15 August 2013

Effects of Hymn Singing

Passed along by a friend, from the Memoirs of hymn-writer Philip P. Bliss (late 1870s)...
On the stage at one of the Liverpool theaters, a comic singer came out before the footlights to sing. Just as he was about to commence his waggish melody, the tune of a sweet Sunday School hymn, learned before, came suddenly to mind, and so confused him that he completely forgot his part. He stood a moment trying to recall it, and then retired, covered with shame. The manager, enraged at his failure, and still more enraged at his apparently foolish explanation, paid him the remainder of his wages and ordered him at once to quit his service. Out of employment, he wandered about the city like the unclean spirit, seeking rest and finding none. His heart was full of curses, and to drown his mortification he drank deep and desperately, till his days and nights were one continual debauch. 
In the meantime, Mr. Moody and Mr. Sankey began their meetings in Liverpool. The fame of the evangelists was in every mouth, and the young actor, hearing them discussed and ridiculed among his low associates, conceived the idea of writing a burlesque about them, to be put upon the stage. He sobered himself sufficiently to begin. But he felt he could not make his work complete without more "points" or "hits" to give it zest. So he determined to attend a meeting himself, and hear the men whom he intended to lampoon. He went, and the same power that in the sudden memory of that early hymn had driven him once from the stage arrested him and held him a reverent listener. At the close he remained among the penitent inquirers, and was soon led to accept the Lord Jesus as his Master. The young man is now in London, preparing himself to be a missionary. 
Often a remembered hymn will keep sacred hold of a wicked heart when nothing else can. That simple Sunday School song, to the poor comedian, was a voice come back from his by-gone and better days. In spite of himself it changed his fate, and led the way to the still better days beyond.
Who would join me in conjecturing that the same will never be said of CCM and the like?

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.