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indebted to the press, anyhow. Go on! To the day of my death I cannot pay them what I owe them. So slash away, gentlemen. The more the merrier. If there is anything I despise, it is a dull time. Brisk criticism is a coarse Turkish towel, with which every public man needs every day to be rubbed down, in order to keep healthful circulation. Give my love to all the secular and religious editors, and full permission to run their steel pens clear through my sermons, from introduction to application.
It was ten o'clock of a calm, clear, star-lighted night when the carriage rolled with us from the bright part of the city down into the region where gam Ming and crime and death hold high carnival. When I speak of houses of dissipation, I do not refer to one sin, or five sins, but to all sins. As the horses halted, and, escorted by the officers of the law, we went in, we moved into a world* of which we were as practically ignorant as though it had swung as far off from us as Mercury is from Saturn. No shout of revelry, no guffaw of laughter, but comparative silence. Not many signs of death, but the dead were there. As I moved through this place 1 said, "This is the home of los' souls." It was a Dante's Inferno; nothing to stir the mirth, but many things to fill the eyes with tears of pity. Ah! there were moral corpses. There were corpses on the stairway, corpses in the gallery, corpses in the gardens. Leper met loper, but no bandage1 mouth kept back the breath. I felt that I was sitting on the iron coast against which Euroclydon had driven a hundred dismasted hulks—every moment more blackened hulks rolling in. And while I stood and waited for the going down of the storm and the lull of the sea, I bethought* myself, this is an everlasting storm, and these billows always rage, and on each carcass that strewed the beach already had alighted a vulture—the long-beaked, filthy vulture of unending dispair—now picking into the corruption, and now on the black wing wiping the blood of a soul! Ng> lark, no robin, no chaffinch, but vultures, vultures, vultures. I was reading of an incident that occurred in Pennsylvania a few weeks ago, where a naturalist had presented to him a deadly serpent, and he put it in a bottle and stood it in his studio, and one evening, while in the studio with his daughter, a bat flew in the window, extinguished the light, struck the bottle containing the deadly serpent, and in a few moments there was a shriek from the daughter, and in a few hours she was dead. She had been bitten of the serpent. Amid these haunts of death, in that midnight exploration I saw that there were lions and eagles and doves for insignia; but I thought to myself how inappropriate. Better the insignia of an adder and a bat.
First of all, I have to report as a result of this midnight exploration that all the sacred rhetoric about the costly magnificence of the haunts of iniquity is apocryphal. We were shown what was called the costliest and most magnificent specimen. I had often heard that the walls were adorned with masterpieces; that the fountains were bewitching in the gaslight; that the music was like the touch of a Thalbergor a Gottschalk; that the upholstery was imperial; that the furniture in some places wras like the throne-room of* the Tuilleries. It is all false. Masterpieces! There was not a painting worth $5, leaving aside the frame. Great daubs of color that no intelligent mechanic would put on his wall. A crossbreed between a chromo and a splash of poor paint! Music! Some of the homeliest creatures I ever saw Bcjuawked discord, accompanied by pianos out of tune! Upholstery! Two characteristics; red and cheap. You have heard so much about the wonderful lights—blue and green and yellow and orange flashing across the dancers and the gay groups. Seventy-five cents' worth of chemicals would produce all that in one night. Tinsel gewgaws, tawdriness frippery, seemingly much of it bought at a second-hand furniture store, and never paid for! For the most part, the inhabitants were repulsive. Here and there a soul on whom God had put the crown of beauty, but nothing comparable with the Christian loveliness and purity which you may see any pleasant afternoon on any of the thoroughfares of our great cities. Young man, you are a stark fool if you go to places of dissipation to see pictures, and hear music, and admire beautiful and gracious countenances. From Thomas's, or Dodworth's, or Gilmore's Band, in ten minutes you will hear more harmony than in a whole year of the racket and bang of the cheap orchestras of the dissolute. Come to me, and I will give you a letter of introduction to any one of five hundred homes in Brooklyn and New York, where you will see finer pictures and hear more beautiful music—music and pictures compared with which there is nothing worth speaking of in houses of dissipation. Sin, however pretentious, is almost always poor. Mirrors, divans, Chickering grand she cannot keep. The sheriff is after it with uplifted mallet, ready for the vendue. "Going! going! gone!
But, my friends, I noticed in all the haunts of dissipation that there was an attempt at music, however poor. The door swung open and shut to music; they stepped to music; they danced to music; they attempted nothing without music, and J said to myself, "If such inferior music has such power, and drum, and fife, and orchestra are enlisted in the service of the devil, what multipotent power there must be in music! and is it not high time that in all our churches and reform associations we tested how much charm there is in it to bring men off the wrong road to the right road?" Fifty times that night I said within myself, "If poor music is so powerful in a bad direction, why cannot good music be almost omnipotent in a good direction?" Oh! my friends, we want to drive men into the kingdom of God with a musical staff. We want to shut off the path of death with a musical bar. We want to snatch all the musical instruments from the service of the devil, and with organ, and cornet, and base viol, and piano and orchestra praise the Lord. Good Richard Cecil when seated in the pulpit, said that when Doctor Wargan was at the organ, he, Mr. Cecil, was so overpowered with the music that he found himself looking for the first chapter of Isaiah in the prayer book, wondering he could not find it. Oh! holy bewilderment. Let us send such men as Phillip Phillips, the Christian vocalist, all around the world, and Arbuckle, the cornest, with his "Robin Adair" set to Christian melody, and George Morgan with his Halleluah Chorus, and ten thousand Christian men with uplifted hosannas to capture this whole earth for God. Oh! my friends, we have had enough minor strains in the church; give us major strains. We have had enough dead marches in the church; play us those tunes which are played when an army is on a dead run to overtake an enemy. Give us the double-quick. We are in full gallop of cavalry charge. Forward, the whole line! Many a man who is unmoved by Christian argument surrenders to a Christian song.
Many a man under the power of Christian music has had a change take place in his soul and in his life equal to that which took place in the life of a mm in Sootiand, who for fifteen years had been a drunkard. Coming, home late at night, as he touched the doorsill, his wife trembled at his coming. Telling the story afterward, she said, "I didn't dare go to bed lest he violently drag me forth. When he came home there was only about the half inch of the candle left in the socket. When he entered, he said: 'Where are the children?' and I said, 'They are up stairs in bed.' He said, 'Go and fetch them,' and I went up and I knelt down and I prayed God to defend me and my children from their cruel father. And then I brought them down. He took up the eldest in his arms and kissed her and said, 'My dear lass, the Lord hath sent thee a father home tonight.' And so he did with the second, and then he took up the third of the children and said, 'My dear boy, the Lord hath sent thee home a father to-night.' And then he took up the babe and said, 'My darling babe, the Lord hath sent thee home a father to-night.' And then he put his arm around me and kissed me, and said, 'My dear lass, the Lord hath sent thee home a husband to-night.' Why, sir, I had na' heard anything like that for fourteen years. And he prayed and he was comforted, and my soul was restored, for I didn't live as I ought to have lived, close to God. My trouble had broken me down." Oh! for such a transformation in some of the homes of Brooklyn to-day. By holy conspiracy, in the last song of the morning, let us sweep every prodigal into the kingdom of our God. Oh! ye chanters above Bethlehem, come and hover this morning and give us a snatch of the old tune about "good will to men."