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Far, Far Away Like Bells at Evening Pealing

Far, Far Away Like Bells at Evening Pealing

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Published by glennpease
BY MALCOLM JAMES McLEOD


"I call to remembrance my song in the night," — Psalm 77 : 6.


BY MALCOLM JAMES McLEOD


"I call to remembrance my song in the night," — Psalm 77 : 6.


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Published by: glennpease on Feb 28, 2013
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02/16/2014

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FAR, FAR AWAY LIKE BELLS AT EVENING PEALINGBY MALCOLM JAMES McLEOD
"I call to remembrance my song in the night," Psalm 77 : 6.AND it certainly has been nightduring the past four years,black night, midnight, not astar in the sky, not a light onthe waves, not a rent in thegloom. Never such a night of woe and frightfulness in the world since time be-gan ; everything pitch dark, ebon blackness. Wewere all becoming very depressed. But at longlast the dawn is approaching. The storm isabout over. The clouds are rolling away. Thereis a promising flush in the East. The morninglight is breaking. A chorus of bird-voices isstirring the air. And there is a note of thank-fulness and relief on every tongue. "Weepingmay endure for a night but joy cometh in themorning. ' '" Say not that darkness is the doom of light.That every sun must sink in night's abyss,While every golden day declines to this,To die and pass at evening out of sight.Say rather that the morning ends the night,176''Bells at Bvening pealing" t77That death must die beneath the dayspring's
kissWhilst dawn the powers of darkness shalldismiss.And put their dusky armaments to flight.Man measures life in this wise; first the mom.And secondly the noontide's perfect prime.And lastly night, when all things fade away:But God, ere yet the sons of men were born.
Showed forth a better way of marking time" The evening and the morning were the day."But the Psalmist did not have to wait till themorning for his song. * * I call to remembrance, * 'he says, "my song in the night." It was not
 
much of a song, but he recalled it. He sang itwith trembling voice and quavering note. Thenight had been indescribably dreadful. Hecould never forget the night. It was one of those nights that leaves behind it a trail of terror.Some overwhelming trouble had pounced downon him and prostrated him and rendered himspeechless. And yet here was the blessed wonderof it. Although the blow had fallen and every-thing about was black and the earth trembledand shook, yet there forced itself into the Psalm-ist's heart, in some strange way, a hint of thegoodness of the Lord, and all at once he beganto hum a hymn of praise.The Greeks, it will be remembered, had a mythin regard to the statue of Memnon. Memnonwas one of the brave heroes of the Trojan war.J78 ** Songs in tbe niQbt**He was slain by Achilles. A beautiful statuewas erected to his memory at Thebes on the banksof the Nile. It was called ' ' the vocal Memnon, ' 'because the statue when touched by the firstrays of the rising sun broke into music. And just so this human heart of ours when touchedby sorrow oftentimes breaks every law of natureand bursts into singing. It was out of the dark-ness of Bedford Jail that Bunyan's immortalallegory came. It was out of the darkness of Wartburg Castle that Luther sent forth histranslation of the Bible. So often in life it isthe night that makes the song.I have read somewhere of a little bird that willnever sing the melody his master wishes whilehis cage is full of light. He learns a snatch of this, a bar of that, a polyglot of something else,but never an entire movement of its own, untilthe cage is covered and the morning beams shutout. Something like this is the soul's experi-ence. A good many people never learn to singuntil the darkling shadows fall. The fablednightingale carols with his breast against athorn. It was in the night that the song of theangels was heard. It was at midnight that thecry came, *' Behold the Bridegroom cometh, goye out to meet him." Indeed it is extremelydoubtful if a soul can really know the love of God in its richness and in its comforting, satis-fying completeness until the skies are black and** Bells at Evening pealing" J79
 
lowering. Light comes out of darkness, morn-ing out of the womb of night.James Creelman in one of his letters describeshis trip through the Balkan States in search of Natalie, the exiled Queen of Serbia. "In thatmemorable journey," he says, "I learned for thefirst time that the world's supply of attar of roses comes from the Balkan mountains. Andthe thing that interested me most, ' ' he goes on,' * is that the roses must be gathered in the darkesthours. They start out at one o'clock and finishpicking them at two. At first it seemed to me arelic of superstition, but I investigated thepicturesque mystery and I learned that actualscientific tests had proven that fully forty percent, of the fragrance of roses disappeared inthe light of day." And in human life andhuman culture that is not a playful, fancifulconceit ; it is real veritable fact. Take the caseof our own Sydney Lanier. He was born in theSouth before the war. He had a passion formusic and literature. Just as he graduated fromcollege the war broke out and he enlisted. Thenafter it was over he started in to study law.But the thirst for music and literature devouredhim. Then he contracted tuberculosis and therest of his days was a battle for bread. Therewere times when his little family was on tlieverge of actual want. He fell on the field of life's battle just as bravely as any soldier thatJ80 ** Songs in tbe migbt"ever went over the top. But don't call it defeat,call it rather a magnificent and glorious victory*Listen to his own words :"The dark hath many dear avails;The dark distils divinest dews;The dark is rich with nightingales,With dreams and with the heavenly muse." Of fret, of dark, of thorn, of chillComplain thou not O heart; for theseBank in the current of the willTo uses arts and charities."Now this song of the Psalmist, I take it, is arecord of a private and personal experience, andthe inference that runs like a thread throughoutthe whole hymn is that just as Jehovah redeemedIsrael from their bondage in Egypt, so He willredeem us from every exile in which we may findourselves in any of life's Babylons. The pierc-

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