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The Prolonged Whistle
Author Unknown
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TOPIC and SUBTOPIC: Loquacity, Or Silence In Testimony, Both Extremes Should Be Avoided

TITLE: The Prolonged Whistle

On another morning, while on my way down town, the Elevated sounded forth its electric shriek for a crossing at one of the streets. For some reason the whistle got out of order, and the engineer could not stop it. For minutes it blew and wailed, the train was brought to a standstill, there was considerable speculation upon the part of the passengers, confabulation and running about by the brakemen and conductor, and at last we heard one say that the engine was out of fix and would have to be switched off and sent to the repair shops.

This was done, a new motor car was sent flying down to us, and we were soon bowling again through the city on a line with the third story windows.

But I thought, as we sped along, that I had seen some people who on various protracted and campmeeting occasions had sounded the whistle too long. There are two extremes here as elsewhere; one where a man will not testify at all, and another where, after the dumb devils are cast out, he talks too much. Satan is responsible for both cases.

We have all heard the prolonged whistle, the jumping to the feet on any and all occasions, the verbal threshing over and over of the same little handful of wheat, while the train stopped and the passengers who wanted to get somewhere fumed and wondered.

Graver still, we have heard in meetings a talkativeness that was not only not of God but plainly declared to the thoughtful, of unmistakable mental dislocation, or some strange cerebral excitement superseding the ardent but always level-headed and perfectly regulated utterance of the sanctified experience. In prayer they became incoherent and apoplectic; in testimony wild, visionary and disconnected; and in exhortation violent, abusive and self-contradictory. The length and character of the whistling declared that some of the internal works were out of order. Something was one-sided; something had become unbalanced; steam was escaping not only to no profit but to the distress of the hearers.

Perhaps no one said anything, but many thought at once of the repair shop. That repair shop may be a sanitarium, a trip to the mountains or seaside, or a correcting, steadying blessing from the Lord. But surely some have need of the Round House of Grace into which they can run to get doctrine and experience to agree, and the whistle of testimony to harmonize with the truth of the Bible, with sanctified common sense, and with the inward spiritual life of the whistler.

My singer, Prof. R, was once conducting a testimony meeting. He asked a silent lady member of the church why she did not say something as did others. She replied that she was still because she had no gifts to express herself. His blunt rejoinder was, "The real reason is that you have nothing to tell, you have no experience to talk about".

A few days after that the lady in question sought and obtained a great blessing at the altar. Immediately her tongue began to fly. Hardly any one else could get in a word because of her loquacity. She became garrulous instead of unctuous and edifying. Whereupon Prof. R fell upon his knees in the midst of the service and cried out in prayer:

"O Lord, several days ago we asked Thee to start this womans tongue; we now have to beseech Thee to please stop it!"

The conclusion we draw from all this is that, if a Christian has no testimony, or does not whistle at all, he needs steam or the baptism of fire. If he whistles or talks too much, he needs the repair shop. May we all be guided into the middle ground of truth, and speak always right, and just enough on every occasion, to receive upon our souls the unclouded approval of God, and bring the most good to the greatest number of people.

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