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´╗┐Title: Ancient Apostles
Author: McKay, David O.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ancient Apostles" ***

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ANCIENT APOSTLES


WRITTEN FOR

THE DESERET SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION


By David O. McKay

_General Superintendent_


Second Edition

Published by

Deseret Book Company

Salt Lake City, Utah

1921



PREFACE

"Ancient Apostles" is written as one of the series of text books
prepared for use in the Sunday Schools of the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints. Its purpose is to give a simple account of
the leading incidents in the lives of the chief Apostles of Christ
in the Holy Land, with the view of developing faith in the hearts
of the children in the principles of the Gospel, and in the divine
organization of the Church.

Prominent traits of character in the different disciples are pointed
out as the circumstances in the lessons permit. These should be so
emphasized in the presentation to the class that the pupils will be
led not only to appreciate them as commendable and emulative, but to
realize that by personal exertion all these good traits may become
theirs. Virtuous and honorable actions are the stones by which we build
the mansion of character.

Each chapter is planned, also, to emphasize one general aim, which
should be correlated with the incident or incidents with which the
personality of the Apostle and his companions is associated. Since it
is difficult, if not impossible to teach morality and doctrine without
personality, the wise teachers will ever keep in mind that the persons,
settings, actions, and conversations in this little work are only a
means of teaching truths and principles of conduct that will contribute
to the moulding of God-like character in their boys and girls.

The suggestive outlines and aims in the appendix are offered as helps
and guides to teachers. Only a few suggestive _applications_ are
offered; but no lesson should be given, or even prepared, without the
teachers attempting, at least, to devise the most efficient means of
introducing into the children's daily lives the aims and ideals taught.

The sincere wish of the author is that at least part of the pleasure
experienced in writing these lessons may be realized by those who
prepare to teach them, and by those who read them, and that their
studious efforts through the blessings of the Lord, will bring to them
that peace and satisfaction which come with the realization of having
helped to make better and more efficient the men and women of tomorrow.



CONTENTS


PART ONE

Peter and His Associates

I. "Light-Fountains"

II. Early Life and Surroundings

_John the Baptist, Andrew, John_

III. A Period of Preparation

_Jesus, James and John, Sons of Zebedec; Andrew_

IV. A Special Witness

_Names of the Twelve_

V. Peter's Faith Tested

VI. Peter's Testimony

VII. A Marvelous Manifestation

_Moses and Elias_

VIII. Lessons in True Leadership

IX. On the Night of the Betrayal

X. Out of Gloom Into Light

XI. A True Leader and Valiant Defender

_Matthias_

XII. Peter and John Arrested

XIII. Persecuted But Undismayed

_Gamaliel_

XIV. A Special Visit to Samaria

_Stephen, Philip_

XV. At Lydda and Joppa

_Eneas, Tabitha_

XVI. The Third Imprisonment

XVII. Closing Scenes of a Righteous Ministry


PART TWO

XVIII. James, the Son of Zebedee

_Salome, Mary Magdalene, Mary, mother of Jesus; the first martyr,
Apostle_


PART THREE

John the Beloved Disciple

XIX. With the Redeemer

XX. With Peter and the Twelve

XXI. Closing Scenes of His Ministry


PART FOUR

Paul and His Companions

XXII. Saul of Tarsus

_Gamaliel_

XXIII. Saul's Conversion

_Ananias_

XXIV. In Another School

_Barnabas_

XXV. Special Messengers to Jerusalem

_Agabus, John Mark_...

XXVI. First Missionary Journey

XXVII. First Missionary Journey--_Continued_

At Lystia and Derbe

_Timothy, Eunice, Lois_

XXVIII. A Great Controversy

XXIX. Paul Begins His Second Missionary Journey

_Silas, Luke_

XXX. At Philippi

_Lydia_

XXXI. At Thessalonica and Berea

_Jason_

XXXII. At Athens and Corinth

_Aquilla and Priscilla, Crispus, Justus_

XXXIII. Third Missionary Journey

From Antioch to Ephesus

_Apollos_

XXXIV. Third Missionary Journey--Continued

_Paul's farewell visit to the churches he had established_

XXXV. Exciting Experiences in Jerusalem

XXXVI. Two Years in Prison

XXXVII. The Voyage to Rome

XXXVIII. The World Enriched by a Prisoner Chained

[IMAGE: CHRIST'S CHARGE TO PETER.]



PART ONE--PETER.



LESSON 1

"LIGHT-FOUNTAINS"

 "No man has come to true greatness who has not felt in some degree that
 his life belongs to his race, and that what God gives him He gives him
 for mankind."

 "If any man seek for greatness, let him forget greatness and ask for
 truth, and he will find both."

 "Nothing can make a man truly great but being truly good, and partaking
 of God's holiness."

[Sidenote: Influence of Great Men.]

Everybody likes to read and to hear about great men. Children, and
grown people, too, delight to learn how the leaders of men in the past
have made the world better and happier by their noble deeds. And when,
after many years have passed, people still see how much good those
leaders of men did in the world, worthy aspirations are awakened, and
boys and girls of today desire to emulate the lives of these heroes of
the past; for, as the poet Longfellow says:

  "Lives of great men all remind us
  We can make our lives sublime;
  And, departing, leave behind us
  Footprints on the sands of time."

[Sidenote: Boy's Ideals.]

Every boy has somebody who becomes his ideal. Or perhaps there are more
than one who form this ideal--one man, for instance, might be a good
athlete, and the boy wishes to be just like him; another is a good
violinist, and the boy feels that he, too, would some day like to be
a musician; another is an able speaker, and the boy desires some day
to be a great orator. But, sometimes, boys, and girls, too, for that
matter, choose bad men for their ideals. This happens when young folks
read trashy books or associate with trashy or evil-minded men. How
unfortunate that little boy is who happens to read or to hear about
some highwayman or robber, and has awakened in his young mind a desire
to be like that bad man! How unfortunate for the boy who chooses for
his ideal a man who smokes, and drinks and swaggers through life in
idleness!

[Sidenote: Sign Posts.]

Thus we see that the lives of men become sign posts to us, pointing the
way along roads that lead either to lives of usefulness and happiness
or to lives of selfishness and misery. It is important, then, that we
seek, both in life and in books, the companionship of the best and
noblest men and women. Carlyle, a great English writer, says that
"Great men taken up in any way are profitable company. We cannot look,
however imperfectly, upon a great man, without gaining something by
him. He is the living 'light-fountain,' which it is good and pleasant
to be near."

[Sidenote: Secret of Greatness.]

If you will study the lives of these great "light-fountains" of the
world, you will learn of at least one thing that has made their names
endure. It is this: Each one has given something of his life to make
the world better. They did not spend all their time seeking only
pleasure and ease, and a "good time" for themselves alone, but found
their greatest joy in making others happy and more comfortable. All
such good deeds live forever, even though the world may never hear of
them.

[Sidenote: How Some Have Failed.]

There is an old, old story that a man from another planet was permitted
to visit this earth. From a high mountain peak, he looked down upon
the busy towns and cities of the world. Millions of men, like ants,
were busy building palaces of pleasure, and other things that would not
last. As he left to go back, he said, "All these people are spending
their time in building just birds' nests. No wonder they fail and are
ashamed."

[Sidenote: How the Truly Great Have Built.]

All the truly great men of the world have built something besides
"birds' nests." Out of the deep longing of their minds and hearts, they
have brought forth gems of truth that have made the world richer. They
have wrought deeds of love and sacrifice that have inspired millions.
In so doing, they might have suffered; many indeed have met untimely
death; but all who thus gave their lives, saved them. That which we
do for God and our fellowmen lives forever; that which we do just for
ourselves cannot endure.

  "To have sown in the souls of men
  One thought that will not die--
  To have been a link in the chain of life
  Shall be immortality."

[Sidenote: Lincoln.]

When we hear anything about a great man we want to know everything
about him--where he was born, who his parents were, where he lived,
how he played, with whom he played, in what kind of house he lived,
where he went in swimming, where he fished, etc., etc. Such things
about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, for example, are always
interesting. What boy is there who doesn't like to hear about the poor
boy Lincoln in the little log cabin in the backwoods of Indiana; to
picture him there among the bears and other wild animals; to picture
him sitting by the fireplace learning to cipher by using a piece of
charcoal on a wooden shovel because he had no slate, no paper or lead
pencil! Abraham Lincoln was a great and good man, and we want to know
everything about him even when he was a boy, partly to help us become
somewhat like him; for, as Lincoln wrote,

  "Good boys who to their books apply,
  Will all be great men by and by."

[Sidenote: Little Known of Apostles' Boyhood.]

Unfortunately, we know very little about the boyhood days of the
Ancient Apostles, about whom we shall read in this little book. It is
true we can partly judge of what kind of boys they were by the kind
of men they became; but the little incidents of childhood and youth,
which tended to mould their character, and in which we now would be
so interested, though nineteen hundred years have passed, were never
written, and may never be known. They grew to manhood before the
opportunity came for them to render that service to the world which has
made their names immortal.

[Sidenote: Most Favored Men.]

In one respect, however, they were the most favored men the world has
known, because they had the privilege of associating daily--almost
hourly, for about two and one-half years, with the Savior of the world.
No wonder, then, that they became great, when they had such an example
of true Greatness constantly before them. As soon as they learned
to love Jesus, they desired to be like Him, and so remembered His
teachings, and tried to do as He said. Surely it will be good for us to
get acquainted with such men.

[IMAGE: MAP OF PALESTINE IN THE TIME OF CHRIST, ILLUSTRATING THE FOUR
GOSPELS.]

[Sidenote: Why Apostles Are Known.]

Just think! The only reason the world knows anything about them is
because having met the Savior, they made Him their guide in life. If
they hadn't, nobody now would know that such men had ever lived. They
would have lived and died and been forgotten just as thousands of other
men in their day lived and died and nobody knows or cares anything
about them; just as thousands and thousands are living today, wasting
their time and energy in useless living, choosing the wrong kind of men
for their ideals, turning their footsteps into the road of Pleasure and
Indulgence instead of the road of Service. Soon they will reach the
end of their journey in life, and nobody can say that the world is any
better for their having lived in it. At the close of each day such men
leave their pathway as barren as they found it--they plant no trees
to give shade to others, nor rosebushes to make the world sweeter and
brighter to those who follow--no kind deeds, no noble service--just a
barren, unfruitful, desert-like pathway, strewn, perhaps, with thorns
and thistles.

Not so with the disciples who chose Jesus for their Guide. Their lives
are like gardens of roses from which the world may pluck beautiful
flowers forever.



LESSON 2

Early Life and Surroundings

 "It is with youth as with plants, from the first fruits they bear we
 learn what may be expected in future."

[Sidenote: The "Dead Sea" of America.]

Flowing north from Utah Lake through part of the Great Basin, and
emptying into the Great Salt Lake, the Dead Sea of America, is the
river Jordan. Utah Lake is fresh water and abounds in fish; Salt Lake,
as its name suggests, is so briny that no fish can live in its waters.
To President Brigham Young and the worthy band of Pioneers, the Salt
Lake Valley with the "Dead Sea" reflecting the glorious rays of a July
sun, was indeed a "promised land."

[Sidenote: The "Dead Sea" of the Holy Land.]

Away across the Atlantic Ocean, stretching along the east shore of
the Mediterranean Sea is another salt sea, another river Jordan, and
another fresh water lake, and the river flows through the "Promised
Land," or the Land of Canaan. However, if you will refer to a map of
that country, you will see that the relative position of this lake,
river and sea are just opposite in direction from these in Utah. In the
Holy Land the fresh water lake is in the north, and the Jordan river
flows south into the Dead Sea.

The land that contains these three important marks in history has
several names. As given above, it is called The Holy Land; also
The Land of Canaan; also the Land of the Hebrews, or the Land of
Israel, because Jacob's children once settled there; also the Land of
Judah, after one of Jacob's sons; also Palestine, probably after the
Philistines, who lived, as you know, in the days of the shepherd boy
David.

[Sidenote: Size of Cannan.]

Salt Lake is eighty miles long and about forty miles wide. The Land of
Canaan is about twice as long and twice as wide; or in extreme length
about one hundred seventy miles, and its width about eighty. The City
of Dan was in the northern part, and Beersheba in the southern part;
so when you hear the expression "from Dan to Beersheba," you will know
that it once denoted the entire length of the land of Canaan.

[Sidenote: Sea of Galilee.]

The fresh water lake, of the Holy Land, also has several names. It is
known generally as the "Sea of Galilee;" but it is also called "Sea of
Tiberias," "Lake of Gennesareth," "Lake of Tiberias," and the "Sea of
Cenneroth." It is about sixteen miles long and six miles wide. "The
waters of this lake lie in a deep basin, surrounded on all sides with
lofty hills, excepting only the narrow entrance and outlet of the
Jordan at each extreme. * * * The appearance of this sea from the town
of Capernaum, which is situated near the upper end of the bank on the
western side, is extremely grand; its greatest length runs nearly north
and south. The barren aspect of the mountains on each side, and the
total absence of wood give, however, a cast of dullness to the picture,
which is increased to melancholy by the dead calm of its waters."

On the west side of this lake was one of the important divisions of
Palestine, called Galilee. One ancient writer says that at one time
this province "contained two hundred and four cities and towns, the
least of which contained fifteen thousand inhabitants." [1]

[Sidenote: Bethsaida.]

Somewhere in this province, probably very near Capernaum, was a little
town called Bethsaida. There was another town by this name on the
north-eastern shore, but it is the Bethsaida, near Capernaum, in which
we are now most interested. To must have been near the lake, because
many of the men who lived there made their living by fishing, not with
poles and hooks and lines, as the boys fish for trout in our mountain
streams, but with nets, which they let down from their boats, and with
which they dragged the lake until they would entangle the fish, which
they then hauled to shore.

[Sidenote: Simon.]

In one of these fishermen's homes, probably a few years before the
Savior's birth, was born one day, a little baby boy whom his parents
named Simon or Simeon. He had a brother named Andrew. [2] Their
father's name was Jonas or Johanna, but very little is known about him,
and nothing about their mother.

[Sidenote: Simon's Home and Boyhood.]

Nothing definite is known about either Simon's childhood or his
boyhood. However, we are safe to conclude from what we know about
the customs, beliefs, and practices of the Jews of his time that he
lived in a small, flat-roofed house containing very little, if any,
furniture; that either at home or at school, perhaps at both, he
learned all about the prophets in what is now our Old Testament; that
he observed the Sabbath day strictly; and what is most important of
all, he learned to look forward to the day when the Savior of the world
would come to His people.

In fancy, we can picture Simon and Andrew and their playmates amusing
themselves on the shore of Galilee; but it is only in imagination that
we can see any of the incidents in Simon's childhood. "We may think of
him," writes George L. Weed, "as a useful boy, helping his mother in
the labors of the house--carefully bringing the little red clay lamps
for trimming, or the corn to be parched, or the fish his father had
caught, or the charcoal on which it was to be cooked, or the bread from
the oven, and the oil and honey-cakes to be eaten with it, or water
from the stream that flowed from the hill behind their home into the
lake, or filling the water-jars at the door. Was he not his mother's
joy when for the first time he shook the olives from the trees and
brought them to her as a part of their frugal meal; or when he spread
the maize and hemp to dry on the flat roof in the summer sun? Was he
not his father's pride the first time he handled the oar, and dipped it
aright in the wave, and helped to spread the net, and counted the fish
they had caught? He watched the flight of the sparrows and gathered the
flowers--poppies, daisies and anemones--like those from which the Great
Teacher, whom now he knew not, would teach him lessons of wisdom and
love. Childlike, he gathered shells upon the seashore, and dug in the
white sand of the beach with a rude stick, with delight equal to that
of the boy of today with his finished toy-shovel and little painted
pail."

None of the fishermen who saw Simon with his playmates scampering
around the nets and boats ever suspected that he would grow up to be
among the greatest men of the world!

Some writers tell us that the Galileans were generally brave and
fearless, and loved liberty. The men made good soldiers for they were
"bold and intrepid." The boy, Simon, as he grew to manhood must have
admired the brave, bold men around him, for he, too, became a man of
strong character, as we learn from the first recorded instance of his
life.

SIMON'S NAME CHANGED

[Sidenote: Simon Hears John the Baptist.]

Soon after Simon had grown to manhood there came a man from the
wilderness of Jordan, clothed only in camel's hair and a leathern
girdle about his loins, but preaching with such mighty power that
people from "Judea and all the regions round about" came to hear him.
This great preacher was John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ.
Among those who came to hear him was Simon, who, no doubt, rejoiced to
hear this preacher of Repentance declare that the Son of Man was about
to come to the earth. Simon, Andrew and some of their friends believed
what the Baptist taught.

One day, when, with some of his followers, John was near Bethabara (a
word which means "a place of crossing") he saw Jesus coming toward
them, and said:

[Sidenote: "Behold the Lamb of God."]

"Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world! This is
He of whom I said, After me cometh a man who is preferred before me."
Again, the next day, probably about 10 o'clock in the morning, John was
standing talking with two of his disciples. They were Andrew, Simon's
brother, and John. Walking a short distance from them was the same
man whom John had pointed out the day before as the Lamb of God "And
looking upon Jesus as He walked, John saith, Behold the Lamb of God.
And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus."

[IMAGE: CHRIST AND JOHN.]

[Sidenote: Simon's Brother Believes in Jesus.]

Accepting the invitation of Jesus to go with Him to the place where He
stayed, these two men remained with Him, listening to His words all the
rest of the day. When they left, they believed that Jesus was the King
of Israel, the Savior of the world. Thus they became, in that day the
first two, beside John the Baptist, to believe in Jesus.

Whenever we have anything which is really good, we always desire to
share it with one we love. It was so with these two brothers. They no
sooner felt the divine influence that radiated from the Savior than
they were filled with a desire to bring those whom they loved under
that same influence. Andrew went out to find his brother Simon, and
John to find his brother James. Andrew found Simon first, and said:

"We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ."

[Sidenote: Simon is Called "Cephas."]

And he brought him to Jesus, and when Jesus beheld him, He said, "Thou
are Simon the son of Jonas: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by
interpretation, A stone" (or The Rock).

In those days the Jews spoke the Hebrew language; but the new Testament
was written in the Greek language. Now, in Hebrew "Cephas" means
"rock;" but in Greek the word for "rock" is "Petras," or "Peter." So
from that time, Simon was known as Simon Peter, or "Simon, the Rock."

When we think of this wonderful world in which we live, of its great
division of land called continents; that in the eastern continent
there are the countries of Europe, Asia, and Africa; that in one
little corner of Asia, there is a strip of land only about twice as
long and twice as wide as our Salt Lake; that in that strip of land
was a division, like one of our counties, called Galilee; that in
this province were over two hundred cities, and in each city several
thousand people, among whom one day was born a little baby whose
parents were unknown; that this baby boy grew to be a man of such
strong character that Jesus named him "a Rock," and for nineteen
hundred years now he has been known and honored by millions and
millions of people--when we think of all these things we must surely
realize, even in our youth, that a humble birth is no hindrance to
greatness.

Footnotes:

1. Josephus.

2. John 1:42-43.



LESSON 3

A Period of Preparation

"_Oh, be my friend, and teach me to be thine_."

  "Great souls by instinct to each other turn,
  Demand alliance, and in friendship burn."

Home in Capernaum

[Sidenote: Peter's Views of the Messiah.]

From the moment Peter met Jesus, his views of life were changed. Up to
that time, he had looked for the coming of the King of the Jews as an
event the indefinite future. With other Jews, he had anticipated that
the Savior's coming would be marked by wonderful manifestations, and
that, clad in purple robes, and attended by many angels. He would come
in mighty power, and in one divine expression of His wrath, strike the
Roman shackles from the conquered Jewish nation.

But now, Peter had met the Messiah--a lone man on the banks of the
Jordan! Only about five men knew of His claim to the Messiahship. There
were no legions of heavenly hosts accompanying Him! He wore no purple
robes! He possessed no visible means at hand with which to break the
Roman yoke! Was He, indeed, the Messiah that was to come, or should
Peter look for another?

[Sidenote: Jesus' Influence Over Peter.]

These and a hundred other thoughts, undoubtedly crowded Peter's
mind, as he left the wilderness of Jordan to return to his fishing
in Galilee. Andrew and John, on that memorable visit, seemed to have
received a testimony of the divinity of Jesus' mission, and they bore
that testimony to their brothers when they so joyously exclaimed,
"We have found the Messiah!" But Peter--impetuous Peter, who, we
shall learn, was naturally outspoken, had not yet so far as we know,
expressed such assurance. However, he was deeply impressed; for had not
Jesus, at first sight, read his character? Had He not penetrated into
his inmost nature? and had He not radiated a spirit that so completely
enveloped Peter that from its influence the fisherman never more
desired to go?

[Sidenote: Peter's Home.]

Peter at this time was a married man, and was perhaps the father of a
little boy. He had moved from his old home in Bethsaida, and lived with
his wife's mother, or she with him, in Capernaum. With him were also
Andrew and their two faithful companions and friends, James and John,
the sons of Zebedee.

Peter's home became the most distinguished home in all Capernaum,
and later one of the most memorable spots in all the world. Here,
undoubtedly, Jesus stayed whenever He was at Capernaum! Indeed after
Jesus had been so ruthlessly rejected by His own townsmen in Nazareth,
He made Capernaum His "own city;" and it is supposed that much of the
time, the honor fell upon Peter to entertain in his home the Savior of
the world. How every word, every act on the part of his worthy guest
must surely have increased Peter's confidence in Jesus as the Messiah!

A Lesson in Obedience

[Sidenote: On Shores of Galilee.]

One beautiful morning, several months after the events narrated in
the previous lesson, and a short time following His rejection from
Nazareth, Jesus was preaching to a multitude on the shores of Galilee.
Peter and Andrew were busy near-by washing their nets, after having
spent all night on the lake in a futile attempt to catch some fish.

"And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon Jesus to hear
the word of God, He stood by the lake of Gennesaret,

"And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone
out of them, and were washing their nets.

"And He entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed
him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And He sat down,
and taught the people out of the ship." [1]

[Sidenote: First Recorded Instance of Peter's Obedience.]

When Peter complied with Jesus' request "to thrust out a little from
the land," he performed the first recorded instance of his obedience to
Christ's word. Now, however, followed a command obedience to which was
directly contrary to the fisherman's judgment. When Jesus had finished
speaking to the people, He said to Peter,

"Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for toiled all the
night, and have taken nothing." As much as from the empty net; it was
dry, and the broken threads mended. Peter was tired and wanted rest. He
was hungry, too, and perhaps discouraged. No wonder, then, that Peter
answered and said, "Master, we have toiled all night, and have taken
nothing." As much as to say, "What is the use? There are no fish this
morning in this part of the lake, nor has there been all night!" But
Peter was learning to honor and obey this Man among men; so he quickly
added these words: "Nevertheless at Thy word, I will let down the net."
[2]

As an experienced fisherman, his _judgment_ said to make a further
attempt was useless; as a follower of Jesus, his _Faith_ bade him try.

[Sidenote: Result of Obedience.]

"And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of
fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners
which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And
they came, and filled both ships so that they began to sink."

We are told that Peter "was astonished, and all that were with him, at
the draught of the fishes which they had taken." Peter, the leader of
the four as he was afterwards the head of the Twelve, "fell down at
Jesus' knees, saying. Depart from me: for I am a sinful man, O Lord."
[3]

Was it just the doubt and hesitancy expressed when, a few minutes
before, Jesus had asked him to "push cut into the deep," or was it
the realization of many such doubts of Christ's divinity that now
overwhelmed him, and made him sense his own inferiority and weakness in
the presence of this Mighty One? Jesus had manifested His power, and in
so doing had taught Peter the lesson that he and all the world, sooner
or later, must learn; viz., that obedience to Christ's words brings
blessings, temporal as well as spiritual. As the realization of this
truth was pouring balm on his awe-struck feelings, Jesus said unto him,
"_Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men_." [4]

[IMAGE: CHRIST AND THE FISHERMEN. "From henceforth thou shalt catch men."]

A MEMORABLE SABBATH. [5]

After Jesus had been rejected from His own city, Nazareth, He "came
down to Capernaum, and taught them on the Sabbath days."

[Sidenote: Service in Synagogue.]

The last part of a service in the synagogue in those days was the
expounding of the scriptures, and preaching from them to the people.
This was done not always by an officer but by some distinguished person
who might be in the congregation. Of course, Jesus was known all around
by this time as a great teacher, a worker of miracles, and an able
interpreter of the law; and, "they were astonished at His doctrine: for
His word was with power."

[Sidenote: An Evil Spirit Rebuked.]

On one particular Sabbath, when Jesus was preaching, Peter and all
present were surprised to see a man rise in the audience, and suddenly
interrupt by crying out in a loud voice,

"Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth?
Art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art; the Holy One
of God." As this man, who was possessed of an evil spirit, ceased his
railing, each person in the congregation must have almost held his
breath, as Jesus rebuked the evil one by saying,

"Hold thy peace and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him
in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.

"And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves saying, What a
word is this! for with authority and power, He commandeth the unclean
spirits and they come out." [6]

At the conclusion of this service, Jesus went with Peter to the
latter's home, Andrew, and James and John accompanying them. Peter,
Andrew, James and John--these four who were playmates in boyhood,
partners as fishermen, companions as disciples of John the Baptist,
are now becoming inseparable in the loving bonds of the Brotherhood of
Christ! As they entered the house, they learned that Simon's wife's
mother was very sick of fever. Undoubtedly, it was Peter who told Jesus
of his mother-in-law's condition, and pleaded, either by word or look,
or both, that He would bless her. Jesus "took her by the hand and
lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered
unto them."

You can imagine that all Capernaum was talking about how Jesus had
rebuked the evil spirit from the afflicted man in the synagogue! And
then, a few minutes after the service, He healed a woman instantly of
a fever! The news spread from house to house, and from group to group
until "the fame of Him went out into every place of the country round
about."

[Sidenote: Many Healed.]

All that afternoon, Peter's house and the streets around it were packed
with crowds of people, some out of curiosity but most of them desiring
a blessing. Men possessed of devils were taken through the crowd to
Jesus and were cured; those who had been suffering for days of a
burning fever, those who were afflicted with various kinds of diseases,
were all brought into the presence of this Great Physician, who "laid
His hands on everyone of them, and healed them."

[Sidenote: Through the Twilight and Evening.]

The sun went down, twilight came, and evening shades began to deepen
into night, but still the sick and suffering sought that divine healing
which only Christ the Lord could give. "Never," says Eidersheim,
"Never, surely, was He more truly the Christ than when, in the
stillness of that evening, He went through that suffering throng laying
His hands in the blessing of healing upon every one of them and casting
out many devils."

It was probably late that night before Jesus could go to His rest.
Even later, after the people had gone to their now happier homes,
Peter and his household would desire to talk to their honored guest
about the wonderful miracles of that day. At length, however, all
retired, and everybody in the house slept as the midnight hours of that
never-to-be-forgotten Sabbath passed into the early morning hours of
Sunday.

Another Week of Preparation

[Sidenote: Sunday Morning.]

Before daylight came, however, Jesus arose quietly, and walked out into
the morning air, sought a quiet, "solitary" place, and there prayed.

  "His pure thoughts were borne
  Like fumes of sacred incense o'er the clouds,
  And wafted them on angels' wings, to ways
  Of light, to the bright source of all."

Peter must have been surprised when upon going to greet Jesus with a
bright "Good-morning," he found the guest-chamber empty. Perhaps he
guessed where Jesus had gone; for we are told that, "Simon and they
that were with him followed after Him. And when they had found Him,
they said unto Him,

"_All men seek Thee_!"

What a glorious condition will be in this old world when it can be
truthfully said to Christ,

"_All men seek Thee_!"

[Sidenote: "All Men Seek Thee."]

Selfishness, envy, hatred, lying, stealing, cheating, disobedience to
parents, cruelty to children and to dumb animals, quarreling among
neighbors, and fighting among nations--all will be no more when it can
be truthfully said to the Redeemer of mankind,

"_All men seek Thee_!"

[Sidenote: Around Galilee.]

It seems that Jesus and His friends left Capernaum that day, and
"Preached in synagogues throughout all Gililee, and cast out devils."
Wherever they went the sick were healed, and the lepers were cleansed.
Some days afterwards, they returned to Capernaum. No sooner did the
people learn that Jesus was in "the house" (undoubtedly Peter's house)
than "Straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was
no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and He
preached the word unto them."

[Sidenote: A Man Sick of Palsy.]

It was on this occasion that four men brought a man sick of palsy. The
poor man lay on his bed, each corner of which was held by one of the
four men. Finding it impossible because of the crowd to gain entrance
to the house by the door, they went on the roof. Here they made an
opening into the room below, "And let down the bed wherein the sick of
the palsy lay."

"When Jesus saw their faith, He said unto the sick of palsy, Son, thy
sins be forgiven thee.

"And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them
all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying: We
never saw it on this fashion." All these glorious manifestations of
divine power, and, undoubtedly, many, many more, Jesus had given even
before He chose His Twelve Apostles.

[Sidenote: Peter's Faith Strengthened.]

Peter, as you see, was a witness of them all. If he had had any doubts
a few months previous, when his brother Andrew said, "We have found the
Messiah," surely they had long since been banished from his mind; and
we can readily understand why, when Jesus said, "Henceforth thou shalt
catch men," Peter "forsook all and followed Him."

But even yet, notwithstanding all his experiences, Simon's faith is not
the Rock that Jesus would have it become.

Footnotes:

1. Luke 5:1-3.

2. Luke 5:5.

3. Luke 5:8.

4. Luke 5:10.

5. Luke 4:31-40.

6. Luke 4:36.



LESSON 4

A Special Witness

"The Twelve traveling counselors are called to be the Twelve Apostles,
or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world."

[Sidenote: A Night of Prayer.]

Probably several months after the events narrated in the previous
chapter and a little while before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus went
out to a mountain near Capernaum. As was usual, now, in His life, a
large crowd followed Him. But He left the crowd, and went to the top of
the mountain, so he could be all alone with His Father in Heaven, unto
whom He prayed all night.

[Sidenote: Twelve Chosen.]

Undoubtedly, many of his most ardent followers remained at the mountain
also all night, for "When it was day, He called unto Him His disciples,
and of them He chose twelve, whom also He named apostles." [1]

The word Apostle means an "Envoy" or "one who is sent." An apostle is a
"Special witness of the name of Christ in all the world."

In all the accounts given of this important event, Peter's name is
mentioned first, indicating that he was chosen as the chief apostle,
and was undoubtedly appointed and set apart as the President of the
Council of Twelve. The names of the Twelve whom Jesus ordained at that
time were:

(1) Simon Peter, and his brother (2) Andrew; (3) James and (4) John,
the two sons of Zebedee; (5) Philip of Bethsaida, and (6) Nathanael,
also called Bartholomew; (7) Thomas, also called "Didymus," a name
which means "a twin;" (8) Matthew, the publican, or tax gatherer; (9)
James, the son of Alphaeus, called "James the Less;" (10) Lebbeus,
who was also called Thaddeus, and also Judas, but not Judas Iscariot;
(11) Simon, the "Canaanite," or "Simon the Zelotes," and (12) Judas
Iscariot, who became the traitor.

[IMAGE: ST. MATTHEW.]

[Sidenote: Who the Twelve Were.]

These twelve men were, for the most part, Galilean fishermen who
labored at their trade on the shores of Galilee. Matthew, however, was
a publican, and therefore despised by the Jews; and Judas was a Judean.
Some of the leaders of the Jews thought that they were "unlearned and
ignorant men. [2] Unlearned they were; but not ignorant; for by their
wisdom and preaching, they overthrew the whole edifice of human wisdom,
and led the world to the light of truth."

As a humble disciple of Jesus, Peter had been a "witness" of many
wonderful things pertaining to the Savior's mission; but it was
difficult for him to comprehend the significance of the Gospel plan.
You will note as we proceed with his biography that his understanding
of it unfolded slowly, even though he was almost constantly, for the
next year or so, in the presence of his Lord. Here are some of the
things which he witnessed immediately after his ordination to the
Apostleship.

AT MATTHEW'S FEAST

One day Jesus and the Twelve accepted an invitation to Matthew's house,
a circumstance that made the Pharisees much offended because Jesus ate
"with publicans and the sinners. While Jesus and the Twelve were still
at the feast, and Jesus was answering the charge of the Pharisees,

[Sidenote: Jairus]

"Behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the Synagogue, Jairus,
by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, and besought him
greatly saying,

"My little daughter lieth at the point of death; I pray thee, come and
lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed, and she shall live." [3]

Jesus immediately left the pleasures of the feast and of the
entertainment of his friend and brother, Matthew, and followed Jairus
to the latter's house.

THE AFFLICTED WOMAN

[Sidenote: Faith of an Afflicted Woman.]

"And much people followed him, and thronged him." [4] In this crowd was
a woman who had been suffering for twelve years from a sore that could
not be healed. The blood had wasted for so long a time that she was
weak, and she was very poor, for "she had spent all she had" trying to
get cured. She had heard of Jesus and of His power to heal the sick,
and she had such faith that she said to herself, "If I may touch but
his clothes, I shall be made whole."

As Jesus passed, she stretched forth her hand and touched just the hem
of his garment, "and straightway the fountain of her blood was dried
up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague."

[Sidenote: "Who Touched My Clothes?"]

Jesus, too, immediately feeling that "Virtue" had gone out of him,
turned and asked, "Who touched my clothes?" Peter answered, "Master,
the multitude throng and press thee and sayest thou. Who touched me?"
[5]

What an insight must Peter have received into Christ's divine powers
and susceptibility as he noted the afflicted woman come through the
crowd and throw herself at the feet of Jesus, confessing all before
him! What satisfaction must have been his, as he heard his Lord say,
"Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of
thy plague." [6] But Peter was soon to witness even a greater miracle.

JAIRUS' LITTLE DAUGHTER

[Sidenote: Jairus' Daughter Dead.]

While Jesus was yet speaking to the now blessed and happy woman, and
while Peter and his fellow councilmen and the multitude gazed in
wonder, "there cometh one from the ruler of the Synagogue's house,
saying to him, 'Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.'"

Poor Jairus! He had hurried from the bedside of his little girl only a
half hour or so ago to plead with Jesus of Nazareth to come and save
his little daughter. The Divine Physician had started immediately, but
it was too late. The great destroyer, Death, had claimed the little
girl. Peter's heart must have ached in sympathy for the sorrowing
father. But, listen! Following the gloomy announcement of death, they
hear the comforting voice of Jesus: "Fear not; believe only, and she
shall be made whole."

[Sidenote: Jairus' Daughter Restored.]

As they neared the house, they heard the weeping of friends and the
moans of the broken-hearted mother. But Peter, and others, too, heard
the Master say, "Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they
laughed Him to scorn, knowing that she was dead." [7] The Savior then
told everybody to leave the room excepting Peter, James, and John, the
father and the mother. He then walked up to the bed, took the little
cold white hand in his, and said,

"Maid, arise.

"And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded
to give her meat."

These incidents in the life of Peter are only a few of the glorious
experiences he witnessed even before he went out as "a special witness
of the name of Christ." Jesus knew that neither Peter nor anybody
else could convert others to the truth until he himself first knew
that truth. No one can teach others what he himself does not know.
Undoubtedly by this time Peter believed, with all his heart, that Jesus
the Worker of Wonders, was indeed the Messiah who should come; but his
testimony was not yet firm as a _rock_.

PETER'S FIRST MISSION

However, the time had come when he was sufficiently instructed to be
able to go on a mission, "And Jesus called unto Him the Twelve, and
began to send them forth by two and two;" [8]

[Sidenote: Peter's Commission.]

"And commanded them saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and
into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost
sheep of the house of Israel, and as ye go preach, saying, The kingdom
of heaven is at hand Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead,
cast out devils; freely ye have received, freely give." [9]

He told them to travel without money and without extra coats, and to
carry blessings and peace to all who would receive them. He told them
they would be persecuted, arrested and tried before governors and
kings; but He assured them that the Lord would deliver them.

He further said that, "Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your
words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of
your feet. Verily I say unto you. It shall be more tolerable for the
land of Sodom and Gomorra in the day of judgment than for that city."

"He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth
Him that sent me. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these
little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily
I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward."

We do not know who Peter's companion was on this mission; but we are
told that they went and preached that men should repent; that they cast
out many devils, anointed with oil, and healed the sick, and did many
other wonderful things in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

[Sidenote: John the Baptist Beheaded.]

While they were on this mission, John Baptist the Baptist was beheaded
by order of the wicked king Herod.

[Sidenote: In a Desert Place Opposite Capernaum.]

Upon their return unto Jesus, "The Apostles gathered themselves
together (probably at Capernaum) and told Him all things, both what
they had done, and what they had taught." But there were so many people
"coming and going" that "they had no leisure so much as to eat;" so
Jesus desiring to be alone with the Twelve said, "Come ye yourselves
apart into a desert place, and rest awhile." So they entered a ship
privately and sailed from the Capernaum side to the northwest coast.
But some of the people saw them departing and ran on foot around the
northern coast of the lake. Other people saw these running, and joined
them so that when Jesus and the Twelve landed, there were hundreds if
not thousands of people there to greet them.

As evening approached, the disciples asked Jesus to send the multitude
away, so they could go to their cities and buy something to eat.

[Sidenote: Another Manifestation.]

It was on this occasion that Peter witnessed another manifestation
of the power of God, and had repeated the valuable lesson he learned
over a year before, when he made a miraculous draught of fishes; viz.,
That obedience to Christ's words always brings comfort and happiness.
Instead of sending the multitude away hungry, Jesus said, "Whence shall
we buy bread that these might eat?"

[Sidenote: The Multitude Fed.]

Philip answered, "Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for
them, that every one of them may take a little." But from five barley
loaves and two small fishes, Jesus, by some process natural to Him but
miraculous to us, fed that vast crowd of people, numbering about five
thousand.

Peter assisted not only in distributing the bread and fish among the
companies, but also in gathering the twelve baskets full left. No doubt
he was one of those who said, "This is of a truth that Prophet that
should come into the world." Let us hope, however, that he was not one
of those who would have taken Jesus by force to make Him king.

Footnotes:

1. Luke 6:13.

2. Acts 4:13.

3. Mark 5:22-23.

4. Mark 5:24.

5. Luke 8:45.

6. Mark 5:34.

7. Luke 8:52, 53.

8. Mark 6.

9. Matt. 10:5-42.



LESSON 5

Peter's Faith Tested

"_The steps of faith fall on the seeming void, but find the rock
beneath._"

"_All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not
seen._"

[Sidenote: Genuine Faith.]

When Jesus called Simon "Peter" or "The Rock," he undoubtedly expressed
in that name one characteristic which He desired to see in the faith
of His disciples, and particularly in each of His Apostles. He desired
them to possess a faith that was unwavering,--a faith that would
make them steadfast in the truth regardless of miracles or the acts
of men--a faith that would trust the Lord at all times and under
all circumstances, let those times and circumstances be what they
may. Jesus knew that the Jews were easily influenced; that a miracle
performed today might awaken a feeling in them that He was the King
for whom they had been waiting, and that a truth taught tomorrow might
arouse in them a feeling that He was an impostor. He wanted to lead
them to God and to His Gospel. He longed to have them comprehend the
truths of life so they would live them after He was gone from their
midst.

[Sidenote: Jesus Grieved.]

Imagine, then, how grieved He must have been when, after the miracle
mentioned in the last chapter, the people arose and hailed Him King and
thought by offering Him the bauble of an empty crown, they were doing
Him honor! He did not want them to honor Him. His desire was for them
to see the power of God, and believe in His divine truth.

Desiring to be alone once more with His Father, not wanting the company
even of the three chief apostles, Peter, James, and John, Jesus
dismissed the multitude, told the Twelve to get into the ship and sail
back to Capernaum, and He retired to a solitary place to pray.

A TEMPESTUOUS SEA

[Sidenote: A Storm.]

During the night, while Jesus was yet praying, a great storm arose,
which stirred the lake into a seething mass of billows. From the
mountain Jesus could see His disciples battling with the sea, but
unable to make much headway, although they could not see Him.

When the ship was about thirty furlongs (four miles) from the shore,
Jesus decided to go into it. It was now past midnight, and the
disciples were still struggling in the midst of the heaving sea.

[Sidenote: Jesus on the Water.]

Imagine their fear when through the darkness they saw an object coming
towards them on the waves! And when someone cried out, "It's a Spirit!"
they were more frightened than ever.

"But straightway Jesus spoke unto them, saying. Be of good cheer; It is
I; be not afraid."

At once, Peter spoke out, saying, "Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come
unto Thee on the water." [1]

[Sidenote: Peter's Faith.]

"Come," said Jesus.

"And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water,
to go to Jesus."

Peter, firm in belief and strong in determination, when your eye sees
only the majesty of faith and the perfect manifestation of its power!
Mighty and fearless when your eye sees only the glory of God, and your
soul cries out to go to Him!

[Sidenote: His Doubt.]

But when you see "the wind boisterous," you are afraid; and beginning
to sink, cry, saying, "Lord, save me."

So it is in life: when the winds of temptation and the waves of despair
beat upon us, the eye of faith is turned more upon these raging
elements than upon the Light of Life, the power of faith is thus
weakened, and as Peter, we begin to sink. Too many, ah, too many go
down beneath the billows; only a few cry out as he. "Lord, save us!"

And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and
said unto him, "O, thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

ANOTHER TEST

[Sidenote: In Capernaum.]

Next morning, the people in Capernaum who knew that Peter and the other
disciples had left the opposite shore without Jesus, were very much
astonished to see Him in their midst, and said, Rabbi, when camest thou
hither?

"Ye seek me," answered Jesus, "not because ye saw the miracles, but
because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled."

[IMAGE: "Lord, save me."]

"Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which
endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of Man shall give unto
you." [2]

[Sidenote: Sermon on the Bread of Life.]

He then delivered the famous sermon on the Bread of Life, part of
which, as John remembered it, is recorded in John the sixth chapter.
There were so many things spoken which the Jews could not understand,
because of their prejudice, that they first became confused, then
angry, and finally much offended. Those who had only a little faith,
became influenced by the murmuring crowd, and said, "We don't believe
this man is the Son of God." Even some of His disciples turned away
from the Truth, and "walked no more with Him."

[Sidenote: Men Swerved by Doubt.]

The mass of angry men and women became much like the heaving sea that
tossed the disciples the evening before. The winds of ridicule and the
waves of discontent beat against the wavering disciples. As they looked
upon these angry elements of human passion, their faith in Christ
weakened, and they "began to sink."

[Sidenote: Jesus Appeals to the Twelve.]

In vain, Jesus testified, "It is I, the Son of man!" They would not
listen to Him, for He was to them only the son of Joseph the carpenter.
As group after group turned their backs upon Him. He turned to the
Twelve and said, "Will ye also go away?"

[Sidenote: Peter's Answer.]

Again it was Peter who broke the silence. With the others, he had
looked at the noisy crowd, with the others he had listened to the
angry words hurled at their Master. In the midst of this sea of human
passion, shall he say, "Lord, if it be Thee, bid me come unto Thee?"

As if he wavered just a little, as if his faith had not yet become as
firm as Jesus would have it become, he answered, "Lord, to whom shall
we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life."

[Sidenote: Belief Matures into Knowledge.]

Then, as his assurance became stronger and his thoughts turned from
the apostate crowd, he added, "And we _believe_--and are _sure_ that
thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Though there came not
from Jesus' lips at this time, the word "Blessed," yet, undoubtedly, He
was gratified indeed to see the wavering faith of His disciples become
steadfast in the heart of His Apostles, as if they would say,

  "Then come the wild weather, come sleet or come snow,
  We will stand by each other, however it blow.
  Oppression and sickness, and sorrow, and pain
  Shall be to our true love as links in a chain."

Footnotes:

1. Matt. 14:28.

2. John 6:25-27.



LESSON 6

Peter's Testimony

[Sidenote: At Tyre and Sidon.]

Very soon after the people of Capernaum rejected the Savior, as
narrated in the previous chapter, Jesus took His Twelve disciples
westward across Galilee into the land of Tyre and Sidon, near the
Mediterranean Sea. He desired to be alone with the Twelve that He might
teach them many things pertaining to the kingdom of God, and thus
prepare them for carrying on the work, after He should leave them.

There were many things happened on this tour which must have made it
a memorable one to Peter and the other members of the Twelve. First,
there was the Gentile woman who sought Jesus, and implored Him to come
and heal her little daughter.

[Sidenote: A Syro-Phoenician Woman.]

Because she did not belong to the Jewish race, the disciples said:
"Master, send this woman away, for she is a trouble to us, crying out
after us." Of course, they thought then, and a long time afterwards,
that the Gospel was only for the Jews. But Jesus taught them that He
loved the Gentile woman just as well as He did the Jews. But Peter did
not fully understand.

[Sidenote: Other Miracles.]

From the coast of Tyre and Sidon, they traveled around Galilee and came
to the east side of the Sea of Galilee. Here the disciples witnessed
further manifestations of the power of Jesus. A deaf man who could not
speak plainly was made to hear and to speak; and when the people heard
about it, they followed Jesus and the Twelve out of the village into "a
desert place."

Again Peter saw a multitude of people fed; this time from only seven
loaves and a few small fishes.

It would seem that after all these months with the Savior--hearing His
parables, seeing His miracles, feeling His spirit and receiving His
teachings daily, the apostles would surely understand the mission of
the Redeemer.

[Sidenote: Jesus' Sayings Not Understood.]

But we read that after these "four thousand men besides women and
children" were fed, the disciples entered with Jesus into a boat and
rowed across to the west side of the lake. Here they met some Pharisees
and Sadducees who began to oppose Jesus. When He and the Twelve were
alone again, He said: "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the
Pharisees and of the Sadducees."

You know what Jesus meant when He said this; but the disciples said to
themselves, "He says this 'because we have brought no bread.'"

When Jesus saw that they did not comprehend Him, He said: "How is
it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning
bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the
Sadducees?"

"Then understood they how that He bade them not beware of the leaven of
bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." [1]

Undoubtedly, there were several among them whose testimony was
becoming firm and unwavering. At any rate, we learn that just a few
days later, the chief apostle gave evidence in words that could not be
misunderstood, of his sure conviction that Christ was indeed the Son of
the Living God.

[Sidenote: Peter's Memorable Testimony.]

They had gone northward to Caesarea Philippi at the foot of Mount
Hermon. Here, Jesus, one day, asked His disciples this question: "Who
do men say that I, the Son of man, am?"

They answered, "Some say thou art John the Baptist. Some say thou art
Elias, and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets."

Then Jesus said, "But who say ye that I am?"

Simon Peter answered,

"_Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God_."

There is no hesitancy now, no fear, no wavering, no "we believe and are
sure;" but the unqualified and direct expression of a soul convinced of
the truth: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God."

"_Blessed_ art thou, Simon Barjona," said Jesus, "for flesh and blood
hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." [2]

At last Jesus discovers the assurance in Peter for which He has been
laboring many months to develop. He now knows that Peter's spirit
has received divine assurance that all these miracles and mighty
manifestations have been wrought by the power of God through His only
Begotten Son. He knows that the testimony borne by Peter comes not from
men but from God, and no matter what men may think or do, Peter will
stand firm as a rock on this testimony.

"I say unto thee," continued Jesus, "that thou art Peter, and upon this
rock will I build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail
against it."

[Sidenote: Christ's Church Built Upon Revelation.]

By that He meant that as Simon's name "Peter" means rock, so this
testimony that comes by revelation shall be the rock upon which
Christ's Church Christ's shall be built. Because when one receives
such divine assurance in his soul that the gospel is true, no views
of men, nor waves of temptation nor "the power of hell" can deprive
him of it. You remember when Jesus first met Simon, He said He should
be called "the Rock." Ever since then it would seem that Jesus has
been waiting for the time when Peter's testimony would be like his
character--expressive and firm. That time has come; and Peter is now
prepared to receive a greater responsibility.

[Sidenote: Keys of the Kingdom]

"And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and
whatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and
whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

One key was to open the door of the gospel to the Gentiles, but it took
quite a while before Peter knew how to use it.

It is one thing to know that the gospel is true; it is quite another
thing to comprehend its purpose and significance.

[Sidenote: Jesus Foretells His Death.]

From that time, Jesus began to tell the Apostles that He would suffer
and die, and that they must carry on the preaching of the gospel. He
told them Jesus that in a few months He would be taken by the chief
priests, would be killed, and would rise again the third day.

[Sidenote: Misguided Zeal.]

When Peter heard this, he took the Savior off to one side, and still
hoping that Jesus would some day be a king, said, "Far be it from Thee,
Lord; this shall not be unto Thee." As much as to say, "They shall not
take you if we can prevent it."

[Sidenote: Rebuked Peter.]

Brave but uncomprehending Peter! He does not realize that it is
necessary for his Lord to die, before His mission of redemption is
fulfilled. So he would, in his blinded love, prevent his Master from
completing His work! The Savior perceiving this, turned and said unto
Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me; for
thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."
[3]

This was a severe rebuke, and it must have impressed Peter deeply with
the thought that his plan was not God's plan; and he no doubt realized
that there was yet very much for him to learn before he could carry
out the great responsibility that the Lord had this day conferred upon
him. But in his zeal to save Jesus from death, he erred, though only in
love; and we can fancy hearing one of the others saying, in effect, in
commendation of Peter's anxiety,

  "If he be not one that truly loves you,
  That errs in ignorance, and not in cunning,
  I have no judgment in an honest man's face."

At any rate, we know that Jesus was pleased with Peter's testimony, and
with his love, and would patiently wait the unfolding of his mind in
the comprehension of the gospel plan.

Footnotes:

1. Matt. 16:1-12.

2. Matt. 16:13-20.

3. Matt. 16:16-23.



LESSON 7

A Marvelous Manifestation

[Sidenote: The Holy Mount.]

In the region of Caesarea Philippi, where Peter gave his testimony and
received a blessing and power from his Master, is a high mountain peak
of the Lebanon range, known as Mt. Hermon. Peter called it the Holy
Mount. When you learn of what took place there, you will agree that
Peter gave it a good name.

One writer who has visited this region tells us that the "glittering
splendor" of this peak, "towering like a giant above all other peaks
of the Lebanon range, its head always covered with snow, is visible
from every direction. It is in clear view as far south as the Dead
Sea. It was probably the highest spot of earth on which our Lord ever
stood, and from which He had His most extensive view. From it He looked
down upon Galilee, where He had taught and wrought, where He had been
received by the few and rejected by the many." [1]

[Sidenote: Self-Denial Necessary.]

Six days, (Luke says eight) had passed since Peter had borne his great
testimony--six days, undoubtedly of important instruction to Peter and
the other eleven. It was probably during that time that the Twelve
learned that to be a true follower of Jesus, one must be able to deny
one's self of many desires and appetites--one must learn to control
feelings of anger, jealousy, and other passions. Said the Savior, "If
any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his
cross, and follow me.

"For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it:

"And whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose
his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" [2]

These and many other glorious truths, Peter undoubtedly heard during
that memorable week at Caesarea Philippi.

But he was to see and hear things even more glorious.

Still perplexed over some of the sayings of Jesus, still wondering
why it was necessary for their Lord to "suffer many things, and be
rejected" and even put to death, Peter and James and John one night,
accompanied Jesus up the side of Mt. Hermon. It appears from the brief
accounts we have of this incident that they spent several hours in
solemn conversation, the apostles "asking Him many questions concerning
His sayings."

[Sidenote: The Transfiguration.]

Twilight deepened into darkness, and the shades of night completely hid
Mt. Hermon from the sleeping vales below. Perhaps the three leaders
became drowsy; and as their Lord withdrew a little apart to pray, they
may have fallen, for a moment or two, into a sleep--Luke tells us that
they were "heavy with sleep." Be that as it may, we know that when
their eyes were turned toward Jesus, "He was transfigured before them.
And His raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so white as no
fuller on earth can white them."

"And there appeared unto them Elias and Moses, and they were talking
with Jesus." [3]

[Sidenote: Death but a Change.]

These heavenly personages talked, not _to_ Jesus but _with_ him, about
His approaching death, and resurrection, one of the vital things in
Christ's ministry which Peter could not comprehend. Surely after this
glorious vision of two heavenly beings. Death would lose much if not
all its terror for Peter, James, and John. They would know that even if
wicked men did kill their Master, that He would still live and still
be their Lord and Savior. Death, to them, after this, would be just a
"departure." They would realize that "Death hath nothing terrible in
it, but what life hath made so."

[Sidenote: "It is Good to be Here."]

Peter by inspiration had received assurances that Jesus was indeed the
Christ; now he witnessed a visible sign of his testimony. Desiring
to have a monument to this outward sign, something which other eyes
beside his might behold, he cried, out of the impulsiveness of his
heart, "Master, it is good for us to be here, and let us make three
tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias." But
suddenly, as Moses and Elias "departed," a cloud overshadowed them and
a voice came _out of the cloud_ saying, "_This_ is My beloved Son hear
Him!"

[Sidenote: Sources of Testimony.]

Peter's testimony was, by this time, made strong and his faith proved:
[4]

(1) By the confirmation of miracles; (2) By seeing heavenly beings; (3)
By inspiration; (4) By hearing not only the testimony of these angels
but the Divine testimony of God Himself!

Surely his faith is now built upon the Rock, and the gates of hell
cannot prevail against it!

This is true; and henceforth, we may safely conclude as we follow his
career, that not a shadow of doubt of the divinity of Christ's mission
ever crosses Peter's mind.

When we think of Peter having been in almost daily contact with the
Savior of men, we may conclude that his testimony grew very slowly,
but if so, like the oak tree that grows slowly to, it was all the more
enduring.

[Sidenote: Purity and Sincerity Essentials.]

After all, Peter's experience is the experience that will come to
nearly all the boys and girls who read these pages. The knowledge
of truth, and the testimony of the Gospel may come gradually to most
of them. The one great lesson for them to learn even in youth is,
that _purity of thought_, and a _sincere heart seeking_ the Savior's
_guidance daily_ will lead to a testimony of the truth of Christ's
Gospel as sure and permanent as that which Peter possessed as he
descended Mt. Hermon after seeing the transfiguration of Christ, and
hearing the voice of God testify to His divinity.

But _knowing_ that Jesus is the Savior of mankind, did not give Peter
a comprehension of the Gospel plan. In this regard, he had yet much
to learn. And, it may be, that his strength of character, or shall we
say, his judgment, was not yet so sound as it should have been in a man
whose whole life should be as firm as a rock.

In the strength of his testimony, and in a somewhat resigned attitude
to the fate that sooner or later was to befall his Master, Peter
continued to ask many questions, pertaining to the vital aspects of
Christ's mission. One of these which the apostles asked themselves as
they came down towards the crowd at the foot of the hill, was, What did
the Master mean when He said the Son of Man would rise from the dead?

While the Savior was answering this question, and explaining prophecies
relating to it, they came to the place where, the evening before, they
had left the other disciples. A great multitude had gathered about
them, and the scribes were questioning them.

[Sidenote: The Afflicted Boy.]

In the midst of this crowd was a little boy sorely afflicted by an evil
spirit. When he was "possessed," he fell to the ground, foamed at the
mouth, gnashed his teeth, and pined away. The father met Jesus, and
begged Him to relieve his poor boy, and added that the disciples had
tried but could not.

"How long a time is it," asked Jesus, "since this came unto him?" "When
a child," the father said; "and ofttimes it hath cast him into fire and
into the waters, to destroy him, but if thou canst, I ask thee to have
compassion on us, and help us."

Jesus rebuked the foul spirit, and the little boy was healed.

[Sidenote: A Contrast.]

To Peter, James, and John what a contrast was this scene to the one
they beheld the night before on the Mount! Here was manifest the power
of the evil one, causing suspicions, pain, agony, death; _there_ was
manifest the power of the Holy One, proclaiming happiness, peace,
glory, and immortality! Such have been the results of these two powers
as they have influenced the lives of men in all ages. Such is the
result today. A vital question for us is, Shall we hover around the
foothills of sin where the evil one is triumphant, or shall we at least
show a willingness to climb the mount of Holiness and let God transform
our lives?

  "'Tis not for man to trifle; life is brief,
  And sin is here.
  Our age is but the falling leaf,
  A dropping tear.
  We have no time to sport away the hours,
  All must be earnest in a world like ours."

Footnotes:

1. Weed.

2. Matt. 16:24-26.

3. Matt. 17:1-8; Mark 9:1-6.

4. Peter 1:7.



LESSON 8

Lessons in True Leadership.

"Character is built out of circumstances. From exactly the same
materials one man builds palaces, while another builds hovels."

Between the Transfiguration and the last eventful week of the Savior's
life on earth, there are only a few recorded instances in scripture
with which Peter is personally mentioned. It is significant, however,
that nearly everyone of these, bears either directly or indirectly
upon the moulding of Peter's character as an Apostolic leader. Peter
knows that Jesus is the Christ that should come, but has he strength to
defend Him in word and deed? Does he comprehend the divine principles
of the Gospel sufficiently to manifest them in his daily life and
conversation and in all his associations with his fellowmen? With the
probable exception of the tribute money incident, which emphasized for
Peter the divine Sonship of his Master, all the lessons following bear
directly upon strength of character and principles of conduct.

TRIBUTE

[Sidenote: An Ancient Law.]

In those days, there was a tax levied upon every male Jew of twenty
years old and upwards for the maintenance of the Temple and its
services. This law had been in force ever since the days of the
children of Israel when the great lawgiver, Moses, said a "half shekel
shall be the offering of the Lord." [1]

Matthew tells us that "When they were come to Capernaum, they that
received tribute money, came to Peter and said, "Doth not your Master
pay tribute?" [2] "Yes," promptly answered Peter.

If he knew when he was talking to the tax-gatherers, that "there was
no money in the bag," he must have wondered how the half-shekel due as
tribute could have been paid that day.

[Sidenote: Children of the Kingdom Free.]

When Peter went back into the house, Jesus anticipated what he was
going to say, and asked Him, "Of whom do the kings of the earth take
custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?

"Of strangers," answered Peter.

"Then are the children free," said Jesus, meaning that since this
tribute money was for the maintenance of His Father's house, He, the
Son, would not have to pay it; but he added:

"Lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook and
take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his
mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take and give unto them
for me and thee."

This experience must have impressed Peter with the fact that it is
better to suffer offense than to give offense.

A LESSON IN FORGIVENESS

About this same time, Peter asked the question:

"Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till
seven times?" [3]

Perhaps Peter had already been required to settle some difficulty
between angry men, or it may be that he had been provoked during a
dispute that arose among the disciples as to who was the greatest
among them. If some one had taunted him several times about his being
the greatest, it is quite probable that his patience was exhausted.
At any rate, he wanted to know if there is a limit to the number of
times a man should forgive his brother. What a lesson Jesus taught this
impetuous apostle when he answered,

"I say not unto thee, until seven times; but until seventy times
seven." [4]

Then, to make the teaching more impressive, the Lord told them the
parable of the unmerciful debtor.

A certain king took account of his servants for those who had collected
his revenue, and found that one owed him ten thousand talents or about
fifteen million dollars. This debt the servant could not pay, so the
king commanded him to be sold, and his wife and children, and all that
he had. [5]

The servant begged for mercy saying, "Lord, have patience with me, and
I will pay thee all."

"Then the Lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed
him, and forgave him the debt." The master not only had pity for the
unfortunate debtor, but freed him from prison, let him keep his wife
and children, and cancelled the debt.

[Sidenote: The Ungrateful Servant.]

But that same servant went out and found one of his fellow-servants who
owed him a hundred pence, more than ten hundred thousand times less
than the first servant had owed his master.

Seizing the fellow-servant by the throat and choking him, he demanded,
"Pay me that thou owest."

The fellow-servant fell down at his feet and begged for mercy, "Have
patience with me and I will pay thee all."

But the unforgiving, merciless servant refusing to give pity, "went and
cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt."

So when the Lord heard how the servant whom he had forgiven had treated
his fellow-servant, he called that servant back, and said:

"O thou wicked servant! I forgave thee all that debt, because thou
desiredst me; should not thou also have had compassion on thy
fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee?"

This unforgiving servant was then told to pay the ten thousand talents,
and was delivered over to the "tormentors" until it was all paid.

Then concluded the Savior: "So likewise shall my Heavenly Father do
also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother
their trespasses."

Do you think Peter would ever forget that lesson?

THE REWARD OF SACRIFICE

[Sidenote: The Rich Young Ruler]

One day Peter and others listened to a conversation between their Lord
and a rich young ruler. He was a young man, rich, and, as painted by
the old masters, very handsome. But with all, he had kept himself
morally clean, and desired to get eternal life. [6] But his heart was
set upon his riches; so when the Savior said, "Sell all thou hast, and
distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and
come, follow me," the young ruler went away very sorrowful.

Then Peter said, "Lo, we have left all and followed thee." As much as
to say, Lord we have left everything for Thee, now what shall be our
reward? Jesus said:

"There is no man who has left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife,
or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive
manifold more in this present time; and in the world to come, life
everlasting."

"But," He added, "there are many who make themselves first, that shall
be last; and the last first."

[Sidenote: Humility.]

This last statement must have contained for Peter, the first among the
Twelve, an important lesson in Humility.

A LESSON IN FAITH

It was probably on Tuesday of the last week that Jesus spent with His
apostles, that Peter called attention to the result of a divine curse.

[Sidenote: The Barren Fig Tree.]

A day or so before this, Jesus had gone out of His way to get some figs
from a tree that stood some distance off. When he found that the tree
bore no fruit He said it should never bear fruit again.

On this Tuesday morning as the disciples were passing by, "they saw the
fig tree dried up from the roots."

"And Peter calling to remembrance said unto Him, Master, behold the fig
tree which Thou cursedst is withered away."

[Sidenote: Power of Faith.]

Jesus answered: "Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, that
whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou
cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe
that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have
whatsoever he saith." [7]

On that same day, Peter was undoubtedly with the Twelve on the Mount of
Olives when they asked Jesus "privately" about the destruction of the
Temple. [8]

[Sidenote: Keep Commandments.]

To Peter and to all He said: "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, and
keep my commandments, that ye may be counted worthy to escape all these
things which shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man when
He shall come clothed in the glory of His Father."

Footnotes:

1. Ex. 30:13.

2. Matt. 17:24-27.

3. Matt. 18:21.

4. Matt. 18:22

5. See II Kings 4:1; Lev. 25:39.

6. Read Luke 18:18-30.

7. Mark 11:22-28.

8. Mark 13; Matt. 24; Luke 21.



LESSON 9

ON THE NIGHT OF THE BETRAYAL

"The weakest spot in every man, is where he thinks himself the wisest."

IN THE UPPER ROOM

On Thursday of the Passion Week, Jesus called Peter and John to Him,
and said: "Go, and prepare us the passover, that we may eat." [1]

[Sidenote: The Passover.]

The Passover, you remember, is the name given to the feast established
to commemorate the time when the destroying angel _passed over_ the
houses of the Hebrews, which had been marked by the blood of the lamb.
At this festsival, a lamb was killed, and called the Paschal Lamb. It
was on the day that "the passover must be killed" that Peter and John
were requested to make preparation.

"Where wilt thou that we prepare?" they asked.

[Sidenote: An Upper Room Prepared.]

"When ye have entered into the city," replied Jesus, "there shall a man
meet you bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he
entereth in. Ask him, Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the
Passover with my disciples? And he shall show you a large upper room
furnished; there make ready." [2]

The two apostles did as they were directed, found everything just as
the Lord had stated, and made the necessary preparations.

At the appointed hour Jesus and the Twelve gathered in this upper
room. Some think it was in Mark's house, some the house of Joseph
of Arimathea, but we do not know, nor does it much matter. We are
interested most in what took place there.

[Sidenote: A Solemn Meeting.]

Jesus sat at the head of the feast. On one side, close enough to
recline on His Master's breast sat John, and on the other side sat
Peter. It was, perhaps, the most solemn meeting at which the Twelve had
ever gathered; for the Savior said at the beginning:

"With desire," that is with longing earnestness, "I have desired to eat
this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not
any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled which is written in the
prophets concerning me."

Meaning that His hour had come when His enemies should take Him and put
Him to death.

Near the end of the supper, Jesus rose from where He was reclining,
laid aside His outer garments, took a towel and tied it around His
waist, thus assuming a servant's dress. He then took a basin of water
and proceeded to wash the disciples' feet.

[Sidenote: Jesus Washeth Disciples' Feet.]

It may be that the Savior had detected in the minds of some the same
thought which had caused a dispute among them once before, as to who
was the greatest among them. Perhaps this thought arose when they saw
Peter and John occupying the places of honor. At any rate, their Lord,
the greatest among them, assumed the attitude of servant, the least and
humblest of them all.

[Sidenote: Peter Objects.]

When He came to Peter, the latter said: "Lord, dost _Thou_ wash _my_
feet?" Peter would serve his Master, but his Master must never serve
him!

"What I do thou knowest not now: but thou shalt know hereafter,"
answered Jesus.

"Thou needst not to wash my feet."

"If I wash thee not," continued Jesus, "thou hast no part with me."

When Peter thought that his refusal to submit to be served by the Lord,
was really putting the Savior away from him, he said,

"Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head."

[Sidenote: An Example.]

"So after He had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was
set down again. He said unto them: Know ye what I have done to you?
Ye call me Master and Lord; and ye say well, for so I am. If I then,
your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one
another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I
have done to you."

Thus did these twelve men receive in an impressive and practical
manner, the divine lesson of service. Thus did they learn that those
who were greatest among them were really the servants of all. Indeed,
in the Church of Christ, there are no masters and no servants, but all
working for every one and each one for all.

[Sidenote: "One of You Shall Betray Me."]

Immediately following this impressive and sacred ceremony, the full
significance of which very few understand, the Savior said, "One of you
shall betray me."

This announcement cast a gloom over all. To make it caused "trouble"
to come over Christ's "spirit;" and to hear it, made all "exceeding
sorrowful." [3]

They began to inquire among themselves which one of them should be so
faithless; and soon each asked the Master, "Lord, is it I?"

Judas, last of all answered and said, "Lord, is it I?"

Jesus' answer, "Thou hast said," must not have been heard by the
others, because Peter beckoned to John to ask the Master "who it should
be of whom he spoke."

Jesus replied, also in a quiet manner, "He it is, to whom I shall give
a sop, when I have dipped it."

[Sidenote: Judas Iscariot.]

When he had dipped the sop, he handed it to Judas Iscariot. Peter and
John, then, knew who the traitor was; but the others probably did not;
for they wondered what Jesus meant when He said to Judas: "That thou
doest do quickly."

LOYALTY AS PETER FELT IT

After the traitor went out into the night--oh such a night for him!
Jesus continued to teach and to comfort the Eleven.

[Sidenote: Love One Another.]

"A new commandment I give unto you," He said, "That ye love one
another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."

Among other things, He said, referring to His approaching death,
"Whither I go ye cannot come."

This stirred Peter's love and he inquired, "Lord, why cannot I follow
Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thy sake." [4]

[Sidenote: Peter to Be Tried.]

"Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired you that he may sift you as
wheat. But I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not; and when
thou art converted, [that is, "brought back afresh as a penitent
disciple"] strengthen thy brethren." [5]

This grieved Peter very deeply. To think that his Master would even
suspect that he, _Peter_, would even weaken in his steadfastness to
his Lord! (It is significant that the Lord called him by his old name,
_Simon_).

Peter protested, saying, "Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into
prison, and to death." [6]

[Sidenote: A Prophecy.]

"I tell you, Peter," continued the Savior, "that the cock shall not
crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me."

But, he spake the more vehemently. "Though I should die with thee, yet
will I not deny thee. Likewise so said they all." [7]

Peter meant every word he said, and he felt deeply the truth of what he
spake; but his real strength had not come to him yet, and his Master
knew it. It would come but it would be "Born in the deep silence of a
long-suffering heart."

LOYALTY AS PETER ACTED IT

[Sidenote: Gethsemane.]

Later in the night, the company left the upper room, crossed the brook
Kedron, and went to the Garden of Gethsemane, on the west side of the
Mount of Olives.

Bidding eight of the Eleven to remain together. He took the other
three, Peter, James, and John, apart. His soul "was exceeding sorrowful
even unto death."

He said, "Tarry ye here, and watch with me."

[Sidenote: "Not My Will but Thine be Done."]

Soon He withdrew a little from them, and prayed. The Apostles could see
Him, perhaps could hear Him, as He cried, "Father, if it be possible
let this cup pass; nevertheless not my will, but thine be done."

When he returned, and found the three sleeping, He said, "Simon [Simon
again] sleepest thou? Couldst not thou watch one hour?"

"Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation."

"The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak." [8]

[Sidenote: Peter and His Brethren Drowsy.]

A second time He withdrew; a second time returned; a second time found
them sleeping; "for their eyes were heavy; neither knew they what to
answer Him."

When He returned the third time, He said kindly, "Sleep on now and take
your rest; it is enough, the hour is come; behold the Son of Man is
betrayed into the hands of sinners."

After a little longer sleep, the three were awakened by Jesus, only to
see approaching "a great multitude, with swords and staves, from the
chief priests, and the scribes and the elders." At their head was Judas
who approached his Lord, and betrayed Him with a kiss.

[Sidenote: Peter Defends His Lord.]

As soldiers went to lay hands upon Jesus, Peter, who was now thoroughly
aroused, jumped to the rescue of his Master, "drew his sword, and smote
a servant of the high priest and cut off his ear."

This servant, whose right ear Peter struck off with one blow, was
called Malchus.

[Sidenote: A Lesson.]

"Put up thy sword into the sheath," commanded the Savior, "the cup
which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" What a lesson to
Peter! Even though duty led to suffering and death, yet would the Lord
not waver in His strength.

Then said Jesus, "Suffer ye thus far, and He touched his ear and healed
him." [9]

As the officers led Jesus away, the disciples "all forsook Him, and
fled."

[Sidenote: Peter Follows Jesus.]

Peter's strength and loyalty were wavering; but he could not bring
himself to flee with the others. Neither could he conclude that it was
best to go with Jesus; so he did neither, but "followed Him afar off,
even unto the palace of the high priest."

At first, he remained on the outside, but later ventured in where the
servants were sitting.

WEAKNESS BRINGS MISERY

While Peter was standing by the stove warming himself, a girl came in,
and recognizing him as one who had been with Jesus, said, "Thou, also
wast with Jesus of Galilee."

[Sidenote: In a Moment of Weakness.]

"I know not what thou sayest," said Peter before them all.

He then stepped out on the porch, perhaps to cool his burning
conscience or to try to collect himself to know what best to do.

A man seeing him there cried out, "This man was also with Jesus of
Nazareth."

"I do not know the man," said Simon; and this time he took an oath.

One of the servants of the high priest, who was related to Malchus
approached Peter a little later, and said, "Did I not see thee in the
Garden with Him?" [10]

Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, "Man, I know not what thou
sayest." At that moment, Peter heard the cock crow.

[Sidenote: Sorrow.]

Almost immediately, too, the Savior passing near him, "turned and
looked upon Peter." Then recalling the words of his Lord, "Before the
cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice." [11] Peter went out and
wept bitterly.

Footnotes:

1. Luke 22:8.

2. Luke 22:11-12.

3. Matt. 26:22.

4. John 13:34-37.

5. Luke 22:31, 32.

6. Luke 22:33.

7. Matt. 26:35.

8. Mark 14:38.

9. Luke 22:51.

10. John 18:26.

11. Luke 22:61.



LESSON 10

OUT OF GLOOM, INTO LIGHT

"Strength is born in the deep silence of long-suffering hearts, not
amidst joy."

[Sidenote: Out of Weakness, Strength.]

It is said when Peter "went out speechless from the face of all, * * *
and filled the silence, weeping bitterly," that his grief was so heavy
that he remained alone all day during Friday and Saturday following
the Savior's crucifixion. If so, his sorrow for what he had done was
made all the more acute as he recalled the many kind words the Savior
had spoken to him, and the many, many happy moments he had spent in
the Lord's company. Every word and act and look associated with his
Master would flash upon his mind with a new meaning. Perhaps for the
first time in his life, he now fully realized why the Lord had desired
his nature and faith to be as "The Rock." Through the mist of his
bitter tears, he saw all the true attributes of manhood as they were
personified in Jesus--Reverence, Brotherliness, Patience, Sincerity,
Courage. These and many other noble traits made Jesus appear to him now
more holy than ever. But the more clearly Peter saw Christ's strength
and holiness, the more clearly he realized his own littleness and
misery. This last manifestation of his weakness, which led him to deny
his Lord, made him see himself in a new light, and it had a decisive
effect upon him. Out of the "deep silence" of his suffering, those two
days, there was born that strength which Christ had urged upon him ever
since He called him "Peter."

[Sidenote: A Sad Meeting.]

It must have been a sad meeting when John and Peter first came together
after the Crucifixion. When it was or where, we are not told; but
we are sure that John must have recognized a great change in his
fellow-apostle. Out of the haggard look and the deep lines of grief
there must have shone a humility which John had never before seen
in Peter's face. We can only imagine what Peter's feelings were as
he listened to John tell of all that had happened before Herod and
Pilate, and at the Cross. Mingling with Peter's grief was the keen
disappointment that their Messiah, their King, was not to free the Jews
and rule over them as he had hoped. In doubt as to what to do, they
probably decided to visit the place where their Master had been laid,
and then return to their former vocation as fishermen.

[Sidenote: At the Sepulchre.]

But there was one whose love and devotion took her to the tomb even
before the Apostles. Mary Magdalene, "while it was yet dark" approached
the place where she thought Jesus slept in death. But instead of
seeing her Lord's body in the cold, dark sepulchre, around which
there was nothing but gloom and sorrow, she found an empty tomb. In
alarm, she ran to Peter and John, and breathlessly cried, "They have
taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre." "Peter therefore went
forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre." At first,
they ran together, but Peter already weary with suffering, was soon
out-distanced by the younger Apostle John, who reached the place first.

"And stooping down, and looking in, he saw the linen clothes lying; yet
went he not in."

Just to look in, however, did not satisfy Peter; for as soon as he
came, he "went into the sepulchre." John followed him. They noticed
the napkin that had been on Jesus' head wrapped and placed by itself;
the linen clothes, too, were folded neatly and placed aside with care.
They concluded that thieves would not have done this, and so dispelled
Mary's theory that the Lord's body had been stolen. But "as yet they
knew not the scripture that He must rise again from the dead."

[Sidenote: Mary Beholds Risen Redeemer.]

Filled with wonder and perplexity, the two disciples "went away again
to their own home," but Mary lingered near the tomb, and as a reward
for her faithfulness and devotion, became the first person in the world
to behold the risen Redeemer.

[Sidenote: Peter Sees His Lord.]

Other women who came to the tomb that morning to render, as they
thought, the last slight service to their Lord, were permitted also to
see Him. Later on that same day, it seems that He appeared to Peter;
but where, or under what circumstances, or what was said, we do not
know. We may rest assured, however, that Peter's repentant soul was
filled with joy eternal as he received the divine forgiveness of His
Lord.

[Sidenote: Disciples From Emmans.]

That evening as the Eleven were assembled in a room talking over the
events of the day, and particularly the Lord's appearance to Peter,
there entered two disciples from Emmaus. They were no sooner in the
presence of the Eleven, than they heard the joyous message, "The Lord
is risen indeed and hath appeared unto Simon." They could readily
believe this, for they said, "When we were returning from Jerusalem,
today, after having heard of the angels and the empty tomb, Jesus
Himself drew near and went with us."

[Sidenote: Jesus Appears to Eleven.]

While they were thus assembled, Jesus appeared to them again, "and
saith unto them. Peace be unto you." Such scenes as that cannot be
described, and the evangelists who tell us about it simply state the
fact and leave us to imagine what their thoughts and feelings were on
that glorious occasion. We are sure, though, that we can say of Peter
as has been written of the Prophet Joseph when he, too, saw the Savior,

  "O what rapture filled his bosom,
  For he saw the living God."

THE FISHERMAN BECOMES THE SHEPHERD

[Sidenote: On Sea of Tiberias.]

Several days after this, Peter and six other disciples were back on the
sea of Tiberias, fishing. They were in Galilee, evidently waiting to
meet the Lord there as He had promised. One evening, as if Peter had
almost despaired of waiting, he said to the others,

"I'm going a fishing."

"We also go with thee," said they.

They entered into a boat immediately, and let down their nets. They
toiled all night, and caught nothing, just as some of them had done on
a memorable occasion several months before.

As morning dawned, they saw a man standing on the shore, but in the
distance, they could not tell who he was. Suddenly the man cried,

"Sirs, have ye any meat?"

"No," was their reply.

[Sidenote: Many Fish Caught.]

"Cast the net on the right side of the ship and ye shall find," said
the man.

They did so, and caught so many fish that they could scarcely draw in
the net.

John, whose loving eyes were made more keen by a loving heart, rushed
to Peter's side and whispered, "It is the Lord."

Instantly, Peter knew John spoke the truth, and man of action that he
was, he put on his fisherman's coat, plunged into the sea, and hastened
to the feet of his Master. The others came in the little ship, dragging
the net of fishes.

Jesus had already started a fire, and' was cooking them something to
eat. After the greetings, He said, "Bring of the fish which ye have now
caught."

Peter was the leader in going to the net and in drawing it to the
land. While the fish were cooking, the disciples counted the number
caught, and found that in that one draught there were one hundred and
fifty-three: "and for all there were so many, yet was the net not
broken."

[Sidenote: Peter a Shepherd of Christ's Fold.]

Jesus had shown them where to catch the fish, He had started the fire
on which to cook them, and now "He taketh the bread and giveth them and
the fish likewise." Surely these little incidents would tend to impress
them with the truth that if they "would seek first the Kingdom of God
and His righteousness all else will be added." At any rate, this is
the lesson taught on that great occasion: The apostles were not now to
spend their lives seeking the things which perish, but in searching for
souls that will endure throughout all eternity. Many are now together
in the fold of Christ, and the shepherd is called away. Henceforward
Peter and his associates must be the keepers of this flock.

When they had broken their fast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son
of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?"

"Yea, Lord," answered Peter, "Thou knowest that I love Thee."

"Feed my lambs." That is, Take care of the little ones in my Church. Do
not let them go astray in paths that will lead them to sin and misery.

He saith unto him again the second time,

"Simon, son of Jonas lovest thou me?"

"Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee."

"Feed my sheep." Keep the older ones together and give them the words
of life as thou hast received them from me.

A third time Jesus said,

"Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?"

And Peter, somewhat grieved, answered, "Lord, thou knowest all things;
Thou knowest that I love Thee."

"Feed my sheep."

[Sidenote: Duty First.]

And then the Savior admonished Peter not always to follow his own
inclinations, and impulsive nature; but ever to do his duty as the
Shepherd of the Fold. When Peter was young, and did not have the
knowledge and responsibility he now possessed, he could go fishing, and
make money, or study, or do whatever he wished, but now he must attend
to his duties in the Kingdom of God no matter what might come to him
personally in doing so. Even though Peter's duty led to the cross, the
Savior said, "Follow me."

While this conversation was going on, Jesus and Peter were walking
alone a little ahead of the others. Peter turned, and saw John
following close to them.

"Lord," said Peter, "what is John to do?"

"If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee, follow thou
me." As much as to say, Just attend faithfully to your duty, Peter,
teach others to do the same, and all will be well.

This is the last recorded word of Christ to Peter; but he was present
of course when the Savior gave His final charge to the Twelve. [1]

From this time Peter's zeal in the Work of the Ministry was constant,
and his boldness unsubdued.

Footnotes:

1. Mark 16:16



LESSON 11

A TRUE LEADER AND VALIANT DEFENDER

"The reward of one's duty done is the power to do another."

With a knowledge that Jesus Christ was his Savior, that he was happiest
when he did what his Lord wanted him to do, and that when he did wrong
or yielded to the influence of evil men, he was miserable, Peter, began
his great mission as chief apostle and president of the Twelve.

[Sidenote: In Jerusalem.]

In accordance with the Savior's command "that they should not depart
from Jerusalem" until they received the Holy Ghost, for some time after
the Lord's ascension, made his home in the Holy City. Here he and James
and John, and others of the Eleven, frequently met in an upper room,
perhaps the same room in which Jesus had eaten the Passover with His
disciples. With them were Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and some other
women.

AN APOSTLE CHOSEN

[Sidenote: A New Apostle Chosen.]

On one of these occasions, there were present one hundred and twenty
people, "all engaged in prayer and supplication." Peter arose in their
midst and said it was necessary to choose a man who had been faithful
in following the Savior to take the place of the traitor, Judas, in
the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. There were two names suggested, Joseph
called Barsabas, and Matthias. Knowing that the Lord should choose the
men who were to be His special witnesses, they prayed, saying, "Thou,
Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show whither of these two Thou
hast chosen." Then they "gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon
Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles."

THE DAY OF PENTECOST

[Sidenote: The Holy Ghost.]

Before nine o'clock in the morning, ten days after the Saviors'
ascension, and fifty days after the Passover associated with the
crucifixion, the apostles held a memorable meeting. As they sat "with
one acord in one place" "suddenly there came a sound from heaven as
of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were
sitting." Thus came the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost as Christ
had promised. The Comforter about which their Master had so often
spoken had at length come to them, to guide and to inspire them as
Jesus had done in person.

[Sidenote: The Gift of Tongues.]

Immediately a wonderful manifestation took place. Though nearly all
the apostles were Galileans and spoke the same language, yet when they
began to bear testimony of Christ and His Gospel, they "began to speak
with other tongues as the spirit gave them utterance."

That a remarkable thing had occurred was soon noised about the city,
and people in great numbers gathered around the apostles. In the crowd
were Jews from many nations who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate
Pentecost. These spoke the language of the country from which they
came. Imagine their amazement when every one heard the Gospel preached
in his own tongue!

"Are not theses men who speak Galileans?" they asked. "Yes," was the
answer.

"Then how hear we every man in his own tongue, wherein we were born?"

As the apostles, one after another, told of the salvation of man
through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, some of the people were amazed, and
some amused, but all were perplexed.

"What does this mean?" asked some.

"They act as though they are drunken," said others.

Then Peter arose, and, in mighty power, addressed the multitude. "Ye
men of Judea," he began, "and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem; be this
known unto you, and hearken to my words:

[Sidenote: Peter's Address.]

"For these are not drunken as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third
hour of the day.

"But this is what was spoken by the Prophet Joel." [1]

Undoubtedly only a small part of Peter's address is given to us; but
as we read his inspired words, and partake of the fearlessness with
which he told the Jews that they had crucified the Christ, we readily
become convinced that the weakness he manifested about a month and a
half before, has been replaced by the strength of the man of God. Then
he stammered and swore, "I know not the man;" _now_, he declared, "This
Jesus hath God raised up, whereof, we are all witnesses."

[Sidenote: His Fearlessness.]

With all the courage of his convictions, and with the power of the
Holy Ghost, he added: "Therefore, let all the house of Israel know
assuredly, God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both
Lord and Christ."

As they heard of the wickedness in crucifying the Christ and of many
other sins, they desired to get forgiveness for what they had done, and
cried out to Peter--and the other apostles,

"Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

[Sidenote: "What Shall We Do?"]

In Peter's answer, we see the open door through which all must pass who
desire to be saved in the Kingdom of God:

"Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ,
for the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the
Holy Ghost."

Then those who believed what Peter had said, were baptized; and the
little band of one hundred and twenty grew that day to three thousand
one hundred and twenty. And every day thereafter, many others became
converted, and joined the Church.

THE MAN WHO HAD NEVER WALKED.

[Sidenote: The General Meeting Place.]

About three o'clock one afternoon Peter and John were going up to the
Temple to pray. Here they came every day to meet in one accord with
the saints, and then visit "from house to house; breaking bread." Thus
the Temple seems to have been the general meeting place for the first
followers of the Redeemer. It was His house, and there they liked
to gather to worship. The main entrance to the Temple was by way of
"Solomon's Porch" through a gate that was called "The beautiful Gate."
Here gathered all the poor people--the blind, the lame, the weak, and
those who were diseased--who lived by asking alms from those who came
to the Temple.

[Sidenote: An Appeal.]

On this particular afternoon, one of these made his piteous appeal to
Peter and John. He was a man forty years old, but he had never taken
a step in his life. Friends would carry him there in the morning, and
then carry him home at night. In answer to his request for money, Peter
said, "Look on us."

[Sidenote: The Answer.]

While the man was wondering how much money the apostles would give him,
Peter added, "Silver and gold have I none: but such as I have, give I
thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."

Taking him by the right hand, Peter lifted him up, and immediately his
feet and ankle bones received strength.

The man was so happy that he went into the Temple leaping and praising
God for the great miracle that had come into his life.

Again the people were "filled with wonder and amazement," and gathered
in great numbers in "Solomon's Porch" staring at Peter and John,
wondering what kind of men they were.

[Sidenote: Another Powerful Address.]

Here Peter gave another great address in which he said that this man
was healed through faith in the name of Jesus Christ "whom God hath
glorified, whom ye delivered up and denied Him in the presence of
Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.

"But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be
granted unto you; and killed the Prince of Life, whom God hath raised
from the dead; whereof we are witnesses." [2]

Footnotes:

1. Read the entire address as recorded in Acts 2:14-37.

2. Read Acts 3:2-26.



LESSON 12

PETER AND JOHN ARRESTED

"As no good is done, or spoken, or thought by any man without the
assistance of God, * * * so there is no evil done, or spoken, or
thought without the assistance of the devil."

[Sidenote: Peter Interrupted.]

While Peter was still preaching to the thousands assembled in
"Solomon's Porch," he saw approaching from the castle near the Temple,
the captain of the guard and his band.

The Jewish priests had become jealous, and suspicious of the apostles,
and looked with alarm at the thousands of people joining the Church.
So they decided to call out the soldiers, disperse the multitude, and
arrest Peter and John as the men responsible for all the excitement.
However, about five thousand of the people were converted that
afternoon.

[Sidenote: Imprisoned.]

So the soldiers "laid hands on them," and put them in jail, "For it was
now eventide," and, therefore, too late to take them to trial. Though
they were shut up in close cells, yet their spirits were free and their
consciences clear. They could sleep more peacefully than the priest who
had caused their arrest.

[Sidenote: Before the Sanhedrin.]

In the morning, the prisoners were taken to the Sanhedrin where sat
Annas, the high priest and Caiaphas, and John and Alexander, and
relatives of the high priest. These men had condemned Jesus, perhaps in
this very room, and they were determined that the preaching in the name
of Jesus of Nazareth must cease.

Others were present that morning, and among them true friends to the
apostles. One of these was the lame man, who had been healed.

[Sidenote: Curiosity and Amazement.]

As he was the innocent cause of the multitude's gathering the previous
evening, everybody seemed to be even more interested in him than in the
prisoners. He was carried, they knew, only twenty-four hours ago, to
the temple gate, and now they see him walking firmly through the crowd
to get near the apostles.

"By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?" demanded one of
the judges.

"Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them. Ye rulers of
the people, and elders of Israel,

"If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man,
by what means he is made whole;

[Sidenote: Peter Testifies of Christ.]

"Be it known unto you all, and unto all the people of Israel, that by
the name of Jesus of Nazareth whom ye crucified, whom God raised from
the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole."

How those sinful men must have quailed as they beheld Peter's dignity,
felt his sincerity, and listened to the flashing words that pierced
their guilty souls!

He told them further that they could get no salvation unless they, too,
took upon themselves the name of Christ: "for there is none other name
under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

What could the priests say? What could they do?

Nothing.

[Sidenote: Enemies Confounded.]

There stood the man sound and whole, who had been helpless for forty
years!

There stood Peter boldly proclaiming that the miracle was wrought in
the name of Jesus of Nazareth whom they had condemned to death.

They considered Peter unlearned, but he had confounded them all.

[Sidenote: Counsel.]

After ordering the prisoners to be taken into another room, they said
among themselves:

"What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath
been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem and
we cannot deny it."

So, in order that the doctrine the apostles were preaching would spread
no further, they concluded to threaten Peter and John, and command them
not to speak to any man in "this name."

So they called the prisoners back and said in effect; "You must never
more speak at all, nor teach in the name of Jesus."

[Sidenote: Better to Obey God Than Man.]

Said the apostles, "Whether it be right in the sight of God, to hearken
unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

"For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."

No doubt these priests would have punished the apostles then, if they
had not been afraid of the people, all of whom "Glorified God for that
which was done."

When they were let go, Peter and John went "to their own company,"
and told their friends all that had happened. When they heard it, the
saints united in a prayer of thanksgiving to God for all His blessings
unto them. [3]

At this meeting there was another mighty manifestation of the Holy
Ghost, "and they spake the word of God with boldness."

DANGERS WITHIN THE FOLD

[Sidenote: Unconverted.]

But these leaders had to contend not only with enemies outside the
Church but with the scheming, dishonest people who stole their way into
the fold. There were men and women who had not repented of their sins
before they were baptized; so they did not receive the Holy Ghost.

Two of these were Ananias and his wife Sapphira.

Everybody who joined the Church had everything in common. Those who had
land and other property sold it and brought the money to the apostles.
There were no rich and no poor--all had everything that anybody else
had, and everyone possessed what belonged to all.

[Sidenote: Two Deceivers.]

Ananias and Sapphira sold a possession; but they brought only part of
the money, and said it was all. Thus they told a falsehood, and showed
themselves to be among the worst people in the world; for,

[Sidenote: The Lie Detected.]

  "Who dares think one thing,
  And another tell,
  My soul detests him,
  As the gates of hell."

Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter detected the lie, and
said to Ananias,

"Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to
keep back part of the price of the land?"

"Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart?

[Sidenote: A Severe Punishment.]

"Thou hast not lied unto me, but unto God."

"And Ananias hearing these words fell down and gave up the ghost."

About three hours later, his wife came in, and told the same story as
her husband. She, too, received a divine rebuke, and paid the penalty
of her sin by giving up her life.

After that, no one dare try to deceive the apostles in giving gifts to
the Church.

This is a good lesson for all to keep in mind today especially when
paying tithing to the Lord.

Footnotes:

1. See Acts 4:23-31.



LESSON 13

PERSECUTED BUT UNDISMAYED

"Dinna curse him, sir; I have heard it said that a curse was a stone
flung up to the heavens, and most likely to return on the head of him
that sent it."

The earnestness with which Peter and the other Apostles preached the
Gospel of Jesus Christ had a wonderful effect upon the multitudes who
heard them. At Solomon's Porch, day after day, men and women heard the
Twelve testify that the Redeemer of the world had indeed come.

[Sidenote: Sick Healed.]

These testimonies were corroborated, too, by wonderful manifestations;
for "by the hands of the Apostles were many signs and wonders wrought
among the people." So great was the faith in the power of God that
"they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds
and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might
overshadow some of them."

Nor were the sick in Jerusalem the only persons blessed; but people
from the villages near Jerusalem who were sick and afflicted with evil
spirits appealed to the Apostles, and by the power of God, were healed.

[Sidenote: Rejoicing and Unity.]

It must have given Peter and his fellow Apostles much cause for
rejoicing to see the interest and the faith of so many thousands in
the message of Christ. What rejoicing, too, in the hearts of all those
invalids, who, made well, leaped from their couches and joined in the
praises of the Redeemer!

[IMAGE: PETER. "They brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them
on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might
overshadow some of them."]

How the Twelve must have loved each other and their hearts beat as one
as, day after day, they bore witness to the death and the resurrection
of their Lord, and received divine assurances that He was still
manifesting Himself to them through the Holy Ghost! As this Spirit
permeated those who joined the Church, no wonder that "the multitude of
them that believed were of one heart and of one soul."

[Sidenote: Hatred.]

But there were some men in Jerusalem who were made very jealous of the
Apostles, and whose hearts were filled, not with rejoicing but envy.
These were the men who had been the leaders in crucifying Jesus. It is
said that "No sooner is a temple built to God, but the devil builds a
chapel hard by;" thus while the Lord was pouring out the Spirit of love
upon those who joined the Church, the devil was pouring hate into the
hearts of those who were wicked and would not repent.

[Sidenote: Peter Imprisoned.]

So, "the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, and,
being filled with envy, laid their hands on the Apostles, and put
them in the common prison." These prejudiced and ignorant rulers were
determined to make the Twelve stop preaching Christ; because if what the
Twelve said was true, these rulers would be blamed for having put to
death the King of the Jews. But poor, puny man cannot hinder the work
of the Lord.

[Sidenote: A Miraculous Deliverance.]

Some time during the night while the prisoners were together in the
prison room--perhaps singing hymns and praying--an angel of the Lord
appeared to them. He opened the prison doors, brought them out, and
said:

"Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this
life."

About this command George L. Weed writes:

"'Go'--the very word they had heard from the Lord before His ascension
to Heaven, whence He had sent His angel to repeat it in prison.
'Go'--in spite of threats and commands, of bolts and bars and prison
guards. In the name of Him who commanded you, 'Go, preach my Gospel,'
do ye 'Stand and speak in the Temple'--the very place whence ye have
been driven, Speak to the people, all who will listen, for your Master
and mine is the Savior of them all. Speak all the words of this
life--the promised future life of which the resurrection of Jesus is
the first fulfilment."

Obedient to the angel's command, the Twelve entered into the temple
early in the morning, and taught. How their message must have thrilled
the eager listeners who had assembled that early to hear the word of
God!

[Sidenote: The Jews Perplexed.]

Just as early that same morning another group of men assembled. The
high priest called his council together, "and all the senate of the
children of Israel." When this council was in readiness, the high
priest sent to the prison for Peter and his brethren. Soon the officers
returned and said:

"The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers
standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no
man within."

Perplexed by this unexpected anouncement, the high priest and council
seemed to be unable to decide just what to do. While they were still
seeking for a satisfactory explanation or for the next definite step to
take, some one entered, saying:

"Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and
teaching the people."

Hearing this, the captain of the temple with his officers fetched
the Apostles before the council. But the officers took them "without
violence;" that is, without doing them any injury or without using
them roughly; "for they feared the people, lest they should have been
stoned."

As soon as the Twelve appeared, the high priest demanded:

[Sidenote: Before the Council.]

"Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name?
and behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to
bring this man's blood upon us."

His prejudiced heart prompts him to speak of Jesus without mentioning
His name. But even in his bitterness, he bears a noted testimony of the
success of the Apostles' preaching. "Ye have filled Jerusalem with your
doctrine," said he, "and now intend to bring this man's blood upon us."
Did the high priest remember, just then, that the Jews cried at the
trial of Jesus, "His blood be upon us, and upon our children?" If so,
he must have felt fearful that the imprecation might be realized.

Then said Peter and the other Apostles:

"We ought to obey God rather than men." Manifesting as much eagerness
as the high priest had shown reluctance to name Jesus, Peter added:

[Sidenote: A Bold Speech.]

"The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a
tree.

"Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior,
for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. We testify
to these things and the Holy Ghost also says they are true."

This bold speech cut the wicked judges to the heart. It made them so
angry that they talked of slaying the Twelve, just as they had killed
the Savior.

[Sidenote: Gamaliel's Defense.]

But there was one able lawyer among them who had justice in his heart.
His name was Gamaliel. He stood up among them and said:

"Put these men out of the hall for a little space."

When this was done, he continued, in effect:

"Ye men of Israel, be careful what you do to these men. If what they
are preaching is of man it will soon pass away, just as Theudas and
about four hundred who joined him were scattered and brought to naught;
and just as Judas of Galilee and those who believed in him were
dispersed.

"But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found
even to fight against God." [1]

[Sidenote: Beaten and Released.]

Gamaliel's influence prevailed; and the Apostles' lives were spared;
but they were not released until they had been beaten and commanded
not to speak in the name of Jesus. If the beating they received was a
scourging, each man was stripped to the waist, his arms tied to a low
pillar, that he might lean forward, so the whipping could more easily
strike him, and he was given thirty-nine lashes.

As the Twelve, bleeding from the wounds of the lash, left the council
chamber, their hearts were filled, not with sorrow and regret, but with
rejoicing "that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name."

Footnotes:

[1] Read the text: Acts 5:33-39.



LESSON 14

A SPECIAL VISIT TO SAMARIA

[Sidenote: Deacons.]

As the membership of the Church increased, men were called and ordained
to various offices in the work of the ministry. Besides the Apostles,
there were Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers, Deacons, etc. Among the
first to be chosen and ordained to a particular office of service in
the Church were "seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and
wisdom." Their names were, Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon,
Parmenas, and Nicolas. They are called Deacons and one of their chief
duties was to oversee the distribution of food among the poor.

[Sidenote: Stephen Martyred.]

Shortly after their appointment, a bitter and cruel persecution arose
against the Church at Jerusalem during which the Saints were scattered
abroad throughout the regions of Judea, and Samaria. Stephen, "a man
full of faith and of the Holy Ghost," was stoned to death. Philip went
down to the city of Samaria, and there continued to preach Christ unto
the Samaritans.

[Sidenote: Philip.]

It seems that great power accompanied Philip's ministry, for "unclean
spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed;
and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there
was great joy in that city." The people, "with one accord," heeded
Philip's message and were baptized into the Church.

[Sidenote: Authority Limited.]

But baptism by water is not sufficient. It must be followed by the
baptism of the Holy Ghost. It seems, however, that Philip, though he
had authority to baptize, did not have the right to confer the Holy
Ghost. He, therefore, probably held the office of Priest.

[Sidenote: Holy Ghost Given.]

When the news that Samaria had received the Gospel reached Jerusalem,
"Peter and John were sent unto them. Who, when they were come down,
prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost." On the heads
of these baptized believers, Peter and John then laid their hands and
conferred upon them the Holy Ghost.

[Sidenote: Pretenders.]

The Lord does not accept everyone who is baptized into the Church. Only
those who sincerely believe in Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of the
World and who repent of their sins receive the Holy Ghost. Those who
are baptized without faith and repentance are mere pretenders.

One such joined the Church in England a few years ago. One day a member
seeing that the young man had no faith, asked him why he had joined the
Church.

"Oh, just to get out to America," he replied.

A little later in the conversation, he confessed to having joined the
Catholic Church, at one time, to get a string of beads! and afterward
joined the Latter-day Saints to come to Utah. Of course, it was not
long before he was excommunicated, and soon after fell into the depths
of sin and misery.

[Sidenote: Simon the Sorcerer.]

At the time Philip went to Samaria, there was a man named Simon in the
city, who was a great pretender. He claimed to be a sorcerer, and made
a great deal of money by bewitching people with his sorceries. However,
when the people heard the true Gospel, and saw miracles wrought by
the power of God, they lost interest in Simon's sorceries, and were
baptized by Philip.

[IMAGE: ST. PETER AND ST. JOHN IN SAMARIA. "On the heads of these baptized
believers, Peter and John then laid their hands, and conferred upon them
the Holy Ghost."]

"Then Simon himself believed also; and when he was baptized, he
continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the signs and great
miracles which were done." But he was not converted. His only purpose
of joining the Church was to find out how these miracles were
performed, thinking he might use them for gain.

[Sidenote: His Greed.]

When Simon saw that through the laying on of the Apostles' hands the
Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying, "Give me also this
power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost."
Poor, greedy man! His lust for gold led him to sacrifice even his honor!

  "And hence one master passion in the breast,
  Like Aaron's serpent, swallows up the rest."

[Sidenote: Simon Rebuked.]

If he thought Peter's heart was as avaricious as his own, he soon
learned better, for the indignant Apostle, looking straight into the
sordid soul of this mercenary hypocrite, answered:

"Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of
God may be purchased with money.

"Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not
right in the sight of God."

Outward show and hypocritical pretenses could not influence Peter
any more than they could win the favor of God. Only a sincere heart
was acceptable. Seeing that Simon's heart was set on making money at
the sacrifice of honor, and even the desecration of the word of God,
Peter told him to repent of his wickedness, and to pray to God for
forgiveness, "for" he added, "I perceive that thou art in the gall of
bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity."

Such a scathing rebuke, filled the sorcerer with fear, and he pleaded
with Peter to pray to God "that none of these things which ye have
spoken come upon me."

Peter continued for a short time to preach in other cities in Samaria
and then returned to Jerusalem.



LESSON 15

AT LYDDA AND JOPPA

[Sidenote: Church Established.]

Though only a few years had passed since the Apostles had received the
final commission to "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel," yet,
through their earnest and continuous labors, churches were established
in all Judea, Galilee and Samaria. As it was the duty of the Twelve
to look after the interests of the whole Church, it became necessary
for them to travel throughout all the land of the Jews. Peter visited
from place to place, organizing, ordaining, blessing, and preaching the
Gospel of Christ.

[Sidenote: Eneas the Cripple.]

On one of these tours, he visited the cities on the plain of Sharon,
which border on the Mediterranean Sea. One of these towns was Lydda,
in the southern part of the plain. While visiting the saints here, "he
found a certain man named Eneas who had kept his bed eight years, and
was sick of the palsy." This was a disease which affected the limbs of
those afflicted, and made it impossible for them to walk. This poor
cripple had not taken a step for eight years. Undoubtedly, he had heard
that Christ had healed men as sorely afflicted as he, and also, that
Peter, in the name of Christ, had bade the cripple at the Temple gate
to arise and walk. At any rate, when Peter found him he appealed to
Peter to give him the same blessing.

"And Peter said unto him, Eneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise
and make thy bed." This meant for him to fold the rug on which he was
lying, and put away for the day. "He arose immediately. And all that
dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and turned to the Lord."

[Sidenote: Tabitha.]

Not far distant from Lydda was another city named Joppa. One reason
why we read of Joppa is because it was the home of a very good woman
whom everybody loved. Her name in Hebrew was Tabitha, and in Greek was
Dorcas. Both these words mean "Gazelle," the name of a very beautiful
animal like a deer. Tabitha seems to have been as beautiful as she was
good, and her whole time evidently was spent in giving comfort and
happiness to others. She benefited the poor by presenting them with
coats and garments that she made with her own hands. But one day she
was taken sick, and all her many friends became very anxious about her.
When her sickness grew worse and she died, all their hearts were filled
with gloom. Among these sad mourners were some widows to whom Tabitha
had given comfort. They were truly bowed in grief, as, indeed, was the
entire Church at Joppa. After the body was tenderly washed, it was
carried to an upper room.

But there was no funeral service held; for some of the disciples had
heard that Peter was over at Lydda, and "They sent unto him two men,
desiring him that he would not delay to come unto them."

Peter granted their request and went at once to Joppa. "When he was
come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood
by him weeping;" and, undoubtedly between their sobs, praising the
virtues of their departed sister.

Following the example of his Master when the little daughter of Jairus
was restored to life, Peter asked everybody in the room to leave. He
then knelt down, and prayed. Turning toward the body, he said:

"Tabitha, arise."

[Sidenote: Tabitha Restored.]

As the first manifestation of life, we are told that "she opened
her eyes." What her surprise upon seeing the Chief Apostle by her
side instead of her nearer friends--what exchange of greetings were
made--what expressions of gratitude, we cannot tell; but "he gave her
his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and
widows, presented her alive."

As a result of this miracle, which became known throughout all Joppa,
"many believed in the Lord."

[Sidenote: Preached Only to Jews.]

Up to this time the Apostles preached only to the Jews because being
Jews themselves, they thought the Messiah was their Savior but not the
Savior of other nations, especially of those nations who worshiped
idols. All peoples nor Jews were called Gentiles and were considered by
the Jews to be "common" or "unclean."

[Sidenote: Cornelius.]

Although the Lord had commanded to "teach all nations," yet the
Apostles did not seem to have comprehended their commission, until
Peter received a special vision.

While he was staying in Joppa with a man named Simon who was a
tanner, there was a Roman officer stationed at Caesarea, thirty
miles northward. His name was Cornelius. He was captain of a hundred
soldiers, and was therefore called a "Centurion." Although a "Gentile,"
Cornelius did not worship idols as did most of the Gentiles.

[Sidenote: A Devout Man.]

Undoubtedly, he had heard of Christ, and knew that many of the Jews
accepted Him as their Savior; and he wondered why the true Gospel could
not save him as well as the Jews. "He was a devout man, and one that
feared God" and taught all in his house to do likewise. Not only this,
but he lived a righteous life, which is best of all, and gave also to
the poor.

One afternoon, he was praying in his house when an angel appeared to
him, and said, "Cornelius."

The suddenness of the angel's appearance filled the Centurion with
fear; but he answered,

"What is it, Lord?"

[Sidenote: His Prayers Answered.]

"Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God,"
said the angel; "and now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon,
whose surname is Peter. He is staying with one Simon the tanner, whose
house is by the seaside: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do."

As soon as the angel had gone, Cornelius called two servants and a
soldier who also worshiped the Lord, and telling them what the angel
had said, sent them to Joppa. They followed the seashore southward all
night, and reached Joppa about noon the next day.

[Sidenote: A Midday Vision.]

Just about the hour that these messengers entered the city, Peter, as
was his custom, went upon the housetop to pray. While there, waiting
for the preparation of his noonday meal, he "fell into a trance," in
which he saw coming down from heaven a vessel resembling "a great sheet
knit at the four corners, and let down to earth, wherein were all
manner of four-footed beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the
air."

While Peter beheld these animals, thinking they were unfit to eat, a
voice said: "Rise, Peter; kill and eat."

"Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common and
unclean."

"What God hath cleansed," continued the voice, "that call not thou
common."

This was repeated three times, and then the sheet was taken up again to
heaven.

[Sidenote: Peter Perplexed.]

Peter was perplexed, and sat wondering what the vision might mean.
However, he was not left long in doubt; for while he was thinking on
the vision, "the Spirit said unto him, Behold three men seek thee.
Arise, therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting
nothing: for I have sent them."

Now it happened that just while Peter was given his vision the three
messengers from Cornelius knocked at Simon's door, and were admitted
into his house. As Peter entered, and saw them, he said,

"Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye have
come?"

"Cornelius, the centurion, * * * was warned from God by an holy angel,"
they answered, "to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of
thee."

The messengers stayed that night with Peter in Simon's house; and next
morning, conducted him and "certain brethren from Joppa," to Caesarea.
On the following day, as they came to the Centurion's house, they found
Cornelius and all his household, kinsmen, and friends gathered to
receive them. As Peter neared the door, Cornelius stepped out to meet
him, fell, down at his feet, and began to worship him. But Peter raised
him up, saying gently:

"Stand up; I myself also am a man."

As the two men entered the house, Peter, seeing a number of people
present, said:

[Sidenote: Peter Communes With Gentiles.]

"Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to
keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath showed
me that I should not call any man common or unclean. * * * Now for what
intent have ye sent for me?"

Cornelius then told all about his fasting and prayer, the visit of the
angel, and the angel's instructions. [1]

The prejudice that had prevented Peter from comprehending the full
meaning of the command to "Teach all nations," began to lift from his
soul, his eyes began to see more clearly the mercy of our Heavenly
Father; and as Cornelius ceased speaking, he exclaimed:

"Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of per sons: but
in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is
accepted with him." [2]

Then to this first meeting of Gentiles in the early Church, Peter
told the story of the Redeemer, testifying of the Savior's death and
resurrection.

[Sidenote: Holy Ghost Given.]

As final proof to the chief Apostles that the Lord would accept the
Gentiles as well as the Jews into His Church, "the Holy Ghost fell on
all them which heard the word."

Accepting this as a direct manifestation from God, Peter declared.

"Can any man forbid water, that these may be baptized, who have
received the Holy Ghost as well as we?"

Footnotes:

1. See Acts 10:30-34.

2. See Acts 10:34-43.



LESSON 16

THE THIRD IMPRISONMENT

"They never sought in vain that sought the Lord aright."

"If you cannot pray over a thing, and cannot ask God to bless you in
it, don't do that thing. A secret that you would keep from God is a
secret that you should keep from your own heart."

After having completed his labors at Lydda, Joppa, and the adjacent
towns, Peter returned to Jerusalem and continued his earnest work in
the ministry.

[Sidenote: A Wicked King.]

But there was a wicked king ruling over Judea at that time, named Herod
Agrippa, who "stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the Church."
He was a grandson of Herod the Great, who, you remember, slaughtered
all the little children in Bethlehem in his effort to kill the little
baby Jesus. He was also a nephew of Herod Antipas, the wicked king
who had John the Baptist beheaded. Herod Agrippa possessed the same
wicked passions as his grandfather and his uncle; so, of course, he
hated and despised the righteous men who, in preaching the Gospel, were
condemning sin and wickedness.

[Sidenote: Peter Thrust Into Prison.]

The first apostle to suffer from King Agrippa's wickedness was James
the brother of John whom he killed "with the sword." When he found
that this murderous act pleased the haughty and stiff-necked Jews, he
thought he would kill some others of the apostolic band. Accordingly,
he arrested Simon Peter; but, fortunately, concluded not to kill him
until after Easter, so thrust him in prison until a more favorable time
for a public execution.

[Sidenote: Strongly Guarded.]

As if to make sure that Peter would not escape this time, he "delivered
him to four quarternions of soldiers to keep him." "This meant four
distinct pickets of four guards each, sixteen in all. Each picket was
to keep watch three hours and then be relieved by another during the
night watches. Two officers must guard at the outer gate of the prison,
and two be in the cell, one on each side of the prisoner, with his arms
chained to them." Thus firmly guarded and chained, Peter lay down to
sleep "between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and the keepers
before the door." [1]

James' cruel death and the report of Peter's imprisonment spread
consternation among the saints in Judea. Some, perhaps, were fearful;
all were prayerful.

[Sidenote: Special Assemblies in Prayer.]

It seems that groups of earnest saints met in different places, and
pleaded in sincere prayer to God to spare their leader's life. Indeed,
"prayer was made without ceasing of the Church unto God for him." It is
thought by some historians that among those who were thus supplicating
the Lord were Paul and Barnabas who were probably in Jerusalem at that
time.

[Sidenote: At Mary's House.]

One of the principal meetings was held at the house of Mary the mother
of John Mark, who many years after, wrote the Gospel, according to St.
Mark.

[IMAGE: ST. PETER IN PRISON. "The angel of the Lord came upon him, and a
light shined in the prison."]

While we leave them in solemn prayer on the night before Peter was to
be killed, let us go back to the prison, and see what is happening
there.

[Sidenote: An Angel Appears to Peter.]

While Peter lay sleeping on his pallet of straw, "behold, the angel of
the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison." Evidently,
the guards were asleep, and neither saw nor heard anything for the
angel touched Peter on the side, and raised him up saying, "Arise up
quickly."

As Peter complied, his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said
to him: "Tie your girdle around your waist, and put on your sandals."

Peter, scarcely knowing what he was doing, did as he was told. Then the
angel continued:

"Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me."

Still thinking that he was dreaming, Peter followed the angel.

[Sidenote: Peter Delivered From Prison.]

They left the guards in the cell, passed the first guard of soldiers,
then the second; but no one tried to stop them. When they came to the
big "iron gate that leadeth to the city," it "opened to them of its own
accord." The angel continued to direct Peter through one of the streets
of the city, then left him as suddenly as he had appeared.

By this time, however, Peter fully realized that he was not dreaming,
but was actually out of prison. He said to himself:

[Sidenote: His Life Saved.]

"Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath
delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of
the Jews." By this last remark, he referred to the public execution
that Herod had promised to have taken place that very day. But faith
and prayers were more mighty in Peter's behalf than the decree of
kings, and the demands of the wicked Jews.

Wondering just a little where he should go, he turned to the house of
Mary, the mother of John Mark, where, you know, some of the saints were
even at that moment praying for his deliverance.

[Sidenote: Rhoda.]

"As Peter knocked at the door of the gate," a young girl named Rhoda
came, and asked who was there. When she heard Peter's voice, she was so
glad that she didn't stop to open the gate, but ran immediately into
the room saying:

"Peter is here--standing outside the door."

[Sidenote: Friends Astonished.]

So suddenly interrupted in their prayer, the people would not believe
her, but said she was beside herself. But Rhoda insisted that she was
right. She knew Peter's voice, and she knew he was at the door. They
finally concluded that "it was his angel."

In the meantime, Peter kept knocking until he was finally admitted.
It seems that the little group hardly expected their prayers to be
answered in just that literal way; so "when they opened the door and
saw him, they were astonished."

Peter, holding up his hand, and beckoning them to be quiet, told
them how the Lord had delivered him from prison. Then he added: "Go
explain all these things to James, and to the brethren." This James was
probably the brother of Jesus, who seems to have been appointed to take
charge of the Church at Jerusalem. [2]

[Sidenote: Peter Gets Away.]

Knowing that as soon as he would be missed in prison the soldiers of
old Herod would be searching for him, Peter went unto another place.

When morning came, there was a great stir among the soldiers because of
Peter's having escaped. Herod ordered a thorough search in vain.

Then, thinking the keepers of the prison had been careless and
negligent, this wicked ruler ordered them put to death.

[Sidenote: Guards Put to Death.]

Not long afterward he, himself, died so suddenly and so miserably,
that some said the wrath of God was visited upon him because of his
wickedness. Luke tells us that the "angel of the Lord smote him."

[Sidenote: Herod's Death.]

But Peter, whom Herod had sought to kill, was spared, through the
blessings of the Lord, to bless the Church, and to preach the Gospel
for many years afterward.

Footnotes:

1. Acts 12:6.

2. Gal. 1:19.



LESSON 17

CLOSING SCENES OF A RIGHTEOUS MINISTRY

"The Gospel is the fulfillment of all hopes, the perfection of all
philosophy, the interpreter of all revelations, and a key to all the
seeming contradictions of truth in the physical and moral world."

[Sidenote: Peter's Character.]

Many years have passed since Peter met Jesus, and was told that he
should be called "Cephas which is by interpretation, a Stone." Little
did Peter realize then, why the Lord desired to have this fisherman's
character become as a rock. Little did he realize what mighty
responsibility his Master desired to place upon him. But the years
that have intervened have been filled with wonderful experiences, all
of which tended to make Peter not only the Rock-man Christ had desired
him to become, but the great leader and chief apostle in the Church of
Christ.

Fearlessness, faithfulness, prayerfulness, humility, and an untiring
zeal in his efforts to instruct and to bless the people are traits of
Peter's character that shine out in his life.

We should be reminded, however, that this rock character was not formed
all at once. It grew gradually. You remember how Jesus, watching its
formation, reproved Peter's weaknesses, commended his strength, and
encouraged him, time after time, to remain true to the work as a
"fisher of men."

[Sidenote: A "Fisher of Men."]

We have now reached that period in his life when this man who at one
time pulled nets full of fishes from the sea of Galilee can look back
over his years of ministry and see numberless nets full of men, women,
and children drawn from the sea of ignorance and sin and put safely in
the Church of Christ.

There was this difference, however, between the results of his fishing
for fish and his fishing for men: The fish he dragged from the element
of life to physical death; the men he drew from the element of death to
eternal life.

For five years after his deliverance from the third imprisonment,
Peter continued his visits from city to city, province to province,
preaching the Word of the Lord. During many of these travels, he was,
undoubtedly, accompanied by his faithful wife.

[Sidenote: Opened Door to Gentiles.]

It had been Peter's duty and privilege to preach the Gospel first to
the Gentiles. Please note that when the Lord desired the Gentiles to
hear His word, He instructed the Chief of the Twelve to turn the key
that opened the Gospel door to them. This is one of the special duties
of the Apostleship.

[Sidenote: Christians.]

Since that time, many Gentiles had become converted; and in some cities
they met and worshiped together with the Jews. This was particularly
true in Antioch, an important city of Syria where the followers of
Jesus were first called Christians.

But there were certain men from Judea who went to Antioch and caused
trouble. These were Jews who had accepted the Gospel, but who still
believed that the Gentiles would have to do everything the Jews did
before they could obtain salvation.

[Sidenote: Peter Justifies the Gentiles.]

The question as to whether the Gentiles might receive the Gospel and be
saved, without conforming to every Jewish rite, came before the Twelve
and other Church leaders in Jerusalem.

"And when there had been much disputing, Peter arose up, and said unto
them:

"Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice
among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the work of the
Gospel and believe.

"And God, who knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the
Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

"And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by
faith."

He then told them not to provoke God by passing some rule that would
compel the Gentiles to do what the Lord does not require of them. For,
he added, "We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
we shall be saved, even as they."

[Sidenote: Upholds the Right.]

There was a time when Simon, the Jewish fisherman, with all his
Jewish prejudices, would have rather yielded to the Jewish side of
this question; but now, it was not Simon, the fisherman, who spoke,
but Peter, the chief apostle of the Lord. What were prejudices to him
in the light of the inspiration of truth! All that was necessary for
him to know was, whether the thing was right, and prejudice or no
prejudice, favor or no favor, he would defend it.

It is true that once after this council, so Paul says. [1] Peter
withdrew from the company of some Gentiles because some of the Jews
came down from Jerusalem. Paul says he rebuked Peter for his actions on
this occasion; but we have no record of what Peter said or did. Knowing
Peter as we do, we are safe in concluding that he did not intentionally
waver from the right. It seems more probable that Paul misunderstood
Peter's motives. At any rate, we may rest assured that what Peter said
and did was intended to help those who were influenced by his actions.

[Sidenote: Visits All Churches.]

From that time, we know very little of Peter's travels. By reading his
epistles, we get a little insight into the nature of his labors and
travels during the last years of his life. Undoubtedly, he visited
every country where there were organized branches of the Church, even
to the "seven churches in Asia."

[Sidenote: Thirty-five Years' Service.]

We do not know just where he died, nor the kind of death he suffered;
but it is evident that the end was not far off when he wrote his
second epistle to the churches. That was about thirty-five years after
he first met the Savior. He was in the ministry then, approximately
thirty-five years, perhaps longer.

Referring to the prophecy of the Lord on the shore of Galilee, the
aged apostle, writing to the Saints and urging them to be true to the
Gospel, said:

"Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our
Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me. Moreover, I will endeavor that ye may
be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance."

Some of the earliest Christian writers tell us that Peter and Paul were
both imprisoned in Rome during the terrible persecutions of the Saints
under the wicked King Nero.

[Sidenote: A Legend.]

There is a story told that before Nero had imprisoned Peter, the
Saints, perceiving the danger he was in, pleaded with him to leave Rome.

Very reluctantly, he yielded to their entreaties, and escaped from the
city, by night. As he was going away, he met the Lord carrying His
cross, and going toward Rome. "Master, whither art thou going?" asked
Peter. "To Rome, to be crucified a second time," was the reply.

Thinking that if his Lord could be crucified a second time for the
Truth, he too, would be willing to die for in, he returned to Rome, and
some time later, was condemned by the Emperor Nero to suffer death by
crucifixion. As he neared the place of execution, however, Peter asked
that he be permitted to hang on the cross with his head downwards,
which request was granted.

These circumstances are more or less legendary, and may or may not be
true; but this we know that whatever the manner or time of his death
Simon Peter died true to every trust that his Lord and Master had given
him

  "He has done the work of a true man,--
  Crown him, honor him, love him.
  Weep over him, tears of woman,
  Stoop manliest brows above him!
  No duty could overtake him,
  No need his will outrun;
  Or ever our lips could ask him.
  His hands the work had done."

Footnotes:

1. Gal. 2:7.



PART TWO--JAMES



LESSON 18

JAMES, THE SON OF ZEBEDEE

  "Honor and shame from no condition rise;
  Act well thy part, there all the honor lies."

"Honor is not a matter of any man's calling merely; but rather of his
own actions in it."

Among the devoted women who followed Jesus in Galilee, who ministered
unto Him, and watched with anxious care and sorrow the progress of
the trials in Jerusalem, was a noble mother named Salome. With Mary
Magdalene, and Mary the mother of Jesus and Joses, she stood "beholding
afar off" the crucifixion of the Savior.

She was one who would not forsake her Lord even at the cross. She was
also one who, with spices and perfumes, went early to the sepulchre
Sunday morning, to participate in the embalming of Jesus' body. To her
and others, the Savior appeared, that morning, saying, "Be not afraid;
go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see
me."

[Sidenote: Tennyson Quoted.]

"Happy he with such a mother! faith in womankind beats with his blood,
and trust in all things high comes easy to him, and though he trip and
fall, he shall not blind his soul with clay."

[Sidenote: Proud of Her Boys.]

Such was the faithful, devoted woman whom James and John, the sons
of Zebedee called mother. And she was as proud of her boys as they
were proud of their mother; for they seemed to have inherited from
their mother, and perhaps their father too, those true and unwavering
qualities which made them such devoted disciples of Christ.

[Sidenote: A Mother's Request.]

Like most mothers, Salome desired to see her boys honored; and one day
asked the Savior to grant that her two sons might sit, the one on His
right hand the other on the left, in His kingdom. Jesus said, "Are ye
able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and be baptized with
the baptism that I am baptized with?"

They answered, "We are able."

[Sidenote: Boys to Drink of Cup.]

"Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that
I am baptized with," answered the Lord; "but to sit on my right hand,
and on my left, is not mine to give."

[Sidenote: True Servants.]

The mother's eagerness to have her sons thus honored made the other ten
a little jealous; but when Jesus saw their feelings, He told them that
while men who hold offices in the world exercise unrighteous dominion,
those who are given offices in His Church are the servants of all.
"Whosoever will be chief among you let him be your servant."

[Sidenote: Of Bethsaida.]

James was of Bethsaida, in Galilee, and was a fisherman. He was busy at
his trade when Jesus called him to the ministry. When the call came,
James and his brother were sitting in a boat mending nets. Their father
and hired servants were also there. Of course, James had seen Jesus
before this, and had undoubtedly heard Him; for when Andrew had hurried
off to find Simon Peter, after having met the Lord, John had hurried to
find his brother James.

[Sidenote: Accepts Call.]

So James, too, had found the Messiah, and was already converted to the
Gospel. Therefore when Jesus stopped that morning by the seashore, and
said, "Come, I will make you fishers of men," they immediately left
their father with the hired servants, and followed Christ.

[Sidenote: One of the Twelve.]

When the Twelve were chosen, James was chosen next to Peter, and was
one of the three who constituted what we might call the Presidency of
the Twelve. In this position, he became closely associated with the
Redeemer, and was an eyewitness to some of the most sacred incidents in
His Lord's ministry. Thus, with Peter and John, he was present in the
room when the little daughter of Jairus was restored to life.

[Sidenote: On the Mount.]

He was also one of the favored three on the Mount of Transfiguration;
and was one of those chosen to accompany the Master to the secluded
place in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Christ suffered those bitter
agonies preparatory to His betrayal and sufferings on the cross.

[Sidenote: A Son of Thunder.]

James was called a son of Thunder; and there is one incident in the
Bible which gives us a little insight into a part of his nature which
probably called forth that name. When the time came that Jesus was
determined to go to Jerusalem to be offered up as a sacrifice, he "sent
messengers before His face: and they went, and entered into a village
of the Samaritans, to make ready for him." [1]

James was one of these messengers.

But the Samaritans, who would have no dealings with the Jews, and
who were particularly offended on this occasion because Jesus was
determined to worship in Jerusalem, refused to receive Jesus. Their
refusal made James and John so indignant that they turned to their
Master and said: "Lord let us command fire to come down from heaven,
and consume them, even as Elias did?"

[Sidenote: A Rebuke.]

But the Lord was displeased with them for being angry, and said, "Ye
know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of Man is not
come to destroy men's lives but to save them."

For this almost righteous manifestation of fire in their natures, it is
thought that James and John were called Boanerges, or "sons of Thunder."

[Sidenote: Little Recorded of His Labors.]

But if he had an impetuous nature or quick temper, he controlled it,
and through his faithfulness and devotion won the favor of his Lord.

It is thought that he traveled a great deal, preaching the Gospel, it
is said, to all the dispersed tribes of Israel. But of his labors,
there is scarcely any record.

[Sidenote: The First Martyr.]

About forty-two or forty-four years after Christ, Herod Agrippa, as
you have already learned, commenced a bitter persecution against the
Saints. James was among the first to be arrested.

[Sidenote: Officer Converted.]

Sentence was passed upon him very soon after he was apprehended, yet,
so remarkable were his faith and his courage during the trial that the
officer who guarded him, (who, some say, was his accuser) repented of
his sins, became converted, and declared his faith in Christianity.

As James was being led to the place of execution, this officer threw
himself at the apostle's feet, and humbly begged forgiveness for what
he had said against him.

Putting his arm around the penitent man, James answered, "Peace, my
son, peace be unto thee, and pardon of thy faults."

[Sidenote: Execution.]

Both were then executed by order of the cruel Herod. Thus James, the
first martyr apostle, partook of the cup of which he had said to his
Lord many years before he was willing to drink.

Footnotes:

1. Luke 9:52.



PART THREE--JOHN



LESSON 19

WITH THE REDEEMER

"Modesty is a shining light; it prepares the mind to receive knowledge,
and the heart for truth."

"Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues."

[Sidenote: Modesty.]

In the first chapter of the Gospel according to St. John, we read that
two disciples of John the Baptist heard their master bear witness to
the divinity of Jesus. Said the Baptist, referring to Jesus walking
alone in the distance, "Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the
sin of the world." One of the two disciples who heard this testimony
is named; he was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. [1] The other is
not named. Indeed throughout the entire book, which undoubtedly, was
written by St. John, himself, the name of John, son of Zebedee, is
never once written. In the account of the Last Supper, we read of a
"disciple whom Jesus loved," who sat so near the Lord that his head
could rest on Jesus' bosom.

These two instances, and others that might be named indicate to us a
prominent trait in St. John's character; viz., an unassumed modesty
that won him the respect and love of all who knew him.

[Sidenote: Fearlessness.]

But John was the son of Salome and Zebedee, and the younger brother of
James, with whim he was called "Boanerges," or son of Thunder. This
gives us a little insight into another phase of his character. Like
his brother James, he was evidently fiery in his zeal in whatever he
undertook to do, and fearless in doing what he thought was right.

[IMAGE: ST. JOHN AND THE LAMB.]

[Sidenote: Love.]

A modesty that made him shrink ever from praising himself or unduly
pushing himself forward; a _fearlessness_ in defending what is right,
and a _love_ for his Master that gave him the highest place in the
Savior's heart--these are three traits of John's character which stand
out distinctly in the fragmentary accounts of his life.

He lived, and was probably born in Bethsaida, the home of Peter and
Andrew and Philip. He was a fisherman by trade, and worked with his
father and brother James. His father, Zebedee, owned his own ships, and
employed servants; so we conclude that he was well to do financially.
[2]

[Sidenote: A Seeker After Truth.]

He was a seeker after true learning, and especially after those things
which would tell him about God and the hereafter. He kept his mind and
heart pure, so that he could appreciate the truth when he heard it.

When, therefore, John the Baptist came out of the wilderness preaching
repentance and declaring that the "Kingdom of Heaven was at hand," John
was one of the fearless young men who believed the Baptist and followed
him. Thus he was prepared to accept John's testimony of Jesus after the
latter was baptized in Jordan, and was one of the two who had the first
interview with the Savior of the world at the beginning of His ministry.

[Sidenote: Follows Jesus.]

On the same occasion when Simon Peter and his brother were called
as disciples of Jesus, "James the son of Zebedee and John were with
their father mending their nets," and when Jesus called them, they
immediately left the ship and their father and followed Him. [3]

[Sidenote: A First Lesson.]

Luke tells us [4] that John was present at the miraculous draught of
fishes, and was very much astonished at what he heard and saw on that
occasion. It was one of the first lessons if not the first impressive
lesson that taught him the great truth that obedience to Christ's words
bring blessings.

[Sidenote: Youngest of the Twelve.]

From this time on to the end of his eventful life, he was always in the
ministry. When Jesus chose his disciples, John was chosen one of the
special three, although he was the youngest member of the Twelve.

[Sidenote: Memorable Experiences.]

From that time, John was in the close companionship of Jesus, and
witnessed some of the most remarkable and divine incidents recorded
in the history of Christ's ministry. He was one of the three apostles
permitted to remain in the room when the little daughter of Jairus was
restored to life. [5] He was on the mount of Transfiguration when the
Savior conversed with Moses and Elias and when a voice from heaven said
"This is my beloved Son, hear him." [6]

With Peter, James and Andrew, John was present on the Mount of Olives
when Jesus taught them concerning the destrucion of the temple, and
of Christ's second coming. How the memory of such occasions must have
filled his soul in after years, with rejoicing and sweet content!

To him and Peter was entrusted the duty of making preparations for the
Passover. [7]

[Sidenote: Close to Jesus.]

At the solemn moment when the Savior said "One of you shall betray me,"
it was John the "disciple whom Jesus loved" who received the answer
indicating who the traitor was.

[Sidenote: In Gethsemane.]

When the gloom of Gethsemane began to weigh heavily upon the spirit
of Jesus, John was one of the three unto whom He said, "My soul is
exceeding sorrowful unto death; tarry ye here and watch." [8]

[Sidenote: In the House of the High Priest.]

Later that same night, when the traitor gave the kiss of betrayal, and
the soldiers arrested Jesus, and bore Him away a prisoner, all the
other disciples fled, but John accompanied his Master to the house
of the high priest and later admitted Peter, who, you remember, had
"followed afar off."

[Sidenote: A Terrible Ordeal.]

Though we are not told, yet we can imagine what this beloved disciple's
feelings were as he listened to the false and wicked accusations against
his Lord, and how his heart must have ached as he saw Jesus beaten
and scourged, and a crown of thorns put on His head. If he had wanted
to call down fire from heaven and consume the Samaritans who refused
shelter and accommodations to his Lord, what must have been the state
of his fiery soul when he beheld the Jews and their judges persecuting
the Christ to death!

[Sidenote: A Last Request.]

How his soul must have been rent in agony as he saw his Savior nailed
to the cross, and yet what peace must have come to him as he received
from the dying lips of his Master one of the dearest commissions ever
given to mortal man! As the three Marys and John stood by the cross,
Jesus looked down upon them and said to his mother, "Woman, behold thy
Son!" and to John, "Behold thy mother!"

"And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home."

On the Sunday morning following the crucifixion, John was with Peter
when Mary Magdalene came running to them, saying:

[Sidenote: At the Tomb.]

"They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not
where they have laid Him."

As soon as the apostles heard this, they ran for the spot where Jesus
had been buried. John being the younger outran Peter and was the first
to see the empty tomb; and "looking in, saw the linen clothes lying,
yet went he not in." A moment later, however, he followed Peter into
the tomb, made a careful examination of the linen clothes and napkin
that was about the head; but not yet realizing that Christ was to rise
the third day, each returned to his own home.

[Sidenote: His Testimony.]

John was with the ten and later with the Eleven when Christ appeared to
them in the upper room. Of this and other glorious experiences he bears
testimony in his Gospel. "That ye might believe in Jesus Christ, the
Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through His name."

Footnotes:

1. John 1:40.

2. Mark 1:20.

3. Matt. 4:21, 22; Luke 5:1-11.

4. Luke 5:1-11.

5. Luke 8:51.

6. Luke 9:28.

7. Luke 22:8

8. Mark 14:33.



LESSON 20

WITH PETER AND THE TWELVE

"Love one human being purely and warmly and you will love all."

"Love gives itself, it is not bought."

[Sidenote: At the Sea of Galilee.]

John was one of those who, after the death and resurrection of Jesus,
when Simon Peter said, "I go a fishing" replied: "We also go with you."
They toiled all night, and caught nothing, but when morning came they
were told by a man on the shore to "Cast the net on the right side
of the ship." This they did and caught a multitude of fishes. Almost
immediately John recognized Jesus and said to Peter, "It is the Lord."

[Sidenote: Feed My Sheep.]

A little later, on the shore, he heard the Savior's admonition to Peter
to feed the sheep and the lambs in the fold of Christ, and no doubt
John shared in the feeling of responsibility that was then thrown upon
the Twelve.

It was on this occasion that Peter asked Jesus what would become of
John, to which question Jesus made the significant reply, "If I will
that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me."

[Sidenote: A Prophecy.]

"Then went this saying abroad among the brethren that that disciple
should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but if I
will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?"

In this connection we read in the Doctrine and Covenants [1] that John
had said to the Lord, "Give me power over death that I may live and
bring souls unto Thee."

And the Lord answered, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, because thou
desired this, thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory, and shalt
prophesy before nations, kindred, tongues and people."

The Lord then told Peter that He would make John "as a flaming fire and
a ministering angel; he shall minister for those who shall be heirs of
salvation who dwell on the earth."

[Sidenote: True Greatness.]

Thus was expressed John's love not only for his Lord and Master but
for all the children of men whom he desired to bring to Christ and to
participate in the joys of the everlasting gospel. By this spirit, John
proved himself to have been one of the greatest men that ever lived;
for true greatness consists in losing oneself for the good of others.

[Sidenote: True to Trust.]

For about fifteen years after the Savior's ascension it is believed
that John continued at Jerusalem and remained a true son to the Virgin
Mary. During all that time, however, he was always active in the
ministry.

[Sidenote: The Impotent Man.]

He was with Peter going to the temple when the lame men at the gate
Beautiful asked them for alms. With Peter he exercised His faith on
that occasion to bless the poor man who had never walked. [2]

[Sidenote: The Impotent Man.]

John, undoubtedly, testified to the multitude who assembled at
Solomon's porch on the day of this miracle; but no historian has told
us what he said. We infer from what Luke says that John spoke at that
time; but only Peter's sermon and only a little of that has been
preserved.

While they were speaking the captain of the temple arrested them and
put them in prison.

[Sidenote: Before the Council.]

When they were brought out before the Council next day and told not
to preach about Jesus any more, John was just as bold as Peter in
declaring, "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you
more than God, judge ye, for we cannot but speak the things which we
have seen and heard." [3]

[Sidenote: Spiritual Minded.]

After they were released, they continued preaching to the people
and praising the Lord for all His wonderful manifestations to them.
The great spiritual feast that resulted from their labors must have
filled John's soul with a divine peace such as he had never before
experienced, for of all the apostles, he was the most spiritual minded.

[Sidenote: A True Servant.]

During this period, he was imprisoned several times, but never once
did he waver in his determination to let all the people know that
Jesus Christ was the Redeemer of the World. He could suffer and be
happy because he loved those whom he served. Thus in the beginning of
his ministry his character shone out in true greatness; for he was
"willing, patient and strong to endure for others."

[Sidenote: In Samaria.]

When the Samaritans received the Gospel through the preaching of
Philip, John accompanied Peter to Samaria, and conferred the Holy Ghost
by the laying on of hands, upon those whom Philip had baptized. [4]

[Sidenote: Various Officers.]

No doubt this was just one of many such visits he made during those
fifteen years that he remained at Jerusalem. The Twelve, the seventies,
elders, priests, teachers and deacons were out preaching in all the
cities round about Jerusalem, and the three chief Apostles, Peter,
James and John would be required, and when not required would be
invited, to organize the branches and to meet with the new converts and
give encouragement in their glorious faith.

[Sidenote: Pillar of the Church.]

When the great question arose about what the Gentiles who joined
the church should be required to do, John was one who sat in the
council held at Jerusalem. Paul, writing about this council, mentions
James, Cephas and John who "seemed to be pillars." In the light of
the organization of the Church today, we know that Peter, James, and
John were the men who presided at that time, although it was James
who rendered the decision that was made effective throughout all the
provinces.

[Sidenote: Heart Filled With Love.]

After that time, we know very little of John's ministry. Part of what
is known will be given in the next lesson. We learn more about what
kind of man he was than about what he did. When we read his letters to
the church and his Gospel, we can readily understand why Jesus chose
him to take care of His mother Mary. John's heart was full of love, and
he wanted everybody to love everybody else. He said that anybody who
"saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother is in darkness even
until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light.

"But he that hateth his brother is in darkness and knoweth not whither
he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

"I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you
for His name's sake." In that same letter he says, "And now, little
children, abide in Christ, that when He shall appear, we may have
confidence and not be ashamed before Him and His coming."

Footnotes:

1. Section 7.

2. Relate the incident. Acts 3:1-12.

3. Acts 4:19-20.

4. Acts 8:5-14.



LESSON 21

CLOSING SCENES OF MINISTRY

"Love was to his impassioned soul, not a mere part of its existence,
but the whole, the very life-breath of his heart."

[Sidenote: Eighteen Years Pass.]

The important council mentioned in the last chapter was held about 50
years after the birth of Christ (50 A. D.) During the next eighteen
years John seems to have been hidden from view. Nothing is known about
what he did or where he went. It is presumed that he left Jerusalem,
and seldom, if ever, returned. If so, then we may rightly conclude that
Mary the mother of Jesus had left Jerusalem also, and left it and all
her loving kindred and friends on earth for a happy, glorious meeting
with her Son in their heavenly home on high. The dutiful and loving
attention John had bestowed upon Mary, he is now free to give to the
Church which now bears her Son's name.

Undoubtedly he visited nearly all, if not all the important places
where Christians dwelt; but most of his latest years seem to have been
spent in Asia Minor.

[Sidenote: At Ephesus.]

Tradition informs us that he made his home at Ephesus, a large and
populous city of Iona about 40 miles from Smyrna. It was noted chiefly
for its wickedness and the beautiful temple of Diana. Some claim that
the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene went to Ephesus with John and died
there. The tradition is a pleasing one; for with the devotion of a son
to his mother, as shown by John, there is associated Mary Magdalene's
love, which might well be expressed in the words of another beautiful
woman, who said to her husband's mother, "Intreat me not to leave
thee or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest,
I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be
my people, and thy God my God; Where thou diest, will I die, and there
will I be buried." [1]

From Ephesus John visited all the branches of the Church, laboring
especially among "The Seven Churches in Asia."

When John had spent several years at Ephesus a cruel Roman emperor,
during his persecution of the Church, arrested him, had him carried
to Rome, condemned him to death, and had him plunged into boiling
oil. John's life being preserved through the power of God, he was
then banished to Patmos. All that John says about it is that he was
"in the isle that is called Patmos, for the Word of God, and for the
testimony of Jesus Christ." It is quite evident from this that he had
been persecuted for his belief in the Gospel and for his unwavering
testimony of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He
was probably the last living witness of the Savior's miracles and
teachings. Perhaps that is why he was banished. But wicked men could
not banish the testimony he had borne. That was planted in the hearts
of thousands of sincere believers, and like seeds sown in fertile soil,
would grow and bear rich harvests for ages to come.

Nor did banishment injure the aged apostle, for he was not alone even
on that uninhabited and barren rock. One Sunday morning, on the "Lord's
Day" as he called it, he "heard behind him a great voice, as of a
trumpet" that said to him, "What thou seest write in a book and send it
unto the seven churches which are in Asia." He turned, and saw the Son
of Man clothed with a garment down to the foot, and bound with a golden
girdle. As he beheld his Lord wrapped in such divine splendor, "he fell
at His feet as dead." But the Savior, John says, "laid His right hand
upon me, saying unto me. Fear not, I am the First and the Last, I am
He that liveth, and was dead, and behold I am alive forever more." He
was again commanded to write all he had witnessed and what would yet be
shown him in vision. Thus was given to the seven churches of Asia, and
subsequently to the world, what is now known as "Revelation," the last
book in the Bible, but the first one written by its author.

Upon the death of Domitian, the cruel emperor who had banished him,
the Apostle was permitted to return to Ephesus, where he continued his
preaching, writing, and testimony.

[Sidenote: John's Writings.]

Besides "Revelation," he wrote his Gospel and his three Epistles.

John's second Epistle should be of special interest to the young. From
it we infer that there were two Christian homes, in each of which John
took delight. The mothers were sisters. His letter is addressed to "The
Elect Lady" or, as she is sometimes called, the Lady Electa and her
children. John tells of his love and that of others for them--mother
and children--because of their Christian character. He tells of his
great joy because of the children walking in the truth, living as
children should live who have learned of the teachings of Christ.

[IMAGE: ST. JOHN. The Apostle and Evangelist.]

It is said that when he became so old and feeble that he could not walk
to church, nor preach to his people, his loving friends would carry him
to the place of meeting. On these occasions, he would repeat again and
again, "My dear children, love one another." One day some asked him,
"Master, why dost thou always say this?" He answered. "This is what the
Lord commands you; and this, if you do it, is sufficient."

It is said that he lived to be over one hundred years of age, but
of his last days there is nothing definite of record. We do know,
however, that he survived most bitter persecution, outlived his wicked
persecutors, instructed by his life and teachings thousands in the Way
of life, and is blessing many thousands in the world today, by his
lofty and childlike Christian spirit.

"Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He
that doeth good is of God, but he that doeth evil hath not seen God."

Footnotes:

1. Ruth 1:16, 17.



PART FOUR--PAUL AND HIS COMPANIONS.



LESSON 22

SAUL OF TARSUS

"Good company, and good discourses are the very sinews of virtue."

[Sidenote: A Benjaminite.]

At the time that Peter and Andrew, James and John were boys playing
in Bethsaida, on the shores of Galilee, there was another bright,
clever little lad playing and studying in a town about three hundred
miles from them, whom they were to know in after years, first as a
bitter enemy and afterwards as a friend and brother. This boy's name
was Saul, and he lived in Tarsus, the capital of Cilicia. He was a
Jew and belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, the youngest son of Jacob.
Benjamin's father, you remember, kept him home when the other sons
first went to Egypt to buy corn. The tribe of Benjamin was said to have
been valorous; and in this respect, you will see that Saul was a true
Benjaminite.

[Sidenote: Other Members of Family.]

Of Saul's parents and boyhood days we know very little. His father, at
one time, lived in Palestine, and would, of course, teach his son to be
a good orthodox Jew. Of his mother we know nothing, but we may be sure
that she watched over him carefully, guided him in his games and in his
studies and inspired him, even in his youth, to desire to grow up to
be a great and useful man. Undoubtedly, this was the kind of mother he
had, for all great men have been blest with just such noble mothers.
We are not told whether he had any brothers; but he had at least one
sister, whom he always loved and to whom he was a true and noble
brother all his life.

[IMAGE: ST. PAUL.]

[Sidenote: A Good student.]

Saul was a good student, and attended school probably from the time he
was six years old until he became a man. But in those days, school boys
had no school books. They would just listen to what their teacher told
them, remember it, and try to be able to tell it again when asked to do
so. The principal study in the schoolroom, at that time, was the holy
scriptures. Of course, they did not have the Bible then as we have it
now, but they had the Old Testament, and could learn all about Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob, the children of Israel. King Saul, King David, King
Solomon and the prophets. Thus, he was taught early in his life to look
forward to the Messiah who should be King of the Jews.

[Sidenote: Pharisees and Sadducees.]

Among the Jews were found different sects or religions, chief among
which were the Pharisees and the Sadducees. In Saul's day, Pharisees
were the most popular of all the sects, and held most of the highest
offices in the state and the church. They believed in the oral law
as delivered from God to Moses, as well as in the written law. They
believed also in the resurrection of the body. But they made long and
frequent prayers, not only in the synagogue and temple, but in the
streets, so they could be heard of men. In other things, too, they were
very hypocritical.

The Sadducees did not believe in a bodily resurrection. You will see,
later, how Saul used to good advantage this difference of belief
between these two sects.

[Sidenote: A Pharisee.]

Saul was a Pharisee; and a good Pharisee, too. He was just as sincere
in his belief and education as any good man could be. If Saul had been
a hypocritical Pharisee, he probably never would have found the truth,
but being sincere, that is, always doing what he thought was right, he
was led to the Gospel.

[Sidenote: A Roman Citizen.]

There is another thing to learn about this boy, "Saul of Tarsus;" viz.,
that he was born a Roman citizen. Tarsus, an exceedingly rich and
populous city, was a Roman municipium, or free corporation. This means
that the freedom of Rome (which ruled all those countries at that time)
had been given to the freemen of Tarsus. This freedom had been granted
because the men of Tarsus had defended two emperors of Rome during a
rebellion against them.

Thus, Saul, though a Jew, was a freeborn Roman citizen. In this double
capacity, he had two names, Saul and Paul; the first his Jewish name
and the latter his Roman or Latin name.

[Sidenote: A Tentmaker.]

As has been said, Saul was a student; but he was industrious, not only
with his head, but also with his hands. He was a tentmaker. This trade
he learned when he was still a boy. It was a constant practice of the
Jews to bring their children to some honest calling that, in case of
necessity, they might provide for themselves by the labor of their own
hands. The time came when Paul, though an apostle, labored at intervals
for twenty-nine years at the trade his father had taught him. It was
during such times that he wrote "These hands have ministered unto my
necessities."

[Sidenote: Gamaliel.]

When Saul had completed the studies as given in the Jewish schools at
Tarsus, and had learned his trade, he desired to attend college. He
was then, probably, about fourteen years of age. There were Gentile
universities near his home, but, as he wanted to become a Rabbi, he
went to Jerusalem, and became a student in the famous "School of
Hillel." The president of this noted institution of learning was, "a
Pharisee named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law had in reputation among
all the people." [1] It is supposed that he was a son of Simeon who was
in the Temple when the little baby Jesus was blessed, and who said,
"Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace; for mine eyes have
seen Thy salvation."

But though Gamaliel was the most learned man of his day, he did not
know that the Messiah had come. Evidently, he did not believe what his
father had told him about the child Jesus.

Under the instruction and influence of his great teacher, Saul
continued for several years studying in Hebrew and Greek, and
memorizing all the important commandments which the old Testament
contained.

[Sidenote: Stephen.]

Saul completed his course under Gamaliel, and probably returned to
Cilicia. In the meantime, Jesus had been crucified and a bitter
persecution against some of His disciples had begun. The first to
suffer death during this persecution was Stephen, one of the seven
deacons chosen to look after the funds for the poor. Stephen was a very
faithful servant "full of faith and the Holy Ghost." He declared that
Jesus was the Savior of the world, and that all men must believe in His
name if they would be saved. Stephen knew that the Pharisees were wrong
in what they thought was necessary to salvation, and he, undoubtedly,
told them so. At any rate he disputed with them in the synagogue.

[Sidenote: Stephen Before Sanhedrin.]

Being defeated in their disputations, the angry Jews dragged Stephen
before the Sanhedrin and accused him of blasphemy. Even in court he
still bore testimony of the divinity, death and persecution of the
Savior, which so maddened the wicked Jews that they "gnashed on him
with their teeth," and finally dragged him out of the court room, and
stoned him to death.

[Sidenote: Consents to Stephen's Death.]

Among those blinded Pharisees who disputed with Stephen, was the young,
learned student, Saul of Tarsus. And when "they cried out with a loud
voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord," Saul
consented unto his death, held the cloaks of the murderers and stood by
and witnessed the cruel death of this first Christian martyr. Saul was
sincere in believing that Stephen was an enemy to the Jewish religion.
Probably Stephen recognized this when, just as he was dying he prayed,
"Lord, lay not this sin to their charge."

Footnotes:

1. Acts 5:34.



LESSON 23

SAUL'S CONVERSION

"Better is the wrong with sincerity, rather than the right with
falsehood."

[Sidenote: A Bitter Persecutor.]

[Sidenote: His Sincerity.]

After the death of Stephen, "there was a great persecution against the
church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad,
throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria." One of the Saints' most
energetic and persistent persecutors, during those terrible days, was
the blinded Pharisee, Saul, of Tarsus. So determined was he to put an
end to what he thought was a heresy that he secured the right as an
officer of the Sanhedrin to arrest the followers of Jesus wherever he
found them. He went from house to house, dragging men from their wives
and children. He even arrested the women, and thrust them in prison!
Surely the cries and piteous pleadings of the little children must
have rent even his bitter heart almost more than the martyrdom of the
faithful Stephen. Surely, as he forced men and women away from their
homes, the blanched faces of crouching children, and their heartbroken
sobs must have imprinted upon his bigoted soul impressions that would
humble him if not haunt him all the days of his life! Only one thing
could give him comfort in later life as he looked back upon those awful
experiences. It was this, as expressed in his own words: "I verily
thought with myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name
of Jesus of Nazareth." Saul was sincere in what he was doing. He did
not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and thought it would
be pleasing to his Father in Heaven to make every believer in Christ
deny His name.

[Sidenote: Made Havoc of the Church.]

So Saul "made havoc of the church;" and when he had either imprisoned
or driven out of Jerusalem every man he could find who confessed the
Christ, with his soul "yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter
against the disciples of the Lord," he asked the High Priest for
"letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this
way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto
Jerusalem." [1]

[Sidenote: Doubt.]

Damascus is about one hundred and fifty miles north of Jerusalem, so it
would take Saul and his attendants about a week to travel the distance.
Perhaps during those few days of comparative leisure, he began to
wonder whether what he was doing was right or not. Perhaps the shining
face of the dying Stephen and the martyr's last prayer began to sink
more deeply into his soul than it had done before. Little children's
cries for their parents whom Saul had bound began to pierce his soul
more keenly, and make him feel miserably unhappy as he looked forward
to more experiences of that kind in Damascus. Perhaps he wondered
whether the work of the Lord, if he were really engaged in it, would
make him feel so restless and bitter. He was soon to learn that only
the work of the evil one produces those feelings, and that true service
for the Lord, always brings peace and contentment.

[Sidenote: Light.]

But, whatever his thoughts and feelings were, he was hastening on with
a determination to arrest every follower of Jesus whom he could find.
As he neared the city, however, "suddenly there shined round about him
a light from heaven." Saul fell to the earth, and the men with him
stood around him speechless.

From that moment, Saul was a changed man. When he fell to the earth, he
was a proud, haughty Pharisee, a persecutor of innocent people: when
he arose, he was a humble, submissive seeker after truth, a repentant
follower of Him whom he had been persecuting. From the midst of the
light, came a voice saying:

[Sidenote: The Revelation.]

"Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?"

"Who art thou, Lord?" asked Saul.

"I am Jesus whom thou persecutest," and then He added, in effect. "The
more you persecute me the worse you feel; and the more your conscience
troubles you." Fighting the Lord is just like kicking a "prickly pear,"
the harder you kick the worse it hurts.

When Saul realized this, and knew he had been doing wrong, he asked,
"What wilt Thou have me to do?"

[Sidenote: A Commission.]

"Arise, go into the city, and it will be told thee what thou must do,"
not what Saul would like to do; not what he might do; but what he
_must_ do, if he would be accepted of the Lord.

[Sidenote: Eyes but Saw Not; Blind, but Sees.]

Saul had been blessed with eyesight but had been blinded spiritually.
Now he was blind physically, but light was coming into his soul. As he
arose he could see nothing, and his attendants led him into the city,
where he lodged in the house of Judas, in a street called Straight.

[Sidenote: Ananias.]

In the meantime, the Lord, in a vision, said to one of His servants
called Ananias, "Arise and go into the street called Straight, and
inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for,
behold, he prayeth."

But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how
much evil he hath done to Thy saints of Jerusalem: and here he hath
authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on Thy name."
Ananias was probably one whom Saul would have arrested first.

The Lord told Ananias to go as directed, for He had chosen Saul to bear
His name, "before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel."

[Sidenote: Saul Administered to.]

Ananias did as directed; and when he entered the house of Judas, he
found Saul not only penitent but blind. All the proud Pharisee's
bitterness was gone and he was praying for light--light in his eyes and
light in his soul. His prayers were answered, for God's humble servant
laid his hands upon him and said, "Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus
that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that
thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost."

[Sidenote: Receives Sight.]

And Saul received his sight immediately, and arose and was baptized.
This was one thing he had to do if he would be numbered in the
Church of Christ. Thus in the conversion of this great man, we find
illustrated the application of several principles of the Gospel, viz.:
Faith, in Jesus Christ; Repentance from wrong doing; Baptism and the
recognition of Christ's authority on earth.

Footnotes:

1. Acts 9:2.



LESSON 24

IN ANOTHER SCHOOL

"All the scholastic scaffolding falls as a ruined edifice, before one
single word--faith."

[Sidenote: Teachers Compared.]

For several days immediately following his wonderful conversion and
his restoration to sight, Saul "was with the disciples who were at
Damascus." Saul had now entered another school, but how different from
the one in which he sat at the feet of the learned Gamaliel! There he
listened to instruction from the most learned men of his day; now he is
listening to men who were thought unlearned. There he received training
of the intellect; now he is receiving training of the soul. There he
studied blindly; now he studies, truly seeing! His instructor is one of
the faithful men whom he had despised and whom he came to arrest. "Not
Peter, or James or John, no great and eminent apostle need be sent for,
to instruct the learned and highly talented Saul; but Ananias, some
poor, simple-hearted Christian of whom the Divine word has never before
made mention, is fully sufficient, in God's hand, to teach this most
richly endowed of all the early converts."

[Sidenote: True Zeal.]

As he listened, hour after hour, during those few memorable days, his
soul became fired with a true zeal; and we can imagine hearing him say
to his new teachers,

"Set on your foot. And with a heart new fir'd I follow you."

"And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the
Son of God."

[Sidenote: Jews Amazed.]

We are not told whether any of the men who accompanied him to Damascus
became converted. Perhaps one or two did; but, undoubtedly, some
of them thought Saul had turned traitor. So also did the Jews in
Damascus, who were amazed, and said to one another, "Is not this
he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and
came here for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the
chief priests?" But the more they opposed him, the more eloquently he
defended the name of Jesus and proved to them that Jesus is the Christ.

[Sidenote: The School of Solitude.]

After a few days of fiery disputations in the synagogues, Saul
concluded to leave Damascus and go into retirement; so, bidding his new
friends goodby, he went into Arabia in the mountains near the Red Sea.
Here he received instruction in the School of Solitude.

  "O sacred solitude! divine retreat!
  Choice of the prudent! envy of the great!
  By thy Pure stream, or in thy waving shade,
  We court fair wisdom."

Like Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, and even the Savior Himself, Paul
now sought to be alone with God, and to learn how to get his spirit in
communion with the Holy Spirit.

How long he remained there, we do not know. All he says about this
journey is: "I went into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus."

HIS FLIGHT FROM DAMASCUS

No sooner had he returned to the city of his conversion, than he began
to preach again in the synagogues. Again the Jews began to dispute
him, and again he confounded them. Day after day, and week after week
the religious controversy continued until the Jews could stand it no
longer, and "took council to kill him."

[Sidenote: Every Gate Guarded.]

Around the city of Damascus was a high wall, and no one could go in or
out except through the gates. Therefore, when the Jews decided to kill
Saul, the first thing they did was to make sure he could not escape. So
they placed guards at every gate, and "watched day and night to kill
him."

[Sidenote: Friends.]

But Saul had his friends as well as enemies, and he had one Friend who
had chosen him for a great and useful mission, and as long as Saul was
faithful, his life would be spared until this special work was done.
Through inspiration or otherwise, Saul knew that his enemies were lying
in wait for him, so he kept out of their way.

[Sidenote: Over the Wall.]

Fortunately, one of his friends lived in a house built right near the
wall of the city; and from here, some of the disciples assisted Saul
to escape. They put him in a basket, and then watching carefully to
see that no enemies were in sight, they carried Saul to the top of the
wall, and let him down on the other side. Thus it happened that while
the wicked guards were watching day and night to entrap Saul, that
disciple of the Master was making his journey back to Jerusalem.

WITH THE DISCIPLES IN JERUSALEM

[Sidenote: Returns to Jerusalem.]

Three years before, he left Jerusalem as an officer of the Sanhedrin,
bearing a special commission, and accompanied by attendants and
officers. He left with enmity in his heart for every person who
professed to believe in Jesus Christ. Now he journeys back alone,
rejected by those whom he had served, a fugitive from the Jews who, a
few years before, awaited to welcome him as a hero! But Saul is happier
now alone as he is than when he went in pomp to arrest God's servants.
And yet he can look forward to no welcome in Jerusalem! His old friends
and teachers think he has turned traitor to their cause, and the
Apostles of Jesus doubt his conversion. "They were all afraid of him,
and believed not that he was a disciple."

[Sidenote: Barnabas.]

But there was one, an old friend and true, a classmate, and fellow
townsman who extended to Saul the glad hand of fellowship. That was
Barnabas, who "took him, and brought him to the apostles," declaring
how Saul had been converted by a light, and the voice of the Lord, and
how he had preached in Damascus in the name of Jesus.

With this testimony, the Apostles accepted Saul, and gave him their
companionship. Soon Saul was preaching in Jerusalem as boldly as he had
in Damascus. In his disputes with the Grecians, he evidently confounded
them as he had those in Damascus, and with the same effect--"They went
about to slay him."

[Sidenote: Back to Tarsus.]

When the brethren learned this, "they brought him down to Caesarea,
and sent him forth to Tarsus" back to his old home, to his parents and
to his sister. But what a changed man from what he was when he left to
practice in Jerusalem. In name he was still "Saul of Tarsus;" but in
nature he was Paul the disciple of Jesus Christ.

[IMAGE: MAP, ST. PAUL'S FIRST JOURNEY.]

CALLED TO ASSIST BARNABAS

During the persecution in which Stephen was martyred, the Saints
scattered to different places, and where ever they went, they preached
the Glad Tidings of Great Joy. "And the hand of the Lord was with them,
and a great number believed and turned unto the Lord."

[Sidenote: Christians.]

A large number of these converts gathered in Antioch and it was there
as you already know that the Saints were first called Christians. It
was first applied to them in derision just as the word "Mormon" was
first applied to the Church in this day, but later was accepted as an
honorable title.

[Sidenote: Barnabas Seeks Saul.]

Barnabas, who "was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of
faith" was appointed to look after the Saints in that great city.
Finding a great missionary opportunity in that field, and desiring able
assistance in carrying on the great work assigned him, Barnabas decided
to go to Tarsus, his old home, and try to find Paul. What a happy time
these old playmates must have had when they met once again in the
familiar scenes of their boyhood days! We are not told what they did,
nor what they said, nor what their old friends and relatives thought of
their new religion. We do know, however, that Paul accepted the call to
go with Barnabas to Antioch. There "they assembled themselves in the
Church, and taught much people." This seems to have been Paul's first
definite assignment in the Church.



LESSON 25

SPECIAL MESSENGERS TO JERUSALEM

"God has so ordered that men, being in need of each other, should learn
to love each other, and bear each other's burdens."

"To pity distress is but human; to relieve it is God-like."

[Sidenote: Agabus.]

While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch, there came "prophets from
Jerusalem," one of whom was named Agabus. He is thought to have been
one of the Seventy chosen by the Savior; but just what priesthood and
what position in the Church he held we do not know for certain. But he
must have been a righteous man, and filled with the Holy Ghost, for
he could foretell, through the inspiration of the Spirit, things that
other people, by their own intelligence, could not see. At the time
of which we are speaking he prophesied that "there should be a great
dearth throughout all the world," meaning that there would be a famine
in the land, and that people would go hungry.

[Sidenote: Offerings to Poor.]

The disciples had faith in Agabus and believed to be true what he said.
They knew of some of the Saints in Judea who could not stand a famine;
in fact, many of them had given all they had to the Church; so "every
man according to his ability determined to send relief unto the brethren
who dwelt in Judea." Paul and Barnabas were chosen as the messengers of
relief.

[Sidenote: Famine.]

It was well they did so, for the famine came just as Agabus had said it
would. Luke tells us that it happened in the days of Claudius Caesar
(44 A. D.), and profane historians inform us that it was so severe that
even the emperor himself was insulted in the market place by those who
were starving.

[Sidenote: Persecution Under Herod.]

At about the time that the two elders were sent from Antioch to
Jerusalem, there was a bitter persecution, waged against the Saints;
and "Herod the king began to vex certain of the Church, and he killed
James, the brother of John, with the sword." Those were the days in
which Peter was imprisoned and chained to his guards, but through the
miraculous intervention of God, was delivered by an angel. Paul and
Barnabas were probably present in the house of Mary the mother of John
Mark, joining in prayer for the preservation of Peter's life, when, as
we have already learned in the lessons on Peter, Rhoda announced Peter
at the door.

[Sidenote: Return to Caesarea.]

After witnessing this wonderful manifestation of the power of God
in behalf of His servants, Paul and Barnabas probably witnessed
how God sometimes punishes the wicked. If so, it happened on this
wise. Their duty as messengers for the Saints in Antioch had been
faithfully performed, and the relief sent to the members of the Church
in Judea properly delivered to those who should have it in charge.
They had spent many days renewing old friendships, and enjoying the
companionship, even in persecution, of the leaders and members of the
Church of Christ. They were now ready to return and report their labors
to the Church in Antioch. Their return journey took them to Caesarea.
Perhaps they visited Cornelius, whose home, you remember, was there.
At any rate, some who have carefully studied the life and travels of
St. Paul tell us that on his return from Jerusalem at this time, he
witnessed the death of the wicked King Herod. Weed describes the scene
as follows:

[Sidenote: Death of Herod.]

"The Roman Emperor Claudius had obtained great victories in Great
Britain. On his return to Rome there was great rejoicing. Herod thought
he would gain great favor with the emperor by a grand festival in his
honor in Caesarea, to which he hastened from Jerusalem. On the morning
of the second day the theatre was filled with a mass of human beings
to witness the inhuman exhibition of gladiators who fought one another
for public amusement. Herod appeared in a magnificent robe, sparkling
with silver. As the rays of the early morning sun fell upon him, the
eyes of the beholders were dazzled by the brilliant robe. Flattered by
their foolish cries of admiration he made an oration to the people who
gave a shout, crying, 'It is the voice of a God and not of a man.' He
was willing to be so called, though this was blasphemy, giving to a man
what belongs to God alone. "Immediately the angel of the Lord smote him
because he gave not God the glory." This was very different from the
experience of Peter in prison when the angel of the Lord came upon him,
and smote him upon the side; and led him from death.

"The smiting of Herod by the angel was with a dreadful disease such
as had caused the death of his grandfather. He was carried from the
theatre to his palace where he lingered five days in agony until death
closed his life in the fifty-fourth year of his age. It was the fourth
year of his reign over the region where had ruled his grandfather,
whose wicked example he had followed to a like inglorious end."

"When in the theatre the scene was suddenly changed from the
gladiatorial and other wicked amuesements to the judgment on the king,
the multitude fled, rending their clothes according to the custom in
horror."

[Sidenote: John Mark.]

All these things and many more, Paul and Barnabas would report to the
Saints upon their return to Antioch. Luke informs us that after they
had fulfilled their ministry they returned from Jerusalem, and "took
with them John whose surname was Mark."

[Sidenote: The Report.]

Interesting meetings were held in Antioch, at which the report of the
mission of Paul and Barnabas was given. In attendance at these meetings
and reasiding in Antioch at the time were certain prophets and
teachers, Barnabas, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manean, which had been
brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the
Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, "separate me Barnabas and Saul
for the work whereunto I have called them." They had performed one duty
well and faithfully, and were now better prepared for a greater one
for which the Lord had chosen them. This was a special mission to the
Gentiles.

Some time later, after fasting and prayer, some of the prophets and
teachers laid their hands on the chosen missionaries, set them apart,
and bade them prepare for their journey.



LESSON 26

FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY

"Let your religion be seen. Lamps do not talk, but they do shine. A
lighthouse sounds no drum, it beats no gong; yet far over the waters
its friendly light is seen by the mariner."

Soon after the special meetings mentioned in the last chapter, Paul,
Barnabas and John Mark started on their mission, which is now known as
Paul's first missionary tour.

[Sidenote: At Cyprus.]

Leaving the famous city of Antioch, in Syria, they sailed down the
river to Seleucia, a seaport town on the Mediterranean Sea. Here they
took the boat on the open sea, and sailed southwestward to the island
of Cyprus.

[Sidenote: At Salamis.]

Landing at Salamis, a port of Cyprus, the missionaries began their
labors at once, preaching the word of God in the synagogue of the Jews.
Here Barnabas was at home, and undoubtedly experienced great joy in
preaching the Gospel to his old friends and playmates. But he must have
been deeply grieved to see how many of them rejected his message, and
continued in sin and idolatry.

The Gentiles on this island worshiped the goddess Venus, to whom they
built a temple and offered sacrifices.

[Sidenote: Call to Repentance.]

Their religion, instead of making them purer in their thoughts and
more virtuous in their actions, made them more sinful. So Paul and his
companions found the people very wicked indeed. Wherever they went,
these three missionaries preached the only true Gospel, and called on
men "everywhere to repent."

They traveled the entire length of Cyprus, a distance of one hundred
miles, telling the people about Christ the Redeemer of the world.

AT PAPHOS

[Sidenote: Governor Hears Gospel.]

On the southwestern coast of Cyprus was the chief city of the island
named Paphos. Here is where the Roman governor, or, as Luke says, the
"deputy of the country," lived. As was their custom, soon after the
missionaries entered the city they proclaimed their message to the
people. When the governor, Sergius Paulus, heard about them, he "called
for Barnabas and Paul, and desired to hear the word of God." Luke says
he was "a prudent man," so we conclude that he was sincere in his
desire to know the truth.

ELYMAS THE SORCERER

[Sidenote: A Sorcerer Rejects Gospel.]

But there was living in the deptuy-house at the time a man who was not
sincere, and who claimed to be a sorcerer. He rejected Paul's message,
and opposed his teachings. Bar-Jesus was his right name, and he was a
Jew, and a false prophet. Paul read his wicked heart, and knew that
because of selfishness and love of money he rejected the Gospel.

"Then Paul, filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him and said, O
full of subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy
of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of
the Lord?

"And now behold the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be
blind, not seeing the sun for a season.

"And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went
about seeking some one to lead him by the hand."

If in his darkness he had let the messengers of Light lead him they
would have given him eternal sight, just as Paul had received it
through Ananias, in Damascus. But we are led to believe that he
remained blind and bitter.

[Sidenote: The Governor Believes.]

Sergius Paulus, however, believed, "being astonished at the doctrine
of the Lord." Many others believed also, and in the wicked town of
Paphos, where the revellers worshiped the goddess of love, a church was
organized, and a little body of Christians came together to worship the
true God and His Son Jesus Christ.

IN PAMPHYLIA

[Sidenote: A Missionary Returns.]

From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed northward to Perga in
Pamphylia. At this place something happened about which we wish we knew
more. All that Luke says about it is this:

"And John departing from there returned to Jerusalem."

We know that later, this circumstance became a matter of sharp dispute
between Barnabas and Paul, but just why John wished to return we are
not informed. Perhaps he had not intended to travel so far; or it
may be that matters at home needed his attention; or he might have
been over sensitive, and felt that "two were company but three were a
crowd;" but whatever the cause Paul and Barnabas had to continue their
journey without the young man Mark. Later, he resumed his missionary
work traveling with Barnabas. There is no record of his traveling again
with Paul; although the latter wrote of him later as "a comfort, and a
fellow worker unto the kingdom of God."

IN PISIDIA

[Sidenote: Through Mountain Passes.]

From Perga in Pamphylia, Paul and Barnabas continued north to Antioch
in Pisidia. Day after day, these two missionaries traveled on foot
through a mountainous region, where very few people resided. Sometimes,
perhaps, they could find lodging with some shepherd, but more often,
they would sleep in caves or among the trees. But they had a message of
salvation in their hearts and so were happy. After about seven days of
wearisome and dangerous travel, they reached Antioch in Pisidia.

[Sidenote: In the Synagogue.]

When the Sabbath day came, as was their custom, the missionaries went
into the synagogue, and sat down in the congregation. After the leaders
had read the law and the prophets, they asked the visitors if they had
"any word of exhortation for the people." At this, Paul stood up and
delivered a most impressive sermon, so much so, that the people invited
Paul to speak again on the next Sabbath. Many who were present accepted
the Gospel. [1]

"And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear
the word of God.

[Sidenote: Turn to Gentiles.]

"But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and
spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and
blaspheming." Their opposition and contradiction made the missionaries
only more earnest and emphatic. Finally, when it was apparent that the
Jews would not accept the truth, Paul and Barnabas waxed bold and said,
"It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken
to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of
everlasting life, lo we turn to the Gentiles." When the Gentiles heard
this announcement, they were delighted and many of them accepted the
principles of the Gospel.

[Sidenote: Jews Jealous.]

But the Jews were jealous; they became filled with envy and determined
to drive the missionaries "out of their coasts." This they did with the
aid of "the devout and honorable women and the chief men of the city."
The persecution became so bitter that Paul and Barnabas "shook off the
dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium."

IN ICONIUM

[Sidenote: Again in Synagogue.]

Filled with the joy that comes from true service to one's fellowmen,
Paul and Barnabas began their preaching in Iconium. Entering the
synagogue here, as they had done in the city from which they had just
been driven, they spoke "boldly in the Lord, who gave testimony unto
the word of His grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by
their hands."

[Sidenote: Again Opposed.]

Jews and Greeks also rallied around the standard as unfurled by these
great missionaries; but Jews and Greeks also organized to oppose them.
The result was that the city was divided; "and part held with the Jews
and part with the Apostles."

Hearing that a plot was on foot to do them injury, and to stone them,
Paul and Barnabas withdrew from the city, and went to "Lystra and
Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about."

Footnotes:

1. See Paul's sermon, Acts 13:14-41.



LESSON 27

FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY--Continued

AT LYSTRA AND DERBE

"Outward attacks and troubles rather fix than unsettle the Christian,
as tempests from without only serve to root the oak more firmly in the
ground."

"As sure as ever God puts His children in the furnace, He will be in
the furnace with them."

[Sidenote: Among the Heathen.]

At Lystra, Paul and Barnabas found a people who were almost entirely
heathen for they worshiped Jupiter and Mercury and other false deities,
and knew little or nothing about the true God. There were Jews amongst
them, but not of sufficient numbers even to build a synagogue.

The country was wild and rugged, and the inhabitants were like the
country. They were "villagers of little learning, and rude in dress and
manner." Such people are usually shy of strangers, and slow to accept
anything new. But once they begin to get confidence in the stranger,
they may be easily swayed by him; not having very definite opinions of
their own.

The doctrine preached by Paul and Barnabas was new to them, and after a
time began to arouse their curiosity, and then awaken their interest.

[Sidenote: Choice People Among Them.]

Some of the most intelligent comprehended the truth, and accepted it.
Lest you boys and girls might think that there were no superior people
among these heathens, you must be reminded of the fact that in Lystra
there was at least one choice family of whose membership in the Church
the Bible makes mention, and in Derbe there were others.

[Sidenote: Timothy.]

In these towns, out of the persecution and affliction heaped upon them
by the ignorant and wicked, Paul and Barnabas brought to the faith some
of the choicest members of the early Church. Among these were Timothy,
whom Paul afterwards called his son; Eunice, Timothy's mother, and
Lois, Timothy's grandmother, whose "unfeigned faith" Paul commended in
later years. Undoubtedly, the friendship alone of these noble people
more than paid Paul for all the persecution he suffered during this
first mission.

But to the people generally, the message was strange and
incomprehensisble. They could not separate the doctrine of Christ from
their heathen deities as was shown by a remarkable experience.

[Sidenote: A Miracle.]

Paul and Barnabas and a few converts were holding a meeting one day in
the "open air." In the audience sat a man "impotent in his feet," who
had been a cripple from birth, and who had never walked. This fact, of
course, all the people knew, for many of them were acquainted with him,
and had seen him carried to the meeting. "The same heard Paul speak,"
and conviction entered his weary heart that what Paul said was true.
Paul looked at him, and "perceiving that he had faith to be healed,"
said, "Stand upright on thy feet." This he commanded by the power of
the Redeemer.

[Sidenote: Effect.]

"The man leaped to his feet and walked." When the people saw this, they
created an uproar in the city, and they said in their language, which
was a mixture of Greek and Syrian:

"The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men," and they named
Paul and Barnabas after their gods. Barnabas was tall, so they called
him Jupiter; and Paul, being short and a gifted speaker, they called
Mercury, because Mercury was supposed to preside over learning and
eloquence.

[Sidenote: To Offer Sacrifice]

Some time after the meeting, the priests of Jupiter, who officiated in
the temple of Jupiter that was in the city, decided to offer sacrifice
to their gods as personified in Paul and Barnabas. So with the people,
they gathered at the gates of the city, brought oxen and began to
prepare to offer sacrifice.

[Sidenote: Missionaries Protest.]

When Paul and Barnabas heard of it, they ran among the people, and
"rent their clothes" in protestation against such sacrifice. To
rend their clothes was to express intense feeling and the people so
understood it. Besides doing this they cried: "Sirs, why do ye these
things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you
that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made
heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein."

[Sidenote: Paul Stoned.]

However, they could scarcely make the people refrain from worshiping
them; but there were certain Jews there who had followed the
missionaries from Antioch and Iconium, "who persuaded the people"
that Paul and Barnabas were deceivers, and that the miracle which had
been performed had been done by the power of the evil one. These Jews
swayed the people to such an extent that instead of worshiping Paul and
Barnabas, they picked up stones and stoned Paul until he fell to the
earth, apparently dead. Thinking he was so, the mob then dragged his
body out of the city and left it.

[Sidenote: A Many Headed Monster.]

What a many-headed monster this mob was! First they were ready to
worship the men as gods, and then in just a few minutes became so
bitter that they would stain their souls with murder! Shakespeare
called such a crowd

  "The blind monster, with uncounted heads.
  The still discordant, wavering multitude."

[Sidenote: Paul Regains Consciousness.]

The mob dispersed, and around the still bleeding, silent body on the
ground, stood the few intelligent, faithful disciples who had believed
the true Gospel. How delighted and thankful they must have been when
they saw Paul move, and later regain consciousness.

He had been stunned, but not seriously injured; so a little gentle
nursing gave him strength to stand on his feet, and he walked back to
the city.

[Sidenote: Gaius.]

The next day he left Lystra and traveled twenty miles to Derbe. Here he
preached boldly and effectively, and converted many to the truth, among
them a man by the name of Gaius, who proved to be a staunch and true
friend to Paul and to the Church generally.

[Sidenote: Another Branch Organized.]

As they had done in other cities, so the missionaries did in
Derbe--organized a branch of the Church and ordained elders over it.
These they instructed, and met with them and with the Saints in fasting
and prayer, "commended them to the Lord," and bade them goodby, for the
time had come when the first missionaries from Antioch should return
home.

[Sidenote: Return Home.]

They visited all the branches, preaching the Gospel, instructing,
blessing, and comforting the Saints in Lystra and the regions round
about. They then returned forty miles to Iconium and sixty miles back
to Antioch in Pisidia. From there, they went to Perga in Pamphylia, and
sailed from Attalia to Antioch in Syria.

Here the Saints gathered and bade them welcome, and heard the returned
Elders report "all that God had done with them, and how He had opened
the door of faith unto the Gentiles."



LESSON 28

A GREAT CONTROVERSY

Texts: Acts 15:1-35

"The union of Christians to Christ, their common head, and by means of
the influence they derive from Him, one to another, may be illustrated
by the loadstone. It not only attaches the particles of iron to itself
by the magnetic virtue, but by this virtue it unites them one to the
other."

[Sidenote: Jews Scattered Over Empire.]

As we followed Paul and Barnabas in their first missionary journey, we
noticed that in nearly every city they visited, they found Jews, and
that their preaching was frequently first done in a synagogue. The fact
is, that the Jews were scattered over nearly all of the Roman Empire.
They were on the coasts and islands of Western Asia, on the borders of
the Caspian Sea, and some were even as far as China.

[Sidenote: Jews Kept to Their Religion.]

But no matter where the Jew was living, he always kept his own
religion, and studied carefully the Law of Moses. That is what James
meant when he said, "Moses of old time, hath in every city, them that
preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day." Their
religion taught them not to mingle with the Gentiles in marriage or in
social intercourse.

[Sidenote: Gentiles Would Not Worship With Jews.]

The Gentiles, on the other hand, looked with contempt upon the Jews;
while the "gay and licentious festivities of the Greek and Roman
worship" made the Jews look with contempt upon Gentiles. They would
trade with each other, and mingle together in daily vocations, but as a
rule, that is as far as their intercourse went. They said with Shylock:
"I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and
so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray
with you." [1]

Of course, there were Gentiles who sometimes became converted to the
Jewish religion, and there were some who married Jewish women, but the
line of dislike and suspicion was none the less sharply drawn.

[Sidenote: Peter's Prejudices.]

You remember how difficult it was for the Lord to convince Peter that
the Gentiles were worthy to be baptized into the Church of Christ.
Peter saw in a vision a vast sheet descending from heaven in which
there were unclean animals, and he heard a voice saying, "Arise, Peter,
kill and eat." But Peter said, "Not so, Lord: for I have never eaten
anything that is common or unclean." [2]

[Sidenote: Peter's Revelation.]

When Peter realized the meaning of the vision, his whole Jewish nature
was shocked; for to obey was to break the Law of his forefathers by
associating with Gentiles. The Jewish Christians who were with Peter
from Joppa to Caesarea were "astonished" when they saw "the gift of the
Holy Ghost poured out" on the "unclean" Gentiles. When Peter reached
Jerusalem, he was accused of having not only associated but eaten with
Gentiles, but Peter had learned by revelation that "what God has made
clean" no one should "call common or unclean," that the Lord is "no
respecter of persons," and that "every nation" that accepts Him, and
"feareth Him and worketh righteousness," may receive His blessings.

THE QUESTION AGITATED

[Sidenote: The Church Agitated.]

But there were many Jews in the Church who did not believe this, and
the only condition on which they would accept a Gentile was that he
should obey the Jewish religion also. When this class of Christians
heard that Paul and Barnabas had baptized hundreds of Gentiles, they
became very much agitated in their feelings, and some of them went
to Antioch and began to preach, first privately then publicly, that
unless the Gentiles obeyed a certain Jewish rite, they could not be
saved. Paul and Barnabas had told the Saints that obedience to the
Gospel of Christ would save the Gentiles as well as the Jews, and that
the Gentiles did not have to become Jews. Now these men from the chief
branch of the Church declared that Paul and Barnabas were wrong. No
wonder "those who from among the Gentiles were turned unto God," were
"troubled" and perplexed. Indeed, the controversy became so sharp that
it threatened to lead some out of the Church.

MESSENGERS SENT TO JERUSALEM

[Sidenote: Messengers to Jerusalem.]

So it was "determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of
them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this
question."

The Church in Antioch evidently believed Paul and Barnabas to be in
the right, for when they started on their journey they were escorted
on their way by the Church. As they passed through Syro-Phoenecia and
Samaria, and told the Saints who greeted them how the Gentiles had been
converted, they "caused great joy unto all the brethren."

[Sidenote: Paul's Third Visit.]

This was Paul's third visit to Jerusalem since his conversion. The
first was three years after he joined the Church, when he spent two
weeks with Peter, and then had to flee for his life. The second was
when he accompanied the messengers who brought relief to the Saints in
Judea during the famine. That was the time Peter was sentenced to be
killed. Fifteen years had passed since he left Jerusalem for Damascus
with papers to arrest all Christians whom he found! Now he enters the
city as the defender of one of the greatest truths that the Christian
Church or the world can know; namely, that God is no respecter of
persons, but will bless every nation as it obeys the principles of life
and salvation.

IN COUNCIL WITH THE LEADERS

[Sidenote: Titus.]

He first met in council with Peter, James and John, and received for
the first time, so far as we know, "the right hand of fellowship" from
John the beloved disciple. Titus was with Paul as an example of those
who were Gentile converts.

[Sidenote: An Appeal to the Presidency.]

This visit was really an appeal to the Presidency of the Twelve, and
confirms the belief of the members of the Church today that Peter,
James and John were appointed leaders at that time just as three High
Priests are now chosen as the First Presidency of Christ's Church.

[Sidenote: An Important Meeting.]

At length the great meeting was called at which was to be settled once
and for all the standing of the Gentiles in the Christian Church. "It
was a scene of earnest debate, and perhaps, in its earlier portion, of
angry disputing"; but finally Peter addressed the assembly, and told
how God had revealed to him the fact that the Gentiles could accept the
Gospel without obeying all the Jewish ceremonies.

[Sidenote: Missionaries Testify.]

Then Paul and Barnabas spoke amidst great silence, while every eye
was riveted upon these two great missionaries who had first organized
branches of the Church among Gentile nations.

[Sidenote: The Decision.]

Finally, James, the brother of the Lord, who was known among the Jews
as "James the Just," arose and gave the decision of the council, which
established the union of the Jewish and the Gentile Christians.

PAUL RETURNS TO ANTIOCH

[Sidenote: Judas and Silas.]

Thus the controversy ended, and Paul's mission to the Gentiles was
authoritatively approved. When he started back to Antioch he was
accompanied by Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, "chief men among the
brethren." It seems that John Mark went with them also. They carried
with them the decree of the council to be read to the churches that had
been so disturbed by the controversy.

When they reached Antioch, the whole body of the church met together,
to hear the decision of the council. We can imagine with what interest
and consolation the saints listened to the decree that there should
not be one Church for the Jew and another for the Gentile; but that
everyone who sincerely believed in Christ, and obeyed the Gospel would
be saved.

[IMAGE: MAP, SAINT PAUL'S SECOND JOURNEY.]

Footnotes:

1. Merchant of Venice; Act 1, Scene 3.

2. Review entire experience.



LESSON 29

PAUL BEGINS HIS SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY

"Man should trust in God, as if God did all, and yet labor as earnestly
as if he himself did all."

[Sidenote: Paul Desires to Visit Branches.]

After Silas and Judas Barsabas had remained in Antioch a short time
"teaching and preaching the word of the Lord" with Paul and Barnabas
and "many others also," Judas returned presumably to Jerusalem, but
it "pleased Silas to abide there still." Two years had passed since
Paul and Barnabas had returned from their first mission, and Paul felt
impressed to visit again the churches they had established on that
memorable tour. So one day he said to Barnabas. "Let us go again and
visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the
Lord, and see how they do."

[Sidenote: Disagreement.]

To this Barnabas readily consented, but said, "Let us take my cousin
John Mark along with us." "No," answered Paul, "it is not good to take
Mark with us, because he turned back from us at Pamphylia, and went not
with us to the work."

[Sidenote: Separation.]

But Barnabas knew why Mark had done that, and was sure he would not
turn back this time. Paul, however, would not consent; so these two
great missionaries agreed to separate, and each take his own companion.
Barnabas chose John Mark, and Paul chose Silas. They probably also
agreed that Barnabas and Mark should go to the churches on the islands,
and Paul and Silas to those on the mainland.

We do not know that Paul and Barnabas ever met again, but Paul speaks
of him afterwards as of an apostle actively engaged in his Master's
service. Mark, too, in later years won Paul's confidence, for the
latter speaks of him as his "fellow-laborer," and one "profitable to
the ministry."

[Sidenote: Barnabas and Mark at Cyprus.]

Barnabas and Mark left first, and sailed to Cyprus, Barnabas' native
island. Here Mark, too, would feel at home, for it was where he began
his work as a missionary. Here we will leave them among the newly-made
Christians, and follow Paul and Silas.

PROBABLE VISIT TO PAUL'S OLD HOME

These two missionaries started by land northward through "Syria and
Cilicia, confirming the churches." They had with them, of course, the
decision of the Council which no doubt, gave a great deal of comfort to
the Christian Gentiles in these branches.

[Sidenote: Paul and Silas.]

Just what particular cities Paul and Silas visited in Syria and
Cilicia, we do not know; but there was one which Paul certainly
would not pass by. Paul and That was his old home town Tarsus. If
he had succeeded in establishing a church there, with what joy and
satisfaction he would return to it now. Paul was always proud of
Tarsus, and spoke of it later as "no mean city." [1]

[IMAGE: TIMOTHY. "Instructed from childhood to read the scripture, and
to lead a pure life."]

AT DERBE AND OTHER TOWNS

[Sidenote: Derbe First.]

On his first mission, Paul and Barnabas visited in order Iconium,
Lystra, and Derbe, Now he and Silas approach these towns from the
opposite direction, and come to Derbe first, then to Lystra, then to
Iconium.

[Sidenote: Welcome at Lystra.]

At Lystra he was welcomed by that beautiful character Eunice who was a
Jewess, the mother of Timothy. Lois, her mother, would also greet Paul,
and extend the glad hand to his companion Silas.

CALL AND ORDINATION OF TIMOTHY

[Sidenote: Timothy True to Faith.]

From the brethren at Iconium and Lystra, Paul learned that these good
women and their noble young son Timothy had been true to the faith. He
already knew that Timothy had been instructed from childhood to repeat
the scripture and to live a pure life. Timothy had been one who had
stood by him when the mob dragged him from the city and left him for
dead, and now he finds still in the young man's heart the "unfeigned
faith which first dwelt in his grandmother Lois, and his mother
Eunice." No wonder Paul said to the women "I desire Timothy to go forth
with me."

[Sidenote: Timothy Ordained.]

The mother consented, and Timothy accepted the call, though scarcely
twenty years of age. Accordingly, a meeting was held, and Paul ordained
Timothy by "the laying on of hands" to be a missionary and servant
of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul afterwards called this young man his
"own son in the Faith." [2] This instance tends to confirm the truth
of the Article of Faith which declares the belief of the Latter-day
Saints that "a man must be called of God, by prophecy and by the laying
on of hands, by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and
administer in the ordinances thereof."

[Sidenote: Towards Galatia.]

After baptizing many more converts and establishing the churches in the
faith, and undoubtedly visiting Antioch in Pisidia and other towns
on the mainland where he and Barnabas had organized branches of the
Church, Paul, Silas, and Timothy went in a northerly direction through
"the region of Galatia."

[Sidenote: Paul III.]

While passing through here Paul was taken sick. What kind of sickness,
whether it was "the thorn in the flesh" he mentions in one of his
epistles, or some other bodily ailment, is not stated. Paul calls it an
"infirmity of the flesh." [3] But he was very sick, and was detained
in Galatia seemingly against his will. In spite of sickness, however,
he preached the Gospel to the people and many believed. How he loved
the friends he made at that time, and appreciated their tender care,
can be partly understood from a letter he wrote to them in which he
said in effect, "When I was sick in your midst, ye despised me not, nor
rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
What was then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that,
if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and
have given them to me." [4] In that same letter he calls them his
"little children," [5] and expresses a desire to be with them again to
strengthen them in the Gospel.

[Sidenote: Branches Established.]

Before the missionaries left Galatia, even though Paul suffered in
sickness, several new branches of the Church had been organized, and
Paul's letter to these churches now forms part of the New Testament.

[Sidenote: Westward.]

Leaving Galatia, the three travelers continued westward toward the
Aegean Sea, and "passing by Mysia came to Troas," the full name of
which was Alexandria Troas.

Paul had his face turned toward Europe and from this place could look
across the Aegean and see the "distant prospect of the Macedonian
hills."

[Sidenote: A Vision.]

One evening he went to bed, perhaps wondering about the people who
lived on the other side of the water and inspired with the feeling that
the Lord desired him to go to them. There appeared to him, that night,
a vision, in which "There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him,
saying,

"Come over into Macedonia, and help us."

[Sidenote: Luke.]

But before he took boat across, he and his companions had been joined
by another faithful convert to whom you must now be introduced. It may
be that Paul met him when Paul was sick, for the man was a physician,
and could be of great service to him in his affliction. This new
companion kept notes and afterwards wrote the "Acts of the Apostles" in
which we learn most of the things we are telling you about. His name
was Luke, called by Paul the "beloved Physician."

[Sidenote: Over to Macedonia.]

Paul told his vision to his brethren, and "immediately" Luke says, "we
endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had
called us for to preach the Gospel unto them."

They sailed from Troas "with a straight course" across to Samothracia
and "the next day to Neapolis; and from thence to Philippi, the chief
city of that part of Macedonia."

Footnotes:

1. Acts 21:39.

2. I Tim. 1:2.

3. Gal. 4:13.

4. Gal. 4:13-15.

5. Gal. 2:19.



LESSON 30

AT PHILIPPI

"The Gospel is the fulfillment of all hopes, the perfection of all
philosophy, the interpreter of all revelations, and a key to all
seeming contradictions of truth in the physical and moral world."

[Sidenote: By the River Side.]

Near the city of Philippi flowed the river Gaggitas. On its banks just
"out of the city" was built a plain enclosure probably open at the top,
in which a few people met to worship the Lord.

There was no synagogue in Philippi; and the few Jews who were there
went to this place "by the river side" to offer their prayers, and to
read the law. Most of those who did so were women.

When the first Sabbath day came after the elders had been in Philippi
several days, they went to this place of worship, "sat down, and spake
unto the women who resorted thither."

[Sidenote: Gospel Preached.]

No doubt evil minded men accused the missionaries in those days of
trying to lead the women astray, just as enemies accuse the elders of
the Church today. But lies and false accusations could not keep Paul
and his associates from doing their duty. To these women, they preached
the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and told them the story of His life. His
cruel death and His glorious resurrection.

LYDIA

[Sidenote: First in Europe to Accept Gospel.]

In the group that listened to the wonderful message was "a certain
woman named Lydia," who lived in Thyatira, but who was then in Philippi
attending to her business connected with the dyeing trade. She sold
purple dyes used by the rich and the nobility. The Lord gave her a
testimony of the truth as Paul explained it, and she applied for
baptism. She and "her household" were admitted into membership that
day. If Lydia was the first one baptized, then she has the distinction
of being the first person in Europe to accept Christianity. Whether
"her household" means she had children, or whether it refers to her
servants or to both we do not know, but they became the nuclueus of a
thriving branch of the Church in that city, and in Lydia's home town
as well.

After baptism, Lydia invited the missionaries to her home, saying, "If
ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and
abide there."

THE DAMSEL WITH THE SPIRIT OF DIVINATION

[Sidenote: Evil Spirit Rebuked.]

One day when the elders were going out to the place of prayer, they met
an unfortunate woman who caused them no little annoyance. She was a
damsel who seemed to be "possessed by some spirit of divination" which
her masters (for she had more than one) used for making money. When she
would meet the elders, she would cry out:

"These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us
the way of salvation."

After she had done this on several different days, Paul became
"grieved," not particularly because of what she said, but because he
knew the evil spirit was tormenting her. So he turned to her one day,
and said to the evil spirits:

"I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her," and
immediately she was healed.

[Sidenote: Effect.]

When her masters realized that their female slave had been cured, and
that the hope of their gains was gone, they became very angry. "They
caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the court unto the rulers."
But they were shrewd enough not to tell the magistrates the real reason
why Paul and Silas had been brought there. They didn't say "these
men cured our slave, and we cannot any longer fool the people for
money." No, they accused them of breaking the Roman law by introducing
"customs" and beliefs which it was unlawful for Romans to observe.

When the mob cried out "That is so," the magistrates gave the elders no
opportunity to defend themselves, but condemned them to be taken out
and beaten.

SCOURGED AND IMPRISONED

[Sidenote: The "Inner Prison."]

With their hands tied, and their backs bared to the whip, the elders
were beaten "with many stripes." Bleeding and faint they were then
taken to the prison. As the jailor received them, he was ordered to
"keep them safely." Hearing this order and thinking the prisoners
must be wicked men indeed, the jailor took them and "thrust them into
the inner prison." The inner prison of a Roman jail was a dark, damp,
gloomy dungeon. One writer calls it a "pestilential cell, damp and
cold, from which the light was excluded, and where the chains rusted
on the limbs of the prisoners." But not content with shutting the
elders up in such a gloomy hole, "the jailor made their feet fast in
the stocks." In fastening only their feet, however, he showed a little
mercy for there were holes in the stock for the wrists and for the neck
also.

[Sidenote: Happiness in Gloom.]

With their backs sore and bleeding, their bodies chilled by the cold
and dampness, their legs cramped and aching, hungry and sleepless
and surrounded by the blackness of midnight, Paul and Silas who knew
they were suffering for the sake of the true Gospel, could rejoice
and praise the Lord. This they did at midnight by praying and singing
"praises unto God." Their voices rang out through the prison cells;
and prisoners, hard hearted and sinful, listened in surprise to the
first Christian hymn they had ever heard. The power of the Lord
manifested itself not only in the hearts of His true servants, but in
the entire prison and the town as well; for "suddenly there was a great
earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken." All the
bolts and bars at the doors fell from their sockets and the doors of
the prison flew open, and "every one's bands were loosed," but not a
prisoner tried to escape.

[Sidenote: The Jailor's Fear.]

Aroused from his sleep by the commotion and earthquake, the jailor
hurried to the prison only to find the doors wide open. Remembering his
injunction to "keep the prisoners safely," and knowing that he would
forfeit his life if any had escaped, he drew his sword to take his own
life, when Paul cried out:

"Do thyself no harm; for we are all here!"

[IMAGE: PAUL AND SILAS IN PRISON AT PHILIPPI. "Then he called for a light,
and sprang in and came trembling and fell down before Paul and Silas."]

"Then he [the jailor] called for a light and sprang in and came
trembling and fell down before Paul and Silas."

HIS CONVERSION

[Sidenote: An All-Important Question.]

Perhaps he had heard what the damsel had said, that "These men are
the servants of the most high God;" it may be that he had heard them
preach, or at least had been told by others what they preached.
Probably the earthquake itself had convinced him that these men not
only were innocent, but were servants of God. At any rate, he cried
out: "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

That is the question everybody should ask, and the answer, when
truthfully given, everybody should obey.

[Sidenote: The Answer.]

Note the answer: "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be
saved, and thy house." Then the servants of the Lord explained what a
true belief is, expounded the "word of the Lord," taught them faith
and repentance and baptism; and when the keeper of the prison and his
family said they believed the Gospel to be true, he led the elders out,
washed their stripes, and was baptized that same night, "he and all his
straightway."

Then he took them, not back to the dreary dungeon, but into his own
house, and set meat before them. We are told that his heart was filled
with rejoicing because he "believed in God with all his house."

By doing right he had opened the windows of his soul, and the sunshine
of pure happiness had radiated through his entire being. He was
experiencing the truth as expressed in the song:

  "Doing good is a pleasure,
  A joy beyond measure,
  A blessing of duty and love."

[Sidenote: Prisoners Released.]

The earthquake or something else had put fear in the hearts of other
men in that city, too, and among these were the magistrates who had
sentenced, uncondemned, two innocent men to be beaten and imprisoned.
Realizing their mistake they sent word early in the morning to the
jailor to "Let those men go."

[Sidenote: Paul Surprises the Jailor.]

Pleased with the message, the keeper of the prison hurried to Paul and
Silas crying: "The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore
depart, and go in peace."

He was surprised to hear Paul coolly answer, "No, they have beaten
us openly, uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison."
Now they want us to go out privily so that people will think we are
pestilent fellows who escaped from jail. "Nay verily, but let them come
themselves and fetch us out."

[Sidenote: Magistrates Humbled.]

When the magistrates heard what Paul had said, and learned that Roman
citizens had been scourged and thrust into prison without even a trial,
they were very much afraid, for they realized that they might lose
their offices. So they came, and led Paul and Silas out of the prison,
and expressed a desire that the missionaries leave the city.

But the released prisoners had won a great victory; and while they did
not flaunt it in the face of their persecutors, they took occasion
to go to the house of Lydia, and meet all the Saints. Perhaps Paul
reminded the Saints of the night in Jerusalem when Peter was released
from prison and came to the house of Mary.

Whatever was said, we know that "when he had seen the brethren they
comforted them and departed."

Luke remained to strengthen and build up the Church in Philippi, and
Paul and his other companions went to Thessalonica.



LESSON 31

AT THESSALONICA AND BEREA

"A constant struggle, a ceaseless battle to bring success from
inhospitable surroundings, is the price of all great achievements."

"To banish, imprison, plunder, starve, hang, and burn men for religion
is not the Gospel of Christ, but the policy of the devil. Christ never
used anything that looked like force but once, and that was to drive
bad men out of the temple, not to drive them in."

It is easy enough to do right when in good company, but it is not easy
to defend the right when the majority of the crowd are opposing it; and
yet, that is the time to show true courage. The Prophet Joseph, for
example, was reviled and persecuted for saying that he had received a
vision, but he always remained true to his testimony. Though he "was
hated and persecuted yet he said it was true that God had spoken to
him, and

"_All the world could not make him think or believe otherwise_!"

Such is the courage and firmness everyone should have. When one knows
what is right one should always have the courage to defend it even in
the face of ridicule or punishment.

  "It's easy enough to be virtuous
  When nothing tempts you to stray;
  When without or within
  No voice of sin
  Is luring your soul away;
  But it's only a negative virtue
  Until it is tried by fire:
  And the soul that is worth
  The praises of earth
  Is the soul that resists desire."

In the matter of courage to preach the Gospel in the face of bitter
persecution, the missionaries at Thessalonica and Berea proved
themselves true heroes.

After the cruel treatment Paul had received in Philippi, he was
not in a condition to endure long travel, and hardship; yet he and
his companions traveled over one hundred miles before they reached
Thessalonica.

This city, the capital of Macedonia, towards which Paul had been
directing his course ever since he left Troas, was an important trading
center. "Indeed, in all Greece," "if we except Corinth, there is no
harbor with a finer situation; the anchorage is of the best; the
roadstead is as smooth as a lake, while the neighboring valleys give
access to highways leading into Epirus and upper Macedonia." [1]

[Sidenote: How Named.]

At one time the city was called Therma; but in the days of Alexander
the Great, it was named Thessalonica for Alexander's sister,
Thessalonica, the wife of one of Alexander's generals.

This name, slightly shortened clings to the city today. It is now
called Saloniki and is one of the centers of the great war that is,
at the present time, [2] wasting all Europe. In importance it is the
second city in European Turkey.

[Sidenote: Worn in Body; Fresh in Spirit.]

Tired and worn and penniless, Paul entered this great city. Tired
and worn in body, but fresh and vigorous as ever in spirit, he took
immediate steps to give to the people the glorious message of the
Gospel of the Redeemer.

[Sidenote: In the Synagogue.]

The first meeting was probably held in "the synagogue," for
Thessalonica was then, and has been since, a strong Jewish center. For
three successive weeks, Paul and Silas "reasoned with them out of the
scriptures; opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered
and risen again from the dead; and that this same Jesus, whom, he said,
'I preach unto you,' is Christ."

Nor was it only in the synagogue that these earnest missionaries
proclaimed their message, but in the street and in the workshop.

[Sidenote: With Jason.]

Paul and Silas lodged with a man named Jason, where Paul worked at the
trade he had learned in Tarsus. Paul says himself that he "labored
night and day, that he might not be burdensome to any of them." [3]
Thus "late at night, when the sun had long set on the incessant
spiritual labors of the day, the apostle might be seen by lamplight
laboring at the rough haircloth, that he might be chargeable to none."

[Sidenote: Aided by the Saints.]

We can well imagine that he was frequently interrupted in this work by
men and women who would seek for more light on the doctrines of the
Gospel. The result was that Paul made scarcely enough money to pay for
his food and clothing; and if the good Saints in Philippi had not sent
him relief, he and Silas would perhaps have been in actual want.

Not many Jews believed, so Paul and his companion turned to the
Gentiles, many of whom believed, "of the devout Greeks a great
multitude, and of the chief women not a few."

THE STORM GATHERS

[Sidenote: A Mob.]

But when the unbelieving Jews saw great numbers accepting this new
Gospel, they became very jealous and angry. They went among a low,
ignorant class of the citizens, "certain lewd fellows of the baser
sort," and told them that these Christians are setting the whole world
in an uproar, and ought to be driven out of the town. So they gathered
a mob, and surrounded the house of Jason where the elders lodged.

[Sidenote: Missionaries Warned.]

But, fortunately, Paul and Silas were not in, and could not be found.
Perhaps some friend, or it may be the Spirit of the Lord, had warned
the Lord's servants not to go home just at that time. Not finding the
elders, the mob dragged Jason and some other brethren before the rulers
of the city and said:

[Sidenote: Jason Seized.]

"Those Christians that have turned the world upside down have come
hither also;

"Whom Jason hath received; and these all do contrary to the decrees of
Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus."

How easy it is sometimes to prevert the truth into a lie!

[Sidenote: Paul and Companions Escape.]

Jason and his friends had to give "security;" (by which is probably
meant that they had to deposit money as assurance that they would do
nothing against the government), after which they were permitted to go
free.

But the mob was still bitter against Paul and Silas who were advised by
the brethren to leave immediately. This they did by night, traveling
fifty-one miles to Berea.

AT BEREA

[Sidenote: Many Accept Gospel.]

Persecution and suffering could no more stop these inspired workers
from preaching the Gospel than it could stop them from breathing; so
as soon as they arrived at Berea, "they went into the synagogue of the
Jews." The Jews here were more noble than those in Thessalonica, and
would reason from the scripture, which was the Old Testament, kept
in sacred rolls in the synagogue. So we conclude that the Bereans,
not only listened attentively to what the missionaries told them but
searched the scriptures to see if what they said was in harmony with
the Law. When they found that it was, many believed, "also of honorable
women who were Greeks, and of men not a few."

THE STORMS FOLLOWS THEM

As the Jews had gone once before from Iconium to Lystra, so they came
now from Thessalonica to Berea, "like hunters upon their prey," and
"stirred up the people."

[Sidenote: Silas and Timothy Remain.]

But the seeds of truth had taken root in the rich soil, and while the
storm of persecution threatened to deluge Paul, it served only to
strengthen and vitalize the Gospel field.

[Sidenote: Paul Escapes.]

Leaving Silas and Timothy to continue the work, to bless and encourage
the Saints, Paul became once more a fugitive and was conducted by some
of the brethren to the sea. From some point on the coast he embarked
for Athens.

[IMAGE: MAP, ST. PAUL'S THIRD JOURNEY.]

Footnotes:

1. Touard.

2. 1915.

3. I Thess. 11:9.



LESSON 32

AT ATHENS AND CORINTH

"Sometimes a noble failure serves the world as faithfully as a
distinguished success."

"Life has no blessing like a prudent friend."

[Sidenote: Loneliness.]

Perhaps few if any of the young folks who read these lessons have ever
been alone, even for a short time, in a strange city; but it may be
that some of your fathers or brothers have, if so, you may learn by
asking just how lonesome one can feel when one is in a large crowd, in
a strange city, and out of sympathy with the people around him. To be

  "Amid the crowd, the hum, the shock of men,
  To hear, to see, to feel and to possess,
  And roam along the world's tired denizen,
  With none to bless us, none whom we can bless;
  This is to be alone; this, this is solitude."

Such must have been Paul's condition after he said goodby to his
brethren, and walked through the streets of Athens alone.

This loneliness impressed him so deeply that he afterwards wrote to
the Thessalonians that he "was left in Athens alone." [1] He had sent
a command back to Berea for "Silas and Timothy to come to him with all
speed;" but until they came, he was the only Christian in the great
pagan city.

[Sidenote: Statues and Deities.]

As Paul walked through the streets of Athens, he saw many statues and
memorials built in honor of men and mystical gods. Some of these were
the statues of the great men of Athens, "such as Solon the lawgiver,
Conon the admiral, Demosthenes the orator." Among her defied heroes
were Hercules, Mercury, Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, Minerva, and many
others, and in one place, in the center of all these was an altar to
the "Twelve Gods." "There were more statues in Athens than in all the
rest of Greece. It has been said as almost a truth that it was easier
to find a god in Athens than a man." [2] There were altars erected also
to Fame, to Modesty, to Energy, to Persuasion, and to Pity, and Paul
saw one inscription,

"To the Unknown God."

[Sidenote: The Market Place.]

In the city was a common meeting place called the Agora. Here the
Athenians gathered to talk about and discuss the questions of the
day. Idlers and professed philosophers mingled together eager to hear
anything new. While Paul was waiting for his companions, he visited
this gathering place daily, and conversed with those whom he met.
From him the crowd heard, for the first time, about Jesus and the
resurrection.

He also attended the service in the synagogue, and disputed with the
Jews.

[Sidenote: Interest Awakened.]

So Paul, though lonely and discouraged, and perhaps gloomy because of
the ignorance and wickedness he saw around him, "began to stir the
city" because of the message he announced. The Athenians and strangers,
too, began to get curious; for some of them, Luke tells us "spent their
time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing."

Then certain philosophers began to hear about him, and took notice of
him. Some said,

"What will this base fellow say?"

And others,

"He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods; because he preacheth
unto them Jesus and the resurrection."

[Sidenote: Mars' Hill.]

On the top of the hill of Areopagus was a platform which was reached by
a flight of stone steps leading immediately from the Agora. On this had
sat the leading judges who had, for time immemorial, decided important
questions of religion, or passed sentence on the greatest criminals.
Because Mars was supposed to have had his trial there, it was called
"Mars' Hill:" On the brow of this hill was built the temple of Mars.

To this important and memorable spot, the philosophers led the Apostle,
saying,

"May we know what this new doctrine whereof thou speakest is? For thou
bringest certain strange things to our ears; we would know, therefore,
what these things mean."

[Sidenote: A Memorable Address.]

Paul accepted the invitation, and delivered one of the most memorable
addresses in the world. You will notice, however, that he does not
even mention the name of Christ, but tries to influence his hearers A
by leading them from what they were interested in to that in which he
wanted them to be interested. [3]

[Sidenote: Interrupted.]

As soon as Paul mentioned the resurrection of the dead, he was
interrupted. Some broke out into laughter and made light of his remark.
Others were more courteous, and said, as they withdrew from him, "We
will hear thee again on this matter."

[Sidenote: Converted Dionysius.]

Paul must have felt almost crushed with the thought that his sermon had
been an utter failure; but he had done his duty and the seeds of truth
had been sown. They bore fruit in the conversion of Dionysius, a member
of the court of the Areopagus, and of a woman whose name was Damaris,
and "others with them."

After remaining a short time, "he left Athens as he had lived in it, a
despised and lonely man." Yet that short visit, and that interrupted
speech, characterized, as both were, by a sincere desire to call the
erring and wicked to repentance, have made Paul more famous than any of
the philosophers, so wise in their own conceit, who mocked and spurned
him.

AT THE CLOSE OF THE SECOND MISSION

[Sidenote: Alone in Corinth.]

It is probable that Timothy joined Paul in Athens; but if so, he
returned immediately to the churches in Macedonia. Thus it was that
Paul sailed from Athens alone, and having landed at the seaport of
Cenchrea, walked eighteen miles to Corinth. Here he found many Greeks
and Jews. There were crowds also of strangers who came to see the great
games and races for which Corinth was noted. Corinth, at that time, was
a great commercial center, and merchantmen and other traders from far
and near made up its population. If Athens was a learned city, Corinth
was a wealthy and wicked one. So Paul's loneliness here must have been
just as keen as it was in Athens. Indeed, he says himself that he went
there "in weakness and in fear and in much trembling." [4]

[IMAGE: ST. PAUL AT ATHENS. "And when they heard of the resurrection of the
dead, some mocked and others said, we will hear thee again on this matter."]

[Sidenote: Aquila and Priscilla.]

Just about that time a Roman emperor named Claudius issued a decree
that all Jews should be banished from Rome. Among those who had to
leave were a man named Aquila and his wife Priscilla. Whether they were
Christians before they came to Corinth is not known. At any rate, they
were among the first friends Paul met in that city. It may be that they
became acquainted because Aquila and Paul had the same trade. At any
rate, Paul lived with them, and (if they were not Christians before)
converted them to the Gospel, to which they remained staunch and true.
These friends were a help to Paul in furnishing him employment, but in
a greater way by proving to be true friends indeed.

[Sidenote: In the Synagogue.]

Every Sabbath day, these three friends and fellow-laborers would lay
aside their unfinished tents, and go to the synagogue to worship
the Lord. Paul, as usual, would speak to his countrymen and to the
converted Greeks, and proclaim to them the glorious message of the
risen Redeemer. He would reason with them from the scripture, and
persuade them to become Christians.

[Sidenote: Timothy and Silas Join Paul.]

For some time, he seems to have been less energetic than usual. He
was more discouraged than enthusiastic. But, just at that period, he
was joined by his two dear friends, Timothy and Silas. Their coming
gave him new heart, or as Luke says, "he was pressed in the spirit,
and testified to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ." Judging from the
strength Paul received from the companionship of these friends, he
realized that,

"A true friend is the gift of God, and He only who made hearts can
unite them."

[Sidenote: Jews Reject Truth.]

But the more boldly and earnestly Paul preached, the more bitterly
those unconverted Jews opposed him. Finally, when they blasphemed the
name of God, and refused to accept the truth, Paul "shook his raiment,"
and said, "Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from
henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles."

[Sidenote: Crispus Converted.]

But many were converted, and among these was--Crispus, the chief ruler
of the synagogue--"he and all his house." His conversion, with the
crowds of Corinthians who were baptized also, only made the Jews more
bitter than ever; and they began to threaten Paul.

[Sidenote: Comfort.]

About this time Paul wrote his second letter to the Thessalonians. In
it he asks, especially, for their prayers that he might be delivered
from the wicked men around him. "Pray for us, brethren," he pleads,
"that the word of the Lord may be preached freely; and that we may be
delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all have not faith." [5]

And Paul prayed, too, and he received a direct answer from the Lord,
who said: "Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:

"For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I
have much people in this city."

[Sidenote: In the House of Justus.]

When Paul left the synagogue, he held meetings in a house that "joined
hard to the synagogue;" that is, it was perhaps next to it. Here Paul
and his two companions continued preaching. This so exasperated the
Jews that they concluded to try to get Paul either expelled or punished.

[Sidenote: Before Gallio.]

Now it so happened that just at that time a new governor was appointed
over Achaia. His name was Gallio, and he was known as a very "kind and
gentle man." Thinking he would be easily influenced, the Jews had Paul
arrested, and dragged him before the "judgment seat," saying falsely,
"This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law."

Paul arose, or beckoned some way that he desired to answer the charge;
but Gallio stopped him, and addressing the Jews, said:

"If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason
would that I should bear with you; but if it be a question of words and
names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such
matters."

And he drove them from his presence.

[Sidenote: Persecutors Punished.]

So Paul was not harmed, just as the Lord promised. But the Jews were;
for the Greeks took their leader and whipped him even before the
"judgment seat."

Paul remained in Corinth one year and a half, and established there a
strong church.

Then, as the time for the Passover at Jerusalem was drawing near, he
bade goodby to the Saints; and taking Aquila and Priscilla, Silas and
Timothy, his faithful friends and companions, he set sail for Ephesus,
thence to Caesarea, and Jerusalem.

Footnotes:

1. I Thess. 3:1.

2. Weed.

3. Read and explain sermon Acts 17:22-31.

4. I Cor. 2:3.

5. II Thes. 3:1-2.



LESSON 33

PAUL'S THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY FROM ANTIOCH TO EPHESUS

"No man taketh this honor unto himself but he that is called of God as
was Aaron."

[Sidenote: A Promise.]

When Paul stopped off at Ephesus on his way to Jerusalem, as mentioned
in the previous lesson, the Jews to whom he preached asked him "to
tarry a longer time with them." Not being able to do so, he promised
them to "return again if God will." This promise, as we shall see, Paul
literally fulfilled.

[Sidenote: Salutes the Church.]

Whether he arrived in Jerusalem in time to attend the Passover we do
not know. In fact we are led to infer that he did not, for all that we
know of this visit is that he "saluted the church," and went down to
Antioch.

[Sidenote: Beginning of Third Journey.]

After spending some time with the important church in Antioch, Paul
started on his third missionary journey. Just what course he followed,
it is difficult to determine; but since Luke tells us that he went
"over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order," we may safely
conclude that he visited his old home in Tarsus, as well as the cities
of Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and possibly Antioch in Pisidia. The good
people in Galatia also would again have the pleasure of meeting the
apostle who first preached to them the Gospel, and to whom they had so
kindly administered in affliction.

Neither do we know of a certainty who were his companions. Timotheus,
undoubtedly, was one who accompanied him on the whole of his journey.

APOLLOS

[Sidenote: An Eloquent Preacher.]

While Paul and Timothy are visiting the churches in Galatia and
Phrygia, let us hasten ahead of them to Ephesus; for there is a man
there whose acquaintance we should make. His name is Apollos and he
came from Alexandria. He was, undoubtedly, one of the most eloquent
preachers of the Gospel in that day.

But when he first came to Ephesus, he "knew only the baptism of John."
He had accepted the message of John the Baptist, but he had not heard
the Gospel as it had been taught by Jesus and His disciples. He seemed
to have been ignorant of the mission of the Holy Ghost.

With him were twelve other men who held the same incomplete belief.

[Sidenote: New Light.]

Believing they had the truth, these men went to the same synagogue
in which Paul had preached when the Jews asked him to tarry longer,
and Apollos spoke to the people. In the congregation sat Aquila and
Priscilla. These good Christians perceived at once that Apollos did
not understand the Gospel; so, they invited him home with them and
"expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly."

Shortly after this, Apollos left Ephesus for Corinth, taking with him a
letter of recommendation from the Saints in Ephesus.

THE HOLY GHOST GIVEN

Thus it was that when Paul arrived in Ephesus he met the twelve men who
had been taught the Gospel as Apollos had known it. When they told Paul
that they believed the Gospel, he asked them, "Have ye received the
Holy Ghost since ye believed?"

"We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost," they
answered.

"Unto what then were ye baptized?" asked Paul.

"Unto John's baptism," they replied.

"John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance," said Paul,
"saying unto the people, that they should believe on Him which should
come after him that is, on Christ Jesus."

They were then baptized by the proper authority, in the name of the
Lord Jesus. Paul then "laid his hands upon them" and "the Holy Ghost
came on them; and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied."

[Sidenote: Three Months in the Synagogue.]

For three months Paul continued to preach in the synagogue, "disputing
and persuading the things concerning the Kingdom of God." During this
time, he worked at his trade supporting himself "with his hands." Daily
the Church grew in strength, and daily its enemies became so bitter in
their opposition that Paul left the synagogue, and held his meetings in
a schoolhouse where taught a man named Tyrannus.

[Sidenote: Two Years at Ephesus.]

In this place, Paul labored for two years, a period in his life marked
by wonderful manifestations from the Lord. Sick people were healed by
the power of faith in most miraculous ways. Sometimes when Paul could
not visit in person those afflicted, they would be healed by simply
touching a handkerchief or an apron he had worn. Thus "the name of the
Lord Jesus was magnified."

MEN WHO ACTED WITHOUT AUTHORITY

[Sidenote: Sons of Sceva.]

Among those who witnessed these miracles were some vagabond Jews who
made a living by deceiving the people by pretending to be magicians.
When they saw Paul heal the sick in the name of Jesus, they thought
they could do the same, and thus make a great deal of money. So one
day these seven men who were sons of Sceva, meeting a man who was
afflicted with an evil spirit, said, "We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul
preacheth," to come out of him.

"Jesus I know," said the evil spirit, "and Paul I know, but who are
ye?" And the man leaped on them, and overcame them, so that they fled
out of the house naked and wounded.

[Sidenote: A Big Bonfire.]

The treatment that these seven men received through their hypocrisy,
soon spread over the city. Many who had practiced such arts as the sons
of Sceva had, brought all their books of magic and made a bonfire of
them. Paul saw burned that day about $10,000 worth of books and papers.

[Sidenote: Annual Festival.]

Every year in Ephesus, in the month of May, there was held a great
festival in honor of the Goddess Diana. Rich men came from all parts
of Asia, and "paid vast sums of money for the entertainment of the
people. The entertainments were of different kinds. In the theatre were
concerts and shows; in the hippodrome horse-racing; in the stadium
gymnastic games of running, leaping and wrestling. There were noisy
scenes through the day and night. In every hour of the day there were
gay processions to the temple, following the bleating animals crowned
with garland, being led to sacrifice. Idlers and drunkards could be
seen almost everywhere at any time. * * * The shops and bazaars were
filled with all the attractive things of those days which parents and
friends would buy themselves and those left in distant homes. The
special mementos would be little models of Diana and her shrine. The
poorest of purchasers would buy those made of wood; others those of
silver; and the wealthy those of gold." [1]

[Sidenote: A Loss of Trade.]

Paul, no doubt, had told the Ephesians as he had the Athenians, that
God is not made of wood or of silver, or of gold, "neither graven by
art of man's devise." These were hundreds and thousands of people who
believed Paul and worshiped the true God. Consequently, at this annual
feast, there were not so many images of Diana bought as there had been
at other festivals.

A MOB GATHERS

[Sidenote: Demetrius]

Demetrius, a sliversmoth, who made silver shrines for Diana, became
very much agitated when he saw his trade interfered with. He called
together all his workmen and said:

"Sirs, ye know by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover ye see and
hear, that not alone at Ephesus but almost throughout all Asia, this
Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no
gods, which are made with hands."

He continued to speak to them until they became thoroughly aroused and
cried out, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians."

[Sidenote: Paul's Companions Seized.]

Soon the whole city became in confusion. A mob gathered, and tried to
find Paul. Failing in this, they caught Gaius and Aristarchus, two of
Paul's companions, and rushed them into the theatre.

Paul was kept in safety by his friends who refused to let him enter the
theatre, although he insisted on doing so.

[Sidenote: A Howling Mob.]

A Jew named Alexander tried to speak to the mob, but they would not
listen, and continued to howl for two hours, "Great is Diana of the
Ephesians, Great is Diana of the Ephesians."

When they had worn themselves out, the town clerk arose and told them
they had better go home and be quiet, or the Romans might "call them in
question for this day's uproar." He said, too, that if Demetrius had
any case against Paul, he could have Paul arrested and taken into court.

As half the people, as is the case of all mobs, did not know why they
had come, they began to move out of the theatre. "The stone seats were
gradually emptied, the uproar ceased and the rioters dispersed to their
various occupations and amusements."

As Paul had already made preparations to go into Macedonia, he called
the disciples to him, and after embracing them, left Ephesus so far as
we know, forever. Later, however, as we shall learn in the next lesson,
he met some of the Elders and Saints from Ephesus.

Footnotes:

1. Weed.



LESSON 34

THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY--(Continued)

Paul's farewell visit to churches he had established

During the next nine or ten months--from the summer, A. D., 57, to
the spring, A. D., 58--following Paul's affectionate farewell to the
disciples at Ephesus, we know very little of his travels. From the
epistles that he wrote during this period, we learn most of what is
known about his labors and duties "over those parts" in Macedonia.

He first went to Troas, where he expected to meet Titus whom he had
sent to Corinth. Here, he says, "I had no rest in my spirit, because I
found not Titus, my brother." [1]

Worrying over the reports he had heard about the evil conditions in the
Corinthian church, he left Troas for Philippi.

[Sidenote: A Joyous Welcome.]

Here he met some of his most beloved Saints; for the Philippian
converts, though among the poorest, financially, were among the most
faithful of all the churches. Paul had accepted their assistance when
he had refused help from other sources. This is one church which Paul
did not reprove. What a joyous welcome these faithful Saints must
have given the Apostle! How their hearts would rejoice as they retold
their experiences when Paul and Timothy and Silas first preached to
the women by the river side. Lydia and the jailor and a host of other
faithful members would all be there to recall the arrest, the whipping,
the imprisonment, the stocks, the midnight hymns, the earthquake, the
authorities' fears and all the other wonderful experiences of that
first visit to Philippi!

[Sidenote: Paul Depressed.]

Yet amidst all this welcome Paul says his "flesh had no rest; without
were fightings, within were fears; until God who comforts them that are
cast down, comforted me by the coming of Titus." [2]

[Sidenote: Second Epistle to Corinthians.]

Titus told him that the members of the Church in Corinth who had been
doing wrong had been excommunicated, and that many of the saints were
doing better. Hearing this, Paul wrote another letter to them, (the
second Epistle to the Corinthians) and sent Titus back with it.

[Sidenote: Offerings.]

Titus seems to have been one of the chief men in collecting
contributions for the relief of the poor in Judea. When he returned to
Corinth, he continued to make collections for Paul to take to Jerusalem
in the near future. [3]

The next we hear of Paul, he is in Corinth. While there he hears that
the Galatians were saying that he was not an apostle because Jesus
had not chosen him as one of the Twelve. So he wrote a letter to the
Galatians in which he says,

[Sidenote: Galatians Reproved.]

"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you unto the
grace of Christ unto another Gospel."

Then he warns them against accepting any other Gospel, for if anyone
preach any other Gospel, "let him be accursed."

Here he also wrote his epistle to the Romans.

[Sidenote: Retraces Steps.]

Paul prepared to go to Palestine direct from Corinth, but he heard of a
plot to take his life. To frustrate this, he retraced his steps through
Macedonia. When the company again reached Philippi, Timothy and several
others went ahead to Troas. Paul and Luke remained for a short time and
then rejoined the company at Troas.

A LONG AND MEMORABLE MEETING

When Sunday came, all the disciples "came together to break bread," and
Paul preached to them his farewell sermon. As he was to leave them in
the morning, they persuaded him to continue his speech until midnight,
which he did.

The meeting was held in an upper room, the windows of which were all
thrown open so the congregation could enjoy the cool of the evening.

[Sidenote: Eutychus Falls.]

Sitting in one of the windows was a young man named Eutychus who
listened to the sermon as long as he could, and then fell asleep. As
Paul continued to preach, Eutychus continued to nod, until finally
he became overbalanced and fell into the courtyard below. No doubt a
woman's scream first interrupted the sermon. The people sprang to their
feet, and rushed below, and picked the young man up for dead.

[Sidenote: Restored.]

Paul, too, went down, and embracing the boy, said,

"Trouble not yourselves for his life is in him."

[IMAGE: ST. PAUL AT MILETUS WITH THE ELDERS OF THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS.
"And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, sorrowing
most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no
more."]

Thankful that the young man was restored, the people returned to the
room, and Paul preached to them until morning.

Paul's companions went by ship to Assos, but he preferred to walk the
twenty miles alone.

At Assos he went abroad the ship and sailed to Mitylene, thence to
Chios, and the next day to Samos, about a mile from which they tarried
at Trogyllium.

[Sidenote: At Miletus.]

On the next day, Paul sailed past Ephesus, thinking that he would not
have time to visit the Saints there, for he wanted to be in Jerusalem
on the day of Pentecost. But when he reached Miletus, a few miles from
Ephesus, he sent word over to the Elders of the Church to come to him.
This they did with all gladness, and listened with intense interest to
his address to them. [4]

"And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down and prayed with them all."

That little company of Christians assembled in an obscure place on the
seashore presents to our minds one of the most beautiful pictures of
the world, and their farewell greeting one of the most impressive and
pathetic.

[Sidenote: A Sad Farewell.]

When the beloved apostle was about to leave them, "they all wept sore,
and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him; sorrowing most of all for the
words which he spake." It seemed that they just could not bear to have
him leave them. They clung to him even when he went aboard the ship,
and it was with difficulty that his companions drew Paul from them.

A similar scene was enacted at Tyre where the company remained seven
days. While Paul was visiting and comforting the Saints here, they
entreated him not to go up to Jerusalem, because his life would be in
danger. But Paul could not be persuaded.

When the time came to say "goodby," the men, women and children all
went with Paul and his company down to the shore. Here they all kneeled
down and prayed, and bade farewell "one of another." Then Paul and his
companions entered the ship, and the sorrowing Saints returned slowly
to their homes.

AT CAESAREA

At Caesarea the missionaries were entertained by Philip, the
evangelist, one of the seven chosen deacons.

[Sidenote: A Prophecy.]

While they were there, Agabus, a prophet came down from Jerusalem and
after greeting them all, took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands
and feet, saying,

"Thus sayeth the Holy Ghost, so shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the
man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of
the Gentiles."

Hearing this prophecy, Luke and all Paul's company pleaded with him not
to go to Jerusalem. But Paul answered,

[Sidenote: Ready to Die.]

"What mean ye to weep and to break my heart? for I am ready not to
be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord
Jesus."

"All right," said his friends, "The will of the Lord be done."

From Caesarea, they traveled by carriage to Jerusalem, where the
brethren received them gladly.

Footnotes:

1. II Cor. 2:13.

2. II Cor. 7:6.

3. II Cor. 8.

4. See Acts 20:17-35.



LESSON 35

EXCITING EXPERIENCES IN JERUSALEM

"In the huge mass of evil as it rolls and swells, there is ever some
good working toward deliverance and triumph."

[Sidenote: At Headquarters.]

At Jerusalem, Paul and his companions met with the Church and
undoubtedly gave the money that had been given by the Gentile churches
for the benefit of the poor in Judea. At the advice of James, the
brother of the Lord, who was then presiding over the Church in
Jerusalem, Paul shaved his head, and did certain other things to show
the Jews that he was willing to observe the Jewish laws.

[Sidenote: Falsely Accused.]

When he had been in Jerusalem about a week, he went to the temple to
worship. There happened to be also in the temple, some men who had
seen Paul in Asia with the Gentiles. Thinking that he had brought
some of these Gentiles into the temple, they stirred up the people,
seized Paul, and cried out, "Men of Israel, help; this is the man
that teacheth all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and
this place; and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath
polluted this place."

Of course, this was not true, but it served to arouse the crowd, who
dragged Paul out of the temple and shut the doors. In their rage they
were about to kill Paul, which they would have done but for the timely
interference of a Roman officer.

Stationed in the castle north of the temple was a guard of soldiers
under command of an officer called the "Chief Captain."

[Sidenote: Rescued From Death.]

When somebody told the captain, whose name was Claudius Lysius, that
there was trouble in the outer court of the temple, he hurried the
soldiers down there just as the mob began to beat and trample Paul to
death. The soldiers rescued Paul; but the captain thinking he was a
desperate man, commanded him to be bound with chains.

"Who is this man, and what has he done?" Claudius asked of the angry
Jews.

Some cried one thing and some another in such confusion that the chief
captain could understand nothing; so he said to the soldiers, "Carry
him to the castle."

[Sidenote: On the Castle Steps.]

As the soldiers bore Paul away, the mob, acting like wolves after their
prey, followed, crying, "Away with him." Just as they were going up
the steps into the castle, Paul speaking in Greek said to the chief
captain, "May I speak unto thee?"

"Canst thou speak Greek?" answered the captain, "Aren't you that
Egyptian who sometime ago made an uproar here and led out into the
wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?"

"I am a Jew from Tarsus," answered Paul, "a city in Cilicia, a citizen
of no mean city, I beseech thee let me speak unto the people."

Hoping to learn something about the cause of the uproar the chief
captain gave his consent.

Paul turned to the people and beckoned for them to be quiet. Their
yelling ceased, especially when they heard Paul speak in Hebrew, their
own language. [1]

[Sidenote: The Word "Gentiles."]

The Jews listened to him quietly until he happened to mention the word
"Gentiles," then they cried, "Away with such a fellow from the earth;
for it is not fit that he should live."

In their anger, they took off their coats and threw dust in the air to
show how they hated him.

[Sidenote: Ordered Whipped.]

Being still in doubt as to what Paul had done, the chief captain
ordered him brought into the castle and whipped until Paul told why the
Jews cried so against him. As they were binding him to beat him, Paul
said to the centurion who stood by.

"Is it lawful for you to whip a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?"

When the centurion heard this, he hurried to the chief captain saying,
"Take heed what thou doest; for this man is a Roman." Then the chief
captain came and said to Paul,

"Tell me, art thou a Roman?"

"Yes," answered Paul.

"With a great sum obtained I this freedom," said Claudius.

"But I was a free born Roman," proudly answered Paul.

When they heard this, those who were going to torture him hurried away
from him, and the chief captain, too, was troubled; for he knew he had
no right to put chains on a Roman citizen who had not had a fair trial.

BEFORE ANANIAS THE HIGH PRIEST

Next morning Paul was brought before Ananias the High Priest and the
Council.

[Sidenote: Paul Smitten.]

"And Paul earnestly beholding the council said,

"Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until
this day."

At this Ananias became so enraged that he said to those who stood by
Paul,

"Smite him on the mouth."

"God shall smite thee, thou whited wall," answered Paul with sudden
anger. "Sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be
smitten contrary to the law?"

[Sidenote: Temper Controlled.]

Those who stood nearest Paul said, "Revilest thou God's High Priest?"
Then Paul, getting control of his feelings answered,

"I did not know, brethren, that he was the High Priest; for it is
written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people."

[Sidenote: Two Sects.]

Paul then noticed that in the council were two parties, some Pharisees
and some Sadducees; so by speaking wisely of the resurrection, he won
the Pharisees on his side, who said,

"We find no evil in this man. It may be that an angel or a spirit has
spoken to him."

This made the Sadducees angry, the two factions got to quarreling and
became so angry at each other that the chief captain fearing that they
would tear Paul to pieces, commanded the soldiers to take him back to
the castle.

[Sidenote: Divine Comfort.]

On the next night while Paul was still in the castle, the Lord stood by
him and said,

"Be of good cheer, Paul; for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem
so must thou also bear witness at Rome."

[Sidenote: A Plot to Kill.]

On the following morning about forty of these angary Jews bound
themselves together by an oath, swearing that they would neither eat
nor drink until they had killed Paul. To accomplish this, they said to
the chief Priests, "we have bound ourselves under a great oath that we
will taste nothing until we have slain Paul. Now, you ask the chief
captain to bring him down to you tomorrow, as though you would inquire
something more; and we, as soon as he comes near us, will be ready to
kill him."

But their plot became known to Paul's sister's son, who hastened to the
castle, and told his uncle all about it. After hearing his nephew's
story, Paul called one of the centurions, and said,

[Sidenote: The Plot Frustrated.]

"Take this young man to the chief captain; for he hath a certain thing
to tell him." The centurion did as directed and said to the chief
captain,

"Paul, the prisoner, called me to him, and asked me to bring this young
man unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee."

"What is it thou hast to tell me?" asked the chief captain.

"The Jews have agreed to ask you to take Paul tomorrow into the
Council, as though they would inquire somewhat of him more perfectly.
But do not thou yield unto them; for there lie in wait for him about
forty men, who have bound themselves together with an oath that they
will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him."

The chief captain believed the young man and said to him.

"See thou tell no man that thou hast shewed these things to me." The
chief captain then called two centurions saying,

"Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and seventy
horsemen, and two hundred spearmen. Tell them to be ready at nine
o'clock tonight to take Paul safely unto Felix the governor."

Claudius Lysius then wrote a letter to Governor Felix explaining,
briefly, why Paul was being sent to him. [2] He also sent word to
Paul's accusers to go to the Governor and make their charges known.

When Paul, safe and sound, appeared before Felix, the Governor asked,

[Sidenote: At Caesarea.]

"What province are you from?"

"From Cilicia," Paul answered.

"I will hear thee," said Felix, "when thine accusers are also come."

Paul was then put in Herod's judgment hall until his trial five days
later.

[Sidenote: In Confinement.]

Thus had Paul's life within the short space of a few days been twice
preserved from those who wanted to kill him. God had spoken to him,
saying, "Be of good cheer," and although he was still a prisoner, there
was peace in his soul for he knew he had done only what was right, and
that God approved of his labors.

Footnotes:

1. Read the entire speech as recorded in Acts 22:1-21.

2. See Acts 23:25-30.



LESSON 36

TWO YEARS IN PRISON

"I have a conscience void of offense toward God and all men."--Joseph
Smith.

BEFORE FELIX

Five days after Paul had been put in the Judgment Hall, the high priest
Ananias and some of his elders came to Caesarea to appear against him.
They brought with them a lawyer named Tertullus.

Felix, the Roman Governor, summoned the prisoner to appear before him
to hear from the Jewish lawyer what things Paul had done. The hired
lawyer began his speech by flattering Felix, to win his favor, and then
charged Paul as follows:

[Sidenote: Paul Falsely Accused.]

"This man is a pestilent fellow, a mover of sedition among all the Jews
throughout the world and a ringleader among the sect called Nazarenes.
He has profaned the temple, and has done many other things for which he
should be punished."

And the Jews all cried out,

"Yes, these things are true."

When they had spoken, Felix motioned with his hand for Paul to speak in
his own defense, which he did by saying:

[Sidenote: Paul's Defense.]

"As I know that thou hast been of many years a judge over this people,
I cheerfully answer for myself these charges of the Jews. Twelve days
ago, I went up to Jerusalem to worship; but I deny that I disputed with
any man, or that I stirred up the people, either in the synagogues, or
in the city. Neither can they prove the charges they make against me.

"This, however, I do confess, that after the way which they call
heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing in the law and
the prophets, and in the resurrection of the dead, both of the just and
the unjust; and I try to live to have always a clear conscience void of
offense toward God, and men."

[Sidenote: Innocent but a Prisoner.]

Paul spoke so earnestly and honestly that Felix was convinced he spoke
the truth; and when he concluded, Felix knew he was innocent, but, for
fear of displeasing the Jews, who, he could see, hated Paul, he told
the officers to hold Paul a prisoner, but to give him his liberty, and
to let his friends come to see him. So Ananias and Turtullus had to go
back to Jerusalem without having seen Paul punished. They still hoped,
however, to get him either scourged or killed.

[Sidenote: Before Felix and Druscilla.]

Several days later, Felix and his wife Druscilla, a Jewess, called Paul
before them to hear more about this Christian doctrine. Unfortunately
the governor and his wife had not lived a good life; so when Paul
"reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come upon
sinners, Felix trembled, and answered,

"Go away for this time; when I find it again convenient to hear you, I
will send for you."

[Sidenote: Offered a Bribe.]

Felix was not a just judge, yet he wanted to dismiss Paul; but he hoped
to get some money for doing it. So he called the prisoner before him
many times, and hinted that if Paul would give him money, he would free
him; but Paul scorned the intimation to be bribed.

So for two years Paul was kept in prison; but during that time, he no
doubt preached the Gospel to many of his friends, and perhaps to many
strangers as well. When Felix was released as governor, "willing to
show the Jews a pleasure, he left Paul bound."

BEFORE FESTUS

[Sidenote: Another Wicked Scheme.]

Felix was succeeded by Festus, who was a more just and honorable
governor. Festus remained in Caesarea about three days, and went up to
visit Jerusalem. Then the chief priests and others tried to poison his
mind against Paul, and asked that he might be brought from Caesarea to
Jerusalem to be tried. It was their wicked plan to waylay Paul and kill
him.

But Festus answered, "This prisoner will be kept at Caesarea, and I
will return there myself. Let some of your ablest men go down with me,
and prove that this man is as wicked as you say."

Ten days later, in Caesarea, Festus sat on the judgment seat, and
summoned Paul before him. They again accused Paul of many wicked
things, but could prove none of them. Paul again answered for himself,
saying,

[Sidenote: Denies Charges.]

"I have done no wrong against the law of the Jews, neither against the
temple; nor against Caesar."

Festus, desiring to please the Jews, and not knowing that they desired
to kill Paul, said,

"Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these
things before me?"

"I am standing in a Roman court, where I ought to be judged; I have not
wronged the Jews, as thou very well knowest; and no man shall deliver
me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar."

[Sidenote: Appeal to Caesar.]

Paul, you remember, was a Roman citizen; and therefore, had the right
under the law to be tried at Rome before Caesar, the emperor.

Festus, after conferring with his council, said to Paul.

"Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? Then unto Caesar shalt thou go."

So Paul was taken to prison to await a favorable opportunity to be sent
to Rome.

BEFORE KING AGRIPPA

When Paul was blind just after his vision, the Lord said, "He is a
chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings,
and the children of Israel." Among the rulers to whom Paul preached
the Gospel were King Agrippa and his sister Bernice. Agrippa, who
ruled over part of the land on the east side of the river Jordan, paid
Festus a visit; and the Governor took occasion to tell the King all
about Paul, how he had been left a prisoner by Felix; how the Jews had
accused him, but failed to prove their charges; how he refused to go to
Jerusalem; and how finally he had appealed to Caesar. [1]

Said Agrippa, "Festus, I should like to hear this man myself."

"All right," said Festus, "tomorrow thou shalt hear him."

[Sidenote: A Royal Assembly.]

On the morrow, Agrippa and Bernice came with "great pomp;" which means,
no doubt, that he dressed in his purple robes and she in her bright
jewels, and attended with servants all dressed in gorgeous colors.
It was a royal assemblage, and a royal occasion, but the most royal
personage among them was the humble prisoner who appeared in chains to
plead his innocence and the justice of his cause.

The King, looking at Paul, with more curiosity than contempt, said,

"Thou art permitted to speak for thyself."

Then Paul, addressing himself principally to Agrippa, delivered a most
impressive address as follows:

[Sidenote: An Impressive Address.]

"I think myself happy, King Agrippa, that I shall answer for myself,
before thee, of all the things charged against me by the Jews; because
I know that thou dost know all about the customs and the questions
which are among the Jews. I ask thee then, to hear me patiently.

"My manner of life from my youth, all the Jews know, for I lived among
them; and if they would tell the truth, they would testify that after
the most strict sect of our religion, I lived a Pharisee. And now I
stand and am to be judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto
our fathers; that promise unto which our twelve tribes, constantly
serving God day and night, hope to come. For this hope, King Agrippa,
I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing which thou
couldst not believe, that God should raise the dead?

"At one time, I verily thought myself, that I ought to do many things
contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth; and this I did in Jerusalem:
and many of the Saints I shut up in prison, having received authority
from the chief priests; and even when they were put to death, I gave my
voice against them.

"And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to
blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted
them even unto strange cities. Whereupon as I went to Damascus with
authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O King, I
saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun,
shining round about me and them who journeyed with me. And when we were
all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, saying, in
the Hebrew tongue:

"'Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?'

"And I said, 'Who art thou. Lord?'

"And he answered, 'I am Jesus whom thou persecutest, But rise, and
stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to
make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast
seen, and of those things in which I will appear unto thee; delivering
thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from
the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins,
and inheritance among them who are sanctified by faith that is in me.'

"Whereupon, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly
vision: but explained first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem,
and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that
they should repent and turn to God, and to works meet for repentance.

"For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to
kill me.

"Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day,
witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those
which the prophets and Moses did say should come, that Christ should
suffer, and that he should be the first to rise from the dead, and
should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles."

[Sidenote: An Interruption.]

Just at this point in his address, Paul was interrupted by Festus, who
cried,

"Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad!"

But Paul said, "I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the
words of truth and soberness.

"The king knoweth of these things, before whom I speak freely; for I am
persauded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing
was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I
know thou believest."

[Sidenote: Almost Persuaded.]

Then said Agrippa, "Almost thou persaudest me to be a Christian."

"I would to God," answered Paul, "That not only thou, but also all that
hear me this day, were both almost and altogether such as I am, except
these bonds."

[Sidenote: Should Be Free.]

After listening to Paul's great address, the king and his sister, and
the governor withdrew to one side, and said that there was no cause to
keep Paul a prisoner, for he had done nothing worthy of death or of
bonds.

"This man," said Agrippa to Festus, "might have been set at liberty, if
he had not appealed unto Caesar."

Footnotes:

1. Acts 25:13-22.



LESSON 37

THE VOYAGE TO ROME

"If we acknowledge God in all our ways, he has promised safely to
direct our steps, and in our experience we shall find the promise
fulfilled."

[Sidenote: Julius the Roman Captain.]

Paul's appeal to Caesar made it necessary for him to go to Rome, Italy,
where the Roman Emperor lived. Accordingly, when all was in readiness,
and passage on a ship secured, Paul and some other prisoners embarked
for Rome. He was put into the charge of a Roman captain named Julius, a
man who proved to be a kind, honorable gentleman, and a true friend to
Paul. He recognized that his apostle-prisoner was a great and good man,
and possessed wisdom superior to that even of the wisest. Thrilling
experiences happened on this voyage that proved to Julius that Paul was
not only wise but also inspired of the Lord. No matter where Paul was,
in whose company he was thrown, in peace or persecution, in prospect of
life or threatened death, he was always the same earnest preacher of
the Gospel--a true servant of his Lord and Master Jesus Christ. This is
why even his enemies respected and feared him, and why Julius and other
honest men admired and loved him.

[Sidenote: Companions.]

[Sidenote: On the Sea.]

Two of Paul's true friends were with them, Luke the doctor and
historian, and Aristarchus from Thessalonica. Sailing northward from
Caesarea, they stopped for a day at Sidon, where, through the courtesy
of Julius, Paul went ashore to see his friends who were living there.
What a happy and yet sad meeting that must have been! From Sidon, they
sailed to the northwest, past the island of Cyprus, thence westward,
past the shore of Asia Minor. At Myra, a city of Lycia, Julius, the
Centurion, found a ship sailing from Alexandria to Italy, so he
transferred his prisoners from the ship of Adranythum to the one from
Alexandria. This latter ship was loaded with wheat that was being taken
from Egypt to Italy.

[Sidenote: "The Fair Havens."]

For many days, the ship moved very slowly because of a heavy wind, but
at length it came to the island of Crete. They followed its shore until
they found a harbor called "The Fair Havens," near the city of Lasea.
As it was not a very good place in which to spend the winter, the owner
concluded to sail to another harbor.

PAUL GIVES WARNING

As the sailing was dangerous, it being late in the season, Paul warned
them not to leave, saying:

[Sidenote: Inspired Warning.]

"Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with injury and much damage,
not only of the lading of the ship, but also of our lives;" and he
urged them to stay where they were for the winter.

But the owner of the ship, believing Paul didn't know anything about
sailing, said it was alright to go; and the Centurion believing the
owner of the ship had better judgment than Paul, consented to sail for
sea again.

[Sidenote: Ancient Ships.]

The ships in those days were not like the steamships of today. They
were "rudely built and rigged; having one large mast, through whose
head passed Ancient strong ropes; and one large sail. It was steered by
two paddle-rudders. Easily strained and exposed to leakage, it was in
danger of floundering; the way in which many ancient vessels were lost.
Ropes were carried for binding the hull when weakened by storm. On the
prow was a painted eye, as if seeking direction and watching against
danger. Its ornaments were figures of heathen divinities, to whom
idolatrous and superstitious sailors looked for protection."

Paul's judgment told him it was dangerous to attempt to cross the
Mediterranean Sea in such a boat, and he knew by the inspiration of
the Lord that, if the sailors attempted to do so, they would meet with
disaster.

There were two hundred and seventy-six persons on board as they weighed
anchor at Fair Havens, and continued their journey. The fair weather
and favorable wind gave promise of a successful and safe voyage; and no
doubt the sailors laughed at Paul for his fears.

[Sidenote: A Storm Begins.]

But suddenly all was changed. A strong wind sweeping down from the
mountains on the shore, struck the ship and wheeled it around. The
sailors were unable to control it, and the rudder was powerless to
guide it. Behind the ship was a little boat, which they now pulled up
on board; and as the ship was being threatened to be dashed to pieces,
they bound it with ropes to keep it together, and if possible, to
prevent it from leaking.

[Sidenote: Ship Threatened.]

But notwithstanding all their efforts, the boat began to leak, and was
driven out into the sea. It was then that "they began to lighten the
ship." Still the "tempestuous" wind and rain beat against the ship,
and the danger of ship wreck increased every hour. The hours dragged
on into days, and the hungry, stricken passengers and sailors paced
terror-stricken day and night. On the third day, Luke says, "We cast
out with our own hands the tackling of the ship;" by which we conclude
that the ship was leaking so badly that even the passengers assisted in
casting overboard everything that could be thrown.

"And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small
tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken
away."

Even Luke, it seems lost heart, and was about to give up.

[Sidenote: All in Despair but One.]

"Without regular food--and what they had probably in a spoiled
condition--drenched and cold, despair seized the whole company. But
there was one exception--that was Paul. While others were losing hope,
'he was engaged in earnest prayer.' Neither discomfort nor danger,
nor opposition to his counsels, nor these combined could disturb his
calmness which was so unlike the fear and anguish about him. There was
a great contrast between the reeling ship and his firmness; between the
darkness, and the heavenly light within him; between bodily weakness
and spiritual strength; between the despairing cries about him, and
his calm voice; between the painted eye on the ship's prow, and the
all-seeing eye upon him; between the ornamental images of powerless
false gods, and the Almighty Ruler over all."

In the midst of this despair and darkness, Paul arose, and said:

[Sidenote: A Prophecy.]

"Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from
Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now, I exhort you to
be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among
you, but the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God,
whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be
brought before Caesar; and lo, God has given thee all of them that sail
with thee; wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer; for I believe God, that
it shall be even as it was told me. But we must be cast upon an island."

[Sidenote: Sailors Attempt to Escape.]

For fourteen days the storm lasted; and then one night the sailors
thought they were nearing land. They sounded the depth and found the
water twenty fathoms deep; then in a little while, they measured again,
and found it fifteen fathoms deep, so they knew that land was not far
away. They anchored the ship, and looked anxiously for the day. Then
some of the sailors began to lower the little boat, pretending to throw
out more anchors, but really intending to forsake the ship and leave
all on board to destruction. When Paul discovered their purpose, he
said to the Centurion,

[Sidenote: Paul Stops Them.]

"Unless these sailors stay in the ship none of us can be saved." At
this the soldiers cut the rope and let the boat fall away, so the
sailors could not get off.

[Sidenote: Comfort and Food.]

About daylight, Paul addressed the company again, and urged them to
take food. "This is the fourteenth day," he said, "that you have gone
without eating, wherefore, I pray you to take some meat; for this is
for your health: for there shall not a hair fall from the head of any
of you."

He then took bread, and gave thanks in the presence of them all: and
when he had broken it, he began to eat. Encouraged by Paul's faith and
assurance, they all broke their fast, and then lightened the ship by
throwing overboard the wheat.

As soon as daylight came, they could see land, but did not know what
place it was. However, they saw a creek coming into the sea, and
concluded they could run their ship safely into the bay. So they cut
anchor, hoisted the sail, and struck for shore.

As a climax of all disasters, the ship ran aground. The front end stuck
fast in the sand and the rear part began to break in pieces.

[Sidenote: Ship Wrecked.]

There was a Roman law which said a soldier must take a prisoner's
place if the soldier permitted the prisoner to escape; so the soldiers
fearing the prisoners might swim ashore and escape asked the Centurion
to kill all the prisoners while they were on board. But Julius,
desiring to save Paul's life, refused to permit the prisoners to be
killed. Some then swam ashore, and rendering help to others, succeeded
in getting every soul safe to land--not one life was lost, but the
ship, just as Paul had foretold it.

The island was Melita, just south of Sicily.

THE POWER OF GOD MANIFEST

Luke says "the barbarous people showed us no little kindness; for they
kindled a fire, and received us everyone, because of the present rain,
and because of the cold."

[Sidenote: Bitten by a Viper.]

Paul was busy helping to feed the fire, and to make it more comfortable
for himself and others, when something happened that startled the
natives. A viper crawled from one of the sticks, and fastened itself
on Paul's hand. When the people saw it, and knew how poisonous it was,
they said:

"No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea,
yet vengeance will not permit to live."

[Sidenote: Natives Astonished.]

Then they looked for him to swell up and die. But they were surprised
to see that not the least harm came to him. Then they changed their
minds, and said he was a god.

[Sidenote: Gospel Preached.]

Undoubtedly, Paul told them who he was, and preached the Gospel of
Jesus Christ to them. They were entertained by Publius, the chief man
of the island, who also heard the Gospel, and saw the power of the
Priesthood made manifest. His father was sick of fever, and very ill.
Paul administered to him by laying on of hands, and he was instantly
healed. The news of these miracles soon spread with the result that
many who were sick "came to the brethren and were healed."

"All these honored us with many honors," says the historian Luke, "And
when we departed, they loaded us with such things as were necessary."

[Sidenote: Seeds of Truth Sown.]

What a blessing to these people was the three months sojourn of Paul
and his companions, and with what keen regret and sorrow they must have
said goodby when the "Castor and Pollus," the ship from Alexandria,
carried Paul away from them forever? It carried him, but not the truths
he had taught. These would remain with them, and, if accepted, would
bless them eternally.



LESSON 38

THE WORLD ENRICHED BY A PRISONER CHAINED

"The blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church."

[Sidenote: Anticipation vs. Realization.]

A few school boys, one day, met to debate the question, "Resolved,
That there is more pleasure in Anticipation than in Realization." One
on the side that tried to prove that Anticipation gives more pleasure,
referred to every boy's experience at Christmas time, saying that
the day before Christmas and Christmas Eve always give more joy than
Christmas itself--"As soon as the boy gets his toys, then he begins to
regret that Christmas isn't tomorrow."

That boy expressed in his simple way about the same thought contained
in this sentence from Emerson: "Man looks forward with smiles but
backward with sighs;" or as another writer puts it, "What we expect is
always greater than what we enjoy."

Such may not be the case always in life; but it certainly must have
been Paul's experience in regard to his anticipated visit to Rome. For
several years he had looked forward with pleasure to the time when he
would have the opportunity to preach the Gospel in the famous capital
of the great Roman Empire. But now as he approaches the realization of
his hopes, he is an old man, worn with exposure and confinement, and a
prisoner.

However, we must not conclude that he was left comfortless, or that
he had any less desire to bear testimony to the world of the divine
mission of his Savior. On the contrary he continued to seize every
opportunity to preach the everlasting Gospel.

[Sidenote: Syracuse.]

This he did when the "Castor and Pollux" or "The Twin Brothers,"
stopped eighty miles north from Malta, at a place called Syracuse,
the ancient capital of Sicily. It is not unlikely that Paul asked
permission to go ashore and preach the Gospel to the Jews and the
Gentiles who were in that celebrated city. If so, we are sure Julius
would grant his request. At any rate, the Sicilians afterward claimed
that Paul founded the Church on that island.

[Sidenote: Puteoli.]

His next important stop was on the northern part of the beautiful
bay of Naples, where was situated a town named Puteoli; now known as
_Pozzuoli_. As the ship carrying Paul and his friends entered this
harbor, it was met by a crowd of people who had gathered to greet
it. Among these were "brethren" who came to welcome and comfort the
missionary-prisoner. Perhaps through a desire of Julius to remain here
long enough to communicate with Rome, or it may be through his kindness
to Paul, the company remained at Puteoli seven days, thus giving the
Elders an opportunity to spend a Sabbath day with the Saints in that
place. How refreshing to Paul's spirit to worship once again with those
who possessed the same testimony of the Gospel as he!

[Sidenote: Met by True Friends.]

Word having been sent ahead that Paul was on his way from Puteoli
to Rome, many of the brethren in that city started out to meet the
beloved and famous missionary. No doubt the Saints in Rome realized
that Paul's spirit as well as his body would be worn and weary, and,
as true friends indeed, they made preparation to go to him. True
friendship always prompts one to go to a friend in adversity rather
than in prosperity. It may be that they desired only to give him a
royal convoy into their city; for he was truly a royal personage even
though bound in chains. Whatever their motive, some of the brethren
traveled forty-one miles, and met their beloved Apostle at the Apii
Forum. Another party met him at "Three Taverns"--thirty miles from
Rome. Paul's heart was touched by this manifestation of friendship and
true brotherhood, and he "thanked God, and took courage."

[Sidenote: Under Guard.]

When the company reached the renowned capital of the ancient world,
it must have seemed to Paul like a huge prison; and when his friends
parted from him to go to their own homes and he to his guarded place,
his heart must have been heavy indeed. However, Julius kindly delivered
his prisoner over to the captain of the Pretorian Guard, the highest
military authority in the city--the guard that had charge of all those
who were to come before the Emperor for trial. Fortunately, Paul was
not put in prison but permitted to dwell in a house by himself, under
the constant guard of a soldier. Here he was given all the freedom
possible, to a prisoner; so, true to his energetic spirit, he found
many opportunities to continue his preaching. This he would do first
to the soldiers to whom he was chained daily. As they would frequently
relieve one another, he would have ample opportunity to preach the
truth to many of the guards, and thus, probably, indirectly to the
Emperor himself.

[Sidenote: Appeals to Jews.]

He made occasion, also, to preach to the Jews. He called the chief
men of this nation together and told them why he was then a prisoner.
"Though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our
fathers," said he, "yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into
the hands of the Romans, who, when they had examined me, would have let
me go, because there was no cause of death in me; but when the Jews
spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar.

"For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to
speak with you, because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with
this chain."

[Sidenote: Jews Reject Message.]

The Jews answered that they had heard nothing of evil against him;
but "as concerning this sect (meaning the Christians), we know that
everywhere it is spoken against." In fact, in Rome as elsewhere, the
Jews rejected the Gospel message, and compelled Paul to turn to the
Gentiles.

[Sidenote: The Gospel Spreads.]

For nearly eight hundred days, Paul remained a prisoner awaiting his
trial before the Emperor. During that time, he preached the Gospel to
hundreds of soldiers who had one after another daily been appointed as
guards. These, when converted, would convert others, and when sent off
to Roman provinces, would spread the Gospel in new lands, thus widening
the area in which the light of truth might shine.

[Sidenote: Message Through Epistles.]

But that was not the only way in which it radiated from the humble
abode of the missionary-prisoner. During that two years confinement,
he kept in communication with the Church in Europe and Asia. As there
were no railroads, no steamboats, nor telegraph, every letter that
he received or that he sent to them was carried by a courier, who
had to travel very slowly by land and sea, sometimes for hundreds
of miles. But he had loving friends attending him who were always
ready to bear his messages. Some of these you already know. Luke, the
faithful physician; Timothy, his son in the Gospel; John Mark, who,
you remember, started with Paul and Barnabas on their first mission;
Aristarchus of Thessalonica; Epaphroditus, a friend from Macedonia;
Onesimus, a slave belonging to Paul's friend, Philemon, and others.
With these faithful servants as messengers, Paul wrote letters, called
epistles, which have made the whole world better and richer in the
knowledge of truth. These letters are now in the New Testament, and are
called Epistle to the Philippians, Epistles to Philemon, Epistle to the
Colossians, and Epistle to the Ephesians.

[IMAGE: ST. PAUL. Chained by the wrist to his soldier guard, in his own
house, for two whole years.]

Thus did Paul's epistles written in a Roman prison become literally
"Winged messengers that can fly from east to west on embassies of love."

[Sidenote: Released.]

Certainty of what Paul did after his having been a prisoner in Rome for
two years, ends with Luke's statement, that he "received all that came
unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which
concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no man forbidding
him." It is believed, however, that he was finally given his liberty
and that he preached in many lands, tradition saying that he even went
to England. It is thought that it was during this missionary tour that
he wrote his first letter to Timothy, who had been appointed to take
care of the church at Ephesus, and also the one to Titus who was with
the churches on the island of Crete.

[Sidenote: Again Arrested.]

About the year 64 A. D., however, he was again arrested and imprisoned
in Rome. Only a year previous the Saints had been persecuted to death
by the wicked Nero. They had been thrown into the Arena, devoured by
wild beasts, burned to death as human torches, and martyred in other
cruel ways.

[Sidenote: Beheaded.]

It was soon after the burning of Rome by this wicked emperor, that
Paul, the most energetic of all missionaries, after thirty years of
constant service in the ministry, was put to death by beheading. Just
before the end came, he wrote to Timothy these beautiful and pathetic
words:

"I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the
faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day."'

As he bowed his head to receive the fatal stroke, we know that he could
have said in very truth:

"I feel my immortality o'ersweep all pains, all tears, all time, all
fears; and peal, like the eternal thunders of the deep, into my ears
this truth--thou livest forever!"

  Before the Royal he was kingly,
  In the prison, noble, true;
  In the tempest, mighty captain
  Of a terror-stricken crew.

  Sunless days nor nights of blackness,
  Prison chains--tempestuous wave.
  Floundered ship nor deadly viper--
  Feared he not the yawning grave.
  "God's good angel stood beside me,
  His I am and Him I serve,"
  This the secret of his power--
  Him from Right no power could swerve.





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