He also went to Derbe and Lystra. At Lystra there was a disciple, called Timothy, the son of a Christian Jewess and a Greek father. As he had a good reputation among the brothers at Lystra and Iconium, Paul wished to have him go with him. And the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily.
Then Paul and his companions crossed the Phrygian and Galatian country, but were prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching in the province of Asia. When they reached Mysia they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; so passing by Mysia they went down to Troas.
One night Paul had a vision: a man of Macedonia was standing and begging him, "Come over into Macedonia and help us." As soon as Paul saw the vision, we were eager to start at once for Macedonia, believing that God had called us to tell the good news to them. So, setting sail from Troas, we ran straight to Samothrace, and on the next day to Neapolis. From there we went to Philippi, which is the principal city in that part of Macedonia. In that city we spent some days.
On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate by the river, where we believed there was a place of prayer. And we sat down and talked to the women who had gathered. Among them was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was already a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her mind, so that she listened to what Paul was saying; and when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, "If you are sure that I am a true believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house." And she made us do so.
PAUL AND SILAS IN MACEDONIA
One day as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave girl met us who was under the control of a spirit that made her clairvoyant, so that she brought great gain to her owners by fortune-telling. She kept following Paul and the rest of us, crying, "These men are servants of the Most High God; they proclaim to you the way of salvation." This she did for many days until Paul, unable to stand it longer, turned and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her." And it left her at once.
But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the public square before the city officials. Bringing them before the military rulers, they said, "These are Jews who are making a disturbance in our city; they proclaim customs which it is not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or follow." The mob also joined in the attack upon them, so the military rulers tore their garments off them and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After beating them severely, they threw them in prison and ordered the jailer to be sure to keep them safely. On receiving this strict order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
About midnight, as Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and while the prisoners were listening to them, there was suddenly such a great earthquake that the very foundations of the prison were shaken. Immediately all the doors were opened and the chains that bound all the prisoners were loosened.
When the jailer suddenly awoke and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, thinking the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, "Do no harm to yourself, for we are all here!" So calling for lights, the jailer rushed in, and trembling with fear, fell down before Paul and Silas. Then bringing them out of the prison he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They answered, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you and your household will be saved." So Paul and Silas preached the word of the Lord to him and to all his family. Then the jailer took them at that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and he and all his family were at once baptized. He then brought them to his house and gave them food to eat, and greatly rejoiced with all his family that they had come to believe in God.
The next morning the city officials sent the police with the order, "Release these men." So the jailer told Paul, "The police have brought an order to have you released; now you may come out and go in peace." But Paul answered, "They have beaten us publicly without trial, although we are Roman citizens, and they put us in prison! Now they are going to send us out secretly! No, indeed. Let them come here themselves and take us out."
The police reported this to the military rulers, who, when they heard that they were Roman citizens, were afraid and came to make peace with them, and when they had brought them out of prison, they begged them to leave the city. So Paul and Silas left the prison, and went to Lydia's house; and after they had seen the brothers and encouraged them, they left the city.
After they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where the Jews had a synagogue. As usual, Paul went in, and for three weeks he argued with them, to prove to them from the scriptures that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead, and Paul said that "this Jesus I proclaim to you is the Christ." Some of the Jews and a large number of God-fearing Greeks and many of the leading women believed and threw in their lot with Paul and Silas.
But the Jews were jealous and got hold of the loafers in the market-place, and raised a mob and started a riot in the city. They attacked Jason's house, so as to bring Paul and Silas out before the people, and when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city officials, shouting, "These men who have upset the whole world have come here too! Jason has welcomed them. They do not keep the laws of Caesar and declare that some one else called Jesus is king." On hearing this the crowd and the city officials were greatly troubled; but after Jason and the others had pledged to keep the peace, they let them go.
Then the brothers at once sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue, where the people were of a nobler spirit than at Thessalonica, for they were very ready to hear the teaching about Jesus, and studied their scriptures daily to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed and also prominent Greek women and many men.
As soon as the Jews at Thessalonica learned that God's message was being proclaimed by Paul at Beroea, they came there also to stir up the people to riot. Then the brothers at once sent Paul on his way to the sea-coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Beroea. The friends who escorted Paul went with him as far as Athens, and left him there, after receiving instructions that Silas and Timothy were to come to him as soon as possible.
PAUL'S GREAT SPEECH AT ATHENS
While Paul was waiting at Athens for Silas and Timothy, his anger was aroused when he saw that the city was filled with idols. So he argued in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Greeks who joined in their worship, and every day with those whom he happened to meet in the market-place. A few of the philosophers also met him. Some of them said, "What has this picker-up of scraps of learning to say?" Others said, "He seems to be a herald of some new deities." This was because he had been telling the good news about Jesus and how he rose from the dead. And they took him to the Court of Areopagus and said, "May we hear what this new teaching of yours is? For the things you are saying sound strange to us; so we want to know what they mean." (For all the Athenians and the foreign visitors spent their time doing nothing but telling or hearing something new.)
So Paul stood in the middle of the Court and said, "Men of Athens, I see wherever I go that you are very religious, for as I passed along and looked at your objects of worship, I found an altar with the inscription,
TO AN UNKNOWN GOD
Whom, therefore, you worship without knowing, him I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all things in it is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples made by men. He is not served by men's hands, as though he needed anything, for he it is who gives to all men life and breath and all things. He has made all nations from one family that they may live over the whole earth. He has also fixed for them when and where they are to live, that they should seek God in the hope that, as they feel after him, they may find him, for he is not far from each one of us; for it is in him that we live, and move, and have our being, as in fact, some of your own poets have said, 'We also are his children.'
"Therefore, as the children of God, we ought not to think of the divine nature as being like gold or silver or stone, carved by man's art and invention. God overlooked the ages of ignorance, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, for he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world justly by the one whom he has appointed, and he has given proof of this to all mankind by raising him from the dead."
When they heard of raising one from the dead, some sneered, but others said, "We will hear what you have to say about that some other time." So Paul went out from among them. Some men, however, joined him and believed, among whom were Dionysius, a member of the Court of the Areopagus, a woman named Damaris, and several others. After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
PAUL WRITES TO HIS FRIENDS AT THESSALONICA
Paul and Silas and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians which lives in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
May good-will and peace be granted to you.
We thank God always for you all and mention you in our prayers, for we constantly remember before our God and Father your active faith and loving service and firm hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
You yourselves know, brothers, that our visit to you was not without results. At Philippi, as you remember, we had the courage through divine help to tell you the good news of God even though we had been ill treated and insulted. We loved you so much and you had become so dear to us that we would gladly have given to you not only God's good news, but also our very lives.
Brothers, you remember our hard labor and toil, how we worked at our trade night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, while we told you God's good news. You are witnesses, and so is God, that our dealings with you who believe in Christ were pure, just, and beyond reproach, and that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children, persuading and encouraging you, and appealing to you to live so that you would be worthy of the God who calls you to his own Kingdom and glory.
We thank God constantly for this also, that when you received God's message from us you accepted it not as a mere word of man but for what it really is, the message of God, which even now is doing its work in the hearts of you who believe. You have begun to follow the example of the churches of God in Judea which are united with Jesus Christ, for you have suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they have suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus.
Brothers, when we were torn away from you for a little time (out of sight but not out of mind!), we were exceedingly eager to see you face to face. We did want to come to you—I, Paul, did more than once, but Satan put difficulties in our way. For who is "our hope, our joy, our crown" of which we have a right to be proud? Is it not you? For you are our glory and our joy!
So when I could stand it no longer, I decided that it was best to remain alone at Athens and send Timothy, our brother and God's servant in telling the good news about Christ, to strengthen your faith and so to encourage you that none of you might be disturbed by the troubles through which you are passing, for you know that we must have them.
But now that Timothy has just come back and brought me the good news of your faith and love and how you always remember me lovingly, longing to see me as I long to see you, I have been comforted, brothers, in all my distress and trouble by your faith.
How can we thank God enough for all the joy that comes to us through you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see your faces and supply whatever is lacking in your faith. May our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you, and may the Lord make your love for one another and for all men grow ever greater, even as does our love for you, so as to make your hearts strong and your characters without fault in the sight of our God and Father.
I solemnly charge you in the name of the Lord to have this letter read aloud to all the brothers. The love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
PAUL'S WORK AT CORINTH
And Paul left the place and went to the home of Titius Justus, who worshipped God, whose house was next to the synagogue. Crispus, the president of the synagogue, and all his family, believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians when they heard Paul, believed and were baptized. One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, "Do not be afraid, but speak and do not stop, for I am with you and no one shall harm you; I have many followers in this city." So Paul lived there a year and a half and taught them the word of God.
But when Gallio was governor of Greece, the Jews joined in an attack on Paul and brought him before the court on the charge that he led people to worship God contrary to the law. But just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, "If it were something about wrong-doing or a serious crime, there would be some reason for my listening to you, O Jews; but if these are only questions about names and your own law, take care of them yourselves. I do not wish to be a judge of matters like these." And he drove them out of the court. Then all the people caught hold of Sosthenes, the president of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the court; but Gallio paid no attention to these things. Paul, after staying some time longer in Corinth, said good-by to the brothers and with Priscilla and Aquila, sailed for Syria.
PAUL WRITES TO HIS FRIENDS IN CORINTH
Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and brother Sosthenes to the church of God at Corinth.
I thank God continually for the blessing which he has given you through Jesus Christ. Through him you have been so richly and fully gifted with every kind of speech and knowledge that you have proved the truth of the testimony which I bore to Christ when I was with you.
Brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I beg of you all to agree in your statement of faith. There must be no quarrels among you, but you must be one both in your way of thinking and in your purpose. For I have been told, brothers, by the members of Chloe's household, that there are quarrels among you.
Avoid all impurity! Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the impure man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit that is within you, which you have received from God? You do not belong to yourselves, for you were bought for a price. Be sure to honor God with your bodies.
No temptation has come to you that is beyond your power to resist. God is faithful and will not let you be tempted beyond what you can stand; but when the temptation comes, he will provide the way of escape, so that you will have strength to endure.
In all things I can do as I like, but they are not all good for me. In all things I can do as I like, but they do not all make me a better man. Each of us must seek not only his own good but that of his neighbor.
Do you not know that in a race, though all run, only one wins the prize? So run that you may win the prize. Every athlete exercises self-restraint in every way; but while they do this to win a crown that perishes, we do it to secure one that is eternal. So then I run as one who is sure of his goal. I do not plant my blows as a boxer who beats the air; rather I constantly train my body and keep it under control for fear that I, who told others of the contest, might myself be disqualified.
Now brothers, I wish you to understand about spiritual gifts. There are different kinds of gifts, but all are given by the same Spirit. There are different ways of serving, but all are for the same Master. There are different ways in which God's power is shown, but the same God is working in all of you in all these ways. Each is given his own gift of the Spirit for the common good.
Just as a man's body has many parts, and these parts, although many, form only one body, so it is with Christ. For we have all been baptized by the one Spirit so as to form one body. Whether we were Jews or Greeks, slaves or freemen, we have all been given the same Spirit. For the body consists not of one part but of many. If the foot were to say, "Because I am not the hand I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the ear were to say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would be, for all that, a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God gave each part of the body its proper place, exactly as he wished. If they were all only one part, where would the body be? As it is, while there are many parts, there is only one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor can the head say to the feet, "I have no need of you." On the contrary, even those parts of the body which seem weaker are necessary. If one part suffers, all parts suffer with it. If one part is honored, all the parts share its honor.
Now you are one body—the body of Christ, and each of you are parts of it. And God gave each his proper place in the church: apostles first, prophets next, teachers third, then workers of miracles, healers, helpers, and directors.
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all able to work miracles? Are all healers? Are all able to tell what their words mean? But always seek to attain the highest gifts.
Yet I will show you a far better way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I am only sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. Even though I have the gift of prophecy, and can understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and have faith enough to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And if I give all I have to feed the poor and my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love is not envious; love is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act rudely, is not selfish, is never provoked, does not resent wrong; rejoices not in evil, but rejoices in the truth. Love forgives all things, believes all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. As for prophecies they shall come to an end. As for tongues they shall cease. As for knowledge it also shall come to an end; for we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, that which is imperfect shall come to an end.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child; but now that I am a man I have put away childish ways. For now we see only the dim reflection in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know only in part, but then I shall know fully, even as also I am fully known.
And now abide faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
THE NEW LIFE AFTER DEATH
Now, brothers, remember the good news I preached to you, that Christ died for our sins, and that he was buried and rose again the third day.
Now if we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why do some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no such thing as a resurrection of the dead, then Christ did not rise; and if Christ did not rise then our preaching is of no value and your faith also is of no value.
But some one will say, "How do the dead rise and what kind of body will they have when they come back?" Foolish one! The seed you sow does not come to life again unless it dies. What you sow is not the body that will be, but a mere grain, perhaps of wheat or of some other seed. God gives it the kind of body that he sees fit, to each kind of seed a body of its own.
All flesh is not the same; there is human flesh, another flesh of beasts, another flesh of birds, and another of fishes. There are heavenly bodies and also earthly bodies, but the splendor of the heavenly is one thing and that of the earthly is another. There is one splendor of the sun, another splendor of the moon, and another splendor of the stars; for one star differs from another in splendor.
So it is with a man's body when he rises from the dead. It is sown a perishable thing, it is raised imperishable; it is sown without honor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we shall be changed and this perishable body must put on the imperishable and this mortal body put on immortality. Then shall come true what is written in Scripture "Death is swallowed up by victory. O grave, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
WAYS OF SHOWING LOVE
Now about the collection for God's people in Jerusalem, you must carry out the same directions that I gave to the churches in Galatia. On the first day of every week let each one put aside a certain part of what he has gained, so that the money will not have to be collected when I come. When I arrive I will send those whom you select, with letters, to carry your gift to Jerusalem, and if it is worth while for me to go too, they shall go with me.
I will come to you after I have passed through Macedonia, for I am going there. Perhaps I shall spend some time, or even pass the winter with you, that you may start me on my way, wherever I may be going. I do not wish to see you merely in passing, for my hope is to stay some time with you, if the Lord permits. But I will stay in Ephesus until the Feast of Pentecost, for I have a great opportunity here for work, and there are many foes.
If Timothy comes, see that he has nothing to fear while among you, for he is carrying on the Lord's work even as I am. So let no one slight him, but see him safely on his way that he may come to me, for I am waiting for him along with the other brothers.
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, be men, be strong! Let all that you do be done in love.
The churches of the province in Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, with the church that meets in their home, also send you greetings, and so do all the brothers.
I, Paul, add this greeting with my own hand: "The Love of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus."
PAUL'S TRIALS AND VICTORIES AT EPHESUS
After spending some time at Antioch Paul went off on a trip to Galatia and Phrygia to strengthen the faith of all the disciples; then he returned to Ephesus. There Paul entered the synagogue, and spoke out fearlessly for three months, arguing and trying to convince people about the Kingdom of God. But as some were stubborn and refused to be convinced and publicly slandered the Christian way of thinking and living, Paul, taking the disciples with him, left the synagogue and continued his teaching every day in the lecture-room of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the people who lived in the province of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the message of the Lord.
And God did wonderful miracles through Paul, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. Many who believed in him came to confess and to tell all the wicked things they had done.
About that time a great disturbance arose over the Christian way of teaching and living. A silversmith, by the name of Demetrius, made silver models of the temple of Artemis which brought much profit to his workmen. He gathered the workmen together, and others who were in the same kind of business, and said to them, "Men, you know that we get our wealth from this business of ours. You also see and hear that, not only at Ephesus but throughout the whole province of Asia, this Paul has drawn away many people by telling them that gods made by human hands are not gods at all. There is danger not only that this business will be hurt, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be neglected, and that she will even lose her importance in all the province of Asia and throughout the world."
When they heard this they were greatly enraged, and shouted, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" The uproar spread throughout the whole city until the people all rushed into the theatre, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, who were Paul's travelling companions. Paul wanted to enter the assembly, but the disciples would not let him. Some of the leading religious officers of the province of Asia, who were friends of his, also sent messages begging him not to risk going into the theatre.
Some of the people shouted one thing and some another, for the assembly was all in confusion, and most of those present did not know why they had come together. For about two hours they shouted, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" When the city recorder had quieted the mob, he said: "Men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that this city is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of the statue that fell from heaven? As these facts cannot be denied, you should keep calm and do nothing reckless. You have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of our goddess. If Demetrius and his fellow workers have a complaint against anybody, there are the courts and the Roman officials; let both sides state their charges. But if there is anything else you want, it must be settled in the regular assembly. We are indeed in danger of being charged with riot because of what we have done to-day, for there is no good reason that we can give for this gathering." With these words he dismissed the assembly.
When the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples and encouraged them. Then, after bidding them good-by, he started for Macedonia.
PAUL WRITES TO THE CHRISTIANS AT ROME
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart to tell God's good news about Jesus Christ our Lord, to all God's loved ones who are in Rome and have been called to be his people: Love to you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
First of all I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is reported throughout the whole world. The God whom I serve with my spirit, as I tell the good news about his Son, is my witness how often I speak of you in my prayers, asking that at last the way may be opened for me to come to you, if it is God's will. For I long to see you that I may give you some spiritual gift, that you may be strengthened; or rather that we may each be encouraged by the other's faith, I by yours, and you by mine.
Brothers, I also wish you to know that many times I planned to come to you (but thus far was prevented) that I might gather some fruit from my labors among you, as I have already in the other nations. I have a duty to perform both to Greeks and to barbarians; both to the wise and to the ignorant; so I am eager to tell the good news to you also who are in Rome. I am not ashamed of the good news, for it is the power of God that is able to save every one who believes it, the Jew first and the Greek as well.
Do not follow the example of those who have not heard the good news, but be made different by a complete change of mind, so that you may be able to know what is the will of God, even what is good and perfect and acceptable to him.
Let your love be sincere; abhor that which is evil, cling to that which is good. In your love for your brothers, feel genuine devotion for one another. Be eager to honor one another. Never let your zeal grow less; keep alive your enthusiasm; serve the Lord; rejoice in your hope. Be patient in trouble, persevering in prayer; share with fellow Christians in need, be friendly and generous.
Bless those who persecute you, bless and curse not. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be sympathetic with one another. Set not your heart on high things but be ready to do humble tasks. Do not be conceited.
Do not pay back evil for evil; aim to do what is honorable in the eyes of all men. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with all men. Never seek revenge, dear friends, but let God punish those who wrong you. Therefore, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink, for in so doing you will heap coals of fire upon his head. Do not let evil overcome you, but overcome evil with good.
Owe no man anything, except to love one another, for he who loves his neighbor has done what the law demands. For all the commandments are summed up in this one command: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love never wrongs a fellow man; that is why love meets all the demands of the law.
I have, for several years, been longing to visit you when I go to Spain. I am hoping to see you on my way there, and to be sent on my journey by you after I have first enjoyed being with you for a time. But now I am on my way to Jerusalem to do a service for God's people; for the Christians in Macedonia and Greece have been good enough to make a contribution for the poor Christians at Jerusalem.
Now I beg of you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love which his Spirit inspires, that you join me in earnest prayer to God in my behalf. Pray that I may be delivered from those in Judea who refuse to believe in Jesus, that my mission to Jerusalem may prove acceptable to God's people, and that I may through the will of God come to you joyfully and find rest with you.
May the God who gives peace be with you all. Amen.
PAUL'S LAST JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM
After we had said good-by to the elders of Ephesus we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, where the ship was to unload her cargo. There we found certain Christian disciples and stayed a week with them. Speaking under the influence of the Spirit, they told Paul not to set foot in Jerusalem; but when it was time for us to go, we went on our way, and they all, with their wives and children, came with us until we were out of the city. Then kneeling on the beach, we prayed and said good-by to one another; we went on board and they returned home.
Sailing from Tyre to Ptolemais, we completed our voyage. After greeting the Christian brothers who lived there, we spent a day with them. The next morning we set out and reached Caesarea, where we went to the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the Seven, and stayed with him. He had four daughters who had the gift of prophecy.
During our stay there, which lasted a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. Coming up to us, he took Paul's belt, bound his own feet and hands with it, and said: "This is what the Holy Spirit says, 'In the same way the Jews will bind the owner of this belt at Jerusalem and will turn him over to the Romans.'" When we and the brothers who lived there heard this, we begged Paul not to go up to Jerusalem, but Paul answered, "What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but to die in Jerusalem for the cause of the Lord Jesus." So when he could not be kept from going, we stopped pleading and said: "The Lord's will be done."
After some days we started for Jerusalem. Some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us and brought us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, one of the early disciples, with whom we were to stay. When we reached Jerusalem the brothers welcomed us gladly.
The next day Paul went with us to see James, and all the elders of the church were present. After Paul had greeted them, he told, one by one, all the things that God had done among the foreign peoples through his ministry. When they heard it they praised God and said to him, "Brother, you see how many thousands of Christian believers there are among the Jews and that they are all eager to have men keep the law. They have been told that you teach all Jews living in foreign lands not to keep the law of Moses. Now what is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come; therefore do this: we have here four men who have solemnly promised to make certain offerings at the Temple. Join with them, pay their expenses, and all will know that there is no truth in the stories told about you, but that you live as the law of Moses commands."
So Paul joined the men the next day and went with them into the Temple to give notice of the time when sacrifice was to be offered for every one of them.
PAUL'S NARROW ESCAPE FROM DEATH
The seven days during which the men had promised to make special offerings were almost over when some Jews from Asia, who saw Paul in the Temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, shouting, "Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men, everywhere, to despise the Jewish people, the Jewish law, and this sacred place." So the whole city was aroused. The people rushed together, seized Paul, and dragged him outside the Temple; and at once the doors were closed.
The people were trying to kill Paul when it was reported to the commander of the soldiers that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. He at once took some soldiers and officers and rushed down among them. When they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. Then the commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains, and inquired, "Who is he and what has he done?" Some of the crowd shouted one thing, some another; and as the commander could not learn the real truth on account of the uproar, he ordered Paul to be taken to the castle. When Paul reached the steps, he had to be carried by the soldiers on account of the violence of the crowd, for all the people followed, shouting, "Kill him!"
Just as Paul was being taken into the castle, he said to the commander, "May I say something to you?" The commander said: "Do you speak Greek? Then you are not the Egyptian who some time ago started a rebellion and led four thousand outlaws into the desert?" Paul answered, "I am a Jew, of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of a great city. I beg of you, let me speak to the people."
So when the commander had given him permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned with his hand to the people, and when there was a great silence, he spoke to them in Hebrew: "Brothers, and fathers, listen to the defense I now make before you." When they heard him speaking to them in Hebrew they were all the more quiet; so he went on to say, "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel in all the strictness of our law. I was as eager to serve God as you all are to-day. I persecuted and even killed the followers of Jesus. I bound and put in prison both men and women, as the high priest himself and all the elders can testify.
"It was also from them that I had letters to our fellow Jews in Damascus, and I was on my way to bring the Christians who were there back to Jerusalem in chains for punishment. While I was on my way not far from Damascus, suddenly, about noon, a bright light from heaven shone around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' 'Who art thou, Lord?' I asked. He answered, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth, the one whom you are persecuting.' And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Rise, and go to Damascus, and there it shall be told you what you are to do.' And when I could not see because of the bright light, I went to Damascus, led by the hand of those who were with me. And one Ananias, a religious man, well thought of by the Jews, came and, standing beside me, said, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight,' and that very minute I received my sight and saw him. And he said to me, 'The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One. For you shall be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.' And the Lord said to me, 'Go, for I will send you far away to those who are not Jews.'"
Up to this time the people had listened to him, but when they heard these words they shouted, "Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live," and they threw off their clothes and flung dust into the air until the commander ordered Paul to be taken into the castle and examined, by flogging, to find out why the people had shouted so against him. When they had tied him up with straps, Paul said to the officer who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to flog a Roman citizen without trial?" When the officer heard this he reported it to the commander and said: "Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman citizen." Then the commander came to Paul and said, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?" He said, "Yes." The commander answered, "I paid a large sum for this citizenship"; and Paul said, "But I was born a Roman citizen." The men who were to have examined him, at once left him. And the commander, when he learned that Paul was a Roman citizen, was also afraid because he had bound him.
The next day the commander, so as to find out just what charge the Jews had made against Paul, unbound him and ordered the high priests and all the members of the council to come together. Then they brought Paul down and placed him before them. Paul, looking straight at the members of the council, said: "Brothers, I have done my duty, with a clear conscience before God, up to the present moment."
When Paul saw that some of the council were Sadducees and some Pharisees, he cried out, "Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is because of my hope that the dead will live again that I am on trial!" When he said this a quarrel arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and there was a great difference of opinion among them. For the Sadducees say that there is no life after death, nor angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees believe in all these; so there was a great uproar. Some of the scribes who belonged to the party of the Pharisees sprang to their feet and protested, "We find this man guilty of no crime. What if some spirit or an angel has spoken to him?" When the uproar became so great that the commander was afraid that Paul would be torn in pieces by them, he ordered the troops to go down and take him from among them by force and bring him into the castle.
The next night the Lord stood beside Paul and said, "Be of good cheer, for as you have spoken for me at Jerusalem, so you must speak also at Rome."
Early the next morning the Jews plotted together and solemnly promised not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul, and there were more than forty who made this promise. They went to the high priests and elders and said, "We have made a solemn promise to taste no food until we have killed Paul. Now you and the council must tell the commander that you wish him to bring Paul down to you, as though you wanted to examine more carefully the charges brought against him. We shall be ready to kill him before he comes here."
But Paul's sister's son heard of their plot and went to the castle and told Paul. And Paul called one of the officers and said, "Take this young man to the commander, for he has something to tell him." So the officer took him to the commander and said, "Paul the prisoner asked me to bring this young man to you, for he has something to tell you." The commander then took him by the hand, and after he had led him aside, asked him privately, "What is it that you have to tell me?" He said, "The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to-morrow to the council pretending that they wish to examine his case more carefully. Now do not grant their request, for more than forty are lying in wait for him and have solemnly promised not to eat or drink until they have killed him. Even now they are ready, only waiting for your consent."
The commander let the young man go, bidding him, "Tell no one that you have informed me of this." Then he called two officers and said, "Get ready two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen by nine o'clock to-night to go as far as Caesarea." He also told them to provide horses for Paul to ride on so as to bring him safely to Felix the governor. So the soldiers, as they had been commanded, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. The next day the soldiers returned to the castle, leaving the horsemen to go on with him. When they reached Caesarea they brought Paul to the governor.
A PRISONER WHO PREACHED TO HIS JUDGES
Some days later Felix came with his wife, Drusilla, who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul and heard what he had to say about the faith in Christ Jesus. But when he talked about upright living, self-control, and the future judgment, Felix became alarmed and said, "You may go for the present; when I can find a convenient time I will send for you." All the time Felix was hoping that Paul would give him money, and for this reason he sent for him often and talked with him. But after two years had passed Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, who, wishing to win the favor of the Jews, left Paul in prison.
After Festus had been governor three days, he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem. Then the high priests and the leading Jews made charges to him against Paul and begged Festus as a favor to send and have him brought to Jerusalem, for they were plotting to kill him on the way. But Festus answered that Paul would be kept in Caesarea and that he himself was going there in a short time. "Therefore," he said, "let your leading men go down with me and let them charge the man with whatever crime he has committed." After staying eight or ten days in Jerusalem, Festus went back to Caesarea.
The next day Festus took his place on the judgment seat and ordered Paul to be brought in. When he came, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem surrounded him and brought many and serious charges against him which they were unable to prove. In answer to them Paul said, "I have committed no crime against the Jewish law or the Temple or the Emperor."
But as Festus wished to win the favor of the Jews, he interrupted Paul with the question, "Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and be tried before me there on these charges?" Paul said, "I am standing before the Emperor's judgment seat, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you yourself very well know. If, however, I have broken the law or have committed any crime that deserves death, I am willing to die. But if there is no truth in any of their charges against me, then no man has the right to give me up to them. I appeal to the Emperor!" After talking with the council, Festus answered, "You have appealed to the Emperor, to the Emperor you shall go."
After some days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to visit Festus. As they remained there for many days, Festus laid Paul's case before the King. Agrippa said to Festus, "I should like to hear the man myself." "You shall hear him to-morrow," said Festus. So the next day Agrippa and Bernice came with much pomp to the court-room, along with the commanders and the leading citizens; and at the command of Festus Paul was brought in. And Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak for yourself." At this Paul stretched out his hand and began his defense: "I am happy, King Agrippa, that I am permitted this day to defend myself before you against all the charges which the Jews have brought against me, for you know all about the Jewish customs and questions. So I beg of you to hear me patiently. All the Jews know the kind of life I lived from my youth, among the men of my own nation and in Jerusalem. As a Pharisee I lived according to the standards of the strictest party in our religion. I indeed believed that it was my duty to do all in my power to oppose the cause of Jesus of Nazareth. This I did in Jerusalem. With authority from the high priests, I put many of Jesus' followers in prison. When they were put to death, I voted against them. In all the synagogues I often punished them and tried to make them speak against the name of Jesus, and in my insane fury I followed them even to distant cities.
"When I was travelling to Damascus on this business, with written authority from the high priests, I saw, on the road in the middle of the day, a light from heaven, more dazzling than the glare of the sun, shining around me and those who were travelling with me. We fell to the ground, and I heard a voice say to me in Hebrew, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' I asked, 'Who art thou, Lord?' and the Lord answered, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. Rise and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you so as to appoint you my servant and a witness to what you have seen and to the things that I will show you. I chose you from the Jews and the other peoples to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of their sins and a place among those who have given themselves to me because they believe in me.' O, King Agrippa, I have not disobeyed the heavenly vision. To this day I have had the help of God and have stood firm and, without adding a single word beyond what the prophets and Moses said would take place, I have testified to small and great how the Christ was to suffer and to be the first to rise from the dead and to proclaim the message of light not only to the Jews but to all peoples."
When Paul said these words in his defense, Festus cried, "Paul, you are mad! Your great learning is driving you insane!" But Paul said, "I am not insane, most noble Festus, but I am speaking the sober truth. For the King, to whom I can speak freely, knows about these things, for I am sure that nothing escaped his notice, since this has not been done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do." But Agrippa said to Paul, "With but little persuasion you would make me a Christian!" Paul replied, "I pray to God that whether with little or much not only you but also every one who hears me this day may become a Christian as I am."
Then the King, together with the governor and Bernice and those who had been sitting with them, rose and, when they were alone, they said to one another, "This man has done nothing deserving of death or of imprisonment." And Agrippa said to Festus, "This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to the Emperor."
When it was decided that we were to sail for Italy, Paul and certain other prisoners were placed in charge of Julius, an officer of the Emperor's regiment. We went on board a ship which was bound for the seaports of Asia Minor. The next day we stopped at Sidon, where Julius very kindly allowed Paul to visit his friends and be entertained by them. Putting to sea again, we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, for the wind was against us. Then after sailing past Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. There the officer found a ship from Alexandria bound for Italy and put us on board. For many days we made slow progress and it was only with great difficulty that we arrived off Cnidus. Then as the wind was against us we sailed under the lee of Crete, opposite Cape Salmone, and after coasting along with great difficulty came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.
As our voyage had taken some time and sailing had become dangerous (for it was already late in October) Paul warned them, saying, "Men, I see that the voyage will mean serious injury and loss, not only to the cargo and the ship but also to our own lives." But the officer paid more attention to the captain and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. As the harbor was not a good one in which to winter, most of them advised putting to sea from there, hoping that they could get to Phoenix (a safe harbor) so as to winter there.
When a light breeze from the south sprang up, they thought that they could reach Phoenix. So, after lifting up the anchor, they ran close along the coast of Crete: but in a short time a tempestuous wind called a "Northeaster" beat down upon them. The ship was caught in it and was unable to keep her head to the wind. So we had to give up and run before it. Running under the lee of a little island called Cauda, we managed with difficulty to haul in the ship's boat. After lifting it on board, the men used ropes to bind together the lower part of the ship. As they were afraid that they might run ashore on the African quicksands, they lowered the sail and drifted. But as we were being terribly battered by the storm, the next day the men began to throw out the ship's cargo. On the third day, with their own hands, they threw overboard the ship's tackle. For many days neither sun nor stars were seen and the heavy gale continued, so at last all hope that we would be saved was given up.
When the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up among them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me and not have sailed from Crete, then you would have escaped this hardship and loss. But now I urge you to cheer up, for there will be no loss of life, but only of the ship. For last night, an angel of the God, to whom I belong and whom I serve, stood beside me and said, 'Paul, have no fear, for you must stand before the Emperor. God also has granted you the lives of all of those who sail with you.' Therefore, men, cheer up! For I believe God and am sure that it will be just as I have been told; but we will be wrecked on a certain island."
When the fourteenth night came and we were drifting about in the Adriatic Sea, the sailors about midnight thought that they were nearing land. So they took soundings and found one hundred and twenty feet of water; and when they had gone a little farther they found ninety feet. Fearing that we might be wrecked on the rocks, they threw out four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. The sailors wanted to escape from the ship and had even lowered the boat into the sea, pretending that they were going to lay out anchors from the bow, when Paul said to the officer and to the soldiers, "Unless these men stay on board, we cannot be saved." Then the soldiers cut the ropes which held the boat and let her drift away.
Just before daybreak Paul begged them all to take some food, and said, "This is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly on the watch, taking little or no food. Take some food, then, I beg of you, because this will keep you alive, for not one of you will lose even a hair from his head." When he had said this, he took bread, and gave thanks to God before them all, and he broke the bread and began to eat it. Then they were all cheered up and they also took food. There were about seventy-six of us on board. When they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat into the sea.
When it was day they could not make out what land it was; but they saw an inlet with a sandy beach on which they planned, if possible, to run the ship ashore. So cutting away the anchors they left them in the sea. At the same time unloosing the ropes which tied the rudders and hoisting the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach; but coming to a place where two seas met they ran the ship aground. The prow stuck fast and could not be moved, but the stern began to break up under the beating of the waves. Then the soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners for fear some of them might swim ashore and escape. But as the officer wished to save Paul, he kept them from carrying out their plan, and ordered those who could swim to jump overboard and get first to the land; the rest followed, some on planks and some on other things from the ship. In this way they all got safely to land. After we had escaped we found that the island was called Malta.
THE END OF PAUL'S LONG JOURNEY
The natives of the island showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because of the pouring rain and the cold. Now Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and was laying it on the fire when a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "Surely this man is a murderer; although he has been saved from the sea, justice will not let him live." But he shook the creature off into the fire and was unhurt. They expected that he would at once swell up or fall down dead; but after they had waited a long time and saw that no harm had come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
On the part of the island where we landed there was an estate belonging to Publius the governor. He welcomed us and entertained us most generously for three days. Now it happened that the father of Publius was lying ill from fever and dysentery. So Paul went to see him and prayed, and, laying his hands on him, cured him. After this the other sick people in the island came and were cured. They also presented us with many gifts, and when we sailed, they put on board everything we needed.
After three months we set sail on a ship from Alexandria called "The Twin Brothers," which had wintered at the island. We put in at Syracuse, and remained there three days. Then we tacked around and came to Rhegium. The next day a south wind sprang up, and we arrived on the following day at Puteoli, where we found Christian brothers who asked us to spend a week with them, and so we reached Rome.
The brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Market of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.
When we reached Rome, Paul received permission to live by himself with the soldier who guarded him. Three days after our arrival, Paul invited the leading Jews to meet him and said to them, "Brothers, although I have done nothing against the Jewish law or the customs of our fathers, I was handed over as a prisoner from Jerusalem to the Romans, who, when they had examined me, were willing to set me free, for I was innocent of any crime deserving of death. But the Jews objected; so I was forced to appeal to the Emperor—not that I had any charge to bring against my nation. This is the reason why I have asked to see you and speak with you, for it is on account of Israel's hope that I am bound."
They replied, "We have received no letters about you from Judea nor has any brother come here with any bad report or statement about you; but we wish to hear from you what you teach, for we know that the Christian sect is everywhere attacked." So they fixed a day and many of them came to him to the place where he was staying. Then from morning until evening he explained his teachings and told them about the Kingdom of God, and tried to lead them to believe in Jesus by proofs from the law of Moses and from the prophets. Some believed what he taught and others would not believe. When they could not agree among themselves they departed after Paul had said to them: "Well did the Holy Spirit say to your fathers through the prophet Isaiah:
"'Go to this people and say to them, You will hear and hear but never understand, You will look and look but never see; For this people's mind is stupid, And their ears are too dull to hear, And they have closed their eyes, To keep them from seeing with their eyes, Or hearing with their ears, Or understanding with their minds, And turning back that I may heal them.'
"Remember, therefore, that this opportunity to be saved, that God has given you, is given to other peoples, and they will listen to it."
For two whole years Paul lived in his own hired house. He welcomed all who came to him, and preached the Kingdom of God, and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ openly, no one stopping him.
PAUL'S LAST WORDS TO HIS FRIENDS
Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, to all of Christ's followers in Philippi, as well as to the ministers and their helpers. May love and peace be granted you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I hope, if the Lord permits, to send Timothy to you before long, that I too may be cheered by news about you. I have no other like him who will take a genuine interest in you, for every one is looking out for his own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. But you know how Timothy has stood the test, how like a son working with his father he has served with me in spreading the good news. So I hope to send him shortly, as soon as I see how it will go with me; though I am confident, if the Lord permits, that I myself will come to you before long.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say, rejoice. Let all know that you are patient. Do not be anxious, but always make your requests known to God in earnest prayer and thanksgiving; so shall the peace of God, which is beyond all human understanding, keep guard over your hearts and your minds in union with Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report, if there be any virtue or anything worthy of praise, consider the value of these things. Practise also what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and then the God of peace will be with you.
It is a great joy to me as a Christian brother to know that you are again thoughtful of me. Indeed, you have always been thoughtful, but you did not have an opportunity to show it. Not that I speak of want, for I have learned, wherever I am, to be content. I know how to live simply; I know, too, how to live in prosperity. I have learned in all things the secret of being content, both when I have plenty and when I am hungry, when I am in prosperity and when I am in want. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.
But you acted nobly in sharing my affliction. Even when I was in Thessalonica, more than once you sent money for my needs. It is not the gift I am seeking, but the growing reward that is to your credit! I have enough of everything, and more than enough. I am fully supplied by what I received from you through Epaphroditus. It is like fragrant incense, a sacrifice acceptable and well pleasing to God. My God will supply your every need out of his glorious wealth in Christ Jesus. Now to God our Father be glory forever and ever.
Already my life-blood is poured out and the time for me to go has come. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. Now the crown for right-doing awaits me which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not to me only but to all who have loved and longed for his appearing.
THE MEANING OF FAITH
Now faith is the confidence that we shall receive the things for which we hope, the proof of the reality of things we do not see. It was because of their faith that the men of old were approved by God. Through faith we know that the universe was made perfect by God's command and that what is seen was made out of what is not seen.
Through faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain, and so received the assurance that he was an upright man, for God approved of his gifts. Though dead, yet because of his faith he still speaks.
Through faith Noah, having been told by God about things still unseen, in reverent obedience built an ark to save his household; and in doing so he condemned the world and became heir to the righteousness that comes through faith.
Through faith Abraham obeyed, when he was called to go to the place which he was to receive as an inheritance, and he set out, not knowing where he was going. Through faith he made his home in the land that had been promised to him as in a foreign country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who shared the same promise with him.
Through faith Abraham, when put to the test, sacrificed Isaac, yes, was ready to sacrifice his only son, although he had received the divine promises and had been told, "It is through Isaac that your family name will be carried on," for he believed that God was able to raise men even from the dead. In a sense, he did receive his son back from the dead.
Through faith, also, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even telling them of things to come. Through faith Joseph, as he was dying, thought of the time when the Israelites would go out of Egypt and gave orders about his own bones.
Through faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months after birth because they saw that the child was beautiful, and because they did not fear the King's command.
Through faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to share ill treatment with God's people than to enjoy for a short time the pleasures of sin.
Through faith he left Egypt, not because he feared the King's wrath, but like one who saw the Unseen King he never faltered.
Through faith the Israelites crossed the Red Sea as through dry land, and when the Egyptians tried to cross they were drowned.
What more shall I say? For time would fail me if I tried to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—they who through faith conquered kingdoms, did righteous acts, received promises from God, closed the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, in the hour of weakness were made strong, who proved mighty in war and put to flight foreign armies!
Women received back their dead restored to life. Others were tortured, refusing release, that they might be raised to a better life. Others stood the test of taunts and blows, yes, even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were burned, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, lacking everything, persecuted, ill treated (men of whom the world was unworthy), wandering in lonely places and among the hills, in caves and in holes in the ground. Through faith they all won God's approval, but they did not receive the promised blessing, for God had planned something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
Therefore, surrounded as we are by such a host of witnesses, let us also lay aside every handicap and the sin which clings so closely to us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, who for the joy which lay before him, patiently endured the cross, thinking nothing of the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DOING WHAT IS RIGHT
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the true Israelites scattered among the nations, greeting.
My brothers, regard it as only a cause for joy, when you fall into all kinds of trials. Know that the testing of your faith develops patience; but let your patience do its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives to all men liberally and without reproach, and it will be given him. Only let him ask with faith, with never a doubt, for the man who doubts is like the waves of the sea, driven and tossed by the winds. Let not such a man think, that a half-hearted man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from God.
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life which is promised to all who love God. Let no man say when he is being tempted: "I am tempted of God," for God cannot be tempted to do wrong, and he himself tempts no one. Each man is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire. Then the evil desire gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full grown, brings death.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect blessing comes from above, from the Father who is the source of all light, with whom there is no variation nor shadow made by turning.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every one be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to be angry, for a man's anger does not promote the righteousness that God approves. So putting away all that is vile and wicked, receive with humility the message of truth that is deeply rooted in you which is able to save your soul.
Do what that message commands, and do not merely hear it and deceive yourselves. For if any one hears that message but does not do as it commands, he is like a man who looks at his own face in the mirror, for he looks at himself, goes off, and at once forgets what he is like. But he who looks into the perfect law of freedom and continues to do so, not merely listening to it and then forgetting, but does real work, will be blessed in what he does.
If any one thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives himself, his religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and stainless, such as God our Father approves is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself clean from the evil of the world.
THE LOVE THAT MAKES MEN BROTHERS
We know what love is by this, that Christ laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if any one has this world's wealth and looks on while his brother is in need and shows no sympathy for him, how can the love of God remain in him? My dear children, let us show our love not with words nor with our lips only, but by deeds and sincerity.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love comes from God and every one who loves is a child of God and knows God. He who loves not man does not know God, for God is love. God showed his love for us, for he sent his only Son into the world that through him we might have life. His love is shown in this, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the sacrifice that made possible the forgiveness of our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, then we ought also to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, then God lives in us, and the love which is his is made perfect in us. By this we know that we shall live in him and he in us, because he has given us a portion of his own Spirit, and we have seen and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
We ourselves know and believe in the love that God has for us. God is love, and he whose life is full of love lives in God and God lives in him. In love there is no fear, but perfect love drives out all fear, for fear means punishment, and he who fears has not become perfect in love. We love him because he first loved us.
If any one says, "I love God," and yet hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And we have this command from him, that he who loves God is to love his brother also.
Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ, is a child of God; and every one who loves the Father, loves every child of his. We know that we are his children when we love him and obey his commands, for love for God means obeying his commands. And his commands are not hard to follow, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And our faith is the power that conquers the world. Who is the conqueror of the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Now the confidence that we have in God is this, that he listens to us whenever we ask anything in accordance with his will. And if we know that he listens to whatever we ask, we know that we have the things which we have asked from him.
THE GLORY AND HONOR THAT JESUS HAS WON
John, to the seven churches in the province of Asia. May a blessing be granted you and peace from him who is and was and ever shall be, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness, the first of the dead to be restored to life and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
I, John, your brother who shares with you the distress, the dominion, and the patient endurance which we have through our faith in Jesus, found myself in the island called Patmos because of my loyalty to God's message and to the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord's Day I was under the influence of the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet calling, "Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches."
Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me; and on turning around I saw seven golden lamps and in the midst of the lamps One, like a Son of man, clothed in a long robe and with a belt of gold around his breast. His head and hair were white as wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze melted in the furnace, his voice was like the sound of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars; a sharp, two-edged sword came out from his mouth, and his face shone like the sun in its full strength.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead; but he laid his hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last, I was dead but now I am alive for evermore. Therefore write down what you see and what is now and shall be hereafter. As for the secret meaning of the seven stars which you have seen in my right hand and of the seven golden lamps—the seven stars represent the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamps represent the seven churches."
After this I saw a door opening into heaven. And the voice like a trumpet which I had previously heard talking with me, said: "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place in the future." At once I found myself under the influence of the Spirit, and there stood a throne in heaven whose appearance was like a diamond or ruby and One was sitting on the throne. Encircling the throne was a rainbow which looked like an emerald; also around the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and on these thrones were seated twenty-four elders, clothed in white robes with golden crowns upon their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning and voices and peals of thunder, while in front of the throne were seven flaming torches, which were the seven spirits of God.
In front of the throne there appeared to be a sea of glass which looked like crystal. In the space about the throne and encircling it were four living creatures, and day and night they never ceased chanting:
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and ever shall be."
Then I saw, lying at the right hand of him who was seated on the throne, a book sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel saying in a loud voice: "Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?" But no one was worthy, either in heaven or on the earth or under the earth to open the book or look into it. So I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the book or look into it; but one of the elders said to me: "Weep not; behold the Lion of Judah's tribe, the Scion of David—he has won the right to open the book and its seven seals."
Then in the space between the throne and the four living creatures I saw a Lamb standing among the elders. He seemed to have been slain, but he had seven horns and seven eyes. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he took the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each with his harp, and with his golden bowls full of incense which represent the prayers of the saints. They were singing this new song: "Thou art worthy to take the book and open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood thou hast ransomed for God, men from every tribe and language and people and nation; thou hast made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they shall reign on the earth."
And I looked and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and of the living creatures and of the elders, numbering ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, crying aloud, "Worthy is the Lamb that has been slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea and all things that are in them crying, "To him who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and praise and dominion forever and ever!" Then the four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshipped.
THE REWARD OF THE FAITHFUL
After that I saw a vast host, which no one could count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands. They cried aloud, "It is to our God who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb that we owe our salvation!"
Then one of the elders turned to me and said: "Who are these dressed in white robes, and from where have they come?" I said to him, "You know, my lord." So he told me, "These are the people who have come through the great persecution and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they are now before the throne of God and serve him day and night within his temple. He who is sitting on the throne will shelter them; never again will they be hungry or thirsty; never again will the sun or any scorching heat smite them, for the Lamb that stands in the space before the throne will be their shepherd and will guide them to fountains of living water; and God will wipe away all tears from their eyes."
Then I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven with an eternal message of good news for the inhabitants of the earth, for every nation, tribe, language, and people. He cried aloud, "Revere God, praise him, for the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the flowing springs."
And I saw a great white throne and One seated upon it from whose presence earth and sky fled away, and were no more to be found. And I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne. Then books were opened; also another book, the Book of Life, was opened, and the dead were judged by what was written in the books according to what they had done. The sea gave up its dead, and Death and the Abode of the Departed also gave up their dead, and all were judged according to what they had done.
THE NEW HEAVEN ON EARTH
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more. And I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, all ready like a bride attired to meet her husband. I also heard a loud voice from the throne which said: "Behold, God's dwelling-place is with men, and he shall dwell among men, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them. He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning nor wailing, nor pain, for the first things have passed away." The One who is seated on the throne said: "Behold, I make all things new!" And he added, "Write this: 'These words are faithful and true.'"
And he said to me, "All is over! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last. I will let the thirsty drink freely of the fountain of life. He who conquers shall obtain this, and I will be his God and he shall be my son."
The city has no need of the sun nor of the moon to give it light, for the glory of God illumines it and its light is the Lamb. Its gates shall never be shut by day and there shall be no night there. Nothing unclean nor any one who does what is shameful or deceitful shall enter it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Then he showed me the river of the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing through the streets of the city from the throne of God and the Lamb. On both sides of the river grew the tree that gives life, which bore twelve kinds of fruit and yielded its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
And the throne of God and the Lamb will be in that city; and his servants will serve and worship him; they will see his face and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night there, and they will have no need of the light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
And he said to me: "Do not keep secret the prophetic words contained in this book, for the time of their fulfilment is near. He who does wrong, let him still do wrong, and he who is filthy, let him still be filthy, and he who is righteous, let him still do right, and he who is pure, let him still be pure. Know that I am coming quickly and I will bring my rewards to repay each for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have a right to the tree of life and to go through the gates into the city.
"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you for the churches. I am the Scion and Offspring of David, the bright, the Morning Star. Both the Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.' Let him who hears say, 'Come,' let him who is thirsty come, and whoever will, let him take of the water of life freely."
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Scribner Illustrated Classics for Younger Readers
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Stories which have been loved by young readers for several generations are included in the Scribner Illustrated Classics. They are all books of rare beauty and tested literary quality, presented in handsome format and strikingly illustrated in color by such famous artists as N. C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, Jessie Willcox Smith, and others. No other series of books for youthful readers can compare with them; they make gifts of lasting value which will be cherished into adult years. They are to be found in one of two groups—the popular group, issued at a remarkably low price, and the Quality Group, published at a higher but still very reasonable price. Check over the following complete list. The volume you want will be available in one of the two groups.
By Robert Louis Stevenson DAVID BALFOUR THE BLACK ARROW KIDNAPPED TREASURE ISLAND A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES
By Eugene Field POEMS OF CHILDHOOD
By Jules Verne MICHAEL STROGOFF THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA
By Frances Hodgson Burnett LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY A LITTLE PRINCESS
By J. M. Barrie PETER PAN AND WENDY
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HANS BRINKER By MARY MAPES DODGE
THE DEERSLAYER By J. FENIMORE COOPER
QUENTIN DURWARD By SIR WALTER SCOTT, Bart.
SMOKY By WILL JAMES
LONE COWBOY By WILL JAMES
DRUMS By JAMES BOYD
THE STORY OF SIEGFRIED By JAMES BALDWIN
THE CHILDREN'S BIBLE By HENRY A. SHERMAN and CHARLES FOSTER KENT
JINGLEBOB By PHILIP ASHTON ROLLINS
THE STORY OF ROLAND By JAMES BALDWIN
THE LITTLE SHEPHERD OF KINGDOM COME By JOHN FOX, JR.
THE SCOTTISH CHIEFS By JANE PORTER
WESTWARD HO! By CHARLES KINGSLEY
GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES
THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS By J. FENIMORE COOPER
THE BOY'S KING ARTHUR By SIDNEY LANIER
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
THE CHILDREN OF DICKENS By SAMUEL MCCHORD CROTHERS
THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS By KENNETH GRAHAME
THE QUEEN'S MUSEUM AND OTHER FANCIFUL TALES By FRANK R. STOCKTON
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