You have sat in the public hall listening to the performance of a company of skilled musicians as they render the works of some of the masters of music. With sudden and abrupt beginning, or with low harmony, the musicians take up their theme; and the great audience follows them patiently through all their crescendos and diminuendoes, their sudden and fearful crashes, with blaring trumpets and rumbling drums and noisy cymbals, and their whispered cadences, almost too faint for the keenest ear to catch. Then the manner changes and we follow the composer into some delightful bypath of sweetest melody—it may be an aria that all have known and hummed to themselves, or one that invokes the memories of the long, long ago and brings back faces long since faded from view and voices that for long years have been still. Amazement, perplexity, patience, or pretended or professional attention gives place now to rapt expectation; a holy hush falls all over the house; and breasts heave deeply but quietly, and every ear and every eye is attentive as the thousands who hear feel within them the vibrations of immortal song.
What happened? what wrought the change? The orchestra had touched one of those melodies which awaken immediate response in the universal heart.
One of the interesting aftermaths of the great flood which recently inundated Pittsburgh was the revelation of the underground life and structure of a great city. Passing along the streets, one looked down into manholes, sewers, trenches, chambers, and boxes. One was amazed at the depth, the intricacy, and the extent of these catacombs of a modern city. Under normal conditions they are hidden from view, and we think little about them. Only the excavations and openings for the repair of the damage wrought by the flood revealed this subterranean world; and yet there were lodged and hidden the power lines, the gas, the electricity, the telephones, the water mains, without which the great granite buildings which raise heavenward are but cold, dark, and useless shells.
Like a great city, man has an underground life. It is not visible as the surface man is; yet the hidden man of the heart, as Peter calls him, is a real man. He is, indeed, the hidden man.
When Sir Walter Raleigh was led to the block, his executioner asked him if his head lay right. Raleigh answered, "It matters little, my friend, how the head lies, provided the heart is right." Here in the presence of God, here before him through whom are revealed the secrets of all hearts, here before the Cross of mercy and of love, what does your heart speak, how does your heart lie?
In Kansas City, during the great Gipsy Smith revival years ago, an old preacher came into the room where the Gipsy was sitting after the service. Thousands were being blessed and hundreds saved. The older minister placed his hands upon the evangelist's head and felt about it. 'I am trying to find the secret of your success,' he said.
`Too high! Too high! My friend, you are too high,' Gipsy said. 'The secret of whatever success God has given me is not up there but down here,' and he placed his hand upon his heart.
The other day I heard this man preach, this Gipsy born in a tent, won by his Gipsy father who never had a day's schooling from men, and yet who preached to multitudes for sixty years. And as he preached, again and again the tears coursed down his cheeks, and my own heart was stirred and warmed and blessed.—Dr. John R. Rice
(Exod. 36. 2; Ps. 39. 3; 2 Cor. 6. 11)
Two young officers in Bangalore, India, once invited Samuel Hebich, of the Basle Mission, to dinner. He accepted the invitation and while with them he behaved as a perfect gentleman, chatting pleasantly, and was very sociable and genial. The officers were agreeably surprised. After dinner, the officers lighted up their cigars, and one said to the guest, `Mr. Hebich, will you have a game of cards?' He agreed. Before the cards were dealt, Hebich said to them, `Shentlemen, I play cards, but I always bring my own cards:' and then pulled out ten cards. The first he showed them had a man's heart on it. `Shentlemen,' he said, `dis is trump! so are your hearts. You infite me to dinner and tink you vill have much fun mit de old man. Now, I show you your hearts. See in it de defil, and not de Lord Jesus, sits on de trone. You haf all de defil's beasts in your hearts. You haf de peacock of pride, de shakal of deceit, de snake of enfy, de rat of greed, de dog of efil desires, and de gluttony and intemperance of de dirty fulture. Yes, all lust is in your heart as big as de elephant. God's Holy Spirit cannot enter your hearts because of dose efil beasts. Drife out de defil's menagerie.'
The result of Hebich's words was seen in the conversion of the two young officers.
(Prov. 4. 23; Mark 7. 20-23)
Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne.—Frances R. Havergal
In Salzburg, Austria, an engineer says that a heartbeat detector which he has invented will help find people buried by avalanche under as much as sixty-five feet of snow. He said it would be used in mane rescue work.
How much more worthwhile is it for us to know that:
"The Lord looketh on the heart" (I Samuel 16:7).
"The Lord trieth the heart" (Jeremiah 11:20).
We, as Job, can cause the widow's heart to sing (Job 29:13).
"Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart" (Psalm 97:11).
We are able to say: "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee" (Psalm 119:11).
We can remember: "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23).
We are warned by these words:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Isaiah 17:9).
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies (Matthew 15:19).
We know that "Christ dwelleth in your hearts by faith" (Ephesians 3:17).
We are to be found "doing the will of God from the heart" (Ephesians 6:6).
We can believe that "the Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).