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The Discarded Music Box
B. Carradine
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TOPIC and SUBTOPIC: Instruments Used By God, Needed, But Now Discarded.

TITLE: The Discarded Music Box

We held a meeting once in a town, where in the office of the hotel stood a large cabinet-sized music box, five or six feet in height, and as many broad.

It was a very fine instrument, and with its great disc wheels and deep melodious notes would fully repay the party who, dropping a nickel through the slot, listened to Norma, My Little Georgia Rose, Sweet Fields of Virginia, Ah, I Have Sighed to Rest Me, and other equally lovely pieces. We have known gentlemen, especially traveling men, to spend an hour or so listening in the office to this superior instrument; while the refining, quieting, cheering and oftentimes melting influence upon individual and company was unmistakable.

After an absence of several years we returned to the town, and to the same hostelry, and passing through the office at once missed the musical cabinet. We put no questions, but wondered what had become of our old friend.

Next day in the hallway of an outhouse building in the back yard, we saw it standing in the midst of a pile of boxes, rubbish and general litter. As we looked at its weather-stained, dusty sides, broken lock and panel, and forlorn disused appearance, we felt a pang of genuine grief and a thoughtful melancholy stole over our spirit. It had been such a fine instrument; and it had given so much pleasure and had done so much good to many hundreds of people, that the heart could not but grieve over its present discarded, forgotten, and useless state. The very good it had done in the past seemed to demand a different and better treatment; and then it hurt to see it silent, and unsought and unemployed anyhow.

Nevertheless we got some lessons from the music box. We remembered to have seen like things only on a larger scale in life itself. We have beheld men richly endowed with natural gifts and spiritual graces, and made a blessing under God to scores and hundreds. For years the music of their lives was a charm and the power of their deeds an inspiration to many.

And then, after all that, we have observed them become silent, and marked them set aside, banished and forgotten. Sometimes it has been their own conduct that has brought about this state of affairs. Sometimes it is the injustice, cruelty and wrongs of their fellowman that has led to the silencing of the masterful voice and the wreck, ruin, and pitiful end of the once useful and victorious life.

Whatever may have been the cause, it is certainly a heart-breaking sight to see one once mightily employed of God, now overlooked, unsought and forgotten.

We meet with these discarded life music boxes everywhere we go. Some are in the insurance business. Some have become teachers and professors in colleges. Some are already in the rubbish and litter pile. At almost every one of our meetings we see one or more of them looking hard and gloomy, talking sourly or bitterly, or moping silently in a corner and giving no sign that once their souls were filled with holy melody, and that they had stirred, melted and thrilled thousands with their songs, prayers, testimonies and sermons. Alas for the silent music boxes of God; and alas for the world that so needed their music.

Living Illustrations By B. Carradine.

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