the little
newspaper slip on the organ, I lifted my heart in prayer, asking God to
help me to sing that the people might hear and understand. Laying my
hands on the organ, I struck the chord of A flat and began the song.
Note by note the tune was given, which has not been changed from that
day to this. Mr. Moody was greatly moved. Leaning over the organ, he
looked at the little newspaper slip, and with tears in his eyes said,
‘Sankey, where did you get that hymn? I never heard the like of it in my

This hymn was written by Miss Elizabeth C. Clephane of Melrose,
Scotland, who died in 1869. Her sister was present at this noon meeting
at the Free Assembly Hall, and later wrote to Mr. Sankey, thanking him
for singing the hymn.

Here is another story by Andrew Stewart in _The British Weekly_ about
these same meetings and how the hymn

          “Jesus of Nazareth” Made an Extraordinary Impression

“I remember Mr. Sankey in Edinburgh in 1874. Mr. Moody and he were
conducting meetings in Broughton Place Church. It was their first visit
to Scotland, and Dr. Andrew Thomson had bravely opened the great church
to the strangers. A small boy, sitting in our family pew, facing the
pulpit, I can recall the effect of the great crowds and the intense
impression. One of the hymns used was ‘Jesus of Nazareth Passeth By.’ My
father told long afterwards how he met a commercial traveler one morning
on the ferry steamer that crossed from Granton before the Forth Bridge
was built. The traveler spoke of having attended the evangelistic
services the previous night. He said: ‘I am not a religious man and not
easily moved, but when that man sang “Jesus of Nazareth Has Passed By”
it made an extraordinary impression on me.’ The fact is that the success
of the evangelists had more connection with Sankey’s singing than most
people realize. He had a powerful baritone voice and sang with deep

The first verse of the hymn is:

  “What means this eager, anxious throng,
  Which moves with busy haste along—
  These wondrous gath’rings day by day,
  What means this strange commotion, pray?
  In accents hushed the throng reply,
    ‘Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.’”

From far-off China comes this striking incident in connection with

                      “One Sweetly Solemn Thought”

Dr. Russell H. Conwell was traveling in China and one day he entered a
gambling house in a Chinese city. Two Americans were there, betting and
drinking; the older one frequently using the filthiest profanity. The
younger man had lost in two games and the third game had just begun.
While the winner was shuffling the cards his companion sat lazily back
in his chair. There was delay in dealing out the cards and while
waiting, the other looked carelessly about the room and began to hum a
tune and then to sing almost unconsciously. The words were:

  “One sweetly solemn thought
    Comes to me o’er and o’er;
  I am nearer home today
    Than I ever have been before.”

While the young man sang, his fellow gambler stopped dealing out cards,
stared at the singer and exclaimed: “Harry, where did you learn that
song?” “What song?” “Why, the one you have been singing.”

He said he did not know what he had been singing. The other repeated the
words, with tears in his eyes, and the younger man said he had learned
them in the Sunday School in America.

“Come,” said the elder gambler, getting up; “come, Harry, here’s what I
have won from you; go and use it for some good purpose. As for me, as
God sees me, I have played my last game and drunk my last bottle. I have
misled you, Harry, and I am sorry. Give me your hand, my boy, and say
that for old America’s sake, if for no other, you will quit this
infernal business.”

This hymn was written by Miss Phoebe Cary while visiting a friend. She
had attended church and was deeply stirred, and on returning to her
friend’s house she retired to “the little back third-story bedroom” and
wrote this expression of her experience. This incident in China gave her
much happiness. After her death the older man in the above story wrote
to Dr. Conwell saying that he was now a “hard working Christian” and
that Harry had renounced his evil ways.

                               CHAPTER IX
                        “_The Old Rugged Cross_”

The Cross is the triumphant symbol of a militant and puissant
Christianity. It tells of “love divine, all loves excelling.” It
sustains hope in the final victory of good. It establishes faith in the
persistent reality of truth. The Gospel of the Cross proclaims
redemption from sin, reconciliation with God, realization of goodwill to
all people. There is absolutely nothing else to equal the appeal of the
Cross in its power to produce the most desirable changes in the
individual and in society. Wherever it has been preached with the
conviction of experience and the constraint of passion, the Holy Christ
has won trophies in lives recovered from the waste of sin, renewed by
the power of grace, enriched by the practices of purity and peace.

Indeed, the only cure for our distracted age is found in the Atoning
Christ. This is endorsed by the voices of redeemed multitudes of every
age and land. The testimony from life is conclusive. It holds us by a
resolute determination to announce its message of pardon and joy to
everyone. In the words of John Oxenham,

  “Love, with the lifted hands and thorn-crowned head;
  Still conquers death, though life itself be fled,—
          His Cross still stands!

  Yes,—Love triumphant stands, and stands for more,
  In our great need, than e’er it stood before!
          His Cross still stands!”[21]

The Cross makes a universal appeal, as in this incident related by Miss
Margaret Sangster[22] when

                        All Wanted the Same Song

“I was in a radio studio, the other night, listening to the broadcast of
a program. Naturally I was interested. Interested in what the performers
did and how they were handled and the precision with which the timing
was accomplished. But the one thing that interested me more than the
actual happenings in the studio, was something quite apart from the
especial broadcast that was taking place. For, as I sat there, I was
conscious of a great flurry going on in an outer office. I could see, as
I sat there, a constant stream of messenger boys—and I was conscious of
an equally constant answering of telephones. I couldn’t help feeling
that some great event was taking place—or was about to take place.

“And so the moment that the broadcast was over, I went into that outer
office and began to ask questions. ‘Why the excitement?’ I asked of a
pretty stenographer. ‘I’ve never seen such a bustling about.’ The girl
smiled as she replied: ‘A very popular singer is going to broadcast
tonight,’ she told me, ‘and people are sending in requests that he sing
their favorite song. Curiously enough, with hardly an exception, it’s
the same song!’

“‘What song is it?’ I asked. And I was both amazed and stirred to learn
that the radio audience was asking for one of the splendid old revival
hymns—‘The Old Rugged Cross!’”

  “On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
  The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
  And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
  For a world of lost sinners was slain.”

Thomas D. Whittles tells this story in his book, _The Parish of the
Pines_,[23] about

                    Gospel Music in the Lumber Camps

An upturned barrel serves for pulpit, and a horse blanket, bearing the
manufacturer’s name in large letters, is the embroidered altar cloth. No
Genevan gown lends grace to the minister, but coatless he stands—a
shirt-sleeved messenger of God.

The opening of a service conducted by Frank Higgins, the Sky Pilot, is
thus described:

“‘Sing No. 31, boys; it’s easy and it’s a good one. Let her go!’

  “Alas! and did my Saviour bleed?
  And did my Sovereign die?”

“The hymn is old and the boys welcome it lustily. The music lacks in
sweetness: in volume it abounds.

“‘You can do better. Hit it harder on the next verse.’

“They do; they shout it forth in full voice, pleased with the song, glad
for the privilege of singing. Then the chorus: ‘At the cross, at the
cross, where I first saw the light,’ shakes the bunkhouse and wanders
over the far reaches of the night-bound forest. In our fashionable
churches, trained voices blend in superb harmony; but this is the music
of songless lives.”

However different may be our views on many questions of religion, most
of us agree that

                           The Cross Remains

Matthew Arnold was visiting his brother-in-law, Mr. Cropper, and went
with him to a service at Seton Park Church, Liverpool, England. The
minister, Dr. John Watson (“Ian Maclaren”), preached on “The Shadow of
the Cross,” and the congregation afterwards sang the familiar hymn:

  “When I survey the wondrous cross
  On which the Prince of Glory died.”

At lunch that day Mr. Arnold referred to the hymn, which he said he
considered the finest in the English language. Appreciative reference
was also made to the sermon; and the poet mentioned especially an
illustration which the preacher had drawn from a Riviera earthquake.

“In one village,” said Dr. Watson, “the huge crucifix above the altar,
with a part of the chancel, remained unshaken amid the ruins, and round
the cross the people sheltered.”

“Yes,” remarked Arnold in speaking of this, “the cross remains, and in
the straits of the soul makes its ancient appeal.”

This recalls an incident mentioned in a lecture, when the speaker
described a scene in Paris in which a number of men, when a cathedral
was dedicated on a hill, attempted to blot out the illumination of the
cross on the spire by raising large clouds of smoke with chemicals.
“Instead of blotting it out,” said the lecturer, “the cross stood out in
greater magnificence and splendor.”

Never does the Cross fail men in their need; but

  “His cross like a far-seen beacon stands
    In the midst of a world of sin;
  And stretched out are His bleeding hands
    To gather the wanderers in.”

The truth of reliance upon the Christ of the Cross is well brought out

                             “Rock of Ages”

The original title of this hymn was “A Living and Dying Prayer for the
Holiest Believer in the World.” But, as a matter of fact, the hymn is a
favorite of the best saint and the worst sinner. It can be used
appropriately in every condition of life. In a shipwreck off the Bay of
Biscay, the last man who left the ship said he heard the passengers

  “Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
  Let me hide myself in Thee!”

The glory of the Cross found an impressive testimony in

                Henry Drummond’s Hymn on His Last Sunday

Death called the brilliant Henry Drummond hence while he was still in
the prime of life. On the afternoon of the last Sunday he spent on earth
this noble Scotchman, with his scientific mind and evangelical spirit,
heard his friend, Dr. Barbour, play to him the music of the hymn, “Art
Thou Weary, Art Thou Languid?” and other hymn tunes. There was no
response. Then he tried the old Scots melody of “Martyrdom,” to which
Drummond beat time with his hand, and joined in the words:

  “I’m not ashamed to own my Lord,
    Or to defend His cause;
  Maintain the honor of His word,
    The glory of His cross.”

When they finished singing this hymn by Isaac Watts, Drummond said,
“There’s nothing to beat that, Hugh.” The following Thursday he passed
to greet his Lord of whom he had been a radiant follower.

The everlasting Gospel of the Cross is assuredly

                 The Only Word for Discord and Distress

How truly it meets our needs is finely suggested in one of the best
hymns, “My Faith Looks Up to Thee.” It was written by Dr. Ray Palmer at
the age of twenty-two while still a theological student, suffering from
poor health, laboring under many discouragements and realizing that God
was his only help. During the Civil War some soldiers met in a tent for
prayer before a great battle; they decided to draw up and sign a paper,
expressing their trust in that stern hour. One of the men knew this hymn
and he wrote it out and each man signed his name. Only one of them lived
through the battle to tell of this death covenant and to send the
precious document to the loved ones of those who fell. Well might each
of them have prayed:

  “My faith looks up to Thee,
  Thou Lamb of Calvary,
      Saviour divine!
  Now hear me while I pray,
  Take all my guilt away,
  O let me from this day
      Be wholly Thine!”

The voice of the true Christian is the same regardless of nationality or
color, as is seen in this incident about

                        What Frances Wanted Sung

Frances Phillips, a young girl of Alaska, was the first pupil to
graduate in the eighth grade in the Training School at Sitka. Soon
afterwards she married a young man named Sam Johnson. Both were
Christians. Frances died in 1924, a few days after the death of her
little son. Dr. Samuel Hall Young tells us that he had been going to see
her daily for a week when, on Sunday morning, word was brought that she
was dying. “The little church was not far distant, and Frances sent word
to open the doors and windows and to sing:

  ‘My hope is built on nothing less
  Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.’

“The dying woman joined feebly, with an ecstatic smile on her wan face
and soon passed away. Before her death she had started a subscription in
Angoon to build a new church. Sam and his brothers took up this work,
and a beautiful little building called ‘The Frances Johnson Memorial
Church’ was erected, almost entirely by the Indians.”[24]

                               CHAPTER X
                            _Hymns of Youth_

The questioning attitude of youth is impelled by a desire for deeper
reality. Some of their words and ways may scandalize the conventional,
but back of it all we find eager sincerity and animated purposefulness
to make life count for more. We need to show the patience of confidence
towards skeptical young people. We must encourage them to work out their
problems not by holding up danger signals, but by magnifying the ways of
sure deliverance. We are not wedded to methods but are inspired by
motives. So long as these latter are right we might well disagree about
how they are to be expressed.

An interesting sidelight on the essential loyalty of young people was
recently given when, at a summer institute attended exclusively by them,
a popular vote was taken of the best ten hymns. The following were
named: “Holy, Holy, Holy;” “Nearer, My God, to Thee;” “Rock of Ages;”
“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross;” “Abide With Me;” “Sweet Hour of
Prayer;” “Jesus, Lover of My Soul;” “O Love, That Wilt Not Let Me Go;”
“Just As I Am;” “Lead Kindly Light.”

This is certainly not the choice of erratic radicals, but of rational
conservatives who desire to retain what is best in the past while going
forward with characteristic adventuresomeness to new fields of activity
and of achievement.

The new program of religious education is an attempt more satisfactorily
to meet the needs of children and adolescents. Previous efforts had
their limitations but all who grew up under the conditions of the former
generation will appreciate this testimony from Sir Harry Lauder in
_Roamin’ in the Gloamin’_ about

                   The Influence of the Sunday School

“I forget many of the hymns we sang at the Band of Hope, but such
favorites as ‘Shall We Gather at the River?’, ‘Throw Out the Life Line,’
and similar haunting airs stand out in my memory. I loved every note of
them and yelled them out most lustily. The old Scottish psalm tunes we
occasionally sang at the Band of Hope, and also at the Sunday School I
attended, likewise made an extraordinary appeal to me. ‘All People That
On Earth Do Dwell,’ to the tune of the ‘Old Hundred;’ ‘O, God of Bethel
by Whose Hand’ to the tune of ‘St. Kilda,’ were among my favorites. The
last mentioned melody is in a most unusual minor key. It was written by
a young Scottish musician named Bloomfield, who died early in life and
whose body, I have been told, is lying in an ancient cemetery in

These words recall an experience of Captain John Lauder in France, which
led him to declare he was

               Glad He Learned the Hymn in Sunday School

While convalescing in the hospital he went one day to the piano and
began playing very softly. One of the nurses then came up to him and
said a Captain Webster of the Gordon Highlanders who knew his father,
Sir Harry, wanted to see him. What followed had best be stated in his
own words, quoted in _A Minstrel in France_[26] by Harry Lauder:

“This man had gone through ten operations in less than a week. I thought
perhaps my playing had disturbed him, but when I went to his bedside, he
grasped my hand, pressed it with what little strength he had left, and
thanked me. He asked me if I could play a hymn. He said he would like to
hear ‘Lead, Kindly Light.’ So I went back to the piano and played it as
softly and as gently as I could. It was his last request. He died an
hour later. I was very glad I was able to soothe his last moments a
little. I am very glad that I learned the hymn at Sunday School as a

Dr. R. J. Campbell tells a touching story about a mother and her only
child whose request was

                          “Sing, Muzzer, Sing”

This young English mother made a living for herself and child by singing
in the concert halls of London, and so at night she was compelled to
leave him while meeting her engagements. One night she had a foreboding
of evil but she had to keep her appointment. The rapture of the crowds
and the encores were nothing to her as on this night she hurried back to
the lad. She took him up in her arms and held him as if he could never
slip away. But he was dying, and his broken words were, “Sing, muzzer,
sing.” What an ordeal! But she responded. Her clear sweet voice broke
upon the hush of that tenement room in the words of the matchless hymn
of the children:

  “I think when I read that sweet story of old,
    When Jesus was here among men;
  How He called little children like lambs to His fold,
    I should like to have been with Him then.”

Another hymn made a moving impression upon a large congregation when

                   Children Sang of the Love of Jesus

A group of fresh-air children from New York City were being entertained
at East Northfield, the home of the schools established by D. L. Moody.
One Sunday, sitting in a body in the great auditorium, they were
presented to the audience, and then invited to the platform to sing for
the assembled company. The little folks marched to the front of the
building, faced the many hundreds of people, and gleefully sang:

  “I am so glad that our Father in heaven
  Tells of His love in the Book He has given,
  Wonderful things in the Bible I see;
  This is the dearest, that Jesus loves me.”

Children of parents who came from many different nations across the
Atlantic, living amid hard conditions in the great city of New York,
life had not afforded them much in the form of pleasure. But their faces
fairly radiated happiness as they lustily sang:

  “I am so glad that Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me,
  I am so glad that Jesus loves me, Jesus loves even me.”

This incident is given in _Through Jade Gate_, by M. Cable and F.
French, about

                           A Youthful Daniel

In our city-visiting we soon discovered that the first difficult plowing
of the ground was being done for us by the children. Everywhere we were
welcomed, and mothers, whom we had never seen, repeated Scripture texts,
hymns, and sentences of prayer with surprising accuracy. One little
fellow, unconscious that he was being watched, walked down the street
singing at the top of his voice, “Dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand
alone,” then coming to a stop before a peanut vendor and looking him in
the face, said, “Did you _know_ that there is only one God, and one Lord
Jesus Christ?”

“Why, no,” said the man bewildered.

“Well, it is true,” answered the child, and passed on singing, “‘Dare to
have a purpose firm, dare to make it known.’”

Here is a suggestive story quoted from _The Sunday School Times_ about

                         Jazz and Sacred Music

A Christian mother recently found no little difficulty in leading her
’teen-age girls to overcome the habit of singing jazz. It is what they
heard over the neighbor’s radio, in school, on the street, everywhere.
And in order to cure the habit there seemed to be need for something
more than the negative command, “Don’t sing such songs, girls!” At
length she hit upon a solution to the problem. When the girls burst into
“Carolina moon, keep shining,” the mother would begin, very quietly and
with apparent lack of purpose,

  “He leadeth me! oh! blessed thought!
  Oh, words with heavenly comfort fraught.”

And it was not long until the singing voices began to follow her.

The central message of the Gospel is well illustrated in this

                      Spiritual Experience in Song

At a world’s convention of Christian Endeavor Societies, the various
delegations went to their respective places in the tent, singing
different hymns. The New Zealand deputation marched in singing,

  “O for a thousand tongues to sing
    My great Redeemer’s praise,
  The glories of my God and King,
    The triumph of His grace!”

They were listened to in silence, until they reached the stanza:

  “He breaks the power of canceled sin,
    He sets the prisoner free;
  His blood can make the foulest clean;
    His blood availed for me.”

Then the vast audience could no longer refrain from joining them, for
the verse truthfully expressed the spiritual experience of all the

It was an impressive experience which strengthened the bond of unity
when a group joined in this

                    Evening Prayer of Young Campers

The young people who had spent the evening together were about to
separate and go to their several tents and cottages. “Why not a
song-prayer together?” asked one. The suggestion was favorably received.
These were the words they sang just before they retired:

  “Glory to Thee, my God, this night,
  For all the blessings of the light:
  Keep me, O keep me, King of kings,
  Beneath the shadow of Thy Wings.

  Forgive me, Lord, for Thy dear Son,
  The ill which I this day have done;
  That with the world, myself, and Thee,
  I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.

        . . .    . . .    . . .

  O let my soul on Thee repose,
  And may sweet sleep mine eyelids close;
  Sleep which shall me more vigorous make,
  To serve my God, when I awake.”

The culminating moment at a missionary meeting was reached when the
assembly sang a hymn,

                       Acknowledging God’s Claims

It was at one of the anniversaries of the London Missionary Society at
Queen’s Hall, London. There were present a number of young men and women
who were about to leave for their several mission fields. Instead of
some modern hymns which are convicted of false sentiment, there was
selected Doddridge’s hymn for this notable occasion. The first verse is:

  “My gracious Lord, I own Thy right
    To every service I can pay,
  And call it my supreme delight
    To hear Thy dictates and obey.”

One can imagine the enthusiasm of those prospective missionaries as they

  “’Tis to my Saviour I would live
    To Him who for my ransom died;
  Nor could all worldly honor give
    Such bliss as crowns me at His side.”

The courage of conviction was strikingly exhibited in connection with a
well-known chorus,

                     “Can the Lord Depend on You?”

Three thousand people had gathered in a beautiful grove for the annual
reunion of one of the State societies of Los Angeles. The musical
program consisted of old sacred melodies with variations and they were
received with enthusiasm. The president then announced that three young
ladies would perform a special dance and he requested the pianist to
play for the dancers. Much to his surprise and chagrin a polite negative
reply was given. “But there is no one else here to play for the dance,”
said the president.

The pianist insisted on refusal, declaring that he had never used his
talent in that connection and never so intended. The president then
threatened to expose him to the vast audience, and no sooner had he done
so than the pianist took the platform and said: “My reason for not
playing for the dance is that my talent is not my own. It is dedicated
to a far higher and nobler service. It is devoted wholly to the service
of Christ.” The impression produced upon the gathering had an effect
different from that of the president of this state society. On
adjournment, several got into conversation with the pianist, which led
to complete decisions for Christ.

The great heart of the nation was heard on a notable occasion when, in a
spirit of unity,

                        Young America Made Music

This took place during the sessions of the National Education
Association at Dallas, Texas. It was on the last evening of the
convention, which for five days had engaged in earnest discussion on the
education of children in the United States.

Five thousand persons applauded when the curtain rose; and the
spectators were thrilled when they saw on the stage eight hundred boys
and girls dressed in pure white. These were the best singers in the
Dallas elementary schools. For an hour they sang, never missing a word
or a note, without a scrap of paper before their eyes. The last third of
the program was the cantata of “Rip Van Winkle,” which was rendered with
a sweetness possible only to the unspoiled voices of children who sing
because they love to sing.

The curtain rose the second time, and the scene changed. The National
High School Orchestra appeared for the first time in history before the
National Education Association. Two hundred and sixty-six boys and girls
from thirty-nine states sat there “with their handsome instruments.”
They were selected from six hundred who were competent and anxious to
attend. It was a thrilling sight to watch these young people who sat
together regardless of the states from which they came, and whose faces
had “the features of every nation under heaven.” The program was
arranged to recreate the moods of life—of play, heroism, questioning,
hope, despair, fantasy, and religious fervor. The musical selections
were from the masters, and they were rendered with perfect harmony.

For two hours these young people stirred the depths of their vast
audience. It was like a glimpse of the great scene described in the
Bible, “of the company out of every nation and kindred and tribe before
the throne of God, whose anthem of praise is like the sound of the sea.”

The closing number was most impressive. Led by the youthful orchestra,
the audience sang the evening hymn of Sabine Baring Gould:

  “Now the day is over,
    Night is drawing nigh,
  Shadows of the evening
    Steal across the sky.”

So the music swept on until the closing stanza was reached:

  “When the morning wakens,
    Then may I arise
  Pure, and fresh, and sinless
    In Thy holy eyes.”

This incident is fully described in _Yankee Notions_, by Henry T.
Bailey.[27] He concludes his account with an impressive sentence: “I
heard the great heart of my country singing as never before, and the
harmony was as rich and deep as human brotherhood itself.”

Here is a testimony to faith and hope suggested by

            Hymns Used at the Dedication of a College Chapel

Hendricks Memorial Chapel of Syracuse University was dedicated on June
8, 1930. It is the third in size of all college chapels in the United
States and is to be the center for the religious guidance of the

The hymns used on this occasion were full of significance. The first had
a national application and was written by a physician, Dr. Alfred A.
Woodhull. Six thousand voices blended in singing:

  “Great God of nations, now to Thee
    Our hymn of gratitude we raise;
  With humble heart and bending knee
    We offer Thee our song of praise.”

This was followed by “Faith of Our Fathers.” The closing hymn was
written by Dr. M. W. Stryker, one of the distinguished presidents of
Hamilton College:

  “Almighty Lord, with one accord,
    We offer Thee our youth.”

At the afternoon service of dedication the first hymn was

  “Glorious things of Thee are spoken
    Zion, City of our God.”

The next was Professor Caleb T. Winchester’s striking hymn:

  “The Lord our God alone is strong,
    His hands build not for one brief day;
  His wondrous works, through ages long,
    His wisdom and His power display.”

Deeply prayerful was the last stanza:

  “And let those learn, who here shall meet,
    True wisdom is with reverence crowned,
  And science walks with humble feet
    To seek the God that faith hath found.”

The hymn of dedication was most appropriate. It was written by William
Cullen Bryant, who was a student in Williams College. And it was from
occasional summer afternoons of meditation in the chapel of this college
that Senator Francis Hendricks conceived the idea of providing this
memorial chapel for Syracuse University. Here are two stanzas:

  “Thou, whose unmeasured temple stands,
    Built over earth and sea,
  Accept the walls that human hands
    Have raised, O God, to Thee.

        . . .    . . .    . . .

  May faith grow firm, and love grow warm,
    And pure devotion rise,
  While round these hallowed walls the storm
    Of earthborn passion dies.”

At night was held the installation service of the Dean of Hendricks
Chapel. It began with the immortal hymn of Isaac Watts:

  “O God, our help in ages past,
    Our hope for years to come,
  Our shelter from the stormy blast,
    And our eternal home!”

The last hymn on that eventful day was one which came from Dr.
Washington Gladden, a man who exercised a large influence in our
national religious life. The desires and hopes of all were thus deeply
expressed as they sang:

  “O Master, let me walk with Thee,
  In lowly paths of service free;
  Tell me Thy secret; help me bear
  The strain of toil, the fret of care.

        . . .    . . .    . . .

  In hope that sends a shining ray
  Far down the future’s broadening way;
  In peace that only Thou canst give,
  With Thee, O Master, let me live.”

                               CHAPTER XI
                           _Hymns as Prayers_

When our feelings are deeply stirred by a crisis it is the most natural
thing to turn to God in prayer. Such an acknowledgment of the divine
resourcefulness in the face of human helplessness advertises the
inherent dignity of man, who finds that he is best able to overcome
difficulties by reliance upon God. Any person who is able to make such a
contact with the Source of Power through prayer is well equipped for the
tasks of life.

It is the filial spirit which inspires the tone and quality of prayer,
whereby we receive spiritual insight and moral strength for duty. It has
been well said that “prayer is the discipline of desire in the light of
the best consciousness of God that we can attain unto.” We must recover
this practice of prayer for right living. It will reinforce us with
virtue and vitality to keep true to our best selves and fit us to meet
every demand. It is in actual experience and not by mere theorizing that
we find out the real efficacy of prayer.

Bishop Edwin H. Hughes, in _The Pastor Looks at His Work_,[28] reports
some of his experiences to show that

                           Hymns Are Prayers

“A little while ago I was in a service where a minister of no little
eminence was suddenly called on to pray. His response was simply the
repeating of the entire hymn, whose first stanza reads:

  ‘My faith looks up to Thee,
  Thou Lamb of Calvary,
      Saviour Divine!
  Now hear me while I pray,
  Take all my guilt away,
  Oh, let me from this day
      Be wholly Thine!’

If one man’s experience was typical, that individual hymn with its ‘I’
and ‘My’ brought scores of people into a spiritual aggregate and made a
‘common supplication.’

“Much of the same thing happened in the bishops’ meeting not so long
ago. We were having a prayer service, only that, and it must have
continued for two and a half hours. One bishop’s prayer that night was
simply a repeating of Whittier’s hymn:

  ‘Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
    Forgive our feverish ways;
  Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
  In purer lives Thy service find,
    In deeper reverence, praise.’

As we were all on our knees we were led to treat that hymn as a public
prayer; and it was at once an inspiring and exalting thing. Our services
would be enriched beyond measure if only this spirit of prayer could be
more definitely attached to the songs of our corporate worship.”

Here is a personal testimony from Fanny Crosby concerning

             The Constant Companion of the Pilgrim Journey

“Toward the close of a day in the year 1874, I was sitting in my room
thinking of the nearness of God through Christ as the constant companion
of the pilgrim journey, when my heart burst out with the words:

  ‘Thou my everlasting portion,
    More than friend or life to me,
  All along my pilgrim journey,
    Saviour, let me walk with Thee.’”

How prayer is the inevitable opening for guidance is finely illustrated
in the circumstances which resulted in the writing of

                          “Lead, Kindly Light”

This well-known hymn was written by John Henry Newman when, as a young
clergyman of the Anglican Church, he lay sick and troubled in a vessel
which was becalmed in the Gulf of Palermo. He was restless to return to
England and perplexed concerning the future. His feelings were expressed
on the afternoon of June 16, 1833, in this prayer for guidance. The
well-known tune, “Lux Benigna,” to which it is usually sung, was
composed in 1865 by Dr. J. B. Dykes as he walked through the crowded
Strand in London. It was done in ten minutes in what might seem to have
been an unfavorable place, and yet faith shows its power in overcoming
distractions and difficulties, as was done by this musician.

The author of this hymn later entered the Roman Catholic Church. He is
best known as Cardinal Newman but none of his writings, not even his
_Apologia Pro Vita Sua_, has exercised the influence of this prayer
hymn. To be sure, all who use it have not been guided as was the
cardinal. A friend recently remarked to me: “I was in the habit of
repeating these lines on board the ship which was bringing me a stranger
to the United States. The assurance that the Light still will lead me on
has remained with me during the years nor have I any reason to expect
that it will be different in the days to come.”

Here is an experience about

                           An Eventide Prayer

A minister of long service and extensive travel went into the church of
a denomination other than that to which he belonged when away from home,
for evening worship. He was deeply impressed when the pastor offered as
the evening prayer some stanzas from a hymn:

  “At even, ere the sun was set,
    The sick, O Lord, around Thee lay;
  O in what divers pain they met!
    O with what joy they went away!

  Once more ’tis eventide, and we,
    Oppressed with various ills, draw near;
  What if Thy form we cannot see?
    We know and feel that Thou are here.

  O Saviour Christ, our woes dispel;
    For some are sick, and some are sad,
  And some have never loved Thee well,
    And some have lost the love they had.

        . . .    . . .    . . .

  Thy touch has still its ancient power,
    No word from Thee can fruitless fall;
  Hear in this solemn evening hour,
    And in Thy mercy heal us all.”

No words other than those of the hymn were spoken; but the visiting
minister affirmed that he never heard a more appropriate or appealing

How calmness and poise are obtained are related in an experience

                    “Through the Long Night Watches”

A minister was once confined to bed by sickness. When Sunday came he
could hear the hymns which the congregation sang, for the parsonage
adjoined the church. Evening found him feverish and restless, but with
soothing effect came the closing hymn. Through the open window came the
prayerful lines:

  “Now the day is over,
    Night is drawing nigh;
  Shadows of the evening
    Steal across the sky;

  Jesus, grant the weary
    Calm and sweet repose;
  With Thy tenderest blessing
    May our eyelids close.

        . . .    . . .    . . .

  Through the long night watches
    May Thine angels spread
  Their white wings above me,
    Watching round my bed.”

The next Sunday morning the minister was back in his pulpit, and with a
spirit of gratitude announced the hymn:

  “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!
    Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
  Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty,
    God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity.”

How there was a change for the better during a sickness is revealed in
this account:

                          “Why, That’s For Me”

A minister’s wife with whom I am well acquainted has told of the time
when her only sister lay on a bed of pain in a hospital in one of the
suburbs of Chicago. Her father and mother, being sent for, reached the
bedside at nightfall. A brief interview was permitted. The father,
bending low above his girl, heard her faintly say, “Oh, Dad, I’ve lost
my grip.” Great anxiety, therefore, was on his mind as he left the room.

Fearing the answer he might receive, yet hungering for news, the father
telephoned as early the next morning as he dared. “How is the girl
today?” was his agonized question.

“Holding her own. In fact, she has made slight progress through the
night,” was the glad and astonishing answer. Father and mother,
therefore, soon hastened to the hospital. There they learned that the
daughter’s recovery was now a possibility.

Later the parents learned the cause of the happy change. A window had
been opened by a nurse, and there came through it to the accompaniment
of a piano a clear baritone voice singing: “What a Friend we have in

“Why, that’s for me,” whispered the sufferer, as she heard the words:

  “Are we weak and heavy laden,
    Cumbered with a load of care?
  Precious Saviour, still our refuge,
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.”

Restful assurance was expressed in the closing lines:

  “In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
    Thou wilt find a solace there.”

Making the words her prayer, by asking Christ to take and shield her,
she turned her face to the wall and the first natural sleep for weeks
followed. From that hour her recovery began.

Harriet Beecher Stowe awoke one morning to find herself famous as the
author of _Uncle Tom’s Cabin_. The excellent reception given this book
was gratifying, but more than anything else was

             The Satisfying Consciousness of God’s Presence

She wrote her husband at this time, from the home of her brother, Henry
Ward Beecher, that she felt a wonderful consciousness of God’s presence,
which above all else quieted and comforted and satisfied her soul. Then
she wrote out this experience in the beautiful hymn, “Still, still with
Thee,” which first appeared in the Plymouth Hymnal. Set to Mendelssohn’s
music, it is one of the richest recent additions to hymnology. This
hymn-prayer was the response of her soul and voiced a deep experience of
the peace that passeth all understanding. It tells most impressively
what are some of the benefits of prayer:

  “Still, still with Thee, when purple morning breaketh,
    When the bird waketh, and the shadows flee;
  Fairer than morning, lovelier than daylight,
    Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with Thee.

        . . .    . . .    . . .

  Still, still with Thee! As to each newborn morning
    A fresh and solemn splendor still is given,
  So does this blessed consciousness, awaking,
    Breathe each day nearness unto Thee and heaven.”

What the divine presence means is strikingly seen where a man in danger
was able to pray and to realize that he was

                               Not Alone

Seven men were buried beneath thousands of tons of rocks which fell
without a moment’s warning in a Cornish tin mine early in the twentieth
century. Willing hands immediately began the work of rescue, though all
despaired of finding anyone alive. Their worst fears, however, were not
realized. One man was found a little distance from his comrades, and was
uninjured. The rocks had formed an arch over him.

Encouraged by finding this one miner, those who were engaged in the work
of rescue called loudly to ascertain if any others were alive and able
to speak. One man answered. He was an active Christian, and Sunday
School superintendent. “Are you alone?” he was asked. The questioner, of
course, was thinking of his fellow laborers. “No; Christ is with me,”
was the reply. “Are you injured?” was the next question. “Yes,” answered
the imprisoned man, “my legs are held fast by something.”

Those engaged in the conversation were then greatly surprised as they
heard this man, who often sang when descending to and ascending from his
daily task, now begin to sing in a feeble voice:

  “Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide;
  The darkness deepens—Lord, with me abide!
  When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
  Help of the helpless, O abide with me.”

They heard no more from him. Two days later he was found with his legs
crushed by a huge rock which rested on them. Both his life and his last
words of song, however, gave the assurance that he had gone to be
“forever with the Lord.”

                              CHAPTER XII
                         _Songs of the Negroes_

Whatever else may be said about _The Green Pastures_ by Marc Connelly,
it obviously represents the naive and simple faith of thousands of
untutored black Christians in the South. They accept the wonders of the
Old Testament with crude literalness and they unhesitatingly believe
that these marvels can be reproduced in their own lives.

One of the chief values of this play is the discerning use made of the
unique spirituals which are a distinctive contribution of America to
music. No one who has ever heard them sung can forget the impression of
pathos at times rising to the heights of astonishing power. Without any
regard for rhyme, rhythm or meter, these dialect songs express the long
suppressed longings for freedom and happiness. The Negro furthermore
firmly believes that these benefits are to be realized by means of
religion alone. However sensuous may be some of the figures of speech,
the emphasis is always on the supremacy of spiritual values.

There are other features in Negro singing especially connected with
religious revivals which throw light on the characteristic traits of
this people. Aggrey of Africa was a remarkable representative of the
Negro race. His life, written by Edwin W. Smith, is one of the
outstanding biographies of recent times. He once said, “I believe that
the Negro has a great gift for the world; the gift of the idea of
meeting injustice and ostracism and oppression by sunny light-hearted
love and work. I believe he is going to teach that to Asia and the white
folk.” His attitude to life is best expressed in songs as indicated by a
few illustrations in this chapter.

Dr. Willis J. King, president of Samuel Houston College, Austin, Texas,
in a recent article in _The Christian Advocate_, pointed out

                     The Value of Negro Spirituals

“The peculiarity of both the melody and the dialect of the spirituals
tends to make them difficult for people other than American Negroes to
render. But these difficulties are being overcome. With increasing
frequency they are being rendered by white American choirs and
congregations. Some of them, like ‘Lord, I Want to be a Christian’ and
‘Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?’ are quite singable, after
brief rehearsals, by the ordinary church group of any race or
nationality. So it would seem not too much to expect that a number of
these spirituals will ultimately find their place among the great hymns
of the Church, and be sung down through the ages by Christians of every

The ability to sing the spirituals depends upon

                      Finding the Soul of the Song

Dr. Bruce S. Wright tells of a well-known American-Italian tenor who
said that he never sang a selection until he found out the soul of the
number. For that reason he refrained from singing Negro spirituals until
he had spent considerable time in the South living among the Negroes,
listening to them sing. So today he sings “Steal Away” as he heard it
sung at a Negro revival; and he sings “Goin’ Home” as he heard it sung
at the dying bed of an aged Negro in a Negro’s cabin.

Here is a vivid description by Annemarie Ewing in _The Christian

                          How the Negroes Sing

“In the huge stadium, dropped like a bowl beneath the starlit sky,
thousands of people sit waiting to hear the Hall Johnson Choir. Overhead
the sky is indigo, dotted with twinkling stars, glorious with the cool
silver of a full moon. A tender, capricious wind breathes softly over
the semicircle of the waiting crowd.

“Now they come—a handful of Negroes, perhaps a dozen men and a half
dozen women. So small a group looks lost on the big platform. At a
signal from their leader they begin.

  ‘Wade in de water, chillun,
  God’s a’goin’ to trouble de water...’

“Challenging as the voice of a delivered soul, the strong, clear bass
gives out the words; others join in—a soprano acquiescence, a contralto
surge of content, the ecstatic agreement of the tenor. Joy throbs
through the singers’ throats, their cup of joy runneth over!

  ‘See dat band all dressed in white,
  De leader looks like the Israelite...’

“How the leader draws them out—to send their message surging across the
summer night into the hearts of thousands!

  ‘Wade in de water,
  God’s a-goin’ to trouble de water...’

“The last note swells and is still.

“In a moment they begin again. This time it is a joyous refrain, pulsing
with the firmness of blessed assurance—assurance that warms the heart
and moistens the eyes.

  ‘My God is so high you can’t get above Him,
  My God is so low you can’t get below Him,
  My God is so wide you can’t get around Him,
  You must come in through de door...’

“Your soul thrills to the swinging certainty. Yes, He is so high, you
can’t get above Him, so low you can’t get below Him; so wide you can’t
get around Him! There is no way in but through the Gate!

“The music dies away, far above the stars gleam—detached, assured,
eternal. From your eyes, quite unashamed, you brush away the tears.

“Thus do they worship our Lord!”

It was a memorable day in one man’s life when

                   Black Uncle’s Song Made a Minister

A well-known white minister in the Middle West owed his conversion and
his entrance into the ministry to an unexpected circumstance. He
belonged to a company that was playing in Louisville. After the
performance he left the theater at a late hour to take a turn around the
streets of the city. He passed through a little park and saw a bent old
Negro “uncle” sitting on a bench. As he approached the actor heard him
singing softly to himself. And the song was “Jesus, Lovah uv Mah Soul.”
The tenderness and feeling of the darky’s song and the clear tone of his
aged voice held the listener spellbound.

When the last verse was sung the youthful actor went up to the singer
and pulling out a big bill said: “Uncle, you’re an old man, and it’s
late for you to be out like this. If you have no home, this will help
you a bit. Take it and go and be comfortable for a few days, anyway.”

The Negro took off his hat and said, “Dat’s pow’ful kind uv you, boss.
Ah’s ol’, an’ Ah ain’t got no home, an’ ef hit’s jes’ de same to you
Ah’ll take jes’ a bit uv dat money—’case somehow or udder de good Lawd
he sen’s me a bit ev’y day. But Ah don’t need any mo’, ’case he allus
loks arter me, ev’y day. An’ hit don’t matter, boss, ef an ol’ man’s
ol’, an’ ain’t got no home, jes’ so’s he kin sing dat ’ere song uv mine.
Ah’d like to sing hit again to yo’, jes’ case you done gib me dis. Hit’s
a wunnerful song, boss. Hit’s called, ‘Jesus, Lovah uv Mah Soul!’”

He then sang it again softly. The actor heard him through and then
shaking hands with the Negro, to his surprise, said, “Good night, uncle.
You’ve done a good night’s work with that song—better than ever I’ve
done with my life. Because you’ve started me doing something—for I’m
going to learn to sing that song, too!”

That was the beginning of an experience which resulted in a gifted man
becoming a minister of Christ.

The characteristic gratitude of the dark race was illustrated when

              A Negro Family Sang at John Brown’s Funeral

“John Brown’s Body Rests Amid the Mountains,” wrote Mary Lee in _The New
York Times_, October, 1929, as she vividly told the story of the life of
this dramatic figure in a fascinating manner. At that time, she
affirmed, there was still living at North Elba one man who could
remember John Brown. His name was Lyman Epps, “the son of one of those
Negroes whom John Brown came to North Elba to help.” This writer adds:
“The Epps family it was who sang as a quartet at John Brown’s funeral in
1859. Lyman Epps remembers it to this day—how he stood at the foot of
the open casket singing bass, his father at the head, singing tenor, and
his two sisters, Amelia and Evelyn, singing soprano and alto, at his
side.” The hymn they sang was John Brown’s favorite:

  “Blow ye the trumpet, blow!
    The gladly solemn sound
  Let all the nations know,
    To earth’s remotest bound,
  The year of jubilee is come!
    Return, ye ransomed sinners, home.”

                              CHAPTER XIII
                    _Christmas and Easter Melodies_

These two great festivals of the Christian year fittingly celebrate the
Incarnation and Resurrection of Christ. Just as hope came with the
Saviour of the world, so hope was quickened when He won the signal
victory over death. He is indeed the unspeakable gift of God, and the
spirit of gratitude for this marvelous blessing is best celebrated in

The greatest hymns of the Church are inspired by these two events, which
have liberated the human spirit and filled it with faith, joy,
enthusiasm, loyalty. All the greatest poets, artists, musicians, were
illuminated by the Christmas and Easter messages, and excelled
themselves in setting forth the jubilant truths of redemption and
eternal life through Christ the Lord of love and light. These
productions have enriched the thought, excited the imagination and
ennobled the lives of multitudes through all the Christian centuries.
This they will continue to do to the end of time.

The fount of poetic and artistic inspiration still flows, and from time
to time there are added new contributions to swell the jubilation of
these two seasons and to spread peace and goodwill among men.

Bishop F. W. Warne recalls

             An Incarnation Hymn that Fires the Imagination

“The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ for two thousand years, on the
anniversary of the sinless Incarnation, has sung hymns of joy and
praise. Here is a part of the hymn that, when a child, fired my heart
and imagination, when I heard it sung on such anniversaries, and it
fires them still:

  ‘Mortals, awake, with angels join,
    And chant the solemn lay;
  Joy, love, and gratitude combine,
    To hail the auspicious day.

        . . .    . . .    . . .

  Hail, Prince of Life, forever hail!
    Hail, Brother, Friend!
  Though earth, and time, and life shall fail,
    The praise shall never end.’”

Carols have invariably been sung on Christmas Eve, and the following
incident from the Syracuse _Post Standard_ illustrates

                          The Joy of Christmas

All members of the family were gathered in the cozy living room of a
south side home. The lights were out, but the mellow glow from a cheery
fireplace illuminated the room with the soft light which seems to
symbolize peace and quiet. Children romped on the floor; a playful puppy
bounded here and there, yipping joyously; the old cat blinked sleepily
and purred with contentment. Father was reading the paper and mother was
perusing a magazine.

In the windows hung red bells, and through the window the snow lay white
and sparkling under the street lamps. A playful wind whipped up little
swirling flurries of snow at intervals. Suddenly it came, clear through
the night. Soft music, then a burst of song—“It Came Upon the Midnight

All within listened to the music in the night—Christmas music, carols.
Then as it came nearer all rushed to the windows and saw a band of boys
and men marching bravely by, blowing trumpets, horns—what not? The
spirit of Christmas.

Carols are also a part of the celebration on Christmas Day, and how they
cheered the patients in a hospital is described when

                           Nurses Sang Carols

The nurses enjoyed a breakfast served by candle light at 6:30 on
Christmas morning at the Faxton Hospital in Utica, New York, and then
exchanged greetings. After this, clad in their uniforms, including their
blue capes, attractively red-lined, they formed in a procession and
marched from floor to floor of the building singing the familiar
Christmas songs. Young mothers and their little babies, in the maternity
building, were not forgotten. The nurses marched from the main building
in the cold morning and sang as they walked along the sidewalk until
they reached the maternity department, where they continued their

This self-appointed task conveyed pleasure beyond the power of words to
express to the patients, some of whom were far away from loved ones. The
act was one of those beautiful touches which unites the whole Christian
world in a kindred feeling on Christmas Day.

The thoughtful hospitality of the Maier family in the village of
Oberndorf, Germany, led one of the guests, the young priest Joseph Mohr,
to write the well-known Christmas song,

                             “Silent Night”

At this party a festival play was performed in view of the approaching
Christmas. It so stirred the young priest that instead of returning home
he climbed the Totenberg, Mountain of the Dead, overlooking the village.
He stood there in quiet meditation. The silence of the night, the
blinking of the stars, the murmur of the Salzach River, all inspired
him. Quickly he returned to his parish house and late that night the
words of “Stille Nacht” were written. The next day he hastened to his
organist, Franz Gruber, and requested that he write the music for this
song. He composed the well-known tune. On Christmas Eve of 1818 the
priest and organist were ready to offer their contribution for the first
time. The organ proved to be out of commission but Gruber was ingenious.
He hurried home and brought his guitar and to its accompaniment he and
the priest sang “Stille Nacht” as a duet. It touched the congregation
deeply and after the service the two friends, with tears of joy in their
eyes, embraced on the steps of the church in gratitude for this
impressive rendition. Since that evening the song has become one of the
Christmas favorites all over the world.

Bishop Phillips Brooks was the friend of children as well as adults. His
popularity as rector of the Church of the Advent in Philadelphia was
unbounded and it continued when he went to Trinity Church, Boston. It
was during a year’s vacation that he had an experience which later
resulted in his writing the well-known hymn,

                      “O Little Town of Bethlehem”

In the course of his travels during this vacation he went to the Holy
Land. On Christmas Eve he was in Bethlehem. He walked in the fields
where the shepherds had heard the angelic chorus. He listened to the
hymns of praise that kept ringing out upon the clear air. He saw the
children of Bethlehem getting ready for Christmas. Two years later when
he was back home his mind went back to his experiences in Bethlehem. He
recalled the dark streets, the clear blue sky with stars, the quiet
shepherds’ fields; and under the spell of these memories, in 1868, he
wrote this Christmas hymn especially for the children of his Sunday
School. His organist, Lewis H. Render, wrote the music for this much
beloved song.

This graphic description by Annemarie Ewing in _The Christian Herald_
tells of

                        Carols Sung by Children

“I can’t think of any holier sound for Christmas Eve than that of young
voices, clear and sweet in the cold, singing the simple, tuneful
melodies that can’t grow old. Last year it was my pleasure and privilege
to know a small group of youngsters who wanted to go caroling Christmas
Eve. They didn’t mind the cold or the long walk or the wind and snow.
They wanted to sing!

“I can see those bobbing little heads now, all sizes and shapes—from
Rose Marie’s tall, smartly hatted elegance to Babe’s roly-poly woolen
cap, just under my arm. How eager they were, and what stories I had to
tell them to keep them quiet till we got to each place! We planned to
sing under the windows of all our special friends.

“And how we did sing! I do not know whether it was sweeter to stand
there holding my hand before Babe’s candle while her big blue eyes were
lifted up to see the book (she had to stand on her very tip-toes!), or
whether it would have been more exquisite pleasure to have been sitting
in my warm living-room, when the shrilly sweet voices of the children
began with their own enthusiasm:

  ‘Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
  Let earth receive her King!
  Let every heart prepare Him room,
  And Heav’n and Nature sing.
  And Heav’n and Nature sing,
  And Heav’n and Heav’n and Nature sing.’

“I know that there were tears in my own eyes when we reached ‘Silent
Night,’ and that from the tight closed window of old Mr. Simmons,
crotchety and bad-tempered, there fell a shower of walnuts and pecans!
In the big house across the way where a little child lay ill the windows
were softly raised, and I could not help but stoop and kiss chubby Babe,
who pulled my arm to whisper that ‘she hoped Margaret-who-was-sick

“Christmas Carols! Whether they are sung aloud or whether they buzz and
chime through your heart—it is the same. Let them ring out!”

One of the well-known celebrations is that on

                 Easter Morning in America’s Bethlehem

The Moravians celebrate Easter with impressive ceremonies in Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania. Early in the morning the trombonists walk through the
quiet streets of the city and awaken the people with their inspiring
anthem. Soon lights appear in the windows of the homes and the people
join the procession towards the old church, greeting each other with
gladsome salutations. The Easter service in the church continues till
sunrise when the congregation march out, led by the trombonists, to the
ancient burying-ground.

At this place of sacred memories the people stand in a large semicircle
looking towards the eastern hill, as a symbol of their devout faith. The
ministers and trombone choir stand apart, and the service proceeds with
song and responsive readings. The atmosphere of reverence and hope
pervades this company on the chilly morning of early spring, as they
confess their faith in the glorious resurrection and celebrate the
triumph of their loved ones in Christ. The appearance of the sun over
the hill is the signal for the outburst of a hymn of adoration and
praise, to the accompaniment of the trombones. This Easter service,
begun in the church and concluded in the cemetery, is a memorable
occasion, attended by thousands from all parts of the country, as has
been done for many years. It is a testimony to a virile and victorious
Christianity which sings, “Christ the Lord is risen today, Hallelujah!”

Here is a fine Easter anthology from a sermon by Dr. George Elliott in
_The Methodist Review_, which reminds us of what

                      Hymn Writers Tell of Heaven

“Listen to Cardinal Newman, the Roman Catholic, as in the delicately
beautiful poem, ‘Lead, Kindly Light,’ he dreams and speaks about the
time when:

  ‘The night is gone
  And in the morn those angel faces smile
  Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.’

“And then Isaac Watts, the Nonconformist, has no gloomy view when he

  ‘Give me the wings of faith to rise
    Within the veil and see
  The saints above, how great their joys,
    How bright their glories be.’

“And John Fawcett, the Baptist, who has written the very finest hymn of
Christian fellowship, ‘Blest Be the Tie That Binds,’ sings for us:

  ‘When we asunder part,
    It gives us inward pain;
  But we shall still be joined in heart,
    And hope to meet again.

  From sorrow, toil and pain,
    And sin we shall be free;
  And perfect love and friendship reign
    Through all eternity.’

“And Muhlenberg, the Episcopalian, joins in the chorus that the
poet-choir are singing, and lifts his gaze to that heavenly country, and
exultantly sings:

  ‘Where the saints of all ages in harmony meet,
  Their Saviour and brethren transported to greet;
  While the anthems of rapture unceasingly roll,
  And the smile of the Lord is the feast of the soul.’

“And Bonar, the Presbyterian, will not be left behind as he sings of the

  ‘Where none shall beckon us away,
    Nor bid our festival be done;
  Our meeting time the eternal day,
    Our meeting place the eternal throne.

  Then, hand in hand, firm linked at last,
    And heart to heart enfolded all,
  We’ll smile upon the troubled past
    And wonder why we wept at all.’

“And best of all, Charles Wesley, who doubtless has been appointed to
lead the choirs of heaven when the angel chorister is tired, sings for
us, and with us:

  ‘Come, let us join our friends above
    That have obtained the prize,
  And on the eagle wings of love
    To joys celestial rise:

        . . .    . . .    . . .

  One family we dwell in Him,
    One church, above, beneath,
  Though now divided by the stream,
    The narrow stream, of death:
  One army of the living God,
    To His command we bow;
  Part of His host have crossed the flood,
    And part are crossing now.

        . . .    . . .    . . .

  O that we now might grasp our Guide!
    O that the word were given!
  Come, Lord of hosts, the waves divide,
    And land us all in heaven!’”

It was a great open-air service when we were favored with

                 Salvation Army Music on Easter Morning

Brooklyn’s Easter Dawn Service in 1930 found ten thousand people
assembled at Prospect Park Plaza for a community gathering under the
auspices of the Brooklyn Federation of Churches. The first in the order
of worship was a selection by the Salvation Army Band.

  “Low in the grave He lay—
  Jesus, my Saviour!
  Waiting the coming day—
  Jesus, my Lord!

  Up from the grave He arose,
  With a mighty triumph o’er His foes;
  He arose a victor from the dark domain,
  And He lives forever with His saints to reign:
  He arose! He arose!
  Hallelujah! Christ arose!”

It was so appealingly appropriate that every listener seemed to be
touched, and men quietly lifted their hats even though the morning was

The band led the various hymns, the closing one of which was—

  “All hail the power of Jesus’ name!
    Let angels prostrate fall;
  Bring forth the royal diadem,
    And crown Him Lord of all.”

What proved to be the climax of this exhilarating service was reached
when the Salvation Army band left the scene playing their favorite
marching song of conquest, “Onward, Christian Soldiers!”

How the good we do comes back to us is seen in a familiar hymn,

                         Sung by and for Sankey

When lying in weakness and the darkness of blindness the musical genius
of the evangelistic world, Ira D. Sankey, was visited by Dr. F. B.
Meyer, of London, a long-time friend. “Would you like me to sing
something for you?” asked Sankey as Meyer was about to leave. Then he
began: “There’ll be no dark valley when Jesus comes.”

Though weak, he continued through all four stanzas, ending with

  “There’ll be songs of greeting when Jesus comes,
  There’ll be songs of greeting when Jesus comes;
  And a joyful meeting when Jesus comes
  To gather His loved ones home.”

On an Easter morning a group of young people went to the home of Sankey
in Brooklyn, when he was in his last illness, and outside the window
amid the morning sunshine sang the hymn which he had sung to thousands
of others, and which he greatly cherished: “There’ll Be No Dark Valley
When Jesus Comes.”

The thoughtfulness of these young people was greatly appreciated by the
great evangelistic singer. It was an inspiringly appropriate message for
a sunrise song service on an Easter morning.[29]

                              CHAPTER XIV
                            _Funeral Music_

The Christian assurance of immortality brings its message of consolation
most appropriately in life’s darkest hours when death invades the family
circle. No one has pierced the veil between the present and the future
life, but there is a sense of the fitness of things which has convinced
men of divers creeds that a life beyond is a reality. It is the desire
for completion and not merely for continuance which quickens in our
breast the hope of life everlasting. It is moreover certified to us by
the fact of the living Christ through whom we commune with God. This
experience convinces us that our earthly pilgrimage is the prelude to
the heavenly life of spiritual attainment and satisfaction.

Thus when the physical remains of our loved ones are consigned to the
earth, we have the assured confidence of a reunion in the land that is
fairer than day. Since Jesus Christ has brought life and immortality to
light through the Gospel, we know that death does not sever the ties
which bind us to those who have crossed the flood. We shall meet again
when the day dawns and these shadows flee away. This is the outlook of
faith which comforts and cheers us.

  “For what e’er befalls, Love conquers all,
  And Death shall not prevail.”

The thought deepest in the soul often finds expression at a crisis. This
fact is what led to the

             Hymn of Martyred President Sung by the Nation

“Good-bye, good-bye, all,” said President William McKinley as he lay
dying in Buffalo, a few days after he was shot on September 6, 1901. “It
is God’s way. His will, not ours, be done,” he added soon afterwards.
Toward the end in the presence of his wife and intimate friends, his
lips moved again and with a light on his worn face, his inner soul
expressed itself in the lines of his favorite hymn:

  “Nearer, my God, to Thee,
    Nearer to Thee!
  E’en though it be a cross—”

A moment of silence followed and then in a whisper he said, “That has
been my inextinguishable prayer.”

The funeral services at the Capitol began with “Lead, Kindly Light,”
sung by the choir, and concluded with “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” The
final service was held in the First Methodist Episcopal Church, Canton,
Ohio, of which he was a member.

During those days of sadness the nation sang this familiar hymn which
profoundly moved the popular heart. Possibly in all the history of the
United States, the nation has never so unitedly joined in singing a
particular hymn as during those days. It was a national tribute to a
fallen leader.

In the City of Utica, New York, the home of Vice-President James S.
Sherman, as soon as word was received of his death, October 30, 1912,
the leader of the orchestra in the chief hotel asked the company in the
dining room to stand, while “Nearer, My God, to Thee” was played. Thus
the song which was sung for a fallen President was likewise rendered in
his home town when a Vice-President passed thence.

It is a hallowed custom to sing a person’s favorite hymn at his funeral.
Thus it was that there was sung at his funeral,

                    President Wilson’s Favorite Hymn

Visitors at the Chautauqua Assembly, especially in the days of its
founder, Bishop J. H. Vincent, can never forget the Sunday evening
vesper services. One hymn in particular was always sung: “Day is Dying
in the West,” written by Mary A. Lathbury, at Bishop Vincent’s request.

This happened to be President Wilson’s favorite hymn. His remains were
carried to Bethlehem Chapel on the cathedral grounds in Washington, D.
C. Over the outer door of this chapel the inscription in the stone work
is “The Way of Peace.” During the service the men’s voices of the choir
led by a clear tenor gave the favorite hymn an infinitely sweet appeal,
especially the lines:

  “Gather us who seek Thy face
  To the fold of Thy embrace,
      For Thou art nigh.”

It has been well said that some tunes and hymns are so closely united
that one recalls the other. Thus it was that

                Bells Played Hymns When Taft Was Buried

The service was held in the quaint little Unitarian Church in
Washington, D. C. Floral wreaths and sprays abounded, representing the
deep affection and high respect for a former President of the United
States and later the Chief Justice. The dirge notes of Chopin’s Funeral
March, a flourish of trumpets saluting a President, and the tolling of
the great bell of All Souls’ Church, as has been the practice since 1822
at the passing of Presidents, constituted parts of this impressive
service. No hymns were sung but there was the soft music of the bells
which pealed forth the strains of “Abide With Me.” The words were not
spoken but the familiar verses ran through the minds of the

  “Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide,
  The darkness deepens—Lord, with me abide!
  When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
  Help of the helpless, O, abide with me.”

Few hymns have had so many remarkable associations as, “Peace, Perfect
Peace,” written by Bishop Edward H. Bickersteth. It has brought comfort
to many and on one occasion, as stated below, the author himself was

                       Comforted by His Own Hymn

An informed contributor to _The Churchman_ writes as follows of this
hymn’s vogue: “It has been sung at the obsequies of princes and
statesmen as well as at the funerals of the poor. It has afforded
consolation to the mourner in the palace as well as to the
grief-stricken peasant in the cottage. It was a favorite hymn with the
good old Queen of England, and it was sung in her death chamber at
Osborne. It has sustained the lonely soul of Bishop Hannington when he
was a caged prisoner in Central Africa awaiting execution from the hand
of a heathen king. They were the sweet stanzas that bound up the broken
heart of General Roberts when his only son was placed in a soldier’s
grave in South Africa. It has been sung at the interment of authors,
actors and statesmen in Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s. When in the
cemetery of the village of Chislebon, Wiltshire, England, the early
harvest was being gathered and shepherds were folding their flocks, the
venerable prelate stood at the head of his eldest son’s open grave as
this hymn, so often quoted in the hour of death and sung on the day of
burial, struck a note of Christian hope to the bereaved spirit of its
author. On this side of the Atlantic the hymn is sung at almost every
funeral service conducted in church, and Mr. Coldbeck’s appropriate
tune, ‘Pax Tecum,’ is singularly adapted to its soothing and inspiring

“A good hymn is the most difficult thing to write,” said Alfred, Lord
Tennyson. It was not until his eighty-first year that he succeeded in
writing his single great hymn, “Crossing the Bar,” although stanzas from
his _In Memoriam_ are sung as hymns. It was, therefore, most fitting
that its first public use was as an anthem at the poet’s funeral in
Westminster Abbey on October 12, 1892. The description of the scene,
written by the daughter of the Dean of Westminster, is here quoted in
part of the singing of

                     Tennyson’s Hymn at His Funeral

“In the intense and solemn silence which followed the reading of the
lesson were heard the voices of the choir singing in subdued and tender
tones Tennyson’s ‘Crossing the Bar’—those beautiful words in which the
poet, as it were, prophetically foretold his calm and peaceful deathbed.
In the second line the clear, thrilling notes of a boy’s voice sounded
like a silver trumpet call amongst the arches, and it was only at
intervals that one distinguished Dr. Bridge’s beautiful organ
accompaniment, which swelled gradually from a subdued murmur as of the
morning tide into a triumphant burst from the voices, so blended
together were words and music.”

One of the best hymns of fervent devotion is

  “Take my life, and let it be
    Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.”

Illness and suffering had been the lot of its author. She worked under
difficulties and might well have said with the Apostle Paul, “Most
gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power
of Christ may rest upon me.” Her characteristic confidence was, however,
expressed in the

            Text Selected by Miss Havergal for Her Tombstone

Her last days found her at Caswell Bay, Swansea, Wales, where she had
gone for a rest. When informed that she was approaching the end of her
sufferings, she is said to have answered, “If I am going, it is too good
to be true.” Death came on June 3, 1879, in the forty-third year of her
age; and she was laid to rest in the Astley churchyard beside her
father, and close to the church and home of her childhood. By her own
desire her favorite text was carved on her tombstone: “The Blood of
Jesus Christ His Son Cleanseth Us From All Sin.”

It was an unusual scene, according to _The Standard_, that comforted the
bereaved mother as well as the few persons present

                  When Parepa Sang at Annie’s Funeral

This famous singer, through a friend, attended the funeral of Annie, the
only daughter of a poor widowed mother, in the East End of London. This
friend’s description is worth quoting:

“The undertaker came and bustled about. He looked at myself and Parepa,
as if to say, ‘It’s time to go. The wretched funeral service is over.’

“Without a word, Parepa rose and walked to the head of the coffin. She
laid her white scarf on an empty chair, threw her cloak back from her
shoulders, where it fell in long, soft, black lines from her noble
figure like the drapery of mourning. She laid her soft, fair hand on the
cold forehead, passed it tenderly over the wasted, delicate face, looked
down at the dead girl a moment, and moved my flowers from the stained
box to the thin fingers, then lifted up her head, and, with illumined
eyes, sang the glorious melody:

  “‘Angels ever bright and fair,
  Take, oh, take me to thy care.’

“Her magnificent voice rose and fell in all its richness and power and
pity and beauty. She looked above the dingy room and the tired faces of
the men and women, the hard hands and the struggling hearts. She threw
back her head and sang till the choirs of paradise must have paused to
listen to the music of that day. She passed her hand caressingly over
the girl’s soft, dark hair, sang on and on; ‘Take, oh, _take her_ to Thy

“The mother’s face grew rapt and white. I held her hands and watched her
eyes. Suddenly she threw my hands off and knelt at Parepa’s feet, close
to the wooden trestles. She locked her fingers together, tears and sobs
breaking forth. She prayed aloud that God would bless the angel singing
for Annie. A patient smile settled about her lips, and the light came
back into her poor, dulled eyes, and she kissed her daughter’s face with
a love beyond all interpretation of human speech. I led her back to her
seat as the last glorious notes of Parepa’s voice rose triumphant over
all earthly pain and sorrow.

“And I thought that no queen ever went to her grave with a greater
ceremony than this young daughter of poverty and toil, committed to the
care of angels.”

An unusual funeral service was held when, instead of the family sitting
in silence,

                 Each Member of the Family Sang a Verse

The description must be quoted in full as it appeared in _The Christian

“When I was in Rome a friend came to me asking if I would be a
pallbearer at the funeral of a young American girl. Her family wished
only Americans present at the little service. I went to the room where
the casket stood and presently the family entered—a noble lady,
evidently the mother, a daughter and two sons, the eldest leading a
little girl. They surrounded the casket and softly repeated the
Apostles’ Creed. Then the mother’s voice, uncertain and trembling,

  “‘Shall we gather at the river
    Where bright angel feet have trod,
  With its crystal tide forever
    Flowing by the throne of God?’

“All joined her in the chorus. Then the eldest son, a grown man, sang:

  ‘On the margin of the river,
    Washing up its silver spray,
  We will walk and worship ever,
    All the happy golden day.’

“After the chorus there was silence—a choking silence that benumbed me.
Then my friend whispered, ‘It is their family prayer service and it is
her verse.’ Then the little girl was lifted in her father’s arms, and
sweet and clear and wonderingly came:

  ‘Ere we reach the shining river
    Lay we every burden down,
  Grace our spirits will deliver
    And provide a robe and crown.’

“I do not know how I endured it, the emotion of that moment. In a broken
manner they sobbed through the chorus and then the younger brother, a
lad of fourteen, sang:

  ‘At the smiling of the river,
    Mirror of the Saviour’s face
  Saints whom death will never sever
    Lift their songs of saving grace.’

“His voice was so confident that it steadied all present and the chorus
rang out clearly. Then all together they sang:

  ‘Soon we’ll reach the silver river,
    Soon our pilgrimage will cease,
  Soon our happy hearts will quiver
    With the melody of peace.’

“And the chorus was strong, clear and almost exultant. After repeating
the Lord’s Prayer, the minister read the service and we went to the
grave. On the way my friend told me of the many times he had been
present at this same little family service in the Michigan home when
each sang his verse in the old hymn. ‘The last verse was father’s, and
after his death they all sang it for him, and now the little
granddaughter had picked up the broken thread of song for her sweet
young auntie.’

‘What a wonderful glorification of a poor little hymn!’

“‘Truly so,’ he agreed. ‘I never before had much respect for that

The faith and loyalty of a noble Christian were remembered when his

        Played Her Father’s Favorite Hymn at a Memorial Service

This service conducted by the North Dakota Conference of the Methodist
Episcopal Church for Judge Charles S. Pollock was impressively
beautiful. Held for a layman, it yet followed the ordination of young
men for the ministry. Judge Pollock, a faithful follower of Jesus Christ
and a courageous advocate of civic righteousness, had dutifully carried
heavy responsibilities at the session of the General Conference in May,
1928, and not long thereafter was summoned into the courts of heaven. On
that autumn day at this service the judge’s daughter played on the organ
her father’s favorite hymn:

  “O Master, let me walk with Thee
  In lowly paths of service free;
  Tell me Thy secret; help me bear
  The strain of toil, the fret of care.

        . . .    . . .    . . .

  In hope that sends a shining ray
  Far down the future’s broadening way;
  In peace that only Thou canst give,
  With Thee, O Master, let me live.”

The assurance of reunion was well advertised by

                     Songs at a Missionary’s Grave

The great missionary, James Gilmour, of Mongolia, lost his beloved wife
at Peking. In a letter to his children’s uncle in Scotland, to whom Mr.
Gilmour had decided to entrust the two boys after their mother’s death,
he wrote: “Oh, it is hard to think of them going off over the world in
that motherless fashion! We were at mamma’s grave yesterday for the
first time since September 21. We sang ‘There’s a Land That Is Fairer
Than Day,’ in Chinese, and also a Chinese hymn we have here with a
chorus, which says, ‘We’ll soon go and see them in our heavenly home,’
and in English, ‘There is a happy land.’ The children and I have no
reluctance in speaking of mamma, and we don’t think of her as here or
buried, but as in a fine place, happy and well.”

As the Rev. Mark Guy Pearse approached the end of his great career as
minister and author he said to a brother minister concerning his funeral
service: “There must be no mourning, no tears, no misery, no gloom. I go
not into the gloom but into the dawn. Start the service with ‘Praise
God.’ Take all the stops out of the organ and let everybody thunder it
out.” Thus it was that there were sung the

         Hallelujah Chorus and Doxology at the Funeral Service

His wishes were met, and the memorial service at Kingsway Hall, the
headquarters of the West London Mission, was unusual. The organist
played “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth” as the people assembled. Then
came, “Praise God, From Whom All Blessings Flow.” The triumphant
“Hallelujah Chorus” pealed forth at the close.

The hymns were:

  “Come let us join our cheerful songs
    With angels around the throne.”

  “Nearer, my God, to Thee,
    Nearer to Thee.”

  “For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
  Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
  Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
      Hallelujah, Hallelujah!”

  “Jerusalem the golden,
      With milk and honey blest.”

The last lines of the fourth hymn were a powerful wish which the saint
had realized:

  “Jesus, in mercy bring us
    To that dear land of rest;
  Who art, with God the Father,
    And Spirit, ever blest.”

                               CHAPTER XV
                     _Hymns on Patriotic Occasions_

The impelling motives of patriotism are best expressed in the national
anthems of the nations and in songs which breathe the spirit of loyalty
to country. Devotion to the ideals and institutions of the land of one’s
birth or adoption is the indispensable qualification for the intelligent
appreciation of what other peoples hold sacred among their national
possessions. Such patriotism is neither of the hoot owl or spread eagle
type. It faces all the facts without evasion and frankly acknowledges
errors and omissions, with the determination to improve conditions. The
patriot thus has no occasion to apologize or defend because he shows
reason for his faith in the nation to which he has consecrated his best

The greatness of any nation is evidenced in the quality of its
citizenship. So judged, we have cause for gratitude because the hymns
which voice our sentiment impressively advertise the idealism which has
inspired our activities. The same test can be satisfactorily met by
other nations. It is, therefore, quite fitting that reference should be
made to their use of hymns on those special occasions when the heart is
stirred with gratitude and thanksgiving.

Indeed, the incidents related in this volume are taken from the annals
of different nations. The chief interest is their testimony from
experience to what hymns have meant to them in the varied crises of
life. Such a consideration disregards racial barriers and denominational
differences. Hymns speak the universal language of the heart, which
penetrates deeper and travels farther than the formalities of customs
peculiar to various peoples.

In these days of international appreciation and co-operation it is well
to remind ourselves that the higher unity of all peoples is practicable
only through Jesus Christ. There is truly no stronger reminder than
hymns of the unity of faith, the stability of hope, the harmony of love.

  “For all are one in Thee
  And all are Thine.”

Since it was first published on July 4, 1895, in _The
Congregationalist_,[30] multitudes of people have sung

                         America, the Beautiful

One hundred thousand persons, it has been estimated, each day sing the
patriotic poem of Miss Katherine Lee Bates, who was a teacher of English
literature in Wellesley College. Some schools make it a practice to have
the children sing it daily. At the commencement of Syracuse University
in 1930, a strange thrill swept the company of over one thousand young
men and women who were assembled to receive their degrees, and the four
thousand persons who were present to witness the graduation exercises,
as they sang this hymn. Mighty was the volume of song as the words were

  “America! America!
    God shed His grace on thee,
  And crown thy good with brotherhood
    From sea to shining sea.”

The source of the inspiration of this poem was related by Beatrice York
Houghton. In an interview Miss Bates said that she and some friends had
gone up Pike’s Peak and the vision from that great height exalted her
soul into poetic fervor. The wide reaches of country—her country—the
dizzy height which set her above it all, gave her a god-like
inspiration, and the lines which came into her mind were remembered,
afterwards to be set down.

The origin of a nation’s life was strikingly evidenced in

                            A Praise Service

St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, is “the Parish Church of the British
Empire.” When the repairs were completed after seventeen years in 1930,
a memorable thanksgiving service was held under the renovated dome which
was Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece. This famous architect was the
son of a clergyman and such was his consuming devotion to his work that
he could have said with Michael Angelo: “It is enough to have bread and
to live in the faith of Christ.”

The Thanksgiving service was attended by one hundred and sixty bishops
of the Anglican Church, assembled from all parts of the Empire. It was
broadcast to New York, Melbourne, Calcutta, Toronto and other cities.
Dean Inge, of St. Paul’s, standing on the chancel steps, exhorted
everyone to “give praise to God that he hath called us to take part in
the joy and adventure of his glorious Kingdom.” The feelings of the
occasion were voiced by seven thousand people through Henry Lyte’s hymn:

  “Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven!
  To His feet thy tribute bring;
  Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
  Who, like me, His Praise should sing?
  Praise Him! praise Him! praise Him! praise Him!
  Praise the Everlasting King!”

In _The War Romance of the Salvation Army_, by Hill and Booth,[31] there
is a reference to what was

                     Sung on Memorial Day in France

“The girls went down to decorate the two hundred American graves at
Mandres, and even while they bent over the flaming blossoms and laid
them on the mounds, an air battle was going on over their heads. Close
at hand was the American artillery being moved to the front on a little
narrow-gauge railroad that ran near to the graveyard, and the Germans
were firing and trying to get them. But the girls went steadily on with
their work, scattering flowers and setting flags until their service of
love was over. Then they stood aside for the prayer and a song. One of
the Salvation Army captains with a fine voice began to sing:

  ‘For loved ones in the Homeland
    Are waiting me to come
  Where neither death nor sorrow
    Invades their holy home:
  O dear, dear native country!
    O rest and peace above!
  Christ, bring us all to the Homeland
    Of His eternal love.’

“Into the midst of the song came the engine on the little narrow track
straight toward where he stood, and he had to step aside on to a pile of
dirt to finish his song. The same captain went on ahead to the Homeland
not long after when the epidemic of influenza swept over the world; and
he was given the honor of a military funeral.”

Edward Marshall had an article in _Scribner’s Magazine_ in 1898 which is
here abbreviated, about the unique conditions under which the boys sang

                       “America” After the Battle

“There is one incident of the day which shines out in my memory above
all others now as I lie in a New York hospital writing. It occurred at
the field hospital. About a dozen of us were lying there. The surgeons,
with hands and bared arms dripping, and clothes literally saturated with
blood, were straining every nerve to prepare the wounded for the journey
down to Siboney. It was a doleful group. Amputation and death stared its
members in their gloomy faces. Suddenly a voice started softly,

  ‘My country, ’tis of thee,
  Sweet land of liberty,
    Of thee I sing.’

“Other voices took it up:

  ‘Land where my fathers died,
  Land of the pilgrims’ pride—’

“The quivering, quavering chorus, punctuated by groans and made
spasmodic by pain, trembled up from that little group of wounded
Americans in the midst of the Cuban solitude—the pluckiest, most
heartfelt song that human beings ever sang. There was one voice that did
not quite keep up with the others. It was so weak that I did not hear it
until all the rest had finished with the line, ‘Let freedom ring.’ Then
halting, struggling, faint, it repeated slowly:


“The last word was a woeful cry. One more son had died as died the

Under different circumstances but in the same spirit of loyalty the tune
of “America” was played in France as “our boys” promptly obeyed the

                           “Salute America!”

Exercises were held on Memorial Day at Menil-la-Tour when the World War
was raging in France. Two regimental bands took up their positions in
opposite corners of the cemetery. The commanding general placed a flag
on each of the eighty-one graves. He and the soldiers then saluted the
large flag, while battle was still being waged about a mile away.

The general then faced the west, and pointed in that direction as he
addressed the soldiers. He said: “Out there are Washington and the
President, and all the people of the United States, who are looking to
you.... Over there are the mothers who bade you good-bye with tears and
sent you forth, and are waiting at home and praying for you, trusting in
you. Out there are the fathers and the sisters and the sweethearts you
have left behind, all depending on you to do your best. Now,” said he in
a clear ringing voice, “turn and salute America!” All turned and saluted
toward the west, while the flags fluttered on the breeze and the band
played softly,

  “My country, ’tis of thee,
  Sweet land of liberty,
    Of thee I sing:
  Land where my fathers died,
  Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
  From every mountain side
    Let freedom ring.”

A distinction with a difference was clearly evidenced when Britishers
sang a German’s hymn,

                       “Now Thank We All Our God”

I quote from _The Christian Advocate_:

“At the dedication of the British War memorial at the Menin Gate of
Ypres, where its arch spans the main street, three great hymns were
sung: ‘O God, Our Help in Ages Past,’ by Isaac Watts; ‘For All the
Saints Who From Their Labors Rest,’ by Bishop How, and ‘Now Thank We All
Our God,’ which is a translation by Catherine Winkworth from the German
of Martin Rinkart! Time heals wounds. Who would have believed it, had he
been told soon after the Armistice that this hymn—noble and beautiful as
it is—would be selected and sung by British soldiers at the dedication
of a monument erected to the memory of those who fell in a war against
Germans? Yet no one raised a word of protest or remarked upon any
incongruity, for the instincts of the human heart are deeper than the
traditional and conventional differences which separate nations.”

_The New York Times_ for August 18, 1929, had an article, “Georgia Lower
House Opens Day with Song.”[32] It is interesting to note this reference

                         A Singing Legislature

“The Rev. W. D. Hammack, ‘Uncle Billie,’ has been the chaplain of the
Lower House for several years. He is a great believer in the power of
song. He likes to ‘raise a tune,’ and he doesn’t care whether the
Governor of Georgia and the Legislature are at loggerheads or at peace;
he thinks a legislator should be made to sing whether he can sing or
not. So every morning for ten minutes he lines up the early arrivals
just before the House opens for the day and starts on some of the
old-time religious vocal numbers.

“Richard Russell Jr., Speaker of the House, gives Mr. Hammack carte
blanche to lead his flock of lawmakers just as far in the harmony line
as he can, and ‘Uncle Billie’ has made good. He pitches the tune every
morning and the House sings. Sometimes it is ‘Jesus, Lover of My Soul’
and the next morning it is ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee.’ Another favorite
is ‘All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.’ Once or twice they have tackled
‘Gimme the Old-Time Religion’ with much success.

“Many years ago a philosopher said, ‘Let me but write the songs of a
nation and I care not who makes its laws.’ And the Rev. Mr. Hammack,
although he had written none of them, has done a lot with his songs
during the dog days of the legislative session. Georgia has probably the
only singing legislature in captivity.”

No better song could have expressed the feelings of our nation, and so
it was that we sang

                     The Doxology on Armistice Day

New York City, in common with other parts of the United States, was wild
with excitement on Armistice Day, 1918. The fighting was over, and men,
women and children gave expression to their happiness in various ways.
City, village and hamlet alike had some kind of wild demonstration.
Seeing the excited crowd, a young woman, an officer of the Salvation
Army, as reported in the newspapers at that time, stood on the steps of
the great Public Library in New York and began to sing the old Doxology.
Instantly the crowd took up the strain, and in a moment, as though by
magic, thousands of voices blended in the noble words of thanksgiving:

  “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
  Praise Him all creatures here below;
  Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
  Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

Men reverently removed their hats, and the eyes of women filled with
tears. The words of Thomas Ken that day expressed the gratitude of a
great multitude. Among the many things done through that entire day,
perhaps there was none more appropriate or beautiful than that which the
Salvation Army lassie did.

And with this reference to the Doxology we conclude our story of the
influence of hymns in the experience of “all peoples that on earth do


[1]Published by the J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia.

[2]Published by The Dial Press, New York.

[3]Tate and Brady.

[4]Published by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

[5]Used by permission of John A. Davis.

[6]Published by the Methodist Book Concern, New York. Used by

[7]Used by permission of the author.

[8]Published by The Century Company, New York. Used by permission.

[9]Used by permission of The Methodist Book Concern, New York.

[10]Published by J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, Pa. Used by

[11]Used by permission of The Rodeheaver Company, Chicago.

[12]Published by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. Used by permission.

[13]From _The Ladies’ Home Journal_, Philadelphia.

[14]Used by permission of J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia.

[15]Used by permission of Hope Publishing Company, Chicago.

[16]From _My Life and the Story of the Gospel Hymns_, by Ira D. Sankey.
    Published by Harper & Brothers, New York.

[17]By Mrs. Frank A. Breck. Used by permission of Grant Colfax Tullar,
    New York.

[18]Used by permission of John A. Davis.

[19]Published by Fleming H. Revell Company, New York. Used by

[20]Used by permission of The Hope Publishing Company, Chicago.

[21]From _All’s Well_, published by Doubleday, Doran and Company, New
    York. Used by permission.

[22]From _The Christian Herald_, New York.

[23]Used by permission of The Fleming H. Revell Company, New York.

[24]This incident is found in _Hall Young of Alaska_, published by The
    Fleming H. Revell Company, New York.

[25]With permission of J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia.

[26]Published by The Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, New York. Used by

[27]Published by Washburn and Thomas, Cambridge, Mass.

[28]Published in pamphlet form by The Commission on Courses of Study of
    the Methodist Episcopal Church, New York.

[29]For further stories of the use of this hymn, which was one of Mr.
    Sankey’s favorites, see _My Life and the Story of the Gospel Hymns_,
    by Ira D. Sankey.


[31]With permission of J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia.

[32]Printed with permission.

                             INDEX OF HYMNS

  A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, 38
  Abide With Me, 18, 21, 58, 66, 136, 164, 192
  Alas, and Did My Saviour Bleed, 130
  All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name, 186, 214
  All People That on Earth Do Dwell, 137
  Almighty Lord, with One Accord, 150
  Angels Ever Bright and Fair, 196
  Art Thou Weary, Art Thou Languid?, 133
  At Even, Ere the Sun Was Set, 157

  Be Not Dismayed Whate’er Betide, 19, 41, 46, 108
  Beloved, Now Are We the Sons of God, 76
  Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine, 92
  Blest Be the Tie That Binds, 54, 183
  Blow Ye the Trumpet, Blow, 172

  Can the Lord Depend on You?, 145
  Christ the Lord Is Risen Today, 182
  Come, Every Soul by Sin Oppressed, 55
  Come, Let Us Join Our Cheerful Songs, 203
  Come, Let Us Join Our Friends Above, 184
  Come On, My Partners in Distress, 85
  Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, 76, 108
  Come, Ye That Love the Lord, 69, 108

  Dare to be a Daniel, 141
  Day by Day the Manna Fell, 74
  Day Is Dying in the West, 191
  Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, 155

  Eternal Father, Strong to Save, 10, 35

  Face to Face with Christ My Saviour, 99, 106
  Faith of Our Fathers, 150
  For All the Saints, 203, 212

  Give Me the Wings of Faith to Rise, 182
  Gimme the Old Time Religion, 214
  Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken, 150
  Glory to Thee, My God, This Night, 144
  God Be With You Till We Meet Again, 92
  Goin’ Home, 167
  Great God of Nations, Now to Thee, 149
  Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah, 77, 84

  Hark, Hark, My Soul, 51
  Have You Had a Kindness Shown?, 111
  He Leadeth Me, 36, 142
  Holy Father, in Thy Mercy, 100
  Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, 136, 159
  How Bright These Glorious Spirits Shine, 87
  How Firm a Foundation, 60, 89

  I Am So Glad That Our Father in Heaven, 140
  I Grieved My Lord From Day to Day, 59
  I Know That My Redeemer Liveth, 202
  I Need Thee Every Hour, 48, 73
  I Think When I Read That Sweet Story of Old, 140
  I to the Hills Will Lift Mine Eyes, 93
  I Will Sing the Wondrous Story, 17
  I Would Not Live Alway, 183
  If on a Quiet Sea, 8
  I’ll Praise My Maker, 6
  I’m Not Ashamed to Own My Lord, 133
  I’m the Child of a King, 107
  In Heavenly Love Abiding, 60
  In the Warfare That Is Raging, 145
  It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, 175
  It May Not Be on the Mountain’s Height, 71
  I’ve Reached the Land of Corn and Wine, 22

  Jerusalem the Golden, 203
  Jesus Is Tenderly Calling, 100
  Jesus, Lover of My Soul, 5, 11, 49, 53, 75, 82, 109, 136, 170, 214
  Jesus Shall Reign, 5
  Jesus, the Calm That Fills My Breast, 45
  Jesus, the First and Last, 47
  Joy to the World, 180
  Just As I Am, 120, 137

  Last Night I Lay A-sleeping, 101
  Lead, Kindly Light, 40, 137, 139, 156, 182, 190
  Leader of Faithful Souls, 56
  Lord, I Want to Be a Christian, 166
  Lord of All Being, Throned Afar, 3
  Low in the Grave He Lay, 185

  Mortals, Awake, with Angels Join, 174
  My Country, ’Tis of Thee, 210, 212
  My Faith Looks Up to Thee, 134, 154
  My Father Is Rich, 107
  My God, My Father, While I Stray, 34
  My Gracious God, I Own Thy Right, 145
  My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less, 135
  My Jesus, I Love Thee, 117

  Nearer, My God, to Thee, 30, 54, 60, 136, 189, 190, 203, 214
  Now Thank We All Our God, 212
  Now the Day Is Over, 148, 159

  O Beautiful for Spacious Skies, 206
  O Day of Rest and Gladness, 14
  O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing, 143
  O God of Bethel, 138
  O God, Our Help in Ages Past, 36, 151, 212
  O Joyful Sound of Gospel Grace, 5
  O Little Town of Bethlehem, 178
  O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go, 42, 49, 137
  O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee, 152, 201
  O Thou in Whose Presence, 62
  O Thou Who Camest from Above, 25
  On a Hill Far Away, 129
  One More Day’s Work for Jesus, 70
  One Sweetly Solemn Thought, 124
  Onward, Christian Soldiers, 25, 186

  Pardon the Debt and Make Me Free, 98
  Peace, Perfect Peace, 63, 192
  Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow, 202, 214
  Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven, 15, 208

  Rejoice for a Brother Deceased, 57
  Remember Now Thy Creator, 12
  Rescue the Perishing, 115
  Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me, 58, 132, 136

  See That Band All Dressed in White, 168
  Shall We Gather at the River?, 137, 198
  Silent Night, 177, 180
  Sowing the Seed by the Daylight Fair, 114
  Stand Up, Stand Up, for Jesus, 104
  Steal Away, 167
  Still, Still with Thee, 162
  Sun of My Soul, 9
  Sunset and Evening Star, 194
  Sweet Hour of Prayer, 136

  Take My Life, and Let It Be, 24, 195
  Take the Name of Jesus with You, 50
  The Homeland, 209
  The Light of the World Is Jesus, 16
  The Lord Our God Alone Is Strong, 150
  The Son of God Goes Forth to War, 105
  There Is a Happy Land, 202
  There Is a Land of Pure Delight, 4, 10, 68, 84
  There Were Ninety and Nine, 122
  There’ll Be No Dark Valley, 186
  There’s a Church in the Valley by the Wildwood, 27
  There’s a Land That Is Fairer Than Day, 79, 202
  There’s Sunshine in My Soul, 88
  Thou Hidden Love of God, 3
  Thou, My Everlasting Portion, 155
  Thou, Whose Unmeasured Temple, 151
  Through All the Changing Scenes, 7
  Throw Out the Life Line, 120, 137

  Wade in De Water, 168
  Were You There?, 166
  What a Friend We Have in Jesus, 119, 160
  What Means This Eager, Anxious Throng?, 123
  When All My Labors and Trials Are O’er, 96
  When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, 64, 131, 136
  While the Days Are Going By, 60

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Retained copyright information from the printed edition: this eBook is
  public-domain in the country of publication.

—Silently corrected a few palpable typos.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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