Address by Mr. Sankey, on Praise


Before weproceed, I wish to say a word in regard to the subject of Praise. We find in Colossians 3d: 16th: "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." The subject of praise seems to be identified with singing in the minds of the people. This meeting has been announced as a praise meeting, and every one in that connection believes that we are to praise God in singing. Let me say, here, that I believe there are more ways of praising God than by singing hymns; there are many ways by which we can praise God, and it is not exclusiwly confined to singing of hymns. There is another kind of singing, which I observe here in Boston and elsewhere. it is put under the head of praise, while there is not praise i:i it at all; singing to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. N' >«• this question of solo singing, or singing alone, as' we have been doing Here and elsewhere, I conceive that this kind of singing is not thoroughly understood by most of the people. That is to say, our understanding of it and theirs are not alike. If I should come here and sing a solo, as we shall have to-night some song sung in that way, there is no praise in that. And in our prayers on this platform, we often ask God's blessing upon the singing of praises; and we join together to sing his praise. We scarcely ever ask a blessing on the preaching of his word in song; the mission of preaching and teaching in song is not understood fully. I believe that the hymns, "Jesus of Nazareth Passeth By," and "The Ninety and Nine' and " What Shall the Harvest Be?" do not con tain a word of praise; and yet they are sung in all the meetings all over the country.

1 wish people would get the distinction, that one class of hymns are to teach, and the other, such as "Praise God from whom all blessings flows" and "Jesus lover of my soul," are hymns in which the whole congregation can join in praising God. But for one man to sit here and try to praise God for this whole audience, would be a strange performance. Perhaps, many wonder why I have sung alone to praise God. It is because I thought that, by these sweet gospel hymns, I might reach some heart in the great congregations. I thank God that be has blessed his message, as sung in these great congregations. God has been blessing the message when it has been sung alone. For instance this hymn, " What shall the harvest be?" there

is no praise in that. Not long since, in a meeting that we 'were holding, a man came staggering through the door and was directed into the gallery of the building—there were galleries in the building where we were holding our meetings; and he staggered down through the aisle, until he came to a seat near one of the large post* that held up the building; and his testimony afterwards was, that while he was sitting there in a drunken stupor—he just wandered in off the street, a poor man lost through strong drink—he leaned his head up against the post. And when the people came in with their happy faces and joyful looks, he said: "This is no place for me, I will go; I have no friends or home, or friends to help me; I will gt>." And he attempted to get up and go put of the building. But just then the little hymn, "What shall the Harvest Be?" was given out from the pulpit, and the first strain of the hymn caught the attention of that poor man and he sat down, as he says in his testimony; and when it came to that verse, which said:

"Sowing the seed of a tarnished name,

Sowing the seed of eternal shame,"

he said that line went as a dagger through his heart. He said: "That is me; that is what I have been doing, sowing the 'seed of a tarnished name;' my name is gone, and I am 'sowing the seed of eternal shame.'" God sent those lions down into the heart of that poor man, and he got up at the conclusion of the hymn and wandered out into the dark streets of the city. And, as his testimony goes, he went to a saloon to try if he could drown the thought of those lines from his heart;and as he says: "I went to a bar, I attempted to drink, I could see written on the walls of that barroom, 'What shall the Harvest be?'" And he went to his home that night; and as he lay upon his bed in his room he could see in the darkness and gloom of that room, on the walls that sentence, "What shall the Harvest be?" It stayed in the man's heart; it brought him back to the meeting; in the course of three or four days, he found his way to the inquiry-room, and there a man of God met him, prayed with him, led him in the right way; and this day he is a bright and shining light, in yonder city. He came to me one day, just before I came from the city in which he is in, and he read me a letter. He said: "Here is a letter I want to show you from my little girl. My wife and I have been separated; for eight years I haven't seen them; but my little girl writes me this letter. They heard the Lord had found me in this great city." Then he went on to read the letter, and the tears rolled down the strong man's cheeks. He said: "My wife has never ceased to pray for me, and this dear little girl of mine, she says: 'Papa, I knew that you would come back to us some time; I knew that the Lord would find you, fori aave been praying for you all these years.'" And as the tears rolled

praying for you all these years.'" And i
man s cheeks he said, "I thank God that

down the man s cheeks he said, "I thank God that Jesus has found

me!" Jesus used that little hymn to find him yonder, in that great congregation; and I bless God that he is finding souls here. I Get testimonials almost every day from some poor soul who has received the message of God's love through these little gospel hymns; and therefore I want the Christians to have faith that God can bless this way of delivering his message of love; and then we will all join more heartily in the days to come in singing the story of his love.

Oh, how we might go to the bed-ridden and outcast in this great city and sing a song for Jesus Christ! If you cannot go to preach to them, what a blessing would accompany the singing of one of these sweet Gospel hymns to those who don't oome to these meetings at all. May God give us hearts thus to do. If we cannot preach, let us go and sing for Jesus Christ. He has given thousands of you voices, better voices than mine or those upon the platform, so that you can go and carry this message of his love. How many we have known to have been won to his love, and to the home above. May God bless this little word exhorting in this direction, and give us an understanding of the mission there is in singing these Gospel truths alone. But now, before we go further, I think we will have that hymn of which I have been speaking, "What shall the Harvest be?" if you will allow me to sing it to-night. I hope Christians will pray that God may bless it to some poor wanderer here to-night.

Mr Sankey now announced that he would sing "The Ninety and Nine," but before doing so he wanted to tell something about the hymn. While Mr. Moody and he were going to the north of Scotland, during their tour in Great Britain, ne felt greatly the need of a new hymn. One day in Edinburgh he bought at a news-stand a number of papers, and in the corner of one of them, a religious paper, he found the words, without any name attached to them. He remarked to Mr. Moody that it was just what was wanted, and during the next day the little chant formed itself in his mind. Then there was a great meeting in the city; and while it was in progress, the impulse came upon him to sing that song. The music had not yet been written, but he seated himself at the organ, hardly knowing how it was all to come out, and sang. A few days later he received from a lady this note: "I thank you, sir, for having sung my deceased sister's words. My sister wrote those words five years ago. She has been in heaven four years, and I thank you for singing them." This hymn, Mr. Sankey continued, has been peculiarly blessed. The lady from whom the note was received lives at Bridge End, Melrose, Scotland. Mr. Sankey concluded these remarks by hoping that the hymn would again be blessed.