Many a minister has wished that he were a musician. He knows that a soul-winning musician has certain advantages in his public work. But wishing is not enough. Wishing, to be effective, must be accompanied by earnest activity. Most musical wishers think themselves too old to begin. They mourn and sigh over lack of opportunity, but do very little about it. Someone who reads this article will no doubt begin to enumerate threadbare excuses to explain why his particular musical status cannot be changed at this late hour.
To meet this problem, may I offer a suggestion designed to stimulate a new ambition in those who think their cases hopeless. And no matter how far advanced musically the reader may be, perhaps he, too, will enjoy this experiment. The suggestion is so simple that there may be danger of underestimating its value, but I hope each one will promise himself to try the suggestion without delay.
Of course, first of all, there must be a love for music. To love music, a person must become acquainted with it. Acquaintance brings appreciation, and appreciation depends upon personal experience. Gaining personal experience depends upon an earnest desire to learn. And that desire will burn when the heart is awakened and reborn.
Here is the suggestion. During your private devotions at the beginning of the day, memorize a few lines of a hymn, along with the Morning Watch verse. Choose a hymn that is really a favorite; one that is well known is better to start with. Sing it over quietly several mornings in succession. Hum it while you perform your daily duties. Pray it into the life. Weep it into the soul. The singing may not be what would pass muster in a musical conservatory, but it will soften the heart, bring heaven closer, increase musical appreciation, and incidentally, increase the ability to sing.
Any pastor who would like to try this on a larger scale might introduce the plan into the prayer meeting, or even into the eleven-o'clock service. Let the pastor select a well-known hymn, and have the congregation sing it thoughtfully. He can tell how he himself has been blessed by it, and ask the members of the congregation to learn the song during the week, preferably upon their knees. At the next meeting, have the congregation sing the song again.
It is hard to realize the change that will take place. The church will become a growing church. There will be new life and new zeal, and new activity will be born. Men will seek God. Such singing will lead to a higher plane of spiritual living. Try it. Sing, and lift the spiritual tone of the church. All this is entirely possible when the church studies its hymns as it does its Sabbath school lessons