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The Prayers of the Old Testament (13 of 13)
A Prayer Every Man Makes
Clarence E. Macartney
Not in lofty language like this, for not every man is
a poet and a singer of the deep music of the heart,
but in the heart's desire, all men make this prayer.
You have sat in the public hall listening to the
performance of a company of skilled musicians as they
render the works of some of the masters of music. With
sudden and abrupt beginning, or with low harmony, the
musicians have taken up their theme, and the great
audience follows them patiently through all their
crescendos and diminuendos, their sudden and fearful
crashes, with blaring trumpets and rumbling drums and
noisy cymbals, and their whispered cadences, almost
too faint for the keenest ear to catch.
Then the manner changes and we follow the composer
into some delightful by path of sweetest melody; it
may be an aria that all have known and hummed to
themselves, or one that invokes the memories of the
long, long ago and brings back faces long since faded
from our view and voices that for long years have been
still. Amazement, perplexity, patience, or pretended
or professional attention gives place now to rapt
expectation; a holy hush falls all over the house, and
breasts heave deeply but quietly, and every ear and
every eye is attentive as the thousands who hear feel
within them the vibrations of immortal song.
What had happened? What had wrought the change? The
orchestra had touched one of those melodies which
awaken immediate response in the universal heart. That
is what David did in this Psalm. He struck a universal
note. That is the privilege of genius; that is the
power of inspiration. The greatest literature is not
that which produces the strangest effects or startles
the intellect or the imagination, but that which
touches the heart and gives noble and seemingly almost
perfect expression to that which you yourself have
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