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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 1, 1909)
JANUARY 1, 1909
Tho Richest Gift
"What shall I give?" asked the angel,
"The dwellers of earth to rejoice?
Power to see through futurity's veil?
Power to quiet tempestuous gale?
Or might that makes right though
justice shall fail
And Error throttle Truth's voice?"
"Nay, let it be sunshine," said one,
"To tint with its splendor the sky;
Giving its warmth to tho dwellers of
Filling ' their souls" with the essence
of mirth; -
Plenty of sunshine of sorrow a
"When sunshine forever is nigh."
"Nay, let it be rain," said another,
"For sorrow is every man's share.
Sorrow for wrongs never righted by
Sorrow for wounds caused by deed,
'word or pen
Sorrowing now for the deeds of the
Bearing a burden of care." -
"Nay, 'iet it be both," spake another;
"Mixture: of sunshine and shower.
Sunshine .to lighten his pathway
Raindrops to cause the rich harvests
eacliing.himpralses. on Gbd to be
"fstowr !$:' ' 'VtJf,.-.
Tha last ,is. the s blessing be'stbwed
''Sunshine and rain each 'in. season,
S(ffisKfri to "dniye "away sorrow and
Rfn, .drops to swell the green buds
'.' Intn bloom:
Beacons, of .hope, in .thedar.k ,qf the
''tomb'' ' '""'' "i? ".-;
A Bit Personal
Whilelcity ministers are worrying
over 'the question, "Why do men not
attend church in larger- numbers?"
perhaps one man's experience may
help them reach a solution. . . .
The writer happens to "bo thV son
of a minister (now laugh and get
off the usual witty remaTk about
"preachers boys") and was raised to
attend church regularly. In his boy
hood days such a thing as a choir
was utterly unknown in the country
precincts. Usually the organ if there
was one in the church was sta
tioned about midway of the church,
and everybody joined in singing the
old hymns. Usually some man ac
counted a singer of note stood up
and led the singing. But there were
no solos, or duets, or quartettes in
those days. Very few people really
needed the hymn books that were
passed around, for everybody knew
the songs and loved to sing them.
Some of those old songs now sel
dom heard, but still the best ever
written, come to mind. "Old Hun
dred" with Its majestic swing uuu
its inspiring words, "Before Jeho
vah's awful throne!" "0, thou fount
of every blessing" was another one.
Usually the leader would pronounce
the "every" as if it were spelled
"ev-ri," with the accent on the ri.
"My soul be on thy guard," "King
Jesus, reign forevermore, An
ttoch " "Hark! Ten thousand harps
and voices," '"O could I speak the
match-less;vorth," "My faith looks
up to. thee," "Am I a soldier of the
cross?" "Come, ye disconsolate."
"Nearer, My God, to Thee," "Rock
of Ages," "Sweet Hour of Prayer,"
and scores of other old-time songs
surge through the memory as ono
Honestly, now Mr. Tired Business
Man, Mr. Fatigued Toiler from shop
or factory, who happened to be raised
in a village community a score and
a half years ago, and who seldom
go to church these days, wouldn't
you like to find some old-fashioned
church that had no choir, and where
they sang the old-time songs instead
of letting a quartette sing some new
fangled ones that are so awfully
classic that not even the quartettp
knows what the words mean?
Don't you wish that you could
walk quietly into a' church like that,
take a seat about midway, pick up
one of tho old-fashioned hymnals
and join with everybody else in sing
ing one of those old-time songs?
Bless the modern ministerial heart,
these latter day sermonettes smoth
ered in semi-operatic concerts don't
grip the heart like the virile ser
mons and the soul-inspiring songs
of other days. You used to sit tor
an hour while tho paBtor preached a
scriptural sermon, and you didn't get
restless and fidgety, like you do now
if thq pastor talks longer than twenty-five
minutes. The congregation
always sang two or three, maybe
four, rousing songs before the ser
mon began, and they set your blood
to going rapidly, warmed the cockles
of your heart and put you in a re
ceptive mood mentally.
"At the conclusion of the sermon
the congregation Will sing hymn
number 345," the good pastor would
say While he was turning to hi text.
You didn't have to turn to the
book to see what 345 was. You
knew. It was "Come, let us anew
our journey pursue," or "My Gra
cious Redeemor I love," we've for
gotten just which. And when the
sermon was over you stood up and
sang lustily, knowing that even If
your voice was a little off the key
and your tuneful abilities not exact
ly par no one would notice it in the
It's different now. You go into a
church and the first thing you notice
is a sort of "cock-loft" back of the
pulpit, and in it is an organist and
four salaried singers. The pastor
aanounces a hymn and after the or
ganist has performed a few gymnas
tics on the keys the quartette rises,
and the congregation follows suit
not enthusiastically as of old, but
spasmodically, as it were. Then the
quartette sings, and here and there
through the congregation a few faint
voices are heard sort of weak and
ashamed like, don't you know. After
the agony is over everybody sits
down with a sigh of relief and waits
while the organist and the quar
tette gets ready to sing something
"wav un" in the musical line some
thing full of trills and warbllngs and
broad "a's" and as empty of soul
stirring sentiment as a miser's heart
is of charity. The pastor delivers a
sermon on almost anything but tho
Jerusalem gospel, and then the quar
tette sings another song that nobody
else knows, the benediction is pro
nounced, the people depart to their
homes and all during the week the
pastor is wondering how he may in
duce more people, and especially
more men, to attend divine worship.
Mr. Preacher Man, you've oxperi-
X w? a !?fc In trylnG t0 fluI somc
th ng to attract tho average man to
jour church, and you aro forced to
confess that you havo oxporlmentod
th. D Now try jUBt ono more
tiilng---not an experiment, but a test
ed thing, Give the salaried quar
tette a vacation, pick out the old
time Zlon songs that even tho pres
ent generation knows by heart, and
got back to tho good old congrega
tional singing stylo of song worship,
uit out tho operatic didos, make
everybody feel that they havo a part
in the services other than merely
listening and then watch for tho
results. Don't bo too impatient, for
in this busy age it takes time for
even a good thing to become noised
around. But In good time you'll get
results our word for It.
A great many souls have boon con
gregatlonally sung into glory that
never would have reached theio by
the operatic choir route.
Salaried choirs! When we get to
tho point whore we have to hire
somebody sing our Zlon songs for
us we're going to hire somebody to
say our family prayers, ask tho bles
sing at the family table, read the
Good Book for us while we go about
our business and act an our proxy at
"There, goes the worst bloodsucker
in this town."
"Who is ho?"
"That's Grabberly, tie .'ten-per-cent-a-month
loan shrr who is al
ways taking advantage of the ne
cessities of the poor. Everybody
"I notice that very few speak to
him, but who is that benevolent old
gentleman whom everybody greets
with a smile?"
"0, that's our most distinguished
citizen the Hon. Don G. Stoneabody."
"What's ho famous for?"
"Why, he's the man' that got up
a trust in foodstuffs, and with a cap
ital of a few thousand dollars has
made millions by cornering food and
making the people patronize him. I
tell you he is a financial wonder. Ho
has given us a temple, subscribes to
our missionary funds, and in always
giving our young men valuablo advice."
"But it strikes mo that both men
are playing the same game, pnly one
is able to play tho stakes a little
higher than tho other."
"Great Scott, man! You don't
mean to class tho bonovolont Mr.
Stoneabody with that grasping, sor
did Grabberly! Why that Ih little
short of anarchy, and is a cruel in
justice to a good man."
Under tho 3IistIctoo
My sweetheaTt stood 'neath the mis
tletoe When the Christmas mora dawned
bright and fair;
I saw the lovo in her eyes aglow
As she waited, smiling, for mo
I caught the challenge she flung at
I couldn't help it to save my life
And springing forward I planted
A kiss on the lips of my sweetheart-wife.
Tho multi-millionaire handed tho
waiter a dime with the admonition
to bo careful.
"Always be frugal and saving,"
said tho financial authority. "What
do you do with your money, my
"Well, it's just this way," said
tho waiter. "After I've paid my
family expenses I keep out a few
dollars for personal expenses and
crowd the balance into a barrel and
kceg it in the cellar."
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