A Few days ago I arrived early at a great orchestral concert. Some seventy musicians were already on the stage and the preliminary tuning up and trying over of difficult passages was in full operation. It was a rainy afternoon and the damp air was having its traditional effect to increase the difficulty of holding the pitch of stringed instruments; so that the customary preparations became on this occasion a prolonged chaos of discord, quite jarring to sensitive ears. At length the conductor walked out upon the stage and with his appearance the discordant tumult rapidly subsided to a few subdued and scattered twangs. He stepped to the desk and raised his baton. Instantly all sounds ceased and all eyes were fixed upon him. When the stick descended, there came from certain instruments, as though drawn out of them by the leader's moving hand, a strain of calm and perfect harmony, which swelled and spread until the whole assemblage of musicians were joined in the voicing of one mighty concord.

The analogy presented struck me forcibly. Had the whole episode been arranged for the purpose, it could hardly have afforded a clearer illustration of the contrast in feeling and consciousness produced, on the one hand by the belief in minds many, and on the other hand by the clear recognition of and implicit obedience to the one Mind whose right it is to rule and whose government is the only harmony. With all its capacity for giving expression to the noblest music, that orchestra, while each of its members was using his instrument in accordance with his own whim, gave out only a mass of dissonance. When, all at once, each individual ceased from his own imaginings and all sought only to express the thought of their leader, there came to the hearer a foretaste of heaven.

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December 21, 1907

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