I remember once visiting a mission station in Egypt, and we were asked to listen to the singing of the converts. It is true they sang "tremendously," but seeing that, as a people, they had no ear for music and each seemed to sing a different discord, the effect was appalling! Yet after they had finished, the missionary came to me with shining eyes and said, "Didn't they sing beautifully!" And in spite of the tingling in my ears I said, "Yes, they sang beautifully!" You see, that missionary had given her life for those precious converts. And up in Heaven is One who gave his life for me and for you, and so He delights in our singing, however unmusical and quavering.—Dr. Northcote Deck.
Whether the world be bright or dark
Depends on how we take it.
Much of the misery we know
Is just because we make it.
If on the windows of the soul
We let self's cobwebs gather,
We may be sure all through our lives
We'll see much cloudy weather.
A cheerful heart and willing hands
To do kind deeds for others
Will make the people whom we meet
All seem like friends and brothers.
Just try it, you who think the world
By joy and hope forsaken,
And I am sure that you will find
That you have been mistaken.—Selected.
In a log church in the hills of West Virginia, I have heard the singing of a congregation of men and women, poorly clad, overworked, and perhaps undernourished. Tears flowed and shouts interfered with the singing as they sang such songs as: "Oh, happy day, that fixed my choice on Thee my Saviour and my God." They had a preacher but once a month, and it seemed that God loaned them enough Heaven to fill them to overflowing. I rejoiced with them and thanked God that people who had no paper on their walls or carpet on their floors could have ninety minutes of ecstasy once a month, which is far more than some churchgoers have in a lifetime.—B. H. Shadduck, in The Sunday School Times.
A friend of mine was recently summoned to the bedside of his aged mother. More than eighty years of age, she was stricken with what they feared would prove her fatal illness. While her children were gathered in the room her pastor came; and as he was about to lead them in prayer, he turned to the aged saint and asked her what selection of Scripture he should read. She said: "Make your own selection, but let it be of praise." The weakness of old age was on her, and the pain of sickness, but there was no gloom. It was light at eventide. "Let it be of praise."—James I. Vance, in Earnest Worker.
It takes more than food and clothes to put joy in the heart and a smile upon the face. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the great face-changer of the ages.
Marcus Dodds, the famous globe trotter, once said as nearly as we can quote from memory:
"I have been in every land on which the sun shines and never have I anywhere seen a single happy hopeful face among women where the Gospel of Jesus Christ has not been preached."—The Brethren Missionary Herald.
Principal Rainy, of whom a child once remarked that she believed he went to Heaven every night because he was so happy every day, once used a fine metaphor about a Christian's joy. "Joy," he said, "is the flag which is flown from the castle of the heart when the King is in residence there."—British Weekly.
In one of his best-known poems Browning tells the story of a young girl who had a single holiday in the year from her work in the silk mills of Asolo. On that day she went singing through the town in sheer gladness of heart. Four times over, we are told, her words and music were carried through open doors and windows to souls that were in need of them. They moved to repentance two people who had been living in sin. They made an artist ashamed of his anger; they acted as a check on an anarchist who was determined to assassinate the king. Yet, in the end, Pippa wondered if she had been of any use. We know that her song had challenged the darkness in lives of which she knew nothing.—The Regular Baptist Call.
Into a mission chapel in Pekin, where a prayer service was being held, a poor coolie came and kneeled. He was so ignorant and stupid that it seemed he could not understand even the simple Gospel message. While others were rejoicing, he continued pleading the name of Jesus, which was all the prayer he knew. Soon he arose with a happy face, stammering out, "I am nothing but a poor stupid coolie. I have no money, and no learning, but in my heart's center I have an unable-to-speak-it-out joy." What a wonderful joy that must be, such indeed as the world cannot give.—Christian Herald.
A bigoted Chinese who never could be induced to attend a Christian service went to a missionary and said, "I want to hear about your religion. I never have heard the words of it, but I have heard the laughter in your house and in the houses of my countrymen who have embraced your faith. And if you have anything that makes people so joyous I want it." One great need in all lands is for more glad Christians.—Record of Christian Work.
I stood a little while ago in the fine old ruin of Middleham Castle. I passed beyond the outer shell and beyond the inner defenses into the keep, and there in the innermost sanctum of the venerable pile, was the old well. The castle was independent of outside supplies. If it were besieged it had resources of water at its own heart. The changing seasons made no difference to the gracious supply. That is the purpose of the Master in placing the "well" within us. He wants to make us independent of external circumstances.—Dr. J. H. Jowett.