It was sunset, and worship time. One hundred and thirty girls sang that little prayer song, "Into My Heart." Their reverential attitude showed the influence of its melody and words. As prayer was offered, many silent prayers blended with the audible request for God's blessing. Much to the amazement of those present, the speaker asked them to sing that one-time popular favorite, "Roll Out the Barrel." As they finished, the request was made for a volunteer to pray. Those who were usually so ready to respond were speechless. Thus was illustrated the fact that popular music lessens an individual's desire to pray. It was a bold experiment, but it worked, and it checked popular music on the campus.
Many of those young people realized for the first time how strong and subtle is the influence of music upon their lives. The prayerful attitude formed by the first song had been replaced by the "don't care" attitude of the second. Whereas the first awakened devotion and gratitude to God, the second left a careless, degrading influence in the heart.
How little we as teachers, leaders, parents, and ministers realize the far-reaching influence of popular music—Satan's decoy. Mrs. White uses the strongest and most impressive language to try to awaken us to this danger, which is captivating the minds of our youth.
"Satan has no objection to music, if he can make that a channel through which to gain access to the minds of the youth. Anything will suit his purpose that will divert the mind from God, and engage the time which should be devoted to His service. He works through the means which will exert the strongest influence to hold the largest numbers in a pleasing infatuation, while they are paralyzed by his power."—Messages to Young People, p. 295.
Recently a young woman was walking down the hall on her way to class. Unknown to others, there was a conflict between right and wrong in her mind. She had struggled with a question for days, and it seemed as if her guardian angel would rejoice with her in her final decision. At a near-by piano a girl was entertaining herself playing some popular ditties. The effect on the young lady was almost instantaneous. The "pleasing infatuation" of the song seemed to paralyze her. Her conscience was dulled by the exhilaration of the moment. A careless attitude replaced the serious one, and another decision—perhaps for eternity—was made on the side of wrong. Satan triumphed once more through this insidious medium of temptation—music.
Hundreds of times a day this experience is repeated, and we—the leaders !—are complacently comfortable, asleep to danger, while the cunning enemy of souls laughs and delights to see a son, a daughter, a student, a church member, enter Lucifer's ranks through this powerful influence.
We ease our conscience by saying, "Elder___________ 's daughter plays it, and one of the teachers listens to it. The majority of Seventh-day Adventists enjoy the 'pretty' popular songs ! Why should I be so narrow-minded?"
We allow our young people the pleasure of the skating rink as long as they stay with the Seventh-day Adventist crowd. Again, through the agency of music (the kind of music that is characteristic of such amusements) Satan weakens our sense of right and wrong, and paves the way for greater temptations to capture our youth. The music at such places is one of the greatest arguments against the attendance of our youth.
We forget that anything that diverts the mind from God gives Satan vantage ground. It is only when we keep our minds stayed on Him that we can overcome evil or even have a desire to contemplate the eternal. Anything that removes our desire to pray or study God's Word is wrong, for it is only those whose minds are fortified with gems of truth, those who know God through prayer, who will be victorious in this controversy with the devil.
"Music . . . is often made one of Satan's most attractive agencies to ensnare souls. When abused, it leads the unconsecrated to pride, vanity, and folly. I was directed to the plain teachings of God's -word, which had been passed by unnoticed. In the judgment all these words of inspiration will condemn those who have not heeded them."—Thid., pp. 295, 296.
Solos and Duets No. 4, Rodeheaver, Hall-Mack Co., Winona Lake, Indiana.
This new addition to the Rodeheaver Gospel Solos and Duets series is a well-bound little volume containing 121 numbers. The songs are particularly adapted for specials, although in many cases useful for combinations. It is loaded with new material, unpublished heretofore, and represents a class of music well adapted to evangelistic assistance for specials. The quality of the music is particularly good and comes from a large group of composers of gospel songs. A large variety of topics are covered by the song poems; therefore a wide usage of the material is permitted. So many of the gospel songs have been worn threadbare by their frequent use. This book gives a welcome relief through its new offerings, and should be well received by those who are called upon for unpretentious musical assistance.
H. A. MILLER. [Professor of Music, Southern Missionary College.]