How the Warmth and Brightness Stored Away Ages Ago Are Now of Service to Man.
THE LESSON—That the true missionary spirit is the spreading abroad of the warmth of God's blessings which we have received.
The principles governing missions are permeated with the elements of love, unselfishness and self-sacrifice. This talk may be used, therefore, as a missionary day topic or on any occasion in which it is appropriate to dwell upon any of its attributes.
"Once upon a time, long before there were any people on the earth and perhaps before there were any animals or birds or reptiles here, the world was covered with an immense, luxuriant growth of vegetation. How do we know it? The geologists tell us so. They have dug deep into the earth and they have examined what they found, and they have long ago determined that this condition is true. It would seem that in those ages of long ago the world must have been very different from what it is now, for the seas flowed over vast areas which are now solid ground. Immense trees grew in those times, and the great ferns and palms and tropical plants grew in portions where now they cannot grow because it is too cold. I want to draw some trees and bushes to represent this great growth. [Draw trees and bushes of Fig. 72 in green.] And also the bright warm sun which, together with the abundance of water, caused them to grow so profusely. [Draw the sun in orange, completing Fig. 72.] Then, the geologists tell us, there came a great change. There were awful volcanic disturbances which caused the sea to overflow great areas of these trees and bushes and ferns, and they were buried from sight by a vast expanse of water. Gradually, though, another change came. The waters receded into lesser areas and the ground arose from beneath the waves. But the trees and the bushes and the ferns were gone. Where? They had been buried deep beneath the mud and sand and stones which the waters had washed over them. Then, after that, God created the monster mastodon and the mammoth and many other beasts which have since disappeared from the earth, and finally man was created to have dominion over the earth. For many centuries afterward, no one knew that the earth was once the place of immense trees and ferns and rank vegetable growth which had since been buried beneath the surface. But one day, some of this old, buried vegetable matter was found and brought to the surface of the earth. By that time it was not green any longer. It was hard and compact and looked very much like black stone. Someone seemed to think it would burn if fire were applied to it. And, strange to say, it did burn.
"Thus was coal discovered.
"Ever since then, we have been digging from the depths of the earth the coal which was deposited there in those ages of the past. And it is blessing the world everywhere. [With the broad side of your black crayon, quickly cover the vegetation of Fig. 72. Then, with broad strokes of the orange chalk, or with a combination of the yellow and the red, draw the flames, completely covering the sun, and finishing Fig. 73.] Coal is now the chief of the elements which bring warmth to our homes, our places of business and everywhere that we are spending our time indoors; it is the great factor in our great manufacturing and transportation enterprises. God laid it all up for us millions of years ago!
"Thus do we find a splendid example of what real service is. Jesus came to the earth to be of service to the world. When he departed, He left behind Him the command that the gospel should be preached to every creature—that the light and warmth from His life should not remain buried in us but that we should take that warmth to every portion of the earth, that it might, like the hidden sunshine in the coal, bring life to those in the cold and darkness of heathenism.
"Not many of us are able to carry this word to foreign lands or to the distant parts of our own land; but we have an important part in it in contributing our money, our encouragement and our prayers.
"And not only may we do this but we may begin right here in our midst to make our school and church a missionary blessing to those nearby ones who need its warmth. Remember that 'we are ambassadors, therefore, on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us.'"
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