A Trip Abroad
Don Carlos Janes

Part 3 out of 3

and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron."

Some time after this Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, entered the region
occupied by Lot, and overcame the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah,
Zeboiim, and Bela, carrying away the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah,
"and they took Lot * * * and his goods." "And there came one that had
escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew," who "led forth his trained men,
born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as
Dan." As a result of this hasty pursuit, Abram "brought back all the
goods, and also brought back his brother Lot, and his goods, and the
women also, and the people." "The king of Sodom went out to meet" Abram
after his great victory, and offered him the goods for his services,
but the offer was refused. Abram was also met by "Melchizedek, king of
Salem," who "brought forth bread and wine," and "blessed him." Before
his death, the first Hebrew saw the smoke from Sodom and Gomorrah going
up "as the smoke of a furnace," and he also passed through the severe
trial of sacrificing his son Isaac. At the age of one hundred and
seventy-five "the father of the faithful" "gave up the ghost, and died
in a good old age, an old man and full of years, * * * and Isaac and
Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah," at Hebron, where
Sarah had been laid to rest when the toils and cares of life were over.

From Abraham, through Ishmael, descended the Ishmaelites; through
Midian, the Midianites; and through Isaac, the chosen people, called
Israelites, from Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. The
interesting story of Joseph tells how his father and brothers, with
their families, were brought into Egypt at the time of a famine, where
they grew from a few families to a great nation, capable of maintaining
an army of more than six hundred thousand men. A new king, "who knew
not Joseph," came on the throne, and after a period of oppression, the
exodus took place, about 1490 B.C., the leader being Moses, a man eighty
years of age. At his death, after forty years of wandering in the
wilderness, Joshua became the leader of Israel, and they crossed the
Jordan at Gilgal, a few miles north of the Dead Sea, capturing Jericho
in a peculiar manner. Two other incidents in the life of Joshua may
be mentioned here. One was his victory over the Amorites in the
neighborhood of Gibeon and Beth-horon, where more were slain by the
hailstones which Jehovah cast down upon them than were killed by Israel
with the sword. It was on this occasion that Joshua said: "Sun, stand
thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Aijalon. And
the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation had avenged
themselves of their enemies. * * * And there was no day like that before
or after it." The other event is the complete victory of Israel over the
immense army of Jabin, king of Hazor, fought at the Waters of Merom, in
Galilee. The combined forces of Jabin and several confederate kings,
"even as the sand that is upon the sea-shore in multitude, with horses
and chariots very many," were utterly destroyed. Then came the allotment
of the territory west of the Jordan to the nine and a half tribes, as
Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh had been assigned land east
of the river. The allotment was made by Joshua, Eleazer, the priest,
"and the heads of the fathers' houses of the tribes of the children of

The period of the Judges, extending from Joshua to Saul, over three
hundred years, was a time in which Israel was troubled by several
heathen tribes, including the Moabites, Ammonites, Midianites,
Amalekites, and Canaanites. The most troublesome of all were the
Philistines, who "were repulsed by Shamgar and harassed by Samson," but
they continued their hostility, capturing the Ark of the Covenant in the
days of Eli, and finally bringing Israel so completely under their power
that they had to go to the Philistines to sharpen their tools.

The cry was raised: "Make us a king to judge us, like all the nations."
Although this was contrary to the will of God, and amounted to rejecting
the Lord, the Almighty gave directions for making Saul king, when the
rebellious Israelites "refused to hearken to the voice of Samuel," and
said: "Nay, but we will have a king over us." Two important events in
Saul's reign are the battle of Michmash and the war with Amalek. In the
first instance a great host of Philistines were encamped at Michmash,
and Saul, with his army, was at Gilgal. Samuel was to come and offer a
sacrifice, but did not arrive at the appointed time, and the soldiers
deserted, till Saul's force numbered only about six hundred. In his
strait, the king offered the burnt offering himself, and immediately
Samuel appeared, heard his explanation, and declared: "Thou hast done
foolishly; thou hast not kept the commandment of Jehovah thy God. * *
* Now thy kingdom shall not continue." Saul's loyalty to God was again
tested in the affair with Amalek, and his disobedience in sparing Agag
and the best of the cattle and sheep should be better known and more
heeded than it is. Concerning this, the prophet of God chastised him,
saying: "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken
than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and
stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim. Because thou hast rejected the
word of Jehovah, he hath also rejected thee from being king." The dark
picture of Saul's doings is here and there relieved by the unadulterated
love of Jonathan and David, "which, like the glintings of the diamond in
the night," takes away some of the deepest shadows.

The next king, Jesse's ruddy-faced shepherd boy, was anointed by Samuel
at Bethlehem, and for seven and a half years he reigned over Judah from
his capital at Hebron. Abner made Ish-bosheth, the only surviving son
of Saul, king over Israel, "and he reigned two years. But the house of
Judah followed David." Abner, who had commanded Saul's army, became
offended at the king he had made, and went to Hebron to arrange with
David to turn Israel over to him, but Joab treacherously slew him in
revenge for the blood of Asahel. It was on this occasion that David
uttered the notable words: "Know ye not that there is a prince and a
great man fallen this day in Israel?" Afterwards Rechab and Baanah slew
Ish-bosheth in his bedchamber and carried his head to David, who was so
displeased that he caused them to be killed, and their hands and feet
were cut off and hanged up by the pool in Hebron. Then the tribes of
Israel came voluntarily and made themselves the subjects of King David,
who captured Jebus, better known as Jerusalem, and moved his capital to
that city. During his reign the Philistines were again troublesome, and
a prolonged war was waged against the Ammonites. During this war David
had his record stained by his sinful conduct in the matter of Uriah's

David was a fighting king, and his "reign was a series of trials and
triumphs." He not only subdued the Philistines, but conquered Damascus,
Moab, Ammon, and Edom, and so extended his territory from the
Mediterranean to the Euphrates that it embraced ten times as much as
Saul ruled over. But his heart was made sad by the shameful misconduct
of Amnon, followed by his death, and by the conspiracy of Absalom, the
rebellion following, and the death of this beautiful son. "The story of
David's hasty flight from Jerusalem over Olivet and across the Jordan to
escape from Absalom is touchingly sad. 'And David went up by the ascent
of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up, and he had his head
covered, and went barefoot.' Then what a picture of paternal love,
which the basest filial ingratitude could not quench, is that of David
mourning the death of Absalom, 'The king was much moved, and went up to
the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O,
my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would I had died for thee, O
Absalom, my son, my son!'" After finishing out a reign of forty years,
"the sweet singer of Israel" "slept with his fathers, and was buried in
the city of David."

His son Solomon succeeded him on the throne, and had a peaceful reign of
forty years, during which time the Temple on Mount Moriah was erected,
being the greatest work of his reign. David had accumulated much
material for this house; Hiram, king of Tyre, furnished cedar timber
from the Lebanon mountains, and skilled workmen put up the building,
into which the Ark of the Covenant was borne. This famous structure was
not remarkable for its great size, but for the splendid manner in which
it was adorned with gold and other expensive materials. Israel's wisest
monarch was a man of letters, being the author of three thousand
proverbs and a thousand and five songs. His wisdom exceeded that of all
his contemporaries, "and all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to
hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart." A case in point is the
visit of the Queen of Sheba, who said: "The half was not told me; thy
wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame which I heard." But the glory of
his kingdom did not last long. "It dazzled for a brief space, like the
blaze of a meteor, and then vanished away." Nehemiah says there was no
king like him, "nevertheless even him did foreign women cause to sin."

Solomon's reign ended about 975 B C., and his son, Rehoboam, was
coronated at Shechem. Jereboam, the son of Nebat, whose name is
proverbial for wickedness, returned from Egypt, whence he had fled from
Solomon, and asked the new king to make the grievous service of his
father lighter, promising to support him on that condition. Rehoboam
counseled "with the old men, that had stood before Solomon," and refused
their words, accepting the counsel of the young men that had grown up
with him. When he announced that he would make the yoke of his father
heavier, the ten northern tribes revolted, and Jereboam became king of
what is afterwards known as the house of Israel. The kingdom lasted
about two hundred and fifty years, being ruled over by nineteen kings,
but the government did not run smoothly. "Plot after plot was formed,
and first one adventurer and then another seized the throne." Besides
the internal troubles, there were numerous wars. Benhadad, of Damascus,
besieged Samaria; Hazael, king of Syria, overran the land east of the
Jordan; Moab rebelled; Pul (Tiglath-pileser), king of Assyria, invaded
the country, and carried off a large amount of tribute, probably
amounting to two millions of dollars; and thirty years later he entered
the land and carried away many captives. At a later date the people
became idolatrous, and Shalmaneser, an Assyrian king, reduced them to
subjection, and carried numbers of them into Assyria, and replaced them
with men from Babylon and other places. By the intermarriage of Jews
remaining in the country with these foreigners a mixed race, called
Samaritans, sprang up.

The southern section of the country, known as the kingdom of Judah, was
ruled over by nineteen kings and one queen for a period of about three
hundred and seventy-five years. Asa, one of the good kings, was a
religious reformer--even "his mother he removed from being queen,
because she had made an abominable image for an Asherah; and Asa cut
down her image and burnt it at the brook Kidron." But he, like many
other reformers, failed to make his work thorough, for "the high places
were not taken away: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect with
Jehovah all his days." Joash caused a chest to be placed "at the gate of
the house of Jehovah," into which the people put "the tax that Moses,
the servant of God, laid upon Israel in the wilderness," until they
had gathered an abundance of money, with which the house of God was
repaired, for the wicked sons of Athaliah had broken it up and bestowed
the dedicated things upon the Baalim. But after the death of Jehoida,
the priest, Joash was himself led into idolatry, and when Zechariah, the
son of Jehoida, rebuked the people for turning from God, they stoned him
to death by the order of King Joash. The last words of the dying
martyr were: "The Lord look upon it and require it." This is strangely
different from the last expression of Stephen, who "kneeled down, and
cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge."
Amaziah returned "from the slaughter of the Edomites," and set up the
gods of the idolatrous enemies he had whipped, "to be his gods." Ahaz
was a wicked idolater, worshiping Baal and sacrificing his own sons.

In strong contrast with such men as these we have the name of
Hezekiah, whose prosperous reign was a grand period of reformation and
improvement. He was twenty-five years old when he came on the throne,
and in the twenty-nine years he ruled, "he removed the high places, and
brake the pillars, and cut down the Asherah." The brazen serpent,
made by Moses in the wilderness, had become an object of worship, but
Hezekiah called it "a piece of brass," and broke it in pieces. The
passover had not been kept "in great numbers in such sort as it is
written," so Hezekiah sent messengers from city to city to call the
people to observe the passover. Some "laughed them to scorn, and mocked
them," but others "humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem," and in
the second month the "very great assembly * * * killed the passover. * *
* So there was great joy in Jerusalem; for since the time of Solomon the
son of David, king of Israel, there was not the like in Jerusalem."

Manasseh, the next king, reestablished idolatry, and his son Amon,
who ruled but two years, followed in his footsteps. Josiah, who next
occupied the throne, was a different kind of a man. "He did that which
was right in the eyes of Jehovah, and walked in all the way of David his
father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left." In his
reign, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law in the temple, and
delivered it to Shaphan the scribe, who read it, and took it to the king
and read it to him. "And it came to pass when the king heard the words
of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes," and commanded that
inquiry be made of the Lord concerning the contents of the book. As a
result, the temple was cleansed of the vessels that had been used in
Baal worship, the idolatrous priests were put down, the "houses of the
sodomites," that were in the house of Jehovah, were broken down, the
high places erected by Solomon were defiled, and a great reformation was

Zedekiah was the last king in the line. In his day, Nebuchadnezzar, king
of Babylon, invaded the land, and besieged Jerusalem for sixteen months,
reducing the people to such straits that women ate the flesh of their
own children. When the city fell, a portion of the inhabitants were
carried to Babylon, and the furnishings of the temple were taken away
as plunder. Zedekiah, with his family, sought to escape, going out
over Olivet as David in his distress had done, but he was captured and
carried to Riblah, thirty-five miles north of Baalbec, where his sons
were slain in his presence. Then his eyes were put out, and he was
carried to Babylon. In this way were fulfilled the two prophecies, that
he should be taken to Babylon, and that he should not see it.

Thus, with Jerusalem a mass of desolate, forsaken ruins, the Babylonian
period was ushered in. Some of the captives rose to positions of trust
in the Babylonian government. Daniel and his three associates are
examples. During this period Ezekiel was a prophet. No doubt the frame
of mind of most of them is well expressed by the Psalmist: "By the
rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea we wept when we remembered
Zion. Upon the willows in the midst thereof we hanged up our harps."

The Medo-Persian period began with the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus, who
brought the Jews under his rule. The captives were permitted to return
to Palestine, and Zerubbabel soon had the foundations of the temple
laid; but here the work came to a standstill, and so remained for
seventeen years. About 520 B.C., when Darius was king of Persia, the
work was resumed, and carried on to completion. For some years the
service of God seems to have been conducted in an unbecoming manner.
Nehemiah came upon the stage of action, rebuilt the city walls, required
the observance of the Sabbath, and served as governor twelve years
without pay. Ezra brought back a large number of the people, repaired
the temple, and worked a great reformation. Under his influence, those
who had married foreign wives put them away, and "some had wives by whom
they had children." As the Samaritans were not allowed to help build the
temple, they erected one of their own on Mt Gerizim. A few Samaritans
still exist in Nablus, and hold services on Gerizim. "After Nehemiah,
the office of civil ruler seems to have become extinct."

The Greek period begins with the operations of Alexander the Great in
Asia, 333 B.C., and extends to the time of the Maccabees, 168 B.C. After
Alexander's death, his empire fell into the two great divisions of Egypt
and Syria. The Egyptian rulers were called Ptolemies, and those of
Syria were called the Selucidae. For one hundred and twenty-five years
Palestine was held by Egypt, during which time Ptolemy Philadelphus had
the Septuagint version of the Old Testament made at Alexandria.
Syria next secured control of Palestine. The walls of Jerusalem were
destroyed, and the altar of Jehovah was polluted with swine's flesh. We
now hear of an aged priest named Mattathias, who at Modin, a few miles
from Jerusalem, had the courage to kill a Jew who was about to sacrifice
on a heathen altar. He escaped to the mountains, where he was joined by
a number of others of the same mind. His death soon came, but he left
five stalwart sons like himself. Judas, called Maccabeus, became the
leader, and from him the whole family was named the Maccabees. He began
war against the Syrians and apostate Jews. The Syrians, numbering fifty
thousand, took up a position at Emmaus, while the Maccabees encamped at
Mizpah. Although greatly outnumbered, they were victorious, as they
were in another engagement with sixty thousand Syrians at Hebron. Judas
entered Jerusalem, and repaired and cleansed the temple. Thus the
Maccabean period was ushered in. After some further fighting, Judas
was slain, and Simon, the only surviving brother, succeeded him, and
Jerusalem was practically independent. His son, John Hyrcanus, was the
next ruler. The Pharisees and Sadducees now come prominently into Jewish
affairs. The Essenes also existed at this time, and dressed in white.
After some time (between 65-62 B.C.), Pompey, the Roman general, entered
the open gates of the city, but did not capture the citadel for three
weeks, finally taking advantage of the day of Pentecost, when the Jews
would not fight. The Roman period began with the slaughter of twelve
thousand citizens. Priests were slain at the altar, and the temple was
profaned. Judaea became a Roman province, and was compelled to pay

Herod the Great became governor of Galilee, and later the Roman senate
made him king of Judaea. He besieged Jerusalem, and took it in 37 B.C.
"A singular compound of good and bad--mostly bad--was this King Herod."
He hired men to drown a supposed rival, as if in sport, at Jericho
on the occasion of a feast, and in the beginning of his reign he
slaughtered more than half of the members of the Sanhedrin. The aged
high priest Hyrcanus was put to death, as was also Mariamne, the wife
of this monster, who was ruling when the Messiah was born at Bethlehem.
Herod was a great builder, and it was he who reconstructed the temple on
magnificent lines. He also built Caesarea, and rebuilt Samaria. After
his death, the country was divided and ruled by his three sons. Achelaus
reigned ingloriously in Jerusalem for ten years, and was banished.
Judaea was then ruled by procurators, Pilate being the fifth one of
them, ruling from A.D. 26-36. In the year A.D. 65 the Jews rebelled
against the Romans, after being their subjects for one hundred and
twenty-two years. They were not subdued until the terrible destruction
of the Holy City in A.D. 70, when, according to Josephus, one million
one hundred thousand Jews perished in the siege, two hundred and
fifty-six thousand four hundred and fifty were slain elsewhere, and one
hundred and one thousand seven hundred prisoners were sold into bondage.
The Temple was completely destroyed along with the city, which for sixty
years "lay in ruins so complete that it is doubtful whether there was a
single house that could be used as a residence." The land was annexed to
Syria, and ceased to be a Jewish country. Hadrian became emperor in A.D.
117, and issued an edict forbidding the Jews to practice circumcision,
read the law, or to observe the Sabbath. These things greatly distressed
the Jews, and in A.D. 132 they rallied to the standard of Bar Cochba,
who has been styled "the last and greatest of the false Messiahs." The
Romans were overthrown, Bar Cochba proclaimed himself king in Jerusalem,
and carried on the war for two years. At one time he held fifty towns,
but they were all taken from him, and he was finally killed at Bether,
or Bittir. This was the last effort of the Jews to recover the land by
force of arms. Hadrian caused the site of the temple to be plowed over,
and the city was reconstructed being made thoroughly pagan. For two
hundred years the Jews were forbidden to enter it. In A.D. 326 the
Empress Helena visited Jerusalem, and built a church on the Mount of
Olives. Julian the Apostate undertook to rebuild the Jewish temple in
A.D. 362, but was frustrated by "balls of fire" issuing from under
the ruins and frightening the workmen. In A.D. 529 the Greek emperor
Justinian built a church in the city in honor of the Virgin. The
Persians under Chosroes II. invaded Palestine in A.D. 614 and destroyed
part of Jerusalem. After fourteen years they were defeated and Jerusalem
was restored, but the Mohammedans under Omar captured it in A.D. 637.
The structure called the Dome of the Rock, on Mt. Moriah, was built by
them in A.D. 688.

The Crusades next engage our attention. The first of these military
expeditions was made to secure the right to visit the Holy Sepulcher. It
was commenced at the call of the Pope in 1096. A force of two hundred
and seventy-five thousand men began the march, but never entered
Palestine. Another effort was made by six hundred thousand men, who
captured Antioch in 1098. A little later the survivors defeated the
Mohammedan army of two hundred thousand. Still later they entered
Jerusalem, and Godfrey of Bouillon was made king of the city in 1099. By
conquest he came to rule the whole of Palestine. The orders of Knights
Hospitallers and Knights Templars were formed, and Godfrey continued in
power about fifty years. In 1144 two European armies, aggregating one
million two hundred thousand men, started on the second crusade, which
was a total failure. Saladin, the Sultan of Egypt, conquered Jerusalem
in 1187, and the third crusade was inaugurated, which resulted in
securing the right to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem free from taxes. The
power of the Crusaders was now broken. Another band assembled at
Venice in 1203 to undertake the fourth crusade, but they never entered
Palestine. The fifth effort was made, and Frederick, Emperor of Germany,
crowned himself king of Jerusalem in 1229, and returned to his native
land the next year. The Turks conquered Palestine in 1244 and burned
Jerusalem. Louis IX. of France led the seventh crusade, another failure,
in 1248. He undertook it again in 1270, but went to Africa, and Prince
Edward of England entered Palestine in 1271 and accepted a truce for ten
years, which was offered by the Sultan of Egypt. This, the eighth and
last crusade, ended in 1272 by the return of Edward to England. In 1280
Palestine was invaded by the Mamelukes, and in 1291 the war of the
Crusaders ended with the fall of Acre, "the last Christian possession in
Palestine." Besides these efforts there were children's crusades for the
conversion or conquest of the Moslems. The first, in 1212, was composed
of thirty thousand boys. Two ship loads were drowned and the third was
sold as slaves to the Mohammedans.

In 1517 the country passed to the control of the Ottoman Empire, and so
remained until 1832, when it fell back to Egypt for eight years. The
present walls around Jerusalem, which inclose two hundred and ten acres
of ground, were built by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1542. In 1840
Palestine again became Turkish territory, and so continues to this day.
The really scientific exploration of the land began with the journey
of Edward Robinson, an American, in 1838. In 1856 the United States
Consulate was established in Jerusalem, and twelve governments are now
represented by consulates. Sir Charles Wilson created an interest in the
geography of Palestine by his survey of Jerusalem and his travels in
the Holy Land from 1864 to 1868. Palestine was surveyed from Dan to
Beer-sheba and from the Jordan to the Great Sea in the years from 1872
to 1877. The Siloam inscription, the "only known relic of the writing *
* * of Hezekiah's days," was discovered in 1880. The railroad from Jaffa
to Jerusalem was opened in 1892. Within the last ten years several
carriage roads have been built. Protestant schools and missions have
been established at many important places. The population of the city is
now about fifty-five thousand souls, but they do not all live inside of
the walls. What the future of Palestine may be is an interesting subject
for thought.



No doubt many of my readers will be specially interested in knowing
something of my experience and association with the brethren across the
sea, and it is my desire to give them as fair an understanding of the
situation as I can. There are five congregations in Glasgow, having a
membership of six hundred and seventy-eight persons. The oldest one of
these, which formerly met in Brown Street and now meets in Shawlands
Hall, was formed in 1839, and has one hundred and sixty-one members. The
Coplaw Street congregation, which branched from Brown Street, and is now
the largest of the five, dates back to 1878, and numbers two hundred and
nineteen. It was my privilege to attend one of the mid-week services of
this congregation and speak to those present on that occasion. I also
met some of the brethren in Edinburgh, where two congregations have a
membership of two hundred and fifty-three. At Kirkcaldy, the home of my
worthy friend and brother, Ivie Campbell, Jr., there is a congregation
of one hundred and seventy disciples, which I addressed one Lord's day
morning. In the evening I went out with Brother and Sister Campbell and
another brother to Coaltown of Balgonie, and addressed the little band
worshiping at that place.

My next association with the brethren was at the annual meeting of
"Churches of Christ in Great Britain and Ireland," convened at Wigan,
England, August second, third, and fourth. While at Wigan I went out to
Platt Bridge and spoke to the brethren. There are ninety members in this
congregation. One night in Birmingham I met with the brethren in Charles
Henry Street, where the congregation, formed in 1857, numbers two
hundred and seventy-four, and the next night I was with the Geach Street
congregation, which has been in existence since 1865, and numbers
two hundred and twenty-nine members. Bro. Samuel Joynes, now of
Philadelphia, was formerly connected with this congregation. While I was
in Bristol it was my pleasure to meet with the Thrissell Street church,
composed of one hundred and thirty-one members. I spoke once in their
place of worship and once in a meeting on the street. The last band of
brethren I was with while in England was the church at Twynholm, London.
This is the largest congregation of all, and will receive consideration
later in the chapter. The next place that I broke bread was in a little
mission to the Jews in the Holy City. To complete a report of my public
speaking while away, I will add that I preached in Mr. Thompson's
tabernacle in Jerusalem, and spoke a few words on one or both of the
Lord's days at the mission to which reference has already been made. I
also spoke in a mission meeting conducted by Mr. Locke at Port Said,
Egypt, preached once on the ship as I was coming back across the
Atlantic, and took part in a little debate on shipboard as I went out on
the journey, and in an entertainment the night before I got back to New

In this chapter I am taking my statistics mainly from the Year Book
containing the fifty-ninth annual report of the churches in Great
Britain and Ireland co-operating for evangelistic purposes, embracing
almost all of the congregations of disciples in the country. According
to this report, there were one hundred and eighty-three congregations on
the list, with a total membership of thirteen thousand and sixty-three,
at the time of the annual meeting last year.

(Since writing this chapter, the sixtieth annual report of these
brethren across the sea has come into my hands, and the items in this
paragraph are taken mainly from the address of Bro. John Wyckliffe
Black, as chairman of the annual meeting which assembled in August of
this year at Leeds. The membership is now reported at thirteen thousand
eight hundred and forty-four, an increase of about eight hundred members
since the meeting held at Wigan in 1904. In 1842 the British brotherhood
numbered thirteen hundred, and in 1862 it had more than doubled. After
the lapse of another period of twenty years, the number had more than
doubled again, standing at six thousand six hundred and thirty-two.
In 1902, when twenty years more had passed, the membership had almost
doubled again, having grown to twelve thousand five hundred and
thirty-seven. In 1842 the average number of members in each congregation
was thirty-one; in 1862 it was forty; in 1882 it had reached sixty-one;
and in 1902 it was seventy-two. The average number in each congregation
is now somewhat higher than it was in 1902.)

Soon after the meeting was convened on Tuesday, "the Conference
recognised the presence of Mrs. Hall and Miss Jean Hall, of Sydney,
N.S.W., and Brother Don Carlos Janes, from Ohio, U.S.A., and cordially
gave them a Christian welcome." The address of welcome and the address
of the chairman, Brother James Anderson, of Fauldhouse, Scotland, came
early in the day. The meeting on Wednesday opened with worship and a
short address, followed by reports from the General Sunday-school,
Reference, General Training, and Magazine Committees. One interesting
feature of the proceedings of this day was the conference paper by Bro.
T.J. Ainsworth on the subject of "The Relation of Christianity to the
Social Questions of the Day." Besides a discussion of this paper, there
was a preaching service at night. Thursday, the last day of the meeting,
was occupied, after the morning worship and short address, with the
reports of committees and the appointment of committees. At the social
meeting at night several brethren, who had been previously selected,
spoke on such subjects as seemed good to them. Bro. W.A. Kemp, of
Melbourne, Australia, and the writer were the only speakers not
residents of the British Isles. At the close of the meeting the
following beautiful hymn was sung to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne":

Hail, sweetest, dearest tie, that binds
Our glowing hearts in one;
Hail, sacred hope, that tunes our minds
To harmony divine.
It is the hope, the blissful hope
Which Jesus' words afford--
The hope, when days and years are past,
Of life with Christ the Lord.

What though the northern wintry blast
Shall howl around our cot?
What though beneath an eastern sun
Be cast our distant lot?
Yet still we share the blissful hope
His cheering words afford--
The hope, when days and years are past,
Of glory with the Lord.

From Burmah's shores, from Afric's strand,
From India's burning plain,
From Europe, from Columbia's land,
We hope to meet again.
Oh, sweetest hope, oh, blissful hope,
Which His own truth affords--
The hope, when days and years are past,
We still shall be the Lord's.

No lingering look, no parting sigh,
Our future meeting knows;
There friendship beams from every eye,
And love immortal glows.
Oh, sacred hope, the blissful hope,
His love and truth afford--
The hope, when days and years are past,
Of reigning with the Lord.

I am not willing to accept everything done in the annual meeting, but
the hearty good will manifested and the pleasant and happy associations
enjoyed make it in those respects very commendable. These brethren
are very systematic and orderly in their work. Some one, who has been
designated beforehand, takes charge of the meeting, and everything moves
along nicely. When a visiting brother comes in, he is recognized and
made use of, but they do not turn the meeting over to him and
depend upon him to conduct it. The president of the Lord's day morning
meeting and part or all of the officers sit together on the platform.
The following is the order of procedure in one of the meetings which
I attended: After singing a hymn and offering prayer, the brother
presiding announced the reading lessons from both Testaments, at the
same time naming two brethren who would read these scriptures. After
they had come forward and read the lessons before the church, another
hymn was sung, and certain definite objects of prayer were mentioned
before the congregation again engaged in that part of the worship. Two
prayers were offered, followed by the announcements, after which a
brother delivered an address. Then the president made mention of the
visitors present, and an old gentleman from the platform extended "the
right hand of fellowship" to some new members before the contribution
was taken and the Lord's supper observed, a hymn being sung between
these two items. A concluding hymn and prayer closed the service, which
had been well conducted, without discord or confusion.

A brother in Wigan gave me a statement of the work of one of the
congregations there in the winter season. On the Lord's day they have
school at 9:20 A.M. and at 2 P.M.; breaking the bread at 10:30 A.M., and
preaching the gospel at 6:30 P.M. At this evening meeting the Lord's
table is again spread for the benefit of servants and others who were
not able to be at the morning service. This is a common practice. The
young people's social and improvement class meets on Monday evening, a
meeting for prayer and a short address is held on Tuesday evening, and
the Band of Hope, a temperance organization for young people, meets
on Wednesday evening. The singing class uses Thursday night, and the
officers of the church sometimes have a meeting on Friday night.

During the life of Bro. Timothy Coop much money was spent in an effort
to build up along the lines adopted by the innovators here in America.
Bro. Coop visited this country, and was well pleased with the operations
of the congregations that had adopted the modern methods, and he was
instrumental in having some American evangelists to go to England, and
a few churches were started. I was told that there are about a dozen
congregations of these disciples, called "American brethren" by the
other English disciples, with a membership of about two thousand, and
that it is a waning cause.

The rank and file of these British brethren are more conservative than
the innovators here at home, but they have moved forward somewhat in
advance of the churches here contending for apostolic simplicity in
certain particulars. A few of the congregations use a musical
instrument in gospel meetings and Sunday-school services, and some have
organizations such as the Band of Hope and the Dorcas Society. The
organization of the annual meeting is said to be only advisory. The
following lines, a portion of a resolution of the annual meeting of 1861
will help the reader to form an idea of the purpose and nature of the
organization: "That this Cooeperation shall embrace such of the Churches
contending for the primitive faith and order as shall willingly be
placed upon the list of Churches printed in its Annual Report. That the
Churches thus cooeperating disavow any intention or desire to recognize
themselves as a denomination, or to limit their fellowship to the
Churches thus cooeperating; but, on the contrary, they avow it both a
duty and a pleasure to visit, receive, and cooeperate with Christian
Churches, without reference to their taking part in the meetings and
efforts of this Cooeperation. Also, that this Cooeperation has for its
object evangelization only, and disclaims all power to settle matters of
discipline, or differences between brethren or Churches; that if in any
instance it should see fit to refuse to insert in or to remove from the
List any Church or company of persons claiming to be a Church, it shall
do so only in reference to this Cooeperation, leaving each and every
Church to judge for itself, and to recognize and fellowship as it may
understand the law of the Lord to require."

The question of delegate voting with a view to making the action of the
annual meeting more weighty with the congregations was discussed at the
Wigan meeting, but was voted down, although it had numerous advocates.
One of the brethren, in speaking of the use of instrumental music in the
singing, said they try not to use it when they worship the Lord, but I
consider the use they make of it is unscriptural, and it puts the church
in great danger of having the innovation thrust into all the services at
some future time. All of these churches could learn a valuable lesson
from some of our home congregations that have been rent asunder by the
unholy advocacy of innovations.

But there are some very commendable things about these brethren. I
noticed careful attention being given to the public reading of the
Scriptures, and the congregation joins heartily in the singing. I am
informed that every member takes part in the contribution without
exception. They do not take contributions from visitors and children who
are not disciples. The talent in the congregation is well developed. In
this they are far ahead of us. While there are not many giving their
whole time to evangelistic work, there are many who are acceptable
speakers. One brother said they probably have a preacher for each
twenty-five members. Men heavily involved in business take time to
attend the meetings. For instance, one brother, who is at the head of a
factory employing about a thousand people, and is interested in mining
and in the manufacture of brick besides, is an active member of the
congregation with which he worships. The brethren in general are
faithful in the matter of being present at the breaking of bread. When
visiting brethren come in, they are given a public welcome, and are
sometimes pointed out to the congregation. Also, when brethren return
from a vacation or other prolonged absence, they are given a welcome.

They pray much. The week-night meeting for prayer and study of the Bible
is largely taken up with prayer. I like the way they point out definite
objects of prayer. For instance, two sisters are leaving for Canada;
some one is out of employment, and some have lost friends by death.
These matters are mentioned, and some one is called on to lead the
prayer, and these points are included in his petition to the Lord.
Sometimes but one brother is asked to lead in prayer; sometimes more
than one are designated, and at other times they leave it open for some
one to volunteer. The following hymn was sung in one of these meetings
which I attended:


Come, let us pray; 'tis sweet to feel
That God himself is near;
That, while we at his footstool kneel,
His mercy deigns to hear;
Though sorrows crowd life's dreary way,
This is our solace--let us pray.

Come, let us pray; the burning brow,
The heart oppressed with care,
And all the woes that throng us now,
May be relieved by prayer;
Jesus can smile our griefs away;
Oh, glorious thought! come, let us pray.

Come, let us pray; the mercy-seat
Invites the fervent prayer,
And Jesus ready stands to greet
The contrite spirit there;
Oh, loiter not, nor longer stay
From him who loves us; let us pray.

They do not publish as many papers as we do, but have one weekly
journal, the _Bible Advocate_, edited by Bro. L. Oliver, of Birmingham,
which has a general circulation, reaching almost four thousand copies.
One feature of the paper last summer was the publication of the Life of
Elder John Smith as a serial. The colored covers of the _Bible Advocate_
contain a long list of the hours and places of worship of congregations
in different parts of the country, and even outside of the British Isles
in some cases. In some instances the local congregation publishes a
paper of its own, affording a good medium through which to advertise the
meetings and to keep distant brethren informed of the work that is being
done, as well as to teach the truth of God.

A book room is maintained in Birmingham, where the British and American
publications may be purchased. They were using a hymn-book (words only)
of their own and a tune-book published by others, but a new hymnbook was
under consideration when I was among them last year. A list of isolated
members is kept, and persons elected by the annual meeting conduct a
correspondence with these brethren. The following are extracts from some
of the letters received in reply to those that had been sent out: "I am
hoping that the day will come when I can leave this district and get to
one where I can have the fellowship of my brethren; but meanwhile I am
glad and thankful to be held in remembrance of my brethren and to be on
your list, and I pray God to help your work, for I have still hope in
Him, and know He has not given me up." Another brother says: "Though I
can not say that I have anything important or cheering to write, yet I
can say that I am rejoicing in the salvation of God, which is in Christ
Jesus our Lord. My isolation from regular church fellowship has been
so long that I have almost given up the hope of enjoying it again in
Arbroath; but still my prayer is that the Lord would raise up some here
or send some here who know the truth, and who love the Lord with their
whole heart, and would be able and willing to declare unto the people
the whole counsel of God concerning the way of salvation." A Sisters'
Conference was held in connection with the annual meeting, and a
Temperance Conference and Meeting was held on Monday before the annual
meeting opened.

Missionary work is being carried on in Burmah, Siam, and South Africa.
In Burmah some attention has been given to translating and publishing a
part of the Psalms in one of the languages of that country. "Much
time has been spent in the villages by systematic visitation, by
the distribution of literature, and by seizing upon any and every
opportunity of speaking to the people. Street meetings have been
constantly held, visitors received on the boat, the gospel preached from
the Mission-boat to the people sitting on the banks of the river, and
also proclaimed to the people in their homes, in the villages, and in
the fields, and on the fishing stations. Although there were but two
baptisms during the year the congregation numbers fifty-one." The
brethren in Siam were working where the rivers, numerous canals, and
creeks form the chief roadways. The Year Book contains the following
concerning the medical missionary in this field: "His chief work during
the year has been rendering such help as his short medical training has
fitted him to give. For a time twelve to twenty patients a day came
to him for treatment. After a while the numbers fell off, he thought
because all the sick in the neighborhood had been cured." "The little
church in Nakon Choom * * * now consists of two Karens, one Burman,
one Mon, two Chinamen, and two Englishmen. As several of these do not
understand the others' language, the gift of tongues would seem not
undesirable." In South Africa there are congregations at Johannesburg,
Pretoria, Bulawayo, Cape Town, and Carolina. The church in Bulawayo
numbers about fifty members, nearly all of whom are natives "who are
eager learners."

I saw more of the workings of the church at Twynholm than any other
congregation visited, as I stayed at Twynholm House while in London both
on the outward trip and as I returned home. Of the seven congregations
in this city, Twynholm is the largest, and is the largest in the British
brotherhood, having a membership of above five hundred. This church was
established in 1894 with twenty-five members, and has had a good growth.
They open the baptistery every Lord's day night, and very frequently
have occasion to use it. There were fifty-three baptisms last year, and
twenty-one others were added to the membership of the church. At the
close of a recent church year the Band of Hope numbered five hundred and
fifteen, and the Lord's day school had twelve hundred and fifty pupils
and one hundred and two teachers. I think it was one hundred and sixty
little tots I saw in one room, and down in this basement there were
about fifty more. I was told that there were more children attending
than they had accommodation for, but they disliked to turn any of them
away. The Woman's Meeting had one hundred and sixteen members; the Total
Abstinence Society, one hundred and fifty; and the membership of the
Youths' Institute and Bible Students' Class were not given. Five
thousand copies of _Joyful Tidings_, an eight-page paper, are given away
each month. The following announcement from the first page of this paper
will indicate something of the activities of this congregation:


Twynholm Assembly Hall,
Fulham Cross, S.W.


9:45 A.M.--Bible Students' Class.
11:00 A.M.--Divine Worship and "The Breaking of Bread".
(Acts 2:42, etc.)
2:45 P.M.--Lord's Day Schools.
3:00 P.M.--Young Men's Institute.
4:00 P.M.--Teachers' Prayer Meeting (first Lord's day in the
6:30 P.M.--_Evangelistic Service_.
7:45 P.M.--Believers' Immersion (usually).
8:10 P.M.--"The Breaking of Bread" (Continued).

2:30 P.M.--Woman's Own Meeting.
7:00 P.M.--Band of Hope.
8:30 P.M.--Social Gathering for Young People (over fourteen).
8:30 P.M.--Total Abstinence Society (last Monday night in the

8:00 P.M.--Mid-week Service for Prayer, Praise, and Public
Exposition of the Word.
9:00 P.M.--Singing Practice.

8:00 P.M.--Teachers' Preparation Class and Devotional Meeting.
(Open to all).

Seat all Free and Unappropriated.
No Public Collections.
Hymn-books provided for Visitors.

This Church of Christ earnestly pleads for the complete restoration of
the primitive Christianity of the New Testament, for the cultivation of
personal piety, and benevolence, and for loving service for Jesus the

Twynholm is the name given to a piece of property, originally intended
for a hotel, situated in the western part of London, at the intersection
of four streets in Fulham Cross. These streets make it a place easily
reached, and the numerous saloons make the necessity for such an
influence as emanates from a church of God very great. There is a good,
commodious audience-room at the rear, and several smaller rooms about
the premises. The front part is owned and controlled by a brother who
has a family of Christians to live there and run the restaurant on the
first floor and the lodging rooms on the two upper floors, where there
are accommodations for a few young men. Here I had a desirable room, and
was well cared for by the brother and sister who manage the house. The
restaurant is not run for profit, but to afford the people a place to
eat cheaply and to spend time without going where intoxicants are sold.
The patrons are allowed to sit at the tables and play such games as
dominoes, the aim being to counteract the evil influences of that part
of the city as far as possible. One night I attended a meeting of the
Band of Hope in a big basement room at Twynholm, where a large number
of small children were being taught to pray, and were receiving good
instruction along the line of temperance. Several older persons were on
duty to preserve order among these children, many of whom had doubtless
come from homes where little about order and good behavior is ever
taught. Soon after this meeting I went up on the street, and there, near
a saloon with six visible entrances, a street musician was playing his
organ, while small girls, perhaps not yet in their teens, were being
encouraged to dance.

At Twynholm I also attended the Social Hour meeting, which was an
enjoyable affair. A program of recitations, songs, etc., was rendered.
This also, I suppose, is to offset some of the evil agencies of the
great city and keep the young people under good influences. The Woman's
Meeting convenes on Monday afternoon. The leaders of the meeting are
ladies of the church, who are laboring for the betterment of an inferior
class of London women. I spoke before this meeting, by request, and
was, so far as I now recollect, the only male person present. It is the
custom to use the instrument in connection with the singing in this
meeting, but I asked them to refrain on this occasion. An orphans' home
is also conducted, having members of this congregation as its managers.
It is a very busy church, and for being busy and diligent it is to be
commended, but I believe there is too much organization. But here, as
elsewhere in Britain, there are many very commendable things about the
brethren. I have already spoken of system in their proceedings. They
outline their work for a given period of time, specifying the Scriptures
to be read, the leaders of the meetings, and who is to preach on each
Lord's day night. Then, for the sake of convenience, these schedules
are printed, and they are carefully followed. This is far ahead of the
haphazard method, or lack of method, at home, where brethren sometimes
come together neither knowing what the lesson will be nor who will
conduct the meeting.

Whatever may be the faults of these disciples in the old country, it
must be said to their credit that they are kind and hospitable to
strangers, and make a visiting brother welcome. The talent in their
congregations is better developed than it is here, and their meetings
are conducted in a more orderly and systematic manner. They are more
faithful in the observance of the Lord's supper than many in this land.
The percentage of preachers giving their whole time to the work is less
than it is here, but the number who can and do take part in the public
work of the church is proportionately larger than it is here.

I will now close this chapter and this volume with the address of
Brother Anderson, chairman of the annual meeting held last year at

DEAR BRETHREN:--In accepting the responsible and honorable position in
which you have placed me, I do so conscious of a defect that I hope you
will do your best to help and bear with. Please speak as distinctly as
possible, so that I may hear what is said. There may be other defects
that I might have helped, but please do your best to help me in this

I heartily thank you for the honor conferred upon me. Whether I deserve
it or not, I know that it is well meant on your part. We prefer honor
to dishonor; but what one may count a great honor, another may lightly
esteem. The point of view is almost everything in these matters; but if
positions of honor in the kingdoms of the earth are lightly esteemed,
positions of honor in the kingdom of God have a right to be esteemed
more highly.

We are met in conference as subjects of the kingdom of God, as heirs of
everlasting glory, having a hope greater than the world can give, and
a peace that the world can neither give nor take away. To preside over
such a gathering, met to consider the best means of spreading the Gospel
of Christ among men, is a token of respect upon which I place a very
high value. The fact that it came unexpectedly does not lessen the

I know that you have not placed me here on account of my tact and
business ability to manage this conference well. Had I possessed these
qualities in a marked degree, you would no doubt have taken notice of
them before this time. I know that you only wish to pay a token of
respect to a plain old soldier before he lays aside his harness, and,
brethren, I thank you for that.

For forty-four years I have enjoyed sweet and uninterrupted fellowship
in this brotherhood. For over forty years my voice has been heard in the
preaching of the Gospel of the Grace of God. For close on thirty years
all my time has been given to the proclamation and defense of New
Testament truth as held by us as a people. Every year has added strength
to the conviction that God has led me to take my stand among the
people who of all the people on the earth are making the best and most
consistent effort to get back to the religion established by Christ and
his apostles. I therefore bless the day that I became one of you.

Had our position been wrong, I have given myself every opportunity of
knowing it. Circumstances have compelled me to examine our foundations
again and again. I have been called upon to defend our faith, when
attacked, times not a few. Whatever may be the effect that I have had
upon others, my own confidence has been increased at every turn. To-day
I am certain that if the New Testament is right, we can not be far
wrong; and if the New Testament can not be trusted, there is an end to
the whole matter. But the claims of Christ and the truth of the New
Testament are matters upon which a doubt never rises. As years roll on,
it becomes more easy to believe and harder to doubt. Knowledge, reason,
and experience now supply such varied yet harmonious and converging
lines of evidence that a doubt seems impossible. Difficulties we may
have, and perhaps must have, as long as we live, but we can certainly
rise above the fog land of doubt. Considering all this, it gives me more
pleasure to preside over this gathering than over any other voluntary
gathering on earth. It is a voluntary gathering. We do not profess to
be here by Divine appointment. It is a meeting of heaven's freemen to
consider the best means of advancing the will of God among men. While
met, may we all act in a manner worthy of the great object which brings
us together.

Faith, forbearance and watchfulness will be required as long as we live,
if we wish to keep the unity of the faith in the bond of peace. All
those who set out for a complete return to Jerusalem have not held on
their way; some have gone a long way back and others are going. What
has happened in other lands may happen here, unless we watch and are
faithful. The more carefully we look into matters, we shall be the
less inclined to move. Putting all God's arrangements faithfully and
earnestly to the test, and comparing them with others, increases our
faith in them. Faithfulness increases faith. This keeps growing upon
you till you become certain that only God's means will accomplish God's
ends. Sectarianism, tested by experience, is a failure.

The time was when our danger in departing from our simple plea of
returning to the Bible alone lay in our being moved by clerical and
sectarian influences. To the young in particular in the present day that
can hardly be called our greatest danger. The influences at work to
produce doubt in regard to the truth of the Bible were never so great as
they are now. This used to be the particular work of professed infidels;
now it is more largely the work of professed Christian scholars. If you
wish to pass for a "scholar," you must not profess to believe the Old
Testament. You must not say too much against the truth of that book, or
you may be called in question, but you can go a good long way before
there is much danger.

Jesus believed that old book to be the word of God. But he was not a
"scholar." He was the son of a country joiner, and you must not expect
him to rise too far above his environment. It surprises me that the
"scholars" have not called more attention to the ignorance of Jesus in
this respect. They will no doubt pay more attention to this later on;
for as _Christian_ "scholars" it becomes them to be consistent, and I
have no doubt that they will shortly, in this respect, make up for lost

To expect that none of our young people will be influenced by this
parade of scholarship is to expect too much. But faith in Christ should
keep them from rushing rashly out against a book that Christ professed
to live up to and came to fulfill. This battle of the scholars over the
truth of the Bible is only being fought. We have no wish that it should
not be fought. Everything has a right to be tested with caution and
fairness, and when the battle is lost, it will be time enough for us to
pass over to the side of the enemy. This question as to the truth of the
Old Testament will be settled, and as sure as Christ is the Son of God,
and has all power in heaven and on earth, it will be settled upon the
lines of the attitude which he took up towards that book, and it will be
settled to the disgrace of those who professed to believe in Jesus,
but deserted his position before full examination was made. That no
transcriber ever made a slip, or that no translator ever made a mistake,
is not held by any one. But the day that it is proved that the Old
Testament is not substantially true, faith in Christ and Christianity
will get a shake from which it will never recover.

We have not lost faith in the Bible. There is no need for doing so. The
word of the Lord will endure forever. But meantime, brethren, let us be
faithful, prayerful, and cautious, and be not easily moved from the rock
of God's word by the pretensions of "scholars" or of science, falsely so

I do not know that there is any necessary connection between the two,
but a belief in evolution and scholarly doubts about large portions of
the Old Testament, as a rule, go together. You must not profess to know
anything of science in many quarters if you doubt evolution. In the bulk
of even religious books it is referred to as a matter that science has
settled beyond dispute. To expect that many of our young people will not
be so far carried along by this current is to expect too much. Many of
them will be carried so far; it is a question of how many and how far.

There perhaps never was a theory before believed by as many educated
people without proof as the theory of evolution. It is an unproved
theory; there is not a fact beneath it. That you have low forms of life,
and forms rising higher and higher till you get to man, is fact. But
that a higher species ever came from a lower is without proof. Let those
who doubt this say when and where such a thing took place, and name the
witnesses. Not only are there no facts in proof of it, but it flies in
the face of facts without number. If like from like is not established,
then nothing can be established by observation and experience. What
other theory do we believe which contradicts all that we know to be true
in regard to the subject to which it refers?

Not only does it contradict fact and experience, it contradicts reason.
If you listen to the voice of reason, you can no more believe that the
greater came from the less than you can believe that something came from
nothing. We are intuitively bound to believe that an effect can not be
greater than its cause. But the theory of evolution contradicts this at
every step along the whole line.

I am anxious to find the truth in regard to anything that has a bearing
upon my belief in God or religion. But in trying to find the truth, I
have never regretted being true to myself. To slavishly follow others
is, to say the least of it, unmanly. I do not believe in evolution
because God has so made me that I can not. Wherever man came from, he
sprang not from anything beneath him. When a man asks me to believe a
thing that has not facts, but only theory to support it,--said theory
contradicting fact, experience and reason,--he asks me more than I can
grant. The thing is absurd, and must one day die.

I am agreeably surprised that we, as a people, have suffered so little
as yet from the sources of error referred to. Still they are all living
dangers, and if we would hold fast the faith once for all delivered to
the saints, we must see to our own standing, and as God has given us
opportunity let us be helpful to others. Our ground is God-given and
well tested. The fellowship with God and with each other that it has
brought to us has given us much happiness here. Let us be faithful and
earnest the few years that we have to remain here, and our happiness
will be increased when the Lord comes to reward us all according to our


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