The Song on the Ash-Cart

It was a bright morning in April, and the first song sparrow was busily practicing his cheery spring madrigal. Suddenly, not from the trees in the parkway, but from a near-by alley, came another tuneful pipe. This time the note was unmistakably the care-free whistle of one of the sons of men. The writer instinctively sought out the source of this latest melody, but before he found it the whistle had changed to a happy song; and a moment afterwards from the alley slowly came an ash-cart, and perched thereupon, clothes gray with ash-dust, was the singer! Singing on an ash-cart! One, of course, expected the newly arrived feathered choristers, swinging on a swaying limb, or basking in the bright sunshine, to voice their joyousness; but—singing on an ash-cart!

As the writer pondered this picture, two distinct conclusions were speedily reached: first, that here must be an ash-man who satisfied both his company and the company's patrons; and secondly, that he would not, in all probability, be driving that ash-cart very long. An employee who performs a disagreeable task cheerily is an asset to any employee and a positive joy to his customers. And the one who can "carry on" with a song in his heart or on his lips, when all about him is the evidence of material unloveliness, is surely destined inevitably to be lifted to higher labor.

The Christian Science Hymnal, that compilation of spiritual songs which brings comfort and cheer and healing to multitudes of students of Christian Science the world over, is enabling many a one to sing as he or she seems forced to drive the ash-cart of some trying experience for a season. The following is a beautiful example of this. A married couple—Christian Scientists—moved into a neighborhood where lived several families whose opposition to what they supposed was Christian Science was openly voiced. The neighbors, therefore, regarded the newcomers with not a little hostility and ridicule. A serious business problem confronted the Scientists; and for a period the outlook was black indeed. The wife dismissed her maid, and wholeheartedly plunged into the work of the home. She believed that the washing of dishes was her chief aversion; so, after each meal, to overcome this she placed her open Hymnal above the dish-pan, and as she worked she sang one hymn after another. After she had done this a few days, two persons, who lived next door, called one evening and asked if they might hear something about Christian Science. They had known of the Scientist's business difficulty, and both felt they wanted to learn more of a religion which would enable a wife to sing when passing through such troublous waters. Again, the song on the ash-cart! And because of the song, and the faithfulness and understanding behind the song, the business problem was soon solved; and before long, the wife found herself launched into the public practice of Christian Science. Truly does one of the loved verses from the Hymnal say.—

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The Sunday School
December 9, 1922

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