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For Palestine is changing ; it has already changed in part ; and will very likely, if the plans of those who have the welfare of its people at heart do not fail, become a modern land, with the greater part of its scenes and customs similar to those of the other lands which have been longer free to work out their own prosperity.
Palestine has always been promised to the Jews ; and never has another nation been able to effect a permanent settlement there. The Jews are a people without a land ; and Palestine has been, in fact, a land without a people. It has been for centuries under the hand of the Turks. But that rule has really kept the land waiting for the coming of the Jews instead of giving it a development which should transform it into a copy of other lands. If Palestine and the surrounding country “ had been all this time in the possession of a strong and progressive power the land would have been opened up, developed, and fully occupied, and there would have been no room in it for the Jews to return."
In the autumn of 1918 we watched with breathless interest the British campaign in Palestine. General Allenby had in the spring captured Jerusalem in a way that seemed, to those who knew its position and defences, well-nigh miraculous. Then he proceeded toward the north. “ The advance (of one week in September, 1918] led through the sacred village of Nazareth and along the west of the river Jordan, while historic names familiar to every Bible student, such as Armageddon, Tiberias, and Esdraelon, marked the course of his advance.” Later the tide swept over the rest of Palestine, entered ancient Damascus, and at last forced the " unconditional surrender " of the Turkish forces.
We are hoping to see Palestine transformed into the “ delightful land,” the “ land of Jehovah of Hosts,” and the ancient promises to Israel fulfilled, thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed ; because thou hast obeyed my voice "; and “ For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."
The transformation of Palestine through the successes of the Allies may morally, even if not financially, pay to all lands a great return on the cost of the war in money and lives.
One of the best methods of becoming familiar with the Palestine which is passing, and which so nearly resembles the Palestine of Christ's day, is by the Stereoscopic Photographs, which have again become popular because of the improvement in the pictures. They are such lifelike representations of the places where our Lord lived and walked and taught, the figures and scenes are brought out so clearly, that it is almost the same as if we were actually travelling in the Holy Land.
Underwood and Underwood (Fifth Ave. and 19th St., New York) have a series of one hundred of these pictures, in a leather case, with a book enclosing a map and a description of a tour through the Holy Land. Of course a selection of the pictures can be made. They are also constantly taking new pictures of interesting places, and it may be perfectly possible to obtain some showing the differences produced by British occupation, and the results from the Jewish colonies existing before the
A DIRECTOR OF READING FOR THE SUNDAY SCHOOL.
I find in the modern Sunday School, amid its marvelous progress, one missing element — at least a decided tendency toward it. I miss the Sunday School library and the up-to-date librarian ; and this missing element makes a real change in the Sunday School, in the home, and in the kind of books the children are reading.
Not very long ago I was present at a gathering of Sunday School officers, wideawake, devoted business men doing a splendid work for their school, and the conversation was something like this :
“How is your Sunday School library prospering ? Has your librarian any new ideas and plans ?
Nothing doing there. We are not using the library any more ; and we have no librarian."
But,” said these officers, when remonstrated with, “ the children can get their books from the public library.”
Yet very few of the children, or their parents, know what are the best books, even when aided by the librarians of the public libraries. “ We need in each Sunday School a librarian who will be the Director and Guide
of Reading that carries out the aim and purpose of the Sunday School, and makes it more effective."
“ The business of the Sunday School is the religious and moral training of the young, so that they will choose Jesus as their Saviour and Leader, and be guided by him into the best life.”
But the Director of Reading can do more than this, in suggesting the best books of every kind, and presenting in a few bright words the books that will attract children.
The Director should also have a teacher's library, open to all at all times, with the best books upon teaching. And new books on the subject should be added as good ones are published.
The Public Libraries will lend to the Sunday Schools the books the Director will select, in addition to those bought by the school. In this way fresh literature best adapted to the scholars will be always on hand while the standard books and especial favorites can be owned by the school.
The Director should be a permanent officer, the best who can be found for the purpose ; with a great enthusiasm for aiding the children and youth.
UTILIZING SURPLUS MATERIAL.
In nearly every home, church, and Sunday School in North America, there is a quantity of surplus material which would become of great value if properly used. Rev. Samuel D. Price, D.D. (216 Metropolitan Tower, New York City), has for several years been giving all his time to the work of maintaining a connection between the sources of such “surplus material ” and the places where it may become a valuable asset for Christian missionary work.
Pictures are of value for gaining an audience as well as for teaching the lesson which follows. The gift of a small picture is sure to draw. Many native preachers base their preaching largely upon the scenes in the lesson picture rolls.
Other things that are in demand are scrap books, quarterlies, books, special exercises for Christmas and Easter, and many things suitable for Christmas gifts. For this last are small toys, games which do not require much knowledge of English, ribbons, work bags, pencils, paints, knives, and marbles. Dressed dolls are eagerly desired. A suitable size is about 10 inches long. Go-to-sleep eyes add much to the value and little to the cost. The dolls can be simply dressed, but not in white, which is generally the sign of mourning in Oriental countries.
When writing to Dr. Price for the name of a missionary or school to which to send these, always indicate your denomination in full. The work is interdenominational, but it is usually more interesting to send to a mission field of one's own church, from which one can hear in other ways. “Enclose a stamp for your reply. Do not send any packages to the New York' office."
A FEW SUNDAY SCHOOL STATISTICS. “Fifty years ago the first Spanish-speaking Sunday School in South America was opened in Buenos Aires. Now (1918) there are 81 schools in that city and suburbs, and about 800 in all South America."
“ About 1910 Sunday Schools got a footing in the Philippines, and the Sunday School union was organized the next year, with a total Sunday School membership of 8,000. Now (1918] the Sunday School membership in the islands aggregates 60,000, and last February a Sunday School convention in Manila brought together 5000 persons and ended in a torchlight procession.”
The Sunday Schools of Egypt and the Sudan made last Christmas (1917) an offering for children in Bible lands who are suffering on account of the war. The splendid total was $11,900, most of it in coins of less than a cent in value, many of them as small as one-eighth of a cent a gift that meant real sacrifice.”
“The attendance at Sunday Schools in China in 1914 was 133,674 ; in 1915 it was 165,282 ; in 1916 it had risen to 194,978 ; and last year (1917) (the figures are not ready) it undoubtedly increased to 230,000. There are 4000 Sunday Schools in China, and 10,000 Sunday School teachers. The circulation of the Uniform Lesson Notes issued by the China Sunday School Union increased from 27,000 in 1911 to 168,000 in 1917."
“ The China Sunday School Union publishes three monthly magazines, for adults and children."
“In Korea hundreds of Sunday Schools have been started for non-Christian children. They are very simple, the missionary just sitting down with the children anywhere, showing them pictures and telling them Bible stories. Some schools have met Sunday after Sunday through a long bitter winter under trees by the roadside. A Korean says : 'When I used to go to a village the children sang all sorts of heathen songs, but now I only hear“ Jesus loves me.' That is a favorite Sunday School hymn."
UNITED STATES GROWTH.
“ The United States Census Bureau, the most reliable source of statistical information possible, has just given out its figures in regard to the churches and Sunday Schools of our land. From them we learn that last year (1917) the Sunday School scholars ran over the twenty million mark by 569,000 and there has been an increase of 15,000 Sunday Schools. The last decade has witnessed a wonderful growth in the Sunday School hosts of the United States."
SUNDAY SCHOOL COST IN THE UNITED STATES.
“ That the Sunday School business belongs to the world of 'big business' is evidenced by the fact that it costs $30,000,000 a year to keep the Sunday School wheels going round. The greater part of this enormous outlay comes from the children. Commenting on this, one of the leading papers of Boston says : ' It is a big business that thus depends upon children for a total of $30,000,000. Of this fully $10,000,000 goes to the printers and publishers for lessons and lesson helps.' It is doubtful if a large percentage of even those who work in it appreciate the fact that the Sunday School is by far the biggest institution in the world devoted to the spiritual education of the boys and girls."
THE INTERNATIONAL LESSON COMMITTEE
Selected by the Denominations
Selected by the International S. S. Assn.
Selected by the Sunday School Council
Barnes, Mrs. J. W., Newark, N. J.
Blake, Edgar, Chicago, Ill., Methodist Episcopal,
The lessons for this year are on both the old and the new Testaments and on both the Gospels and Acts in the New Testament. Under each lesson we have placed a list of books applicable to that particular lesson. Here we will confine ourselves to books of a somewhat broader range. We cannot guarantee that the books named are in print or obtainable at the publishers at this time, as because of conditions induced by the war such matters are very uncertain, so that statements true at this moment of writing may be untrue by the time this volume reaches the hand of its readers. But the books we give are of sufficient value to warrant some endeavor to procure them ; and the most of them, if not all, can be found in public or private libraries, or on the shelves of second-hand bookstores. For the same reasons we cannot guarantee the stated prices ; but those prices were correct at a recent date.
I. GENERAL COMMENTARIES. These commentaries are on the entire Bible, although in some instances some of the volumes are still in preparation. However, it is certainly possible that any one of those now in preparation may be ready for the student by the time he needs them to study the lessons for this year. We will therefore include them. We will also include some general works which are not strictly commentaries.
The Ex positor's Bible. One or more volumes on each book of the Bible. (Doran, N. Y., 75€ a volume.)
The Cambridge Bible. One or more volumes on each book of the Bible. (Cambridge University Press. Putnam's, N. Y. 65¢ to $1.10 a volume.)
The International Critical Commentary. A volume on each book, or in the case of the shorter books, each two books, of the Bible, so far as they are yet prepared. (Scribner's, N. Y. Prices are about $3.00 a volume on the average.) Judges is by Prof. George Moore ; Samuel by Prof. H. P. Smith ; Chronicles by Prof. Curtis ; Matthew by Rev. Willoughby Allen, D.D. The volumes on Kings and Acts are not published at this writing.
The Bible Commentary, Canon Cook, General Editor. (Scribner's, N. Y. volumes, $3.00 a volume.)
The One-Volume Bible Commentary, edited by J. R. Dummelow, M.A. (Macmillan, N. Y. $2.50 net.)
New Century Bible. A volume on each book of the Bible, with a different author. (Oxford University Press, American Branch, N. Y. $1.00 a volume.)
The Christian Workers' Commentary, covering the Old and New Testaments, by James M. Gray, D.D., Dean of the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago. (Revell, N. Y. $2.25.)
Westminster Commentaries. Only a few volumes are yet out, though it is intended to cover in time the whole Bible. The volume on Acts is by Rackham. (Methuen, London. $4.50.)
Great Texts of the Bible, edited by Prof. James Hastings. (Revell, N. Y. volumes, $3.00 a volume.)
American Commentary, published by the American Baptist Publication Society, Philadelphia. ($2.00 to $3.25 a volume.)
Devotional Hours with the Bible, by Dr. J. R. Miller. A volume on each book of the Bible. (Doran, N. Y. $1.25 a volume.)
Geikie's Hours with the Bible.
Books on general Bible Biography, such as Old Testament Characters, by Geikie ; Representative Men of the Bible, by George Matheson, D.D. (Doran, N. Y. $1.00); Whyte's Bible Characters ; Heroes of Israel by Blaikie; Heroes of Israel by Prof. Theodore G. Soares, Ph.D., D.D., of the University of Chicago (U. of C. Press).
II. ON THE OLD TESTAMENT LESSONS. Commentaries given under I. Samuel, His Life and Times, and David, His Life and Time, by W. J. Deane. David the Shepherd, Psalmist and King, by Rev. F. B. Meyer. The Gospel of the Pentatevch and David, by Charles Kingsley. Solomon and His Times, by Canon Farrar. Dated Events of the Old Testament, by Prof. Willis K. Beecher. Modern Research in Bible lands, by Prof. S. R. Driver. (Oxford Univ. Press. $1.50.)
Famous Men of the Old Testament, and Famous Women of the Old Testament, by M. B. Wharton, D.D.
Temple Series of Bible Characters. (Lippincott. 30¢ each volume.)
III. ON THE LESSONS IN MATTHEW. Commentaries given under I.
The Ex positor's Greek Testament. The Greek text with English notes. Volume I on the Four Gospels. (Doran. $5.00 a volume.)
The Westminster New Testament. (Revell, N. Y. 75¢ a volume.)
The Bible for Home and School : Matthew, by A. T. Robertson. (Macmillan N. Y. 60€.)
Ex positions of Holy Scripture, by Rev. Alexander Maclaren, D.D. (Doran, N. Y. 25 volumes, $25.)
The Man Christ Jesus, by Robert E. Speer, is a charming characterization of Christ. (Revell, N. Y. 75€.)
The Man of Galilee, by Rev. F. W. Gunsaulus. (American Bible House, Chicago. $2.75.)
Studies of the Portrait of Christ by Dr. George Matheson is a remarkable book. It is not a study of the representations of Christ in Art, but of the picture of him as given in the four Gospels.
The Life of Christ by Farrar, and by Geikie, and by Edersheim, are classic, and can be procured of various publishers, in various styles, and at various prices.
IV. THE LESSONS IN Acts.
Pictures of the Apostolic Church, by Sir William Ramsay. (S. S. Times Co., Philadelphia. $1.50.)
The Acts of the Holy Spirit, by Dr. A. T. Pierson. (Revell, N. Y. 756.)
St. Peter' the Apostle of Asia, by W. S. Auchincloss. (Van Nostrand and Co., N. Y. $1.00.)
The Apostles as Every Day Men, by R. E. Thompson, S.T.D. (S. S. Times Co. 50¢.)
The Dawn of Christianity, or Studies of the Apostolic Church, by H. C. Vedder. (American Baptist Publication Society. 50¢ net.)
V. LIGHT FROM THE LAND. These include works on the geography and history of the lands and peoples of the periods studied ; and works on Oriental customs, etc.
The Land and the Book, by William M. Thomson, D.D., is a classic which will never grow too old for use in this connection. (Harpers, N. Y. 3 volumes, $9.50.)
Historical Geography of the Holy Land, by Prof. George Adam Smith, D.D., easily ranks among the first of its kind. (Doran, N. Y. $4.00.)
Studies of Oriental Social Life, by Henry Clay Trumbull.
Jerusalem in Bible Times, by Lewis B. Paton. (Univ. of Chicago Press, $1.00, net.)
Jerusalem from the Earliest Times to A.D. 70, by Prof. George Adam Smith. Two volumes with 13 excellent maps and plans, and 13 finely executed plates. (Armstrong. $7.50.)
Studies in Galilee, by Ernest W. G. Masterma M.D., F.R.C.S., F.R.G.S., of Jerusalem. (Univ. of Chicago Press. $1.00, net.)
Sacred Sites of the Gospels, by Prof. W. Sanday, LL.D., with 58 plates, maps and plans. (Oxford Univ. Press. $5.40.)
VI. BOOKS IN STORY FORM. On Holy Ground, by W. L. Worcester. Bible stories beautifully illustrated with more than 500 pictures of Bible lands. (Lippincott. $3.00.)
The Story of the Bible, by J. L. Hurlbut, D.D. Finely Illustrated. (Winston Co., Philadelphia. $1.50.)
Old Testament Stories for Little Children, by Laura Ella Cragin. (Revell, N. Y. $1.25, net.)
The Heralds of the King, The Story of the Early Church, by Alice D. Adams, M.A., assistant to Rev. F. N. Peloubet, D.D. Profusely illustrated with pictures of places and customs named, and by reproductions of famous paintings by great masters. (The Gorham Press, Boston. $1.00.)
A Child's Story of the Life of Christ, by Helen Brown Hoyt, with 137 half-tone illustrations. (W. A. Wilde Co. $1.25.)