THE LESSON—That a complete surrender to Christ is the only successful way to purify a sinful life.
This illustration, in varied form, has been used by speakers for many years. It is here given, however, in a new presentation, with a hope that the revision may be helpful to others in spreading its usefulness. If paper is used, attach several thicknesses to your drawing board and provide yourself with a sharp penknife. If used as a blackboard illustration, an eraser will be needed.
"It is a good deal safer, boys, for you to walk the streets with your thumb in your mouth than with a cigarette there. The thumb can't hurt you, but the cigarette is bound to. I heard, once upon a time, of a young man who lived in a good home—maybe just as good as yours—who fell into the cigarette habit. I can't understand why a boy, when he knows what a terrible thing the cigarette habit is, will not leave the thing alone. But, like some whom you may know, this boy failed to heed the many warnings and, before he was aware of it, the deadly habit had him firmly in its grasp. I will ask one of the boys to please spell the word 'Habit' for me. [As each letter is repeated put it down on the drawing sheet. If you have previously outlined the entire picture, the location of the cross will determine the location of the letter T, in the center, as the T is later changed into a cross. Place the other four letters in proper relation to the letter T, completing Fig. 29.]
"Now, then—one day this young man awoke to the fact that he must rid himself of his terrible habit if he would amount to anything in the world. He was working in a distant city, and there, alone, how do you suppose he started in to get rid of his habit? He did it this way: He made up his mind to wipe it out gradually by cutting down the number of cigarettes which he smoked each day. So he started in. The first day he smoked two less than he did the day before—cut out some, you see. [With your penknife cut out the letter H and throw it away.] You will observe that although he cut out some of his habit, he had A BIT left. The next day he did the same thing, by cutting out two more. [Cut away the letter A.] Although he had a BIT of the habit left, he felt somewhat encouraged and declared to himself that he could cut it all out if he kept at it. But he didn't know how hard it would be to 'keep at it.' The next day he cut out a little more [Cut away the letter B], but the desire to smoke the deadly cigarette was still strong. He was inclined to give up in discouragement, for he had now found that cutting out wasn't cutting off and that he still had IT. Not until now did he feel his helplessness, for the habit was still strong upon him. He needed a friend—a friend who could help him in his earnest wish to become once more true and pure. And a friend came. It was one who knew Christ and His power to save everyone who turns to Him for help. Clearly this friend revealed to him the truth, that if he would master his habit he must master himself. Boldly he took the glad step, and, like all humble followers of Jesus, he gave himself into His loving care, to guide and to direct his life. With this step came active work for Christ, and it was then that the letter I was removed [Cut out the I] and a new vision burst on his sight, for the last remnant of his enemy faded away in the transformation of his life to Christian service. [Give the T a touch with black, converting it into a cross; then continue the drawing to complete Fig. 30. Use black for the hill and circle; outline the cross in red; use orange in broad strokes for the rays emanating from the cross.]
"This was the vision. It can come to every boy and girl. It has come to countless thousands. To this boy of whom we speak it came to save him from failure and death. No longer did the dread habit control him. The battle was won, not by his own strength, but through Christ, who strengthened him. Such strength will be yours every time you need it to help and to keep you.
"And let us think for a moment of the great service of the friend who led this young man to see the vision. Are we a friend to those who need us? 'Brethren,' says Paul, 'if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens.'
"May we ever be ready to lend a helping hand."
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