The Life and Experiences of a Layman by Charles Boller

Pages 143- 147

A successful businessman, who was a Sunday school student in Syracuse, heard and was impressed with a story you told thirty-five years ago. Since that time he has practiced this simple story of the walnut and the two boys.

The application: Isn't it often the same for us as the two boys? Haven't we refused to yield out of stubbornness? And isn't it always our own big fault? In this school the writer has learned a remarkably true lesson from these lines. However it is a delicate matter to quote them here and only to warn others I will humble myself by, so to say, raising a red flag so that you may be cautioned by my great fault and tendency toward stubbornness and foolishness. Let it be a bug in the ear, indeed may it be inscribed in the heart; for the dangers are many and varied. —

Now to the matter. One day I was with approximately twenty to twenty-five workers in the lumber yard busy piling up lumber. Suddenly a whilrwind came, which blew the boards off of the high pile

across the street like feathers. Everyone looked for a secure place. Someone called to a young man not to go across the street. He was a little confused and pulled his coat up over his ears with his hands. When he was in the middle of the street a board hit him and knocked him to the ground, but he quickly recovered and went home. A Paddyfog [?] was at hand and told him to go to bed. Then I sent over my own good physician, who examined him and found no injury. He was merely in shock. The man was willing to settle with me and he wanted $500.00 in compensation for injuries. I decisively refused and he took me to court. I won the first trial. Then the case was shuttled from one court to another and I twice lost the case over a three year period, costing me $12,000 in damages. The plaintiff, after finding it necessary to engage attorneys to sue for compensation, received a mere $400.00. Since that time whenever anything unfortunate has happened in the business I have taken care of it through mutual agreement.

63. Pictures and Examples


"Let your light illuminate."

A traveler once visited the lighthouse of Calais. After he had been shown everything, he spoke to the watchman, "What would happen if your light went out during the night?" "Went out," he exclaimed, "never, impossible, Sir! Out there ships sail to all parts of the world! If one if my lamps went out this night in half a year I would hear from America or India that on this night the light of the lighthouse of Calais gave no warning and because of it ships were wrecked. O Lord, whenever I look at my light it's as if the eyes of the world are on me. Go out! Burn dully! Never, impossible!"

With what joy can true dedication to duty be carried out with the simplest activity! And what a lesson there is for the Christian!

It is not poetic oratory when one calls the Christian and the brave child of God a spiritual lighthouse upon which the eyes of the world are looking. Thus the light must be full,

brlliant and clear. As soon as you neglect your light and allow your lamp to get dirty it is easy for lost souls, fighting waves of temptation, to smash on the cliffs of depravity for lack of proper guidance.

God help us to shine as lights among the wanton and disheveled masses, to be a light of the world.


64. To the Light


An American related, one day I found a potato vine in a dark cellar, which spread its head towards a small cellar window in order to gain the light of the sun. Full of wonder I noticed that it was many feet long and had sprouted from a potato which laid in the corner of the cellar. Poor vine, I thought, you exert yourself so mightily in order to come out of the darkness into the light and human beings would rather remain in the shadow of death! Oh, they do not want to come to the light lest their deeds be punished!

This time I looked closer at the vine.

I saw that it was green where it was illuminated by the sunlight. Farther back it was pale and colorless. Isn't it also with the children of God, the children of the light? I asked myself. To the extent that the light can enter the heart from above, people are filled of light and life. But when they stick to their old ways they remain in darkness and spiritual death, a withered vine.


65. Opportunities. Horace Greeley


Many people want to achieve great things and complain that they were not offered the opportunity to do so! Years ago a poorly dressed boy sat shivering of the cold one morning on the doorstep of a newspaper office in New York City. As the owner opened the door he asked the man if he could clean the office. He did his work so skillfully and conscientiously that he was given a job. This boy became the famous Horace Greeley. There are opportunities everywhere. All you need to do is grab them by the hair. One scholar says, "A wise man creates his opportunities and exploits them."

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Text provided by Lockwood Library, State University of New York at Buffalo, BX8080.B65

Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks