Friday, February 19, 2016

     It is said of the saintly George Herbert, the quaint old English church poet, that once in a walk to Salisbury, to join a musical party, he saw a poor man with a poorer horse that was fallen under his load.  They were both in distress and needed present help, which Mr. Herbert perceiving, put off his canonical coat, and helped the poor man to unload, and afterwards load his horse.  The poor man blessed him for it and he blessed the poor man, and was so like the good Samaritan, that he gave him money to refresh both himself and his horse. Thus he left the poor man; and at his coming to his musical friends at Salisbury, they began to wonder that Mr. Herbert, who used to be trim and clean, so soiled and discomposed.  But he told them the occasion; and when one of the company told him "he had disparaged himself by so dirty an employment," his answer was, "that the thought of what he had done would prove music to him at midnight, and that the omission of it would have upbraided and made discord in his conscience whensoever he should pass by that place; for if I be bound to pray for all that be in distress, I am sure that I am bound, so far as it is in my power, to practice what I pray for; and let me tell you, I would not willingly pass one day of my life without comforting a sad soul, or showing mercy, and bless God for this occasion."  Oh, how many might have anxious thoughts which often infest their midnight hours changed into sweet music, if they would only be more frequently seen with full hands and friendly words in the abodes of poverty and suffering!  These are the places in which to attune one's conscience to midnight harmonies.      
                                                                                                                                              Leisure Hour

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