the Christ Life in Jesus
Learning Her Value
"Just what I have been expecting for about seven
years," said Miss Pauline Worthington, looking from an open letter in her
"Is not your letter from Herbert, Lina?" questioned
Mrs. Worthington, a tiny, silver-haired old lady with gentle expression.
Mother, Essie is very ill with low, nervous fever,
and they want me to come and stay until she is better. 'The carriage will be
sent at three o'clock." Miss Pauline's eyes snapped, "I think it is
about time Bert's tyranny over that little martyr was ended. He's killing
"Lina! He is your brother."
"I can see his faults even if he is."
"I never heard Essie complain."
"She never would. But look at her. Nine years ago when
she was married, she was a lively sunbeam, so bright and pretty. Now, pale,
quiet and reserved, her voice is seldom heard, her smile seldom seen. A wintry
shadow of her former summer brightness! You have not seen her at home, but
surely when she is here you see the change."
"Yes, dear, she has changed; but family cares -"
"Has Louie changed so? She has been twelve years
Mrs. Worthington was silent. Louie was her oldest child, and
presided over the home in which her mother had been a crippled prisoner for
fifteen years. She took all the household care, and had five children, and yet
Louie had gained in beauty and cheerful happiness, since her marriage.
"Henry appreciates Louie," said Lina; "there
lies the difference between her happiness and Essie's dejection. If there is any
domestic trouble, Henry and Louie share it, while Herbert shifts it all upon
Essie. He is a habitual faultfinder."
"Perhaps, dear, Essie is not as good a housekeeper as
Louie. Herbert may have cause to find fault."
"Once in ten times he may. I never saw a faultless house
or housekeeper; but Essie and her house are the nearest approach to perfection I
ever did see."
"You never spoke so before, Lina."
"Because Louie and I thought it best not to worry you
with trouble beyond your help. But firmly believing as I do now, that Herbert is
actually worrying his wife into the grave, I intend to give him a lesson; that
is, if you can spare me to go?"
"You must go, dear. I can get along nicely."
So when Herbert Worthington sent his carriage, Lina was ready
for the fourteen mile drive to her brother's house. It was a place where no evil
spirit of repining and faultfinding should have been found. Spacious, handsomely
furnished, with well-trained servants and all the comforts wealth could furnish,
it seemed a perfect paradise to visitors. But a very demon lurked there to
poison all, and this demon Lina had come to exorcise.
For the first two weeks Essie took all of Lina's time and
care. Herbert snarled and fretted over domestic shortcomings, but Lina
peremptorily forbade all mention of these in the sickroom. When convalescence
commenced, Lina sent Essie to visit old Mrs. Worthington, and took control of
Herbert, the children, and the household, fully determined to show her brother
how far he carried his absurd habit of faultfinding.
The first dinner saw the beginning of the lesson Lina meant
to teach, by practically illustrating some of Herbert's absurdities. Herbert
entered the dining room, his handsome face disfigured by a frown.
"Soup," said Herbert, lifting the tureen cover;
"Susan," said Lina sharply, before Herbert could
lift the ladle, "take that tureen to the kitchen and tell Jane the soup is
not fit to eat."
Susan promptly obeyed. Herbert looked rather ruefully at the
vanishing dish. He was especially fond of soup. Essie would have had some gentle
excuse for it, she never whipped off his dinner in that way. All dinner time Lina
kept reminding Susan about that abominable soup, till Herbert heartily wished he
had said nothing about it. Then his imagination detected a burnt flavor in the
pudding, and before he could remonstrate, that dish followed the soup.
"I'll get this house in some sort of order before I
leave it!" said Lina.
"Before you leave it," said Herbert, sharply.
"Do you suppose you are a better housekeeper than Essie? Why, I have not a
friend who does not envy the exquisite order of my house and my dainty
"Herbert, you do surprise me. Only yesterday I heard you
say you did wish there was ever anything fit to eat on the table."
"I don't expect every word to be taken literally,"
said Herbert, rather sulkily. An hour later, finding a streak of dust in the
sitting room, he declared emphatically it was not fit for a pig to live in!
Coming into it the next morning, he found the curtains torn down, the carpets
taken up, the floor littered with pails, soap, and brushes, and Lina in a dismal
dress, directing two women, scrubbing vigorously.
"Goodness, what are you doing?
"Cleaning this room."
"Why, in the fall Essie had the whole house cleaned
until it shone, and didn't make half the muss," he added contemptuously.
"Well," said Lina, "I thought this room a
marvel of neatness myself, but when you said it was not fit for pigs, I supposed
you wanted it cleaned."
"The room was well enough," was the curt reply.
"For mercy's sake, don't turn any more of the house upside down."
At breakfast a tiny tear in Louie's apron caught her father's
eye. Because of his own angry statements: "She never had a decent stitch of
clothes, and he did wish somebody would see to her," two days later a
formidable dry-goods bill was presented at the store. Lina explained it to him
in this wise: "You said, Herbert, that Louie hadn't a decent stitch, and
you wished somebody would see to her, so I bought her a complete outfit. I could
not see any fault myself, but of course I got more expensive articles, as you
did not like those already provided. I am glad you called my attention to the
poor neglected child."
"Poor, neglected child!" echoed astonished Herbert.
"Why, Lina, Essie fairly slaves herself out over those children. I am sure
I never see any better dressed or neater. "
Lina merely shrugged her shoulders. A month passed. Essie
gained strength in the genial atmosphere surrounding Louie and her mother, while
Lina ruled Herbert's home with a rod of iron. Herbert began to experience a sick
longing for Essie's gentle presence. Lina took him so very literally in all he
said, and yet he could not rebuke her for doing exactly what he openly wished.
A chair with a tiny spot of dirt being declared absolutely
filthy, was upholstered and varnished at a cost of eight dollars. A dozen new
shirts, Essie's last labor of love, being said to "set like meal
bags," were bestowed upon the gardener, and a new set sent from the
Every window was opened after a pettish declaration that the
"room was as hot as an oven," and an hour later the stove was fired up
to smothering heat because he declared it "cold enough to freeze a polar
bear." In short, with apparently an energetic attempt to correct all
shortcomings and put the housekeeping upon a perfect basis, Lina, in one month,
nearly doubled her brother's expenses, and drove him to the very verge of
distraction, keeping account of every complaint.
But Essie, well and strong again, was coming home. On the day
of her expected arrival, Lina, with a solemn face, invited her brother into the
sitting room for a few moments of private conversation.
"Herbert," she said gravely, "I have a
proposition to make to you. You are my only brother, and I love you very dearly.
It really grieves me to the heart to see how much there is to find fault with in
your beautiful home."
Herbert twisted himself uneasily in his chair, but Lina
"You know that mother is very dependent on me, Louie
having the house and children to care for, but I think she would sacrifice her
own comfort for yours. So, if you wish, Herbert, I will come here permanently,
to keep things in order for you"
"You are very kind," he faltered, the instincts of
a gentleman battling with the strong desire to tell Lina she would certainly
drive him to a lunatic asylum by six months more of her model housekeeping.
"Not at all. A man who has made an unfortunate marriage
certainly needs all the aid and sympathy his family can give him."
The last straw was laid upon the camel's back. Herbert spoke
"You are entirely mistaken, Lina! I have not made an
unfortunate marriage. If ever a man was blessed in a wife, I am that man."
"You amaze me, Herbert," Lina cried out in
"I do not see why you should be surprised. Essie is
gentle, loving, orderly, a model housekeeper, and a perfect home angel -God bless
"Herbert, is that true?"
"Certainly it is true."
"I cannot believe it," was the slow, hesitating
"Cannot believe it! Why?"
-and Lina dwelt impressively upon every
word- "during the nine years of your married life, though visiting here
frequently, I never heard you speak one word of encouragement or praise to Essie.
I never saw one look of approbation upon your face or appreciation of any effort
she made for your comfort. Continual faultfinding and constant blame have
changed her from a happy, winsome girl to a pale, careworn woman. Even her last
illness was but the unbroken despair of a heart crushed under a load of daily
censure and constant striving for the approbation never given. And you tell me
now she has never failed in her duty to you. There is a grave error
The sadly earnest tone, the face of thoughtful gravity, sent
every word home to Herbert's heart. He spoke no word of self-defense as Lina
slowly left the room. In the silence that followed, conscience reviewed the
past, and he knew that his sister had only spoken the truth. The habit of
fault-finding meeting no resistance in Essie's gentleness, had gained in force
till all its enormity stood revealed in the experience of the past month.
In the days when Essie lay dangerously ill there had been no
self-reproach like this in her husband's sorrow. He had given his wife a fair
home, an ample income, frequent social pleasures, many costly gifts, and loved
her faithfully, while poisoning her whole life.
"God help me," he whispered, "to conquer this
fault. Essie shall hear no more faultfinding, and if I see her drooping I will
send her to Mother and have Lina back again."
Never had wife and mother warmer welcome than greeted Essie.
The children were unchecked in their loudest exhibit of delight. Lina had to
rush into the hall to hide her merry eyes when Herbert, kissing Essie, said:
"We must let Mother have Lina now, dear; she has been very kind and worked
hard for my comfort; but there is no home-fairy like my Essie."
The quick, glad look in his wife's soft eyes told Herbert
that one step had been taken in the right direction. As the days glided by, and
Essie found appreciation meeting every effort to home comfort, a word of praise
for every little triumph of cookery or needlework, her pale face grew bright
with untold happiness. Gradually the careworn expression was replaced by one of
sweet content, and Herbert found his own heart lighted by the cheerful voice,
the sunny smile, the bright eyes of the Essie he had wooed years before.
Lina, making a visit six months later, told her mother on her
return, "Herbert has learned his lesson by heart, Mother, he appreciates
Essie now at her value, and he lets her know it."
Four Magic Words
Robert and Eleanor Ashfield sat at the breakfast table.
"You had no right to say what you did!" she cried, stormily. It might
have been their sixteenth or their sixtieth quarrel; he had long ago lost count.
As it reached its unendurable climax he arose from the daintily set breakfast
table, his food scarcely touched. Eleanor rose as soon as he had done so, saying
bitterly, "I suppose you're going off without your breakfast just to annoy
He flung back some violent answer, much like hundreds of
others he had made before in those frequent recurring disturbances which
well-bred people so scrupulously save for their nearest and dearest. Then he
stalked from the room, and went to his office. The day was a miserable one.
Being a lawyer, he forced himself into his usual kindly
professional air, and into an apparently personal interest in the woes of his
In this way the morning passed; then came a tasteless
luncheon, and the afternoon opened with more clients-to the same assumed
interest. When he found himself facing the last one of the day, it was with a
feeling half of relief that the work for the day was over, half of wretched
distaste that he must go home and finish out the quarrel he had left. He knew
perfectly well it would come up again in some way that very night.
This sort of thing had been going on now for three years;
they had been married five. Applied maxims as to the folly of getting angry with
a woman had all failed him. He became conscious that he was thinking too much of
his own affairs, that he was staring too absently at his last client. The
latter, his law matters satisfactorily adjusted, was indulging in some personal
memories induced by Ashfield's kindly manner.
"It's for her sake I'm after bein' so glad I won,"
the old man was saying, happily. "Thirty years of good times we've had
togither, Rosy an' me. She's made this world so pleasant to me that I'm after
fearing' I'll never want to leave it, barrin' she should go first."
The lawyer was conscious of a sudden, genuine interest,
"You are talking of your wife?"
"Of who else could I be talkin?"
"You say you've had thirty years of happiness with her?
I suppose she's one of these yellow-haired saints."
"No, sir. Rosy an' her folks have all been redheaded,
an' by the same token, had the highest of tempers."
"An you have been happy with her?" asked the
The old man answered, frankly, "Neither of us was happy
the first five years. Trouble began almost in our honeymoon. It was just six
months after we married that Rosy flung a fryin' pan at me and after just seven
months I beat her. We scandalized the neighbors!"
"What changed it?" the lawyer asked, more
sceptically still. "Did you get afraid of each other?"
"There's no scrap of 'fraid in either of us, Sir. Things
was goin' from bad to worse. Me gittin' so I couldn't do me ditchin' decent
because of thinkin' over the quarrels, when it come to me I might take counsel
of Johnny Milligan, the very wise old man that lived behind us on the hill.
"'Tis said the woman should be the peacemaker,' I
growled to Johnny when I finished me tale to him.
"'Tis said wrong,' says Johnny. 'Tis the man should
handle all situations. There's four magic words which control an' subdue women,
no matter what temper they are in; same as certain magic sounds will quiet a
frantic horse. These four words, they never fail; they are hard to pronounce
when a row is on, unless the man remembers how he is the superior, and 'tis his
own fault if he doesn't say them.'
" 'Give me the words,' says 1.
"'Use them when ye're angriest,' says Johnny. 'Use them
when they strangle ye. Cough 'em out. Choke 'em out!-But out they must come!'
"So old Johnny wrote them four words on a piece of paper
for me. When I'd puzzled them out, me jaw dropped, and I'd no faith at all,
rememberin' the fryin' pan and what Rosy was when she fell into a rage.
"For an exception, we had no quarrel that night, an'
time mornin' come, I was more doubtful than ever of Johnny's prescription. The
next evenin' when I came home, we both flew into a rage over how much buttermilk
the pig ought to have you wouldn't believe what small things we would quarrel
over. I was about to say the worst things, when I remembered old Johnny and what
he'd wrote out for me, an' how he said they'd be hard to say in a quarrel-an'
they was hard! But I looked Rosy full in the eye, an' I said them out loud and
distinct. She stared at me, flushed, and hesitated. I seen me advantage and I
said them again. She tucked her head down and sidled away from the pigpen towards me. 'Oh,
Tim,' says she, 'I didn't mean to be nasty! Feed the pig as much buttermilk as
ye like.' "Well, I must be goin', Sir."
"No hurry, Ryan," said the lawyer. "Did they
always work-the words?"
"Always, Sir! An' I've been no miser with the
prescription, I give it to more than one fella in difficulties with his
wife." They both arose. The lawyer blushed, but he said with a dry little
smile, "Give me the words?"
That night, business sent Ashfield to a place five hundred
miles away. He returned a week later, the story of old Johnny only a hazy
Eleanor's nerves and temper, the smoother for his week's
absence, kept sweet the day of his return-until that night when a difference of
opinion concerning a rug she had purchased (of a color he especially disliked)
brought on a storm that was the fiercest of their whole married life.
They stood in their attractively furnished library, their
feet on the offending rug, their tall, distinguished figures drawn up to full
height, the woman passionately resentful, the man white with anger.
Suddenly, born apparently out of nowhere, a few sentences
flashed vividly before him, "These four words-they are hard to say when a
row is on, but they never fail. ‘Tis the man's own fault if he doesn't use
Ashfield shook himself; his hands clenched. He made a wild
effort, but his lips were soundless. The bitter powers inside were murdering the
magic four. Then suddenly, impetuously, looking the angry woman before him
straight in the eyes, he desperately flung out the sentence they made. They
sounded grotesquely out of place in the midst of this wild quarrel; but he heard
himself saying them clearly and distinctly, "Dear, I love you."
As the unexpected sentence fell on her ears, she stared; then
she flushed. It sounded strangely sweet to her, strangely powerful; that
sentence, flashing out in sheer gold from the base metal of their quarrel.
Sudden remorse brought tears into her eyes. She had just wounded him all she
could over a foolish thing like a rug! And yet, even in the midst of their
mutual anger, he could say the sentence most beloved by every woman!
Like calming music, the words sang in her soul; her anger
receded before them, then died utterly. Bowing her head, she said, "Oh,
Robert! After all, why should I fuss about the hateful old rug? Let's send it
back and exchange it for some color we both like."
He held out his arms mutely, then smiled down on the tear-wet
face she lifted, and bent to kiss it.
Law of Kindness.
The story is told of a sweet young Christian wife whose
husband was a drunkard. Night after night he would frequent the local bars,
socializing and drinking with his buddies. On many an occasion he would brag
about his wife, how sweet and considerate of him she was.
One evening, his buddies decided to find out if his boasts
were true and asked if they could go home with him for an evening meal. It was
already past midnight, but the husband was so sure of his wife's response to
such a request, even at such an hour, that he immediately complied and led them
to his home.
Upon arriving, they found his wife had already retired for
the night. The husband woke her and let her know of his request. She quickly
dressed and went into the kitchen to prepare a meal. And what a meal it was! No
sandwiches roughly thrown together and tossed upon an empty table. The table was
set as if for honored guests and the meal served was fit for a king.
The husband seated his friends around the table, beaming at
the meal prepared by his lovely wife, satisfied that he had been proved right to
his buddies. All during the meal his wife hovered near, waiting to see if any of
them should like or need any thing further.
The husband began to realize what was happening. It finally
occurred to him just how late it was getting, and just how tired his wife must
be. Still, she smiled and complied with every wish that anyone made. Never did
she speak a harsh word or give an impatient look to him or any of his guests.
When the meal was over and his friends had gone, he sat in
the kitchen as his wife washed the dishes. As he watched her, a question keep
gnawing at him. Finally he asked her, "Dear, why do you treat my friends
and me in such a kind and sweet manner, especially at such a late hour?"
She looked at her husband with love in her eyes and replied,
"Because this is the only world you will ever enjoy. I want you to at least
be happy here."
Upon hearing this, his heart melted and he determined to
surrender his life to the Lord. If his wife could have such love for him, then
what love God must have for him also!
The last stroke of the bell was dying away when Linda Dahl
walked timidly across the schoolroom floor, and sat down in the nearest empty
"O, my, my!" whispered Jennifer Wilson across the
aisle to her chum. "She is the plainest-looking girl I ever saw."
Elizabeth nodded her head very positively, and two or three
others exchanged knowing glances. A few moments later a little piece of paper
fluttered down at Jennifer's feet from a desk top. On it was written:
"She's so plain. She's Rocky Mountainy-all ridges and hubbles.
Meanwhile Linda sat very still, her great black eyes fixed on
the teacher's face.
Have you ever held a frightened bird in your hand, and felt
its heart beat? That is the way Linda's heart was going. She was a stranger. Her
father had moved to this place from a distant town, and she had walked to school
that morning with a student who lived on the same street, but who had fluttered
away into a little group of children almost as soon as she had shown the new
girl where to hang her coat; and Linda, naturally a bit sensitive, felt very
This feeling was heightened when the bell struck, and one by
one the students filed past into the schoolroom, with only a rude stare or
indifferent glance, as if she were some spectre on exhibition. When the last one
had passed her, she clasped and unclasped her hands nervously. "It is
because I am so homely!" she thought.
A month or more went by. Somehow Linda and her schoolmates
had not made as much progress in getting acquainted as one would have thought.
The new girl was unobtrusive, attended strictly to her studies, and made few
demands on those about her; yet it was true that there was among them at least
an unacknowledged conspiracy to taboo her, or an understanding that she was to
be ignored almost completely.
This treatment Linda attributed to her looks. Ever since she
could remember, she had been called "homely," "ugly,"
"plain," and similar names. Now, though she preserved a calm exterior,
she could not help being unhappy because she was thus slighted.
One Monday morning a little flurry of excitement was visible
among the pupils of the uptown grammar school. Elizabeth Weston had announced a
party to come off later in the week, and several of them had been invited.
"Will you invite Linda Dahl?" asked Jennifer,
bending over her friend.
"I have been thinking about it," Elizabeth
answered, slowly. "Miss Somers says she has the best lessons of any one in
her class, and then she was so nice to Jimmy Flanders that day he sprained his
arm. I have half a mind to." And so she did.
That night when Linda was telling her mother of the
invitation she had received, she said, doubtfully, "I think I shall not
"Why not?" was the reply. "It can do no good
to stay away, and something may be gained by going."
So it chanced that Linda found herself at Elizabeth's home on
the evening of the party. Her hostess met her smilingly. "She is really
glad that I came," thought Linda. And she felt her soul suddenly warm to
life, just as the thirsty earth brightens and glows and sends up little shoots
of new green at a patter of summer rain.
parlour was decorated in green and white. The bright
lights, the merry figures moving beneath, and the shining faces, half of which
were strange to Linda, formed a pretty picture, and the girl moved here and
there in the constantly shifting kaleidoscope with a freedom and happiness she
had not known since coming to the town.
At last she found herself, with the others, sitting very
quietly and listening to two girls play a duet on the piano. Then one of them
sang a Scottish song. Within the warmth and richness of the song it seemed you
could hear the warbling of birds and the melody of brooks. Linda heard a
half-sigh close beside her. "I wish I could sing! I've always wanted to be
able to sing! "
Then for the first time she saw who sat there-a tall,
beautiful, gracefully dressed girl whom she had noticed several times during the
evening, and to whom everybody seemed to defer. She had heard vaguely that this
was Elizabeth's cousin, Sarah, and wondered if it was for her that Elizabeth had
given the party. "And can't you?" she asked, evincing instant
The girl turned toward her with a smile. "Not at
all," she answered. "Sometimes I used to try when no one heard, and
once when I was in the hammock with my brother's little girl, I joined her in
the song she was singing. She looked at me in a minute with a rueful countenance
and said, 'Aunt Sarah, I can't sing when you are making such a noise!' "
Linda laughed. "I haven't tried much since," the tall girl added.
"We have singing lessons at school twice a week,"
Linda said, presently, "but I like the everyday lessons better."
"Do you?" asked Sarah. "I like mathematics and
using a hammer and nails and saw. Mother says I should be a carpenter. "
"But you don't look like one," Linda smiled,
critically; and then continued: "We began physical geography this term. It
is so interesting. And Miss Somers makes language beautiful; I can't help liking
"Is that right," said Sarah. "I never could
Linda was laughing again. The tall girl turned more fully
toward her inquiringly. "I was thinking of what Johnny Weeks said down in
the primary room the other day," Linda explained. "The teacher asked
him what 'cat' was. I guess he was not paying attention. He looked all around,
and finally said he did not know. She told him it was a noun. 'Then,' he said,
after some deliberation, 'kitten must be a pronoun.’ Thus the conversation
continued between plain Linda and Sarah.
An hour afterward, all the lights but one in the house were
out. Elizabeth sat with her cousin talking over the events of the evening.
"And how do you like Linda Dahl?" she asked, and
lent an eager ear, for Sarah's word could make or mar things irretrievably.
"Like her? I have never liked anyone better. Perhaps I
would not have noticed, had you not spoken particularly about her."
"Well," said Elizabeth, "how is that?"
"Oh, she is all life and vivacity." said Sarah.
"I thought you said she was so quiet and backwoodsy.
"But she was. " defended Elizabeth. "I never
saw her like this before.
"Then something must have awakened her. If anyone seemed
ill at ease or lonely, she went to him or her, and before long they were talking
and happy! I saw some of her schoolmates look at her wonderingly, and at least
one sneered, but I watched. She had just one thought, and that was to make
everyone happy. You could have spared any one of the girls better; in fact, any
three of them."
Long after Sarah had gone to sleep, Elizabeth lay thinking.
"Jimmy Flanders," she said, and counted off one finger. Then she
recalled another good deed of Linda, and then another. After all, it was
wonderful how many she could reckon up, and all so quietly done. Strange she had
never thought of them all together before. How could Linda be so happy and
giving among so many frowns and slights?
The next forenoon session of the grammar school was well
under way. Linda opened her history, and in it was a little slip of paper that
she had used as a book-mark since that first morning. An odd spirit seized her,
and almost before she knew it, she had gone up the aisle and laid it on
Elizabeth's desk. The next instant she would have given much to withdraw it.
Elizabeth glanced down and flushed painfully. There it was: "She's so
plain. She's Rocky Mountainy-all ridges and hubbles." But Linda was back at
her work again, evidently unruffled.
When the bell tapped for intermission, Elizabeth went to her.
"Linda, I did write it. Oh, I am so ashamed!" she cried, and burst
into tears. She hid her face on Linda's shoulder.
One of those smiles that somehow have the power of
transforming the harshest features, swept over Linda's face, she squeezed
Elizabeth's hand. From that day, Linda slipped into the queenly place she had a
right to occupy, and it was not long before everyone forgot her plainness.
That was the beginning. But as the years went by, the
strangest thing began to happen to Linda, though she did not seem to notice. As
she grew older and matured, the rough lines mellowed and softened; the short
figure stretched upward until she was as beautiful as her dearest wish had
pictured. But her real beauty always remained her gracious spirit of love and
unselfishness and her tender regard for others. That is a beauty that never
withers away, for its roots are planted in the soul.
God Loves Jewels
(But He Loves People More)
God must love jewels, for He made the gates of the New
Jerusalem out of pearls and the streets out of gold.
And yet He has a reservation about gold, jewels, and precious
stones for mankind. It's not that He doesn't want us to be rich or to look
beautiful, but for quite another reason.
You see, one of God's best friends became His worst enemy,
and part of the reason was his inordinate love for precious stones.
The Scriptures say that, "Lucifer was the anointed
cherub who covers" (Ezekiel 28:14). That means that he was next to God, for
the "covering cherub" is the one who stands beside the throne, as
symbolized in the earthly sanctuary. The Bible goes on to say that he was
"perfect," the "seal of perfection," and "full of
wisdom and perfect in beauty" (Ezekiel 28:15, 12). He was also loved of
God, for it says that Jesus, the "Son of Man," lamented over his
Somehow, over the course of time, Lucifer became proud. The
Bible says his "heart was lifted up" because of his
"beauty." He covered himself with "every precious stone . . . The
sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and
emerald with gold" (Ezekiel 28:17, 13).
He came to the place where he loved his beauty and jewels
more than God. This led to selfishness and rebellion and eventually to a
nightmare of sin resulting in the death of God's own Son.
When God first made the world, gold and jewels were plentiful
upon the earth, but at the time of the Flood, along with the mighty forests that
were buried making today's gigantic oil fields, so these precious stones were
buried out of sight. Men's hearts, before the Flood, were filled with greed and
violence, and out of mercy for man God hid these precious stones that had led to
so much bloodshed.
A pastor was catching a plane in the Philadelphia airport
when a member of the Hare Krishna movement offered him a book. Upon opening it,
he was surprised to see their chief god decked out with all the jewels the Bible
describes Satan as being covered with. Upon investigation he found that jewellery
is associated with every eastern and heathen religion. Could it be that Satan is
representing himself in these mystery religions?
And thus it is that God, though He loves beauty and though He
wants mankind to be as happy as possible, nevertheless has concerns about
mankind wearing jewellery because of the natural pride of the human heart.
God's desire is to save mankind. But He knows that when we
get to heaven there is going to be an abundance of precious stones. How can He
be sure that over a period of millions of years we will never make the same
mistake Lucifer did and learn to love these created things more than the Creator
Himself? There is one way He can know, by testing us here during this time of
This world is a school in which we are to prepare for heaven.
The Bible says that if we will be faithful over the little things here, we will
be entrusted with larger things in heaven (Matthew 25:21, 23). But if He can't
trust us with even a tiny diamond or piece of gold here for just a few years of
probationary time, how can He trust us with the riches of heaven for all
Thus the Bible says that "women" should "adorn
themselves in modest apparel with propriety and moderation, not with braided
hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing" (l Timothy 2:9
Again, the Bible says, "Do not let your beauty be that
outward adorning of arranging the hair, of wearing gold, or of putting on fine
apparel; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible
ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of
God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted God also
adorned themselves" (1 Peter 3:3-5).
Mary had unconsciously grown up with a love for
Probably she had heard comments as a little girl about how beautiful someone was
because of some necklace or other ornament. This beauty and acceptance became
associated with jewellery in her mind.
Though from the family of a Ford Motor Company worker in
Detroit, she met a young man from a country town of Pennsylvania who gave her a
beautiful diamond as an engagement present, and soon they were married and
living in his home town.
Soon the glitter of marriage was not shining as brightly as
the sparkle of her diamond. He was not a Christian and was acquainted with the
ways of the world. He had tried drugs, and his ideals and ways were not the same
as hers. Within six months they were on the verge of divorce, and yet he loved
her as much as she loved him. There just appeared to be no common ground for
In trying to find a solution, they read in the newspaper an
announcement about a coming Prophecy Seminar in a hall. Since nothing else had
worked, and as they had nothing to lose, for they were ready for divorce anyway,
they decided to try religion.
Almost immediately their marriage began to improve. And so,
as they had received so much benefit, they continued to study the Bible. After
four months of study, they both decided to be baptized and join their lives with
But one day while preparing for baptism, the pastor had them
read some texts about jewellery. Like the rich young ruler in the Bible, Mary
became convicted that the Lord wanted her to give up her beloved diamond.
The conviction was sudden and the response was instant. She
blurted out, "If I have to give up my diamond to get to heaven, I can never
go!" And like the rich young ruler on the verge of the kingdom, she turned
Two days later the pastor visited her and her husband in
their home. There he met two other pastors who were quite worldly in their
beliefs and practices, trying to soothe her conscience and convince her that God
wasn't so particular. And yet, in spite of all their arguments, she knew in her
heart that she had been convicted by the Holy Spirit, in accordance with the
Scriptures, to sacrifice her idol.
Never before had she known how much that tiny piece of stone
meant to her. Without her knowing it, it was her idol and her God. Though she
would have denied it before, she now fully realized that it meant more to her
than even heaven itself!
She knew the Lord had led her in her study to that point. She
knew the Lord had turned her marriage around during the last four months of
study. She had tasted the joys of a clear conscience; could she give it all up
for a little stone?
The day came for the baptism and she hadn't gained the
victory, but she came to the baptism anyway with the diamond and the rest of her
jewellery all in place. She knew she would not be baptized without gaining the
victory, nor could she stay away. She had come too far to turn back now. She
approached the pastor and asked him to study and pray with her again. It was
time for the baptism to begin, and there were several others awaiting baptism,
but Mary and the pastor went back into his study, opened the Bible and studied
everything it said on the subject.
For over an hour the congregation and other baptismal
candidates waited for the pastor. They sang song after song, not knowing the
cause of the delay. But a soul was tottering in the balances between life and
death; would she again turn away sorrowfully to her private god or would she,
like Levi Matthew, leave all to follow the lowly Jesus?
It is interesting that God never requires anything that is
not for our best interest. He doesn't require us to lie on a bed of nails, go on
long pilgrimages, or starve ourselves.
In Mary's case, there was nothing physically painful, or
humiliating, in not wearing her diamond. But it was her test, and she knew it.
Satan, who was striving for her soul, was making it seem like the all-important
thing in her life. At the same time, the Holy Spirit was also influencing her
and painting the picture of God's love and the value of eternal life. She was
lingering in the balance.
Finally, after over an hour of prayer and study, with tears
rolling down her cheeks she said, "I surrender." She had surrendered
to the Holy Spirit. How surprised she was to find that she had a peace and joy
from winning the battle over self that she had never known before!
That day twelve people were baptized, including Mary and her
husband. Her baptism was not just a form as it is with so many, but it truly
represented a new birth. The Holy Spirit could use her now as He never could
before, and within a short period of time, she brought three new people to
Christ, who were also baptized as she had been.
In every life there is some cherished sin that Satan has
developed an intense desire for. The Bible calls it a "besetting sin"
(Hebrews 12: 1). With the rich young ruler it was his money. With Mary it was
her jewellery. The cost of eternal life requires the conquering of our besetting