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Incidents of this kind might be multiplied, but this one may suffice to illustrate the power of song in the conversion of souls to God.
HYMNS IN PUBLIC WORSHIP.
It would be easy to fill many pages with interesting facts in connection with the use of hymns in the public worship of the house of God. I have seen vast audiences melted and swayed by a simple hymn when they have been unmoved by a powerful presentation of the gospel from the pulpit. From close and repeated observation, I am persuaded that Mr. Spurgeon, the great metropolitan preacher of England, places great reliance on the use of his hymns in public worship. By them he prepares his vast audiences for the service that is to follow; and fastens his discourse with a hymn, which he always reads with great power, and which is sung by that vast choir of 7500 people with an effect that is indescribable. Indeed, the use of hymns in the service of the sanctuary, when in the hands of a pastor or leader who understands and feels the inspiration of them,
cannot be too highly estimated. It is a great pity that the power of "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" has been so sadly weakened, if not utterly destroyed by the introduction of "fancy quartettes," who sing neither with the "spirit nor with the understanding," and who practically forbid any one else to sing. Lord, hasten the day when the service of song shall be restored to the people.
IN THE PRAYER-MEETING
Hymns are simply indispensable. A pastor skilled in the use of them holds the prayermeeting almost absolutely in his power. An unfortunate or ill-timed address or exhortation may be covered by a hymn, and the people's hearts and minds brought back to God. pungent address, a ringing testimony, or a prevaling prayer may be strongly supplemented and reinforced by a well chosen hymn promptly and sweetly sung, which, without giving out page or number, shall have sprung spontaneously from the lips of the pastor or any brother or sister in the congregation who has spiritual discernment. For myself I should feel utterly
lost, and without "sword" or "trowel" for the building and defence of the walls of Zion, if I were without the "armory" and "kit" of hymns which God has given the church "to profit withal."
THE POWER OF SONG IN THE REVIVAL WORK OF MOODY AND SANKEY.
I shall close this letter by giving a brief account of the triumph of song as seen in connection with the great revival of the last few years on both sides of the Atlantic. All know the story of the "two" simple-hearted and "unlearned " "men Moody and Sankey-who went only a few years ago, "led of the spirit,' to the British Isles, to preach and sing the gospel "there also." Moody with his open Bible, Sankey with his budget of stirring hymns, and his sweet God-given and sanctified voice. It is exceedingly doubtful from all the testimony I could gather which had the most to do in the awakening and stirring which Scotland and Ireland have received at their hands. Whether most is to be ascribed to Moody's preaching, or a Sankey's singing-one with sim
ple words of truth, the other with sweetest song-represent a two-edged instrument which the Holy Spirit has been pleased to use in the accomplishment of this mighty work. But certain it is that whoever visits Scotland for years to come will know that Sankey has been there, for he has sung a hundred sweet songs into the hearts and spiritual lives of more than twenty thousand converts to Jesus, and has filled the whole land, Highlands and Lowlands, with their sacred echoes.
Eminent Scotch clergymen told me, while in conversation with them on this subject, that it was Sankey's singing that melted the hearts of the people and made an open door for Moody with his Bible lessons, for such they were rather than sermons. Of course this is not mentioned to disparage the preaching of the gospel- God forbid-but only to show the relation of song to the spoken word. This service of song in Scotland was not a passing gift - it is a permanent legacy. None may reproduce Moody's matchless Bible expositions, but all Scotland for years to come will sing Sankey's songs.
It was in the Barkley church in Edinburgh where these apostles of the Word and song began their work, having been invited thither by the noble pastor, Rev. James Wilson, who was an advanced advocate of "hymns and spiritual songs," as well as "psalms." I was in that church, the guest of the pastor, during a crowded Thursday evening prayer-meeting. In deference to the time-honored custom of the Scotch, Mr. Wilson gave out a paraphrase of one of David's psalms. The congregation did bravely and well, considering the meter and the melody (?). But after the meeting was formally opened, the book of Paraphrases was quietly tucked under the pulpit and one of our little American hymns announced:
'I hear thy gentle voice,
That calls me, Lord, to thee;
In a twinkling every one present whipped out of pocket a little penny copy of "Sankey's Hymns; every face was radiant, and every voice was vocal. The house seemed filled with the Spirit, and every heart seemed to be