‘I’ll tell you what, I heard singin’ tonight that made me wish I was in heaven, or good enough to go there,” said an old backwoodsman to his wife, as, entering their log hut, he sat down to his evening meal.
“Where did you hear it?” she asked.
“At our neighbor’s up yonder. They must feel something I don’t know about, or they couldn’t sing so.”
“When they first came here,” said the wife, “I thought they were proud and stiff; but they were real good neighbors, and I heard after they were good church folks too.”
“Well,” said he, “I mean to go to church tomorrow, and see if I can’t hear some singin’ like that.”
The singer knew that her neighbors were ignorant, rough, and unbelieving, nearing the decline of life, and unwilling to be approached on the subject of religion.
One glorious summer evening, as the sun was going down, the lady seated herself at the window, and involuntarily tuned her voice to sing. When near the close of the hymn, she cast her eyes to the field where her neighbor was at work, and saw that he was listening intently.
Instantly the thought flashed into her mind, “Oh, if I could raise that poor man to think of heaven.” She closed her refrain, and then commenced, “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I stand,” singing it “with the spirit and understanding also.”
And as she sang, the old man listened, almost spellbound. The singer wished to glorify God by leading one of His creatures to think of Him. “I will sing God’s praises whenever he can hear me, and perhaps he may be led to praise the Lord himself,” was her resolve.
The next Lord’s-day the old man was at church. This cheered the lady, and she said, “I will sing whenever he comes.” Ere another week was closed he was at work again. This time she sang,
“Just as I am, without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me.”
Slowly, but distinctly she sang, that he might take in the full meaning of the words, and feeling their sweet pathos in her inmost soul she sang the hymn. The listener shook his head, and rubbed his hand quickly over his eyes.
The next Lord’s-day evening he was among the people of God, earnestly inquiring the way of salvation.
Being thus successful in bringing the husband in the way of life, the singer next tried to draw the wife, and so one day invited her into the parlor to hear her piano.
She had never seen or heard such an instrument, and was wonderstruck. The lady called her daughters to her side, and all joined in singing, “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” to the old tune, “Coronation.”
“Do you like that?” said the lady.
“Oh, it’s nice. I b’l’eve I heered that tune somewhere when I was a girl, but I’ve forgot.”
“Probably you heard it at church. It is often sung there. We cannot sing the praises of Jesus too often, for He came to save us poor sinners.” Then they all sang, “Come, Humble Sinner, In Whose Breast,” etc. When the woman rose to go, she was invited to “Come again.”
“Oh, I’ll come often if I can hear you sing.”
“Mother, you take a strange way to win souls?
“Why not, my daughter? Has not God commanded that whatsoever we do, should be done to his glory? And if He has given us voices to sing, should we not use them in his service? There are many ears that will listen to a hymn for the sake of the tune, that will not hear a word from the Bible. Our voices and our musical instrument should all be employed in winning lost souls.”
The above passage is from the "Illustrated History of Hymns and Their Authors," published in 1875, pages 374-375
Melody Publications’ focus is to reawaken the melody of truth in believers' hearts and minds at home and abroad. Our prayer is that our work would aid churches and families as they sing "Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs" in praise and worship to our God.