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Mandrakes And Modernism
THERE is a vast deal of the world's learning that is pure waste. I have seen libraries in Europe, books of precious vellum, hand printed, many of them by the lifetime labor of anchorites, and not one of them containing an ounce of wisdom useful today.
New Year's Resolutions
THE New Year is here. It is inventory time. Let us look over the stock of habits, ideas, and relationships we have accumulated the past twelve months and clean up. The New Year's resolution is a good thing. Why drift along, the slave and plaything of our unmanaged desires and of our accidental circumstances? Why not be our own master and live one year like an intelligent human being?
An Open Letter To Santa Claus
MY DEAR SANTA CLAUS: I am writing to you in behalf of the several millions of people in this country who are orthodox. By orthodox I mean those who believe in you. We also believe in fairies and angels. We believe that the spirits of dead mothers still are near to all little boys and girls, and love them always, and look after them, and often put good thoughts into their minds, and kiss them in their sleep. And that fathers who are dead are living yet and loving their children and working for them somewhere.
Shakespeare
BACK to Shakespeare ! Study him in your youth, and in your old age he will come back to comfort you. If you would be a writer, learn from him how grandeur of thought can flow in a limpid style, and how an exquisite judgment can choose the one word wherein trembles the essence of conviction.
The Anonymous Letter
LIFT up your hand right now and swear that never, so long as you live, and so help you God, will you write an anonymous letter, except it be a kind one. After which please kiss the Bible. If you hate anybody, either go and whip him, or else go away and let him alone.
Golden Rod
There are other flowers for other spirit moods, for other seasons. We must love the little crocus, first born of the sun and the woman-earth, as it thrusts its fragile beauty up through the snow upon the warm side of the house; and the violet, shy beneath its covering leaf, blue as a speck of sky fallen timid and chaste.
Why Everybody Should Know the Life Of Christ
There are more portraits of Jesus Christ, painted and drawn and printed, than of any other man who has ever lived. Everybody knows the picture of Jesus as soon as he sees it, whether it be of the baby Jesus in his mother's arms, or the boy Jesus in the Temple, or the Saviour teaching, or dying upon the cross.
The Lord's Land
And now we are standing on the soil of the Holy Land, where Jesus lived. In Christ's time this land was called Judea. In our day its name is Palestine. It is a small country. If you will turn to the map of the United States, and look at New Hampshire, you will see a state in form quite like Palestine, and only a little smaller in size.
The People in the Lord's Land
Nearly all the people living in Palestine in the time of Jesus were of the Jewish race. Two thousand years before Jesus came, a great man was living in that land, named Abraham. To this man, God gave a promise that his children and their children after them for many ages should live in that land and own it.
The Stranger by the Golden Altar
In the land of Palestine one city was loved by the Jews above all other places. That was Jerusalem, the largest city in the land in the province of Judea. It was to the Jews everywhere, not only in Palestine but over all the earth, wherever Jews lived, the holy city.
The Angel Visits Nazareth
For our next story we visit Nazareth, a village in Galilee, nearly seventy miles north of Jerusalem. Galilee, as we have seen, was the northern province or division of the land, lying between the river Jordan and the Great Sea. The lower part of Galilee is a great plain, called the plain of Esdraelon, or the plain of Jezreel, where many battles have been fought in past times.
A Young Girl's Journey
After the visit of the angel and the message which he had brought, Mary's mind was filled with many thoughts and her heart was full. She was only a young girl, not older than sixteen years, perhaps as young as fifteen; for if she were older she should have been already married.
The Boy Who Never Tasted Wine
Not long after Mary's visit, the child promised to Zacharias and Elizabeth was born. In Jewish families the coming of a child into the home was always the cause of great gladness; and the gladness was greater at the birth of this baby, because this was the first child, and the father and mother were old.
The Child-King in His Cradle
For a few months after their marriage, Joseph and Mary lived in their little house at Nazareth. Joseph worked at his trade as a carpenter, while Mary cared for the home and carried the water for the needs of the house from the well in the middle of the village, walking with her jar full of water on her head.
The Baby Brought to the Temple
Although Jesus was born in a stable and slept in a manger, he did not stay in that place long. After a few days Joseph was able to find a more comfortable home, where the young mother and her baby were taken. The Jews were very kind to strangers of their own people, and welcomed them to their houses when passing through their towns.
The Following of the Star
While Joseph and Mary with the child Jesus were still staying in Bethlehem, the city of Jerusalem was stirred by the coming of some men from a land far away, with a strange question. These men were not Jews, but were Gentiles, which was the name that the Jews gave to all people except themselves.
Safe in Egypt
On the night after their visit to Mary and her child, the Wise Men had a dream. In their dream they heard the voice of God saying to them : Do not go to meet King Herod again. He is no friend to this princely child. Return to your own land by some other way, and do not let Herod know it. The Wise Men obeyed the voice of the Lord.
A Child's Life in Nazareth
The little Jesus must have been between two and five years old when he was brought to Nazareth, just coming out of babyhood and growing into a little boy; and Nazareth was his home for at least twenty-five years, all through his childhood, his boyhood and his young manhood.
The Boy Lost and Found
Jesus stayed at the school in the village church until he was twelve years old. By that time he could read and write and could also repeat many verses. But as his reading book and spelling book and copy book and memory verses were all in the Bible, and as he heard long readings from its books at the church service, we may be sure that he knew quite well all the best things in that best of all books, the Bible.
The Young Woodworker
For eighteen years after the visit to the Temple, Jesus was living in Nazareth, growing up from a boy to a young man. A Jewish boy generally left his school at about thirteen years of age, and began working at some trade or business. Jesus went into Joseph's shop and helped in the work, making plows and ax-handles and rakes and the plain furniture for the houses.
The Voice of the River
While Jesus was still living in Nazareth and working in his carpenter shop, suddenly the news went through all the land that a strange man was preaching in the desert country of Judea, not far from Jerusalem; and that all the people were going out of the cities and villages to hear him. This man was John, the son of the old priest Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth.
The Carpenter Leaves His Shop
After some months the news was brought to Nazareth that John the Baptist had come up the river Jordan and was now preaching at a place about twelve miles south of the Sea of Galilee. The place where John was preaching had two names. It was called Bethany beyond Jordan, and it was also called Bethabara.
Alone in the Desert
Jesus seemed to be alone in the desert, but there was one who was watching him, all unseen. That one was the evil spirit, Satan, who hated Jesus, knowing that he was the Son of God and the Saviour of the world. He had put into the mind of Jesus the thought of turning stones to bread and using the power which God had given him for himself alone. Jesus was quick to see the purpose of Satan and to turn away from it.
The Earliest Followers of Jesus
After his forty days in the desert, Jesus began his work of winning men to the Kingdom of God. This plan was, at first, to talk to men one by one, until he could gather around him a little company of those who would believe in his words as a teacher, and follow him as their leader. The men who would be best fitted to become his first followers were some of those who had been already taught by John the Baptist.
The Water Turned to Wine
Soon after Jesus met the men who became his first followers he left the river Jordan, and with these men walked to the land of Galilee, to the village of Cana, about six miles north of Nazareth. This was the town where Nathanael, one of the first five followers of Jesus, lived.
The Lord in His Temple
The spring-time of the year came, when the people from all parts of the land went up to Jerusalem to attend the great feast of the Passover. You remember that this feast was held to keep in mind how more than a thousand years before God had led the Israelite people out of Egypt, where they had been slaves. It was called the feast of the Passover because on the night of their going-out the angel of death had passed over the houses of the Israelites when he brought death to the Egyptian homes.
At The Old Well
After the Passover, Jesus went teaching through the villages in Judea, the province or part of the land around Jerusalem. As Judea was the largest of the five provinces, it gave its name also to the whole land, which was called both Judea and the land of Israel.
The Nobleman's Boy
When Jesus was at Cana at his first visit, very few people had heard his name. But now everybody was talking about him, for all the people who had come home from the Feast of the Passover told their friends and neighbors of the wonderful young Prophet who had been preaching in Jerusalem, and had driven the men buying and selling out of the Temple, and had wrought wonders in curing the sick.
The Carpenter In His Home Town
Soon after the visit to Cana, and the cure of the nobleman's son, Jesus walked over to his old home at Nazareth, which was only six miles away. He thought of his sisters in that city, who were now grown women with children of their own, and he longed to see them.
Four Fisherman Called
The place which Jesus chose for his home, after being driven away from Nazareth, was Capernaum. This was a large city on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Only one city beside the lake was larger—Tiberias. That was a new city, built by Herod, the ruler of Galilee, and named after the Emperor Tiberius at Rome.
Jesus In The Church, In The House, And In The Street
While Jesus was speaking in the church, the service was stopped by the loud screaming of a furious man who had come in. This man was suffering with a terrible evil, worse than any disease. Into his body had come in some way an evil spirit, a demon.
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