George H. Morrison
Strangers in a strange city, Paul and Silas had very violent treatment. They were seized and, without semblance of a trial, were thrust into the inner prison. It was a gloomy and miserable place and might have appalled the spirits of the bravest. Men had been known in that dark cell to curse, and some in black despair to kill themselves. But never, since these walls had been embattled, had any prisoner been known to sing there, and yet at midnight Paul and Silas sang. It was dark, and yet all bright to them. It was exceeding loathsome and yet beautiful.
Stone walls did not a prison make for them, nor iron bars a cage. And so they sang like the lark at heaven's gate-although for them it was a prison-gate-and as they sang, the prisoners heard them. Probably some of these prisoners became Christians afterward. It was they who told the story of the Church: told how at dead of night, dull and despairing-hark! the sound of music. And one would recall how it held his hand from suicide, and another how it revived his hope, and another perhaps how it brought back the memory of his mother and his childhood and his home.
Of all that service the men who sang knew nothing. They were totally unconscious of such ministry. They sang because Christ was with them and was cheering them. They sang because they could not help but sing. And all the time, although they never dreamed of it, they were serving others better than they knew, touching old tendernesses, reviving courage, making it easier to suffer and be strong.
Now something of that kind we all are doing. All of us exercise unconscious ministries. When we never dream we are affecting anybody, we are touching and turning others all the time. We fret, and others feel our fretting, though never a syllable has passed our lips. We play the game, and just because we play it, folk we have never heard of play it better. We sing at midnight because God is with us and wi ...
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