Saturday, May 28, 2016

          Sowing the seed by the daylight fair,
          Sowing the seed by the noonday glare,
          Sowing the seed by the fading light,
          Sowing the seed in the solemn night:
          O what shall the harvest be?
          O what shall the harvest be?

          Sowing the seed by the wayside high,
          Sowing the seed on the rocks to die.
          Sowing the seed where the thorns will spoil,
          Sowing the seed in the fertile soil:
          O what shall the harvest be?
          O what shall the harvest be?

          Sowing the seed of a lingering pain,
          Sowing the seed of a maddened brain,
          Sowing the seed of a tarnished name,
          Sowing the seed of eternal shame;
          O! what shall the harvest be?
          O! what shall the harvest be?

          Sowing the seed with an aching heart,
          Sowing the seed while the teardrops start,
          Sowing in hope till the reapers come
          Gladly to gather the harvest home.
          O what shall the harvest be?
          O what shall the harvest be?

          Sown in the darkness or sown in the light,
          Sown in our weakness or sown in our might,
          Gathered in time or eternity,
          Sure, ah, sure will the harvest be.
                                                Emily S. Oakley

     I 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 he 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 posts 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 go.” 
     And he attempted to get up and go out 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 lines 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, for I have been praying for you all these years.’”  And as the tears rolled 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 come 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.             
                                                                                                        address by Mr. Sankey on Praise

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