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The Presbyterian of the South : [combining the] Southwestern Presbyterian, Central Presbyterian, Southern Presbyterian. [volume] (Atlanta, Ga.) 1909-1931, March 27, 1918, Image 3

Image and text provided by Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/10021978/1918-03-27/ed-1/seq-3/

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In* did not rise from the dead, his death was
in vain, and our faith in him is vain.
There is no better established faet in all
history than the resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus came to earth to die for sinners and
pay the debt of sin. It was necessary not
only to do this to satisfy the claims of God
against the sinner, but the sinner must be
shown that this satisfaction had been made.
He realized the fact that if he merely died
as many others had died, it would be diffictilt
to convince men that there was a real differ
ence between his death and that of others, so
he told them beforehand what his death would
mean, and in order to prove that what he said
was true, he told them that he would give as
proof of what he said his resurrection from
the dead on the third day after his death.
We know therefore that the payment which
he made for the sin of the world was accept
ed by the Father, and that, if we will accept
his terms, we can have the benefits of his death
in the salvation of our souls.
The fact that Jesus rose from the dead shows
that a human body can rise, therefore that
our bodies can rise. When we lay the bodies
of our loved ones in the grave it is a comfort
ing thought that they will rise from the grave
purified and glorified, and that that will be
our own experience also.
The resurrection of Jesus, and the fact that
he rose in his human body, which could be
recognized by his friends, ought to assure us
that we and our friends will be able to recog
nize each other in heaven. For our resurrect
ed bodies will be the same that we have here,
although they will be glorified.
We make our way to the Church of the
Holy Sepulchre. Just in front of th\; church
if- the tomb of a crusader named Dr. Philips.
Passing this and entering the arched portal,
which is in the style of architecture of Europe,
and seems quite strange in the midst of such
inharmonious surroundings, the first* persons
we meet are some Turkish officials kept here
to guard the church, and. to prevent disturb
ances among the various Christian, or "in
fidel" sects, as the Mohammedans call them,
w;ho contend for possession of the fraudulent
tomb of Christ. In the building are thirty
seven stations, at which worship is held by
the various denominations of Christians ? the
Roman Catholics, the Greek Catholics, the Ar
menians and the Copts. The following are
some of the principal stations: The Stone of
lTnetion, where the sacred form was laid and
anointed after it was taken down from the
cross. An iron cage covering the spot where
the blessed mother stood to see what would
be done with the Son's body. In the centre
of the space under the dome stands the Holy
Sepulchre, having two chambers, the first
ealled the chapel of the angel, said to contain
r piece of the stone on which one of the guard
ian angels sat, and the second inclosing the
sepulchre itself. Forty-two gold and silvei
lamps are kept always burning within. Not
far away are the tombs of Joseph and Nico
demus, and the place where our Lord appeared
to his mother. In this chapel is a piece of
Moses' miracle-working rod. The devout put
an end of this rod through an opening and
touch a piece of a stone column to which they
say our Lord was bound, and withdrawing it,
reverently kiss the end that is fresh from the
stone. The sword and spurs of Godfrey the
crusader are shown, the spot where the sol
H iMiiMBBWWr mum
diers parted the sacred raiment, and cast lots
for his vesture, and an altar to Helena, the
mother of Constantino, who discovered, by di
vine assistance, the true cross.
Kach of us furnished with a taper, we de
scend, by several steps cut in the rock, to the
place where were found the three crosses, the
crown of thorns, and the nails. It is not with
out a sense of reverence that we look ypou
these places held sacred by more than half
of the Christian world, though we do not be
lieve any of the traditions of the place; but
a feeling of disgust and of contempt arises as
we go on and are shown stones which mark
the centre of the world, ami the tombs of
Adam and JVIjelchisdec ! There is no other
building in the Christian world where so many
untruthful things are gathered, and so much
imposture practiced. But the worst impos
ture of all is the alleged descent of the sacred
tire by the gift of the Holy Ghost at Easter,
every year. The Latin or Koman Catholics
have given up this superstition, but the Greek
Church still holds to it with fanatical tenacity.
An immense multitude gathers here at the an
nual period of heavenly visitation to witness
the miracle. The Greek Patriarch at the proper
moment enters the chapel, and after prayer
received the holy fire from the adorable Third
Person of the Trinity, and passes it out to
the crowd which throng every foot of ground
on the floor, in the galleries, and in the street
outside. All being ready to receive the celes
tial flame, lighting their torches from one an
other, the fire seems to flash in a moment all
over the vast building, when rushing away in
all directions, the happy people bear to their
homes the cherished gift from heaven.
When we say that it originated from a Luci
fer match, or some other such device for kin
dling a flame, we mean no pun 011 the word
Lucifer. Lucifer, however, must have some
thing to do with keeping up such a shameful
imposture through the Patriarch, who must
know better.
A thoughtful person must come away from
the Church vof the Holy Sepulchre with a feel
ing of disappointment and indignation, for be
hind and below all the minor frauds of the
place is this, that it is impossible that this
can have been anywhere near the site of the
tomb of Christ, which must have been situ
ated far outside of the walls of the city, away
towards the northwest, at some spot unknown
to all on earth. The wisdom of heaven in not
letting the identity of the place be known needs
no further confirmation than the monumental
superstition of the Church of the Holy Sepul
chre. ? Dr. R. P. Kerr in Land of Holy Light.
Christ, the Lord, is ris'n today.
Sons of men. and angels, say;
Raise your joys and triumphs high;
Sing, ye heav'ns, ? and earth, reply!
Love's redeeming work is done,
Fought the fight, the battle won;
Lo! the sun's eclipse is o'er;
Lo! he sets in blood no more.
Vain the stone, the watch, the seal;
Christ hath burst the gates of hell!
Death in vain forbids him rise:
Christ hath opened Paradise!
Lives again our glorious king;
Where, O death, is now thy sting?
Once he died, our souls to save;
Where thy victory, boasting grave?
Soar we now where Christ has led.
Follow our exalted Head;
Made like him, like him we rise;
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies.
The Apostle warns us that in the last days
perilous times shall come. This does not mean
the very few last days of the Christian dis
pensation, but in the latter period of the king
dom on earth before the eoming of the King.
We are living in such a period now. Never
in the history of the world was there such
world commotion. Now as never before all
the ends of the earth are affected, because
man has so perfected the means of communi
cation that we are closer together, whether
living in China or South America, than two
bounties in England were 500 years ago.
It well behooves thoughtful people to take
notice of the perils of this eventful period in
the world's history. One of these is the real
annihilation of the Christian Sabbath. War
and commotion are destructive of the quiet
and reverence and rest of the Lord's Day.
Many things must be done that are absolutely
necessary on that day that in normal times
are not necessary. At the same time, through
this open gap, scores of evils rush in, and
things are done that there is no excuse for.
So we hear of amusements being "put on"
in the camps that are not in keeping with the
use of the day, and in distinct competition
with the religious services held in scores of
V. M. C. A. "huts." Sunday afternoon is
turned largely into a time of social pleasure
under plea of amusing the soldiers.
Following closely in the track of this is the
loosening of the home ties and destroying of
the home influences. The individuality of the
Christian home seems well nigh lost. We have
come to live in other people's homes so much
that we have none of our own. We have cul
tivated the public vineyards to such an extent
that our own vineyard have we not kept. The
outside attractions are so novel and so insist
ent that the pleasures and privileges of home
have become prosaic and tiresome.
Hundreds of thousands of our youllg men
are herded in camps, and for them the home
tie is loosened. We all know what these re
straints are and how valuable they become in
the forming of character. Hence we look for
f. real danger fi'om their destruction.
There is a real danger to the Christian in
the substituting activity for thought. These
are bustling times. We must be up and do
ing. The activities of war times are infinitely
multiplied. Innumerable Societies and Com
mittees are created till our head swims with
the call of them. And somebody must do the
things that are being called for. We must
? speed up" and even then hardly find time
for what we must do. There is a real danger,
ll is all important that we should go aside to
prayer and meditation and daily communion
with our God. The danger is that we forget
that as all important, or crowd it out alto
gether. "We fail to learn that an hour of
prayer makes more effective the hour of work.
Martin Luther said that when very busy he
could not get on at all with less than two
hours of prayer. Our Saviour spent whole
days and nights in communion with his God
out of the few busy days left him on earth.
We are in serious danger of mistaking the
romantic for the real in the confusion of the
times. There is a glitter about war. The khaki
is so attractive. The pomp and pageantry,
the marvelous effectiveness of armies is such
that our minds are dazed and we come to
feel under the hallucination of the German
Empire that war is the normal and natural
condition of the nation. We may be swept

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