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.

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.”

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!”

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.”

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.