Stone the Bell Ringer

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And it came to pass, when Paul was at Corinth, he and certain disciples came upon a mob that was stoning a bell ringer. And Paul said unto them, What then hath he done unto thee that his head should be bruised. And the people cried with one voice, “He hath rung too loud and too long and his changes lack melody. Yea, he maketh our heads to ring as if they were beaten with hammers. Behold, he standeth up high in the tower, and mighty are the bells and mighty is the noise thereof, and though there be few of us below, he nonetheless doth continue to ring, peal after peal, and we cannot hear the words that cometh out of our mouths. His rhythms vary from row to row and produce no recognizable tunes. He joineth with his cohorts and they stand in an evil circle, ringing their harsh methods and sequences. He doth confound the musical harmony of the spirit and his changes have not the sweetness of a carillon, for they confuse us mightily. Lo, he is a plague upon the faith and should be chastised.” Paul, hearing this, had himself picked up a small stone, and was about to cast it, but he set it down, and bade the bell ringer to come forward. He was a narrow man, pale of complexion, dry, flaking, thin of hair. And Paul said unto him, “Why hath thou so abused thy brethren? And the bell ringer replied, “They mumble their prayers, and do not lift their voices in praise, so I felt called to ring with fervor to enliven their faith.” And Paul turned round to the mob and said loudly, “Do not begrudge the bell ringer his enthusiasm, for he at least is willing to proclaim with boldness the joy that he doth possess in his heart.” And the mob did then stone both Paul and the bell ringer, who finally repented, and for forty days did play the flute in order to cleanse his spirit.

Gathered by the Very Rev’d Douglas Wm. McCaleb, Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Miami, from ancient sources and texts.