Signs of the Times

[From the Church Visitor, Dallas, Wisconsin]

When the heart is cheerful the countenance will mirror it, the words will echo it. When the poet Carpani inquired of his friend Haydn how it happened that his church music was always so cheerful, the great composer made a most beautiful reply. "I cannot," he said, "make it otherwise. I write according to the thoughts I feel; when I think upon God, my heart is so full of joy that the notes dance and leap, as it were, from my pen; and since God has given me a cheerful heart it will be pardoned me that I serve Him with a cheerful spirit." It is always so. Some people—some few Christian people—wear wretched faces, long, pinched up, awry, sour. Their hearts are wretched. Their countenance would be pleasant if all back of them were pleasant. An uncheerful Christian is an unnatural—or rather an unspiritual—Christian. Religion makes people happy as well as pure. "Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord." Be happy, brother! Get grace enough to make you happy. If you can't shout, sing; if you can't sing, laugh. Smile now and then, at any rate. You can smile, and yet be serious. You can be cheerful, and yet earnest.

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March 11, 1933

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