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           Pearl of Great Price

                           David Morse a American missionary to India became great
                     friends there with the pearl-diver, Rambhau. Many an
                               evening he spent in Rambhau's cabin reading to him from
                        the Bible, and explaining to him God's way of salvation.
                     Rambhau enjoyed listening to the Word of God, but
                whenever the missionary tried to get Rambhau to
                              accept Christ as his Saviour he would shake his head and                                reply, "Your Christian way to heaven is too easy for me!
                              I cannot accept it. If ever I should find admittance to heaven
                  in that manner I would feel like a pauper there...I like a
                  beggar who has been let in out of pity. I may be proud
      but I want to deserve, I want to earn my place in
 heaven and so I am going to work for it."
                        Nothing the missionary could say seemed to have any
                       effect on Rambhau's decision, and so quite a few years
              slipped by. One evening, however, the missionary
                              heard a knock on his door, and on going to open it he found Rambhau there.
"Come in, dear friend," said Morse.
                      "No," said the pearl-diver. "I want you to come with me
                         to my house, Sahib, for a short time I have something
to show you. Please do not say 'No'''.
               "Of course I'll come," replied the missionary. As they
                   neared his house, Rambhau said: "In a week's time
                  I start working for my place in heaven; I am leaving
                   for Delhi and I am going there on my knees." "Man,
              you're crazy! It's nine hundred miles to Delhi, and
                the skin will break on your knees, and you will have
                     blood-poisoning or leprosy before you get to Bombay."
               "No, I must get to Delhi," affirmed Rambhau, "and the
                            immortals will reward me for it! The suffering will be sweet for it will purchase heaven for me!"
             "Rambhau, my friend you can't. How can I bear you
                 to do it when Jesus Christ has suffered and died to
purchase heaven for you!"
        But the old man could not be moved. "You are my
        dearest friend on earth,Sahib Morse. Through all
                    these years you have stood by me in sickness,in want
                         you have been sometimes my only friend. But even you
                              cannot turn me from my desire to purchase eternal bliss....
                I must go to Delhi!" Inside the hut Morse was seated
                  in the very chair Rambhau had specially built for him--
                            where on so many occasions he had read to him the Bible.
              Rambhau left the room to return soon with a small but
                    heavy English strongbox. "I have had this box for years,"
                       said he, "and I keep only one thing in it. Now I will tell you
 about it, Sahib Morse. I once had a son..."
               "A son! Why, Rambhau, you have never before said
a word about him!"
           "No, Sahib, I couldn't." Even as he spoke the diver's
eyes were moistened.
         "Now I must tell you, for soon I will leave, and who
       knows whether I shall ever return? My son was
                       a diver too. He was the best pearl diver on the coasts of
         India. He had the swiftest dive, the keenest eye,
  the strongest arm, the longest breath of any
man who ever sought for pearls. What joy
  he brought to me! Most pearls, as you know,
         have some defect or blemish only the expert can
 discern, but my boy always dreamed of finding
 the 'perfect' pearl one beyond all that was ever
 found. "One day he found it! But even when he
saw it he had been under water too long....
         That pearl cost him his life, for he died soon after."
               The old pearl diver bowed his head. For a moment his
 whole body shook, but there was no sound.
                "All these years," he continued, "I have kept this pearl
           but now I am going, not to return, and to you, my
best friend I am giving my pearl."
                 The old man worked the combination on the strongbox
              and drew from it a carefully wrapped package. Gently
           opening the cotton, he picked up a mammoth pearl
        and placed it in the hand of the missionary. It was
       one of the largest pearls ever found off the coast
               of India, and glowed with a lustre and brilliance never
    seen in cultured pearls. It would have brought a
fabulous sum in any market.
                      For a moment the missionary was speechless and gazed
 with awe. "Rambhau! What a pearl!"
                  "That pearl, Sahib, is perfect," replied the Indian quietly.
                  The missionary looked up quickly with a new thought:
                   Was not this the very opportunity and occasion he had
                 prayed for to make Rambhau understand the value of
                      Christ's sacrifice? So he said, designedly, "Rambhau, this
                is a wonderful pearl, an amazing pearl. Let me buy it.
 I would give you ten thousand dollars for it."
         "Sahib! What do you mean?"
          "Well, I will give you fifteen thousand dollars for it,
 or if it takes more I will work for it."
        "Sahib," said Rambhau, stiffening his whole body,
               "this pearl is beyond price. No man in all the worldhas
                            money enough to pay what this pearl is worth to me. On the
       market a million dollars could not buy it. I will not
 sell it to you. You may only have it as a gift."              
                "No, Rambhau, I cannot accept that. As much as I want
          the pearl, I cannot accept it that way. Perhaps I am
 proud, but that is too easy. I must pay for
 it, or work for it..."
                   The old pearl-diver was stunned. "You don't understand
                   at all, Sahib. Don't you see? My only son gave his life to
                        get this pearl, and I wouldn't sell it for any money. Its worth is in
          the life-blood of my son. I cannot sell this but I can
 give it to you. Just accept it in token of the
 love I bear you."
              The missionary was choked, and for a moment could
             not speak. Then he gripped the hand of the old man.
       "Rambhau," he said in a low voice, "don't you see?
 My words are just what you have been saying
 to God all the time."
                     The diver looked long and searchingly at the missionary,
           and slowly, slowly he began to understand. "God is
                        offering to you salvation as a free gift," said the missionary.
            "It is so great and priceless that no man on earth can
                buy it. Millions of dollars are too little. No man on earth
                     could earn it. His life would be millions of years too short.
       No man is good enough to deserve it. It cost God
               the life-blood of His only Son to make the entrance for
    you into heaven. In a million years, in a hundred
 pilgrimages, you could not earn that entrance.
 All you can do is to accept it as a token of
 God's love for you a sinner.
          "Rambhau, of course I will accept the pearl in deep
             humility, praying God I may be worthy of your love.
                   Rambhau, won't you accept God's great gift of heaven,
             too, in deep humility, knowing it cost Him the death
 of His Son to offer it to you?"
           Great tears were now rolling down the cheeks of the
   old man. The veil was beginning to lift. "Sahib, I
         see it now. I have believed in the doctrine of Jesus
 for the last two years, but I could not believe that
His salvation was free. Now I understand.
              Some things are too priceless to be bought or earned.
 Sahib, I will accept His salvation!"
~~Author Unknown~~

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