The Happiest People!

Brief Bible Course for Teens and Youth.

Lesson 6. Whosoever Will May Come!  

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Memory Verse: "I delight to do thy will, 0 my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." Psalm 40:8.

"The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Revelations 22:17.

In the salvation of every individual there is a work that only God can do; "The Spirit and the bride say, Come." There is also a work that others can do; "Let him that heareth say, Come." Then there is a work that the indi­vidual must do for himself, "Whosoever will let him take of the water of life freely." No one else can do the "willing" for the individual. Even God will not do the willing. Each person must do the willing for himself.

It has been said that we are one third born, we are one third made, and one third we make ourselves. Let us notice for a moment the things we inherit, the things that are born in us. First, we are born with the fundamental instincts of life, such as hunger, self-preservation, and sex. These are given us by God for the blessing of the individual, the family, and the nation. A child cries, suckles, starts at noises, enjoys company, and imitates, not because anyone has taught him to do those things, but because God planned these instinctive laws from the time of creation for physical development.

We are born with certain hereditary traits also, the texture of our skin, the color of our eyes, the strength of our body, the nature of our temperament, and our mental aptitude. These come to us from our parents or grandparents. But during the years of childhood the environment and the impulses of instinct have most to do with molding the child's behavior.

In adolescence, at the threshold of manhood and womanhood, however, the hereditary tendencies predominate; and the tastes, the attitudes, and the aptitudes of the parents influence the life. Then, if a youth is given the right opportunity, hereditary traits, such as a talent for music, an aptitude for mathematics or history, or the ability to get along with people and to carry responsibility, will appear.

It must be emphasized, however, that character is not hereditary. Character, good or bad, cannot be transmitted. It is only the propensities, the tendencies, that are transmitted. If the parents have been dishonest, undependable, sensual, or alcoholic, inclinations in these directions will influence the young people during this period, but these tendencies can be overcome. There are still other factors that will enable the will of the individual to resist and overcome these tendencies and to build his own character.

Hereditary traits continue to appear even in adult life. Many of the mannerisms in speech, in walking, in house­keeping, as well as other idiosyncrasies, and even the predisposition to certain diseases are inherited. As the circumstances and opportunities of life unfold before them, young people find themselves doing what their parents did and being what their parents were. "As the twig is bent, the tree is inclined."

As an experiment to confirm the laws of heredity, a comparison was made in the United States of America between the descendants of a criminal, Jukes, and the descendants of a great preacher, Jonathan Edwards. The account follows: "From that unfortunate wretch Jukes, who saw the light in New York in 1720, 2,820 individuals have been traced. Most of these were paupers, prostitutes, physical wrecks, criminals, thieves, and murderers, who have cost the State half a million sterling. From Jonathan Edwards descended 1,394 persons, of whom 1,295 were college graduates; and of these 13 were presidents of great colleges, 16 professors in colleges, 60 physicians, 100 ministers, missionaries, or theological professors, 75 officers in the army or navy, 60 prominent authors and writers, and many others who held honorable positions as lawyers, senators, governors, mayors, successful merchants, and so on. It is not known that any of them was ever con­victed of crime.' " E. A. ANNETT, Psychology for Bible Teachers, pp. 93, 94.

As this contrast is studied, all are at once aware, of course, that these results were not entirely because of heredity. Another very powerful factor, environment, had a great deal to do with it. One third of a man's character habits are traceable to environment.

One of the greatest evidences ever produced in favor of the right kind of environment is the fact that of the sixty thousand children Dr. T. J. Barnardo brought in from the streets and surrounded with a Christian home influence, only 2 per cent failed to make good. Dr. Barnardo himself declared:

"'Thousands of children have passed through my hands during all these years, and I desire to set my seal to the statement that I have never known a case where the rescue was accomplished early enough, and where the training was thorough and continued sufficiently long, in which there has occurred a definite revulsion to some ancestral type of badness.' " Psychology for Bible Teachers, p. 91.

Let us now study this power of the will, and notice how it is built up and developed by the environment of the church, the school, and the home. I have found quite a lot of confusion among young people as to just what ‘will power’ really is.

Some time ago I heard a mother say to her small son, "It's time for you to run off to bed now, dear."

But the little dear shook his head, pouted his lips, and whined, "No."

Mother continued, "Now, be a good boy and run off to bed."

And the little boy said, "No! No!" and stamped his foot.

The mother answered, "You are going to bed, my little son. Now run along."

Her little son then lay down on the floor, kicked his legs, and yelled, "No! No! I don't want to."

Blushing with embarrassment, the poor mother apologized, "My little boy has such a strong will power."

No, he didn't have a strong will power. That little boy had a very stubborn "won't power." They are very different. Many people are confused in their understanding of the will power. Some even confuse it with "want" power, but "want" power is not will power.

One day there came to my dispensary an old man who groaned and groaned with the toothache. "Where do you live, Uncle?" I asked as I opened the door and let him in. He named a village ten miles away and added, "I walked all the way this morning, because I want to get my tooth pulled out." He did have a great deal of want power, didn't he, to walk ten miles to get a tooth out!

So I had him sit in a chair while I got ready to pull his tooth. I had a little silver tray, and on it I placed my syringe and needle, and as Uncle saw the needle he said, "Oh! Oh!" Then I put a little lance on the tray and an elevator--sometimes we need them if the roots are hard--and Uncle said, "Oh! Oh!" again. Then I selected two pairs of forceps and put them on the tray. Then I was all ready, and in my white coat with my sleeves rolled up, I said, "All right, Uncle. Open your mouth and let me get to work." But he had seen so many things on that tray that he was afraid, and covering his mouth with both his hands, he shook his head and said, "Um-um!"

I explained that after the first prick of the needle he wouldn't feel any more pain, and that his tooth would be out, but with his hands still tight over his mouth, he con­tinued to shake his head and say, "Um-um!"

I thought perhaps he didn't know I could pull teeth; so I took out a bottle of dried teeth, teeth that I had pulled and put in a bottle to use as an assurer, and I rattled them in front of him as I said, "Don't be scared! Look at all these teeth! I pulled every one, and not a single one hurt. Now come on, Uncle, open your mouth and let me get in there and pull that tooth."

But he shook his head and said, "Um-um!"

I had others try to convince him that it would be all right, but to no avail. He shook his head and said, "Um-um!" And, believe it or not, that man who wanted to get his tooth pulled so much that he walked ten miles to the dispensary for that very purpose, walked ten miles home again with that aching tooth still in his head. Why? Because he was not willing to let me pull that tooth.

Of the many possible definitions of the will, here is a paragraph that contains as good a definition as I have ever seen: "Pure religion has to do with the will. The will is the governing power in the nature of man, bringing all the other faculties under its sway. The will is not the taste or the inclination, but it is the deciding power, which works in the children of men unto obedience to God, or unto disobedience." Messages to Young People, p. 151.

How easy this is to understand; the will is not want power, but a deciding power. To have a decision implies a council and judges, and we do not have to look very long before we find that the council chamber is the mind and in that chamber are found three judges: (1) the voice of reason, (2) the voice of the heart's ideals, (3) the voice of conscience.

The Voice of Reason. Through Isaiah, God calls, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord." Isaiah 1:18. God has placed within our minds this power of reasoning that leads to choice. "I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live." Deuteronomy 30:19. With a voice cold and factual reason argues pro and con, telling what is good for us and what is bad for us. Reason pays no attention to whether we like it or not, or whether we want it or not. Coldly, clearly, it points out the advantages and the disadvantages.

We are not born with fully developed reasoning powers. This voice of reason is developed by the discipline of the home, the school, and the church. Obedience is rewarded with some mark of approval. Disobedience is met with some form of unpleasant punishment. And when the training is constant and consistent, the individual soon develops reasoning powers.

The Voice of the Heart's Ideal. Writers have always made a difference between the mind, which is the seat of knowledge, and the heart, which is the seat of the feelings. "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness." Romans 10:10, says Paul; and Solomon prayed, "Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart." 1 Kings 3:9. While the discipline of the home, the school, and the church are developing the voice of reason, the feelings engendered by the home, the school, and the church are developing the voice of the heart's ideal.

Little by little as we admire some hero and despise some unworthy person, the ideal man or woman takes shape within us. It is the voice of the man we want to be, and this voice of the heart's ideal is warm and passionate. But it can work in a bad way too if we admire unworthy heroes and may be taught to despise good behavior as ‘being a sissy’.

The Voice of Conscience. Isaiah speaks of the word behind him. “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21. Elijah called it the "still small voice." 1 Kings 19:12.

We commonly call it the voice of conscience. We are not born with a fully developed conscience. It is developed by the standards of the home, the school, and the church. The conscience is therefore not infallible, but it is the faculty through which we determine what is right or wrong. You remember when Paul was persecuting the church he declared, "I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day." Acts 23:1. You see his conscience had been educated according to the standards of the Pharisees. Later Christ met him on the road to Damascus, and the Holy Spirit renewed his conscience, and then Paul acted exactly the opposite, and suffered affliction with the people of God. So our con­sciences must be renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The decision of these three judges is the will. If a low heart's ideal outweighs the voice of reason and the voice of conscience, our will works within us to disobedience. But if the heart's ideal is elevated, in harmony with God and with reason, it works within us to obedience.

The Porter of Self-control. "Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance," says Peter. 2 Peter 1:5, 6. And Paul says, "Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things." 1 Corinthians  9:25. This is the Bible way of commending self-control to us all.

"The highest evidence of nobility in a Christian is self-control. He who can stand unmoved amid a storm of abuse is one of God's heroes. It is God's purpose that the kingly power of sanctified reason, controlled by divine grace, shall bear sway in the lives of human beings. He who rules his spirit is in possession of this power. In childhood and youth the character is most impressible. The power of self-control should then be acquired." Messages to Young People, p. 134.

At the doorway of the council chamber of the mind is the porter of self-control, calling, "This way" to all of the impulses of instinct, habit, heredity, and emotion that arise in the cells and organs of the body and travel the pathway of desire.

Normally it takes but a moment for these judges, the heart's ideal, the conscience, and the will, to do their work and arrive at their decisions, as the stream of desires come in to them for authorization to be put into action or not. The person may not be conscious of the individual arguments of these three judges. He may be aware only that he has exercised self-control and thought for a moment, then acted wisely. But the difference between acting according to the will after self-control has enabled the judges in the council chamber of the mind to do their work, and acting impulsively without thought is the difference between life and death.

I can remember my father telling a story of a young man and woman who were married and hoped to live happily forever after, but they didn't, and it wasn't long before they were fighting and quarreling and pulling each other's hair. At last the little woman couldn't stand it any longer, and one day after her husband went to work she went to see the preacher who had married them.

"Oh," she said, "we are so unhappy. We hoped our home would be a little heaven, but it isn't. Is there anything you can do for us?"

"Oh, yes!" said the preacher. "I have some magic medicine that will soon make you happy again."

"Oh, thank you so much," said the little woman. And soon the minister came out of his study with a bottle, all marked up on the outside.

"Shall I take a dose now?” asked the woman excitedly.

"Oh, no, not now," said the preacher. "You don't take it now; you wait till five o'clock in the afternoon. When you hear your husband's knock on the door, before you open the door, you take a big tablespoon full of this medicine, but don't swallow it. It has no power in your stomach. Hold it in your mouth for an hour, and then, then you'll feel its power."

"Thank you so much," said the little woman, and she hurried home with her bottle of magic medicine. All day long she dreamed about it, then at five o'clock, when she heard her husband's knock on the door, she flew to her bottle, took a big tablespoon full of medicine, and with her cheeks bulging, went and opened the door.

"Is dinner ready? Where's the paper? Get my slippers!" growled her tired, hungry husband. She smiled, but couldn't talk. She got the paper and his slippers, put his dinner on the table, and pointing to her mouth tried to explain that she couldn't talk yet.

"The toast is all burned! There's too much salt in the soup!" growled the man. But the little woman couldn't answer a word.

By and by dinner was over. Her husband, now satisfied and warmed, seated himself in his comfortable chair by the fire, and began to read his paper. He even chuckled and read some of the headlines to his wife! And by the time she could swallow her medicine, they were quite happy.

The next night it was better still, and the next night it was as though the old honeymoon days had come back again, and when she saw that the medicine would soon be used up, the little woman went back to the preacher for more.

"Please give me another bottle of that magic medicine," she said.

"Woman, does it work?" asked the preacher.

"Our home is just like heaven again," she replied, "and it's getting better and better every day."

"Then woman," said the preacher, "if you have found that it works, go fill your bottle at any water faucet." There was no magic in the medicine. The magic was in your self-control.

Now, the urges of instinct and heredity can follow one of two paths. We can respond to them without thinking, and act impulsively, doing what we want, when we want, and how we want; or we can take time to think and let reason, heart's ideal, and conscience make a decision for us.

The first is the pathway of self-indulgence, the selfish pathway. It ministers only to the flesh, to the animal within us, and ends in sorrow, disappointment, regret, remorse, and death.

The second is the pathway of self­control, and when the will is placed on the side of obedience to reason and conscience, it uplifts, ennobles, enlightens, and blesses both the person himself and others.

To illustrate the great difference in the results of our urges and desires following these two pathways, let us follow the instinct of hunger along the pathway of self­indulgence, and then along the pathway of self-control.

Arising from the cells and the organs of the body, the impulses of hunger travel the pathway of desire. If they turn into the pathway of self-indulgence, they will be unhampered by reason, ideals, or conscience. The person who thus satisfies these desires for food without thinking, will eat anything he wants, at any time he wants, in any quantity he wants. He will eat and drink as his selfish, animal impulses dictate, just because he wants to. Thus the pathway of self-indulgence ministers to the flesh and to the animal nature within, and the result is that one becomes unhealthy, a glutton, or a drunkard.

Now see what happens when this same instinct follows the pathway of self-control. Self-control calls, "This way, please," and opens the door to the council chamber of the mind. Reason speaks: "You want to eat! That is perfectly all right. Remember, the kind of work you do will decide the quantity you should eat, and your future health and strength as well as your present comfort require that four or five hours come between each meal. For the various functions of the body you need protein, carbohydrates, fats, and minerals. You can get your calcium in greens, your proteins in grains and beans, and your minerals and vitamins in fruits and vegetables. You don't like vegetables? I don't care whether you like them or not; you need them. They are good for you." Thus coldly and factually reason argues the pros and cons and tells the things that are good or bad.

Heart's ideal speaks: "Remember you are what you eat. What kind of man do you want to be? Here is a man who eats largely of raw seal's meat; his movements and habits are slow and sluggish. Here is a man, erect and alert, clear of eye and brain, healthy in body. He eats largely of grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. You want to be like him? Then keep just as close as you can to the whole food plant diet God first planned for man."

Thus, warmly, passionately the heart's ideal, high or low as the case may be, urge the kind of action that will help to reach that ideal.

Conscience speaks: "Not everything that can be eaten is food. Some things taken by the mouth are poisons that destroy. Some things God never intended for food, and He calls them unclean. God cannot bless the man who destroys his body with poisons, and God cannot approve of things that are unclean." So conscience tells whether the response to the desire will be right or wrong.

Then the decision is made, and the person says, "I will eat the right food, in the right quantities, at the right time." This decision is made by the will. And the result of desire traveling this pathway is a healthy, happy, clear-­eyed, clear-thinking person! But think for a moment. The healthy man, the drunkard, and the glutton are all products of the same physical impulses. The difference lies in the correct action of the will, or the power of choice.

Of course, the heart's ideal could be so low and corrupt that it might utterly disregard the counsel of sound reason and the pleading of enlightened conscience, in which case the decision would be, "I care not for reason or for God. I will eat what I want, any time I want, in any quantity I want." In such a case the will, instead of lifting man upward and ennobling him, turns downward and becomes willful sin, and ministers to the flesh and the animal nature, as do the desires that travel the pathway of self­indulgence.

Comparatively few sin willfully. Most people who take the time to think put their wills on the side of God and obedience. Most of the sins and mistakes of children and young people are the results of not thinking, not practicing self-control, but acting impulsively, their desires following the path of least resistance.

Let us follow the instinct of self-preservation along these same two paths. If the impulses of the self-preserva­tion instinct, with its accompanying emotion of fear, travel the pathway of uncontrolled self-expression, then impulsively, without thinking, the person will run from every strange sight and every strange sound. Such a one is a coward. But when these same impulses of fear are ushered into the council chamber of the mind, reason tells what sights and what sounds are dangerous. Heart's ideals hold before him the picture of the person he ought to be. Conscience tells him what is right and what is wrong in respect to duty, and the decision is made. The will ennobles that man, and he becomes brave and courageous. The only difference, then, between a brave, courageous man and a coward is the correct action of the will.

Now, let us follow the creative, or sex instinct, as it is commonly called, along these same two paths. Uncontrolled, driven along the pathway of self-indulgence by impulse, it leads to indiscriminate petting, lasciviousness, and adultery in all its ugly forms. It turns love into lust, breaks hearts, destroys homes, and ruins lives. Controlled, however, this instinct is largely responsible for the creative arts; music and literature, painting and sculpture, architecture and industrial inventions. It is the basis of courtesy, chivalry, and all home love; and it bears fruit in nursing, welfare work, and foreign missions service. It hardly seems possible that the self-sacrificing missionary and the profligate; the selfless mother and the harlot, are inspired by the same instinctive urge, yet it is even so. The great difference is accomplished by the will.

No wonder Solomon says, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23. The ideals of the heart have much to do with the decisions of the will. No wonder Paul says, "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." Romans 8:13. There is in­deed life or death in the choice of the will.

A few paragraphs from Messages to Young People will give emphasis to the statements that have been made: "Oh that every one might realize that he is the arbiter [referee] of his own destiny! Your happiness for this life, and for the future, immortal life lies with yourself." p. 31.

"Remember, dear young friends, that each day, each hour, each moment, you are weaving the web of your own destiny.... If you choose to follow your own inclinations, unchristlike habits will bind you with bands of steel.... But if you make brave efforts to overcome selfishness, allowing no opportunity to pass for helping those around you, the light of your example will guide others to the cross." Messages to Young People, p. 212.

"The will of man is aggressive, and is constantly striving to bend all things to its purposes. If it is enlisted on the side of God and right, the fruits of the Spirit will appear in the life; and God has appointed, `glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good.' " Messages to Young People , p. 54.

"As the will of man co-operates with the will of God, it becomes omnipotent." Messages to Young People , p. 101.

How thrilling it is to contemplate the unlimited development of the powers that can be ours and the fruits of the Spirit we may manifest when our wills are placed on the side of Christ. Yet how solemn to think that though God would send every angel in heaven to the aid of struggling humanity rather than allow them to be over­come.

“Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness, and relies wholly on the merits of the Saviour. God would send every angel in heaven to the aid of such an one, rather than allow him to be overcome.” Messages to Young People, p. 94.

It is not the work of good angels to control minds against the will of the individual. It is not until the one in danger realizes his danger and chooses to call on Christ for help that help comes.

“I saw evil angels contending for souls, and angels of God resisting them. The conflict was severe. Evil angels were crowding about them, corrupting the atmosphere with their poisonous influence, and stupefying their sensibilities. Holy angels were anxiously watching these souls, and were waiting to drive back Satan's host. But it is not the work of good angels to control minds against the will of the individuals. If they yield to the enemy, and make no effort to resist him, then the angels of God can do but little more than hold in check the host of Satan, that they should not destroy, until further light be given to those in peril, to move them to arouse and look to heaven for help. Jesus will not commission holy angels to extricate those who make no effort to help themselves. 

“If Satan sees he is in danger of losing one soul, he will exert himself to the utmost to keep that one. And when the individual is aroused to his danger, and, with distress and fervor, looks to Jesus for strength, Satan fears he shall lose a captive, and he calls a re-enforcement of his angels to hedge in the poor soul, and form a wall of darkness around him, that heaven's light may not reach him. But if the one in danger perseveres, and in helplessness and weakness casts himself upon the merits of the blood of Christ, Jesus listens to the earnest prayer of faith, and sends a re-enforcement of those angels which excel in strength to deliver him. 

“Satan cannot endure to have his powerful rival appealed to, for he fears and trembles before His [Christ's] strength and majesty. At the sound of fervent prayer, Satan's whole host trembles. He continues to call legions of evil angels to accomplish his object. And when angels, all-powerful, clothed with the armory of heaven, come to the help of the fainting, pursued soul, Satan and his host fall back, well knowing that their battle is lost.” Spiritual Gifts Volume 4B. pp. 104, 105.

After this discussion perhaps you will notice new significance in these scriptures.

"For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Galatians 6:8.

"I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 1 Corinthians 9:27.

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord. ... If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword." Isaiah 1:18-20.

We can but exclaim, What a wonderful Saviour! He has prepared eternal life, He has built the city of heavenly mansions, He has opened the way with His shed blood, He has promised every angel to be sent to our aid if need be, but there is one thing Christ has not done and will not do, there is one thing the angels cannot do for us. You and I must do the willing for ourselves. You and I must do the choosing.

"The Saviour is bending over the purchase of His blood, saying with inexpressible tenderness and pity, `Wilt thou be made whole?' He bids you arise in health and peace. Do not wait to feel that you are made whole. Believe the Saviour's word. Put your will on the side of Christ. Will to serve Him, and in acting upon His word you will receive strength. Whatever may be the evil practice, the master passion which through long indulgence binds both soul and body, Christ is able and longs to deliver. He will impart life to the soul that is 'dead in trespasses.' He will set free the captive that is held by weakness and misfortune and the chains of sin." Messages to Young People, p. 120.

Dear young people, that's just the kind of Saviour that I need. Don't you? I love to serve a Saviour like that. I love to submit my will to one who loves me so much, yet does not force me to serve Him.

In Ephesians 1:9, Paul speaks of the "mystery of his [God’s] will," and there is indeed something mysterious about the working of the will.

“Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:”

It is a fact that, when there is conflict between the voice of the heart's ideal, the voices of sound reason, and an enlightened conscience, and when young people submit and make their wills harmonize with the will of God, they actually get back much more than they give up.

In Steps to Christ, 47, we read: "The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, re­quires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness."

And again on page 52: "What you need to understand is the true force of the will.... Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him."

Weak though the will may be, once it is expressed, the door is opened for the will of God to do its work. The more young people will, the more they can will. The more they submit to the will of God, the less submission will there be for themselves, because the control of the Spirit makes them will to do those things that please God, until at last, doing the will of God is actually following their own will.

Many years ago there came to my dispensary an old man who wanted some medicine to put on his broken thumb. As I took off the dirty rag that covered it, I was shocked to find that the thumb was dead and black and rotting off. The broken bone stuck through the skin, and already blood poisoning had set in. In genuine alarm I said, "Uncle, you must sit right down and let me cut that thumb off. It is dead, and there is no medicine that will make that thumb better."

"No, no, Thara," he pleaded, "put some medicine on it. You put some medicine on Saw Wa's broken arm and tied it up with a stick and some rag, and it got better."

"But, Uncle," I argued, "it is too late now. If you had come ten days ago, then maybe I could have put some medicine on it and tied it up with a stick, but now I must cut it off, or else you will die."

"But, Thara, I want some medicine on. . ."

I thought he was just afraid that I didn't know how to cut thumbs off, so I reached up among my bottles for a finger I had preserved in spirits. "Look, Uncle, here is a finger. I cut it off, and it didn't hurt. I have medicine and . . "

He looked, but was not the least bit impressed. "No, no, Thara, just put. . ."

"My dear man," I said earnestly, "we have no time to lose. Come, let me do it now."

"Oh, no, not now, Thara, not now, Thara," he whispered fearfully, almost convinced that I was telling the truth. "Not now, Thara. I want some medicine on it first. There's a medicine man in the village across the valley from where I live. He's got some strong medicine. I'll go and try his medicine for ten days, and then if it is no better, I'll come and let you cut it off."

"But you can't live for ten days, Uncle, with that dead thumb sticking onto you," I pleaded. "Come on; I have the medicine; I have time; I can do it now."

"Not now, Thara; not now, Thara. After ten days I'll come," he answered, and I watched him go slowly toward the riverbank.

Every day I inquired of the patients who came from that direction whether they knew anything about Pati Soo Sar, who had the broken thumb, but I got no response until about the ninth day.

"Oh, you mean the old man from Thakwekla?"

"Yes, yes. How is he?" I eagerly inquired.

"Oh, we burned him five days ago," was the sad reply. Now, why did Pad Soo Sar die? Was it because he broke his thumb?


Was it because there was no balm in Gilead, and there was no physician there?

No! It was because he was not willing. If anyone ever misses eternal life, it will not be because he was a sinner, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, but it will be because he was not willing.


There is no chance, no destiny, no fate,
Can circumvent or hinder or control
The firm resolve of a determined soul.
Gifts count for nothing; will alone is great;
All things give way before it, soon or late.
What obstacle can stay the mighty force
Of the sea-seeking river in its course,
Or cause the ascending orb of day to wait?
Each wellborn soul must win what it deserves.
Let the fool prate of luck.
The fortunate is he whose earnest purpose never swerves,
Whose slightest action or inaction serves the one great aim.
Why, even Death stands still,
And waits an hour sometimes for such a will.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

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