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Lift Your Thumb!
A. B. Earle
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TOPIC: Preparation To Die, Now, Or Never

TITLE: Lift Your Thumb!

This incident I used at the close of a sermon in Union Hall, in San Francisco, California. About four thousand were present, and it was believed five hundred men and women asked us to pray for them that they might be saved.

I think I feel as the nurse did, in the hospital, with his thumb on the great artery, while a wounded soldier arranged his matters to die.

After a severe battle, a soldier had his arm amputated very near his body. The veins had been taken up, and he seemed to be doing well; but on one occasion, as the nurse was dressing his wounds, the blood began to flow freely. The nurse held the vein with his thumb, and sent for a physician, who, on entering the room, said, It is well, my brave fellow, that it was not the large artery. I can take this up. A short time after, the blood flowed more freely than before, and the skilful nurse, placing his thumb this time on the large artery, which had broken open, sent again for the physician.

After a careful examination of the whole matter, it was decided that the artery could not be taken up without removing the thumb of the nurse; and if his thumb was removed, the soldier would die immediately.

It only remained for the brave man to make immediate arrangements for death. About three hours were employed in sending messages to loved ones, and in arranging his effects before he left the world. When this was done the nurse still holding the vein, and knowing that death would follow in three minutes after lifting his thumb the brave but dying soldier said: "Now, kind nurse, you can take off your thumb: I must go. Farewell to all." Now came the severe trial to the nurse — how could he lift his thumb under such circumstances! The accumulated blood already rendered it difficult to hold the artery; so, turning his eye from the soldier, he lifted his thumb, and in three minutes death had done its work.

I think I feel very much as this nurse did, fearing, as I do, that with many in this congregation the crisis has come when you are to decide where you will spend eternity. I fear this is for some of you the line "That marks the destiny of men, For glory or despair".

As the nurse felt that he could not lift his thumb, and yet must, so with me now. How can I close this sermon, and end this entreaty, without knowing that you will not grieve the Spirit away this time?

Let me ask the Recording Angel to hold his pen, while each one of you in this hall decides the question whether you will cherish what little desire you have to become Christs, what little of the Holy Spirits influence still lingers about your heart, or say, Go thy way for this time, which may be forever!

But I must not linger. Let me request every person in the hall whether professor of religion or not who intends to cherish what desire he has to serve God, to rise on his feet.

Thank God, nearly every one present has risen! May God help us all to keep our resolution, for Jesus sake. Amen. — A. B. Earle, From: Incidents Used… In His Meetings, published in 1888.

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