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    June 25, 1896

    “Inconsistency of Enforced Religion” The Present Truth, 12, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Is it right that every man should worship God? Certainly! Then it is right that every man that wills to worship should do so. But if he does not choose to worship God, what then? Perhaps he prefers to do homage to an image of his own making. Or what if he does not choose to revere and obey any deity whatever? It may be ignorance which knows not the true God, or it may be a rebellious nature which refuses allegiance, or even denies the existence of Deity.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 403.1

    It is true all men ought to worship the one only and true God, and obey Him alone. But ask men, “Who is God?”-and what do they reply? Jesus once asked of His disciples, “Whom do men say that I am?” What did they answer? Did they report a complete unanimity of opinion among men? Did not their answer show that man failed utterly to agree on that question? If there is such a diversity of views among men as to the very existence and personality of God, is it not clear from this very fact, that they are entirely disqualified from authoritatively requiring from each other any allegiance to any God? Certainly if men do not know what the obedience is which they require, nor for whom they demand it, they are not competent to make rules of action in that regard, nor to enforce what may be made.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 403.2

    But what is the propriety of any man attempting to compel another either to worship or not to worship? Does he who attempts to exercise the compulsion gain anything, either for himself or for the other, or for the cause of God? He certainly does not. When Peter drew the sword in Christ’s behalf what was the result? Christ healed the wound he made, and rebuked him. More than that He warned him, and all those for whose instruction the Scriptures were given, that the sword, even when used in His behalf, would return upon those who used it.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 403.3

    But if a man denies God why should he virtually knowledge Him, and then contradict himself, by undertaking to enforce God’s commands by the sword or by law?PTUK June 25, 1896, page 403.4

    On the other hand if men acknowledge God, why should they deny Him, His kingdom and His omnipotence, and disobey Him, by striving to enforce by civil power what they hold to be His law, whether they be right as to the application of the commandment or not? How evident it is that he who thinks himself a Christian becomes openly unchristian the moment he assumes to enforce his views of Christianity by secular means, either military or judicial.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 403.5

    He who denies the power of religion, and then would enforce it, is involved in a hopeless inconsistency at the outset. He who acknowledges God, and then attempts to put the human arm in place of the Divine, is still more inconsistent. So, from whatever point of view one looks upon it, the enforcement of religious belief or observance by one man upon another is totally unreasonable. In nothing more than in this does it appear, that, although God created men reasonable beings, they have found out for themselves many strange, inconsistent, and unreasonable devices.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 403.6

    “Interesting Figures” The Present Truth, 12, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Interesting Figures .-Not only at home but in the colonies the question of religion and the schools is agitating political and church circles. In South Australia the question was recently submitted for the people to indicate their mind by popular vote. Our Australian organ, the Bible Echo, says: “According to latest returns the education referendum in South Australia stands as follows: For the continuance of the present, or secular, system of education, 34,300; against it, 10,426. In favour of the introduction of religious instruction into the State schools, 11,379; against it, 22,959. In favour of the payment of a capitation grant to denominational schools for secular results, 8,360; against it, 26,764. It cannot be that all the women in South Australia voted the wrong way. It would seem there were more level-headed ones than the religio-political leaders there had counted on. It is to be hoped that the mothers in that, as well as all other colonies, will learn to do as the mothers did of old-take their little ones to Jesus, and not to C?sar, to learn of Jesus.”PTUK June 25, 1896, page 404.1

    “The Call of Abraham. The Covenant Sealed” The Present Truth, 12, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “THE SIGN OF CIRCUMCISION”

    And now we must carry a little further the study of the seal of the covenant, namely, circumcision. What does it signify, and what is it in reality? We have learned that it signifies righteousness by faith.It was given to Abraham as a token of the possession of such righteousness, or, as an assurance that he was “accepted in the Beloved, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Ephesians 1:6, 7. What circumcision really is, may be learned from the following scripture:-PTUK June 25, 1896, page 405.1

    “For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law; but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision, which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Romans 2:25-29.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 405.2

    Circumcision was the sign of righteousness by faith. But that righteousness is the righteousness required by the law of God. Circumcision never amounted to anything unless the law was kept. In fact, the keeping of the law is real circumcision. The Lord requires truth in the inward parts. An outward show, with no righteousness within, is an abomination to Him. The law must be in the heart, or else there is no real circumcision. But the law can be in the heart only by the power of the Lord through the Spirit. “The law is spiritual,” (Romans 7:14), that is it is of the nature of the Holy Spirit, and the law can be in the heart only as the Spirit of God dwells there. Circumcision is therefore nothing less than the sealing of righteousness in the heart by the Holy Spirit. This is what Abraham received. His circumcision was the scale of the righteousness of faith which he had. But the righteousness of faith was that by which he was to inherit the promised possession. Therefore circumcision was the pledge of his inheritance. Now read the following text:-PTUK June 25, 1896, page 405.3

    “It whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.... in whom also we have obtained an inheritance being predestinated according to the purpose of Him that worketh all things after the counsel of His own will; that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that ye believed, ye were scaled with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.” Ephesians 1:7-14.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 405.4

    The word of truth is the Gospel of salvation. When we believe the Gospel, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, and that seal is the pledge or assurance of our inheritance, until it is bestowed at the coming of the Lord. Abraham had, therefore, the Holy Spirit as the pledge of the inheritance that was promised him. The possession of the Spirit shows that we have a right to the inheritance, because the Spirit brings righteousness, and the inheritance is one of righteousness. Righteousness, and that only, will dwell in the new earth.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 405.5

    In harmony with the above text, we have also the following: “And ye are complete in Him [Christ], which is the head of all principality and power; in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” Colossians 2:10, 11.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 405.6

    God’s promise to Abraham had been made long before the time of which we are writing. The making of the covenant is recorded in the fifteenth chapter of Genesis. But after the covenant was made, Abraham fell into the error recorded in the sixteenth chapter. He saw his mistake, and repented of it, and turned to the Lord again in full faith, and thus received the assurance of forgiveness and acceptance; and circumcision was given as the reminder of it.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 405.7

    The Scriptures which we have read in the New Testament concerning circumcision are not the statement of something new. Circumcision was always just what it is there said to be. It always meant righteousness in the heart, and had no significance whatever when that righteousness was absent. This is plainly indicated in Deuteronomy 30:5, 6: “And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and He will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.”PTUK June 25, 1896, page 405.8

    WHY THE OUTWARD SIGN?

    The question very naturally arises, Why was the outward sign of circumcision given to Abraham, if he already had everything that it implied? Since circumcision is of the heart by the Spirit, and is nothing but the possession of righteousness by faith, and Abraham had that before he received the sign of circumcision, why was the sign given?PTUK June 25, 1896, page 405.9

    It is a reasonable question, and happily may easily be answered. The reader will first notice, however, that that which Abraham received is in Romans 4:11 called “the sign of circumcision.” The real circumcision he already had. In harmony with this is the statement that that which was in the flesh, made by hands, was only “called circumcision.” Ephesians 2:11. It was not circumcision in fact.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 405.10

    Now the reason why this sign was given, which was only a sign, and which brought nothing to its possessor, and which was a false sign unless the righteousness of faith was in the heart, will be seen when we consider what had taken place after the covenant was made with Abraham. He had entered into an arrangement, the object of which was to work out the promise of the Lord. Abraham and Sarah believed that the promise was to be theirs, but they thought that they must work it out. But since the promise was of an inheritance of righteousness, the thought that they could work it out was in reality the very common idea that men can work out the righteousness of God. So when God repeated the covenant, He gave to Abraham a sign which should always be a reminder of his attempt to work out the promise of God, and his failure. It did not give him anything, but was on the contrary a reminder that he could do nothing of himself, and that everything was to be done in him and for him by the Lord. The cutting off of a portion of flesh showed that the promise was not to be gained by the flesh but by the Spirit. Ishmael was born after the flesh, but Isaac after the Spirit.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 405.11

    The same purpose was also served by it for his descendants. It was to keep continually before them the mistake of their father Abraham, and to warn them against making the like error. It was to show them that “the flesh profiteth nothing.” In after times they perverted this sign, and assumed that the possession of it was an assurance of their righteousness, whether they kept the law or not. They trusted that it brought them righteousness, and made them the peculiar favourites of the Lord. But the Apostle Paul showed the truth in regard to the matter by saying, “We are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Philippians 3:3. The Jews came to look upon it as bringing to them everything, because they trusted in their own righteousness; whereas its only object was to teach them not to put confidence in themselves.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 406.1

    “The Jews and Palestine” The Present Truth, 12, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The studies on the promise to Abraham now in progress in this paper have from the first have shown how far astray those are who look for the fulfilment of promises to the fathers and the return of the fleshly Jews to Palestine. Not until Abraham is raised to life, with all the children of Abraham by the faith of Jesus, will he and his seed inherit the land. Whether a few thousand or even millions of unbelieving Jews join a mixed population of Palestine or not is a matter of no interest, so far as prophecy is concerned.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 406.2

    The frequent statements by those who insist that there is a significant movement of Jews for Palestine are very indefinite. Not so, however, some of the statements in the following article, written by Rev. C. L. Goodell, a Methodist minister, who has lately travelled in that land. He writes to the Zion’s Herald, of Boston, as follows:-PTUK June 25, 1896, page 406.3

    Your excellent paper had a short note last week in which some figures are given concerning the return of the Jews, which are said to be “highly significant.” It is said that dozens of Jewish agricultural colonies are being established, and that, taking all things together, “students of prophecy will not fail to recognise herein one of the most important ‘signs of the times.’” I am sure that none of us would want to base even a desirable conclusion on an unwarranted premise. Whether or not we believe in the literal return of the Jews to Palestine, we are all interested in knowing what the present facts are.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 406.4

    I have had an honest desire and exceptional opportunities to find out those facts. I went from one end of Palestine to the other, inquiring of consuls, missionaries, physicians, teachers, dragomens, Turks and Jews, and using my own eyes to the best of my ability, to determine if anything in the present condition of things could be taken as evidence of any general and surprising return of the Jews. I found only two parties who made such a claim, and these were both Americans who came to Palestine a generation ago with the same conviction and who hold it as one of the strongest articles of their faith.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 406.5

    It is true that a great effort is being made to get poor Jews to go back to Palestine. On arriving at Jerusalem they register at one of the synagogues, and collections are taken for them throughout the world. But notwithstanding this, and the generosity of Sir Moses Montefiore and the Rothschilds in building tenement-houses, hospitals, and reclaiming land, the concurrent testimony of the men best qualified to judge is that nothing has as yet transpired which is at all significant from a prophetic standpoint.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 406.6

    Let me give some of the facts and the names which are behind this conclusion. Dr. Selah Merrill is quoted as saying that there are 27,000 Jews in Jerusalem. That is a very conservative estimate, and unless Dr. Merrill has greatly changed his mind since we ran over the figures of the various consulates in Jerusalem, he will be greatly surprised to find his figures quoted as giving any colour to the idea of the rapid return of the Jews. Dr. Merrill stoutly opposes the idea. Much more than half the Jewish population of Palestine is in Jerusalem. Safed and Tiberius are the only other cities where there is a considerable number of Jews; while in Nazareth and Bethlehem there is not a Jew.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 406.7

    Dr. W. H. Thompson saw nothing in his time that seemed to him to indicate a speedy return, although he witnessed a much larger proportionate increase than has taken place in the last few years. Dr. Jessup, of the American College at Beirut, has been there since 1856. Dr. Vartan, a Scotch physician at Nazareth, has been there almost as long, and both these men share the opinion of Dr. Merrill, our consul at Jerusalem. Dr. Buckley, of the Christian Advocate, sums up a very careful inquiry with the words: “In view of the character of the Jews migrating hither, nothing of significance is indicated.” There are four times as many Jews in New York city as in all Palestine.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 406.8

    It cannot be truthfully said that there are “dozens of Jewish agricultural colonies” in Palestine. I saw only three in a journey from Damascus to Jerusalem. It is impossible to get any accurate census from the Turkish authorities, but they may be relied upon to make the Jewish population as large as it is, so that they may get as large a per capita tax from them as possible.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 406.9

    If the home-coming of the Jews is a necessary preliminary to the coming of our Lord, we will do all we can to hasten that event; but no good will come of our claiming a consummation which has not taken place.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 406.10

    “Grace Superabounding” The Present Truth, 12, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Grace Superabounding .-“Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” It would be well if every person knew this fact. We should hear less talk about being discouraged because we are so sinful. Is the heart full of sin? Know that where sin abounds, there does grace much more abound. This is shown in the fact that Christ, who is full of grace, stands at the door of the heart that is sinfulness itself, and knocks for admission. See Revelation 3:15-20. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15. When Wesley sang,PTUK June 25, 1896, page 406.11

    “Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
    Grace to cover all my sin,”
    PTUK June 25, 1896, page 407.1

    he had the authority of Romans 5:20 for it.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 407.2

    “Items of Interest” The Present Truth, 12, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    -By an earthquake in Japan last week 1,000 persons lost their lives, a whole town being destroyed.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 414.1

    -The rising in Crete against the Turkish Government still continues with fire and sword on both sides. The Cretans demand a large measure of self-government.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 414.2

    -The wreck of the “Drummond Castle,” with fearful lose of life, last week, was the first occasion on which the Castle Line have lost the life of a passenger by any steamer.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 414.3

    -In the various alphabets of the world the number of letters vary from 12 to 202. The shortest alphabet is that of the Sandwich Islanders, which has 12 letters, the Tartarian, the longest, containing 202 letters.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 414.4

    -Mr. Hudson Maxim, brother of the famous Hiram, has designed something like a new weapon of warfare. Over 200lb. of explosive can be fired more than ten miles by it, and it is only necessary for the torpedo it discharges to explode over a ship, not within it.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 414.5

    -Paris is somewhat agitated over reports of an increase of leprosy in the city. It is said that there are many lepers engaged in the markets and other occupations, by which there is danger that the dread disease may be spread amongst unsuspecting people.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 414.6

    -It is now claimed that sea water can be converted into a pleasant, wholesome, and palatable drink by citric acid, which precipitates chloride of sodium. Instead of condensing apparatus for use at sea, a bottle of citric acid should be made a part of every wrecked mariner’s outfit.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 414.7

    -Workmen have been on strike in St. Petersburg, some thousands of factory workers meeting to present their demands. Even Russia cannot keep out the organised strike, although it is considered probable that this first attempt at a general strike in Russia will fail of its purpose.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 414.8

    -Of the 29,000,000 inhabitants of England and Wales at the last census, 20,800,000, or over two-thirds, lived in towns and cities, and only 8,200,000 in the country. In Scotland one-half of the population lived in towns of more than 10,000 inhabitants, though in Ireland the proportion was about one in six.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 414.9

    -It costs more to send a ton of goods from London to the west of Ireland than to Japan. A ton of woollen goods can be forwarded from Lon-don to New York for 20s., to Chicago, 1,000 miles inland, for 35s., to Japan for 50s. The same goods sent from Derry to London cost 70s., and from Gweedore, fifty miles inland, 120s. This is why farmers and producers in the United Kingdom are pleading for a reduction in railway rates.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 414.10

    -Great consternation is reported to have prevailed in Dongola when the news of the defeat of the Dervishes at Firket was received. Many of the leading emirs, or chiefs, were among the 2,000 killed, wounded, or captured by the Egyptian force. It is said to be the most decisive defeat the Dervishes have ever sustained. The population along the Nile valley are said to welcome the expeditionary force as deliverers from the mile of the Khalifs.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 414.11

    “Back Page” The Present Truth, 12, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Last Sunday week, after the Pope had “pronounced the Apostolic benediction” upon the 400 British sailors and officers who attended mass at the Vatican, he regaled them with wine and cigars. The whole thing was, of course, as unapostolic as possible.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 416.1

    Our friends in Germany see the hand of God in the defeat of a bill in the German Reichstag, introduced by the Centre, or Catholic party, which would have had the effect of stopping the sale of our literature by the colporteurs in Germany, of whom there are about thirty giving their time to the book canvassing work.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 416.2

    African reports show the increasing gravity of the situation in Matabeleland. The rising is extending among the Mashonas, and isolated whites are being killed about Salisbury. South Africa is having its full share of difficulties, with the risings, political troubles, and cattle pests. As these things increase in the earth will they lead people to look to something beyond this world on which to base their hopes?PTUK June 25, 1896, page 416.3

    One disaster on a large scale has followed another closely during the last few weeks. The same day an earthquake was reported from Japan, with a loss of 10,000 lives, brought the startling news of the loss of the Drummond Castle, with 248 souls, all of whom were expecting to land on home shores in a few hours. All was bustle and merriment on board, and many were packing their trunks,-then a shock, and within a few minutes all plunged into the sea, but three survivors reaching land to tell the story. We feel these disasters more keenly when they are so near home, and sympathise with those homes into which the bitter sadness comes so suddenly; but while the world sympathises, and shutters at the thought of so sudden and tragic an end to home-coming voyagers, how little the lesson of it all is taken to heart.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 416.4

    Newspaper correspondence from Russia, since the coronation, gives publicity to ugly rumours in regard to existing political conditions in Russia. Nihilism, disgusted with the failure of methods heretofore used, has now undertaken, it is said, a propaganda of revolt and rebellion throughout the empire. In St. Petersburg, we are told, the very day of the coronation, occurred a riot in which the police were cowed and powerless, and which was only quelled by the military at the expense of two hundred lives.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 416.5

    If Nihilism should really begin to mix its bombs with brains, there is no knowing how widespread a reign of terror might ensue.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 416.6

    “In Russia” The Present Truth, 12, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In Russia .-The leader of one of the Seventh-day Adventist churches in Russia writes to the Hamburg branch of our Society:-PTUK June 25, 1896, page 416.7

    The magistrate of our colony has now for four weeks imprisoned us for forty-eight hours each time for holding our Sabbath meetings. We were from twenty to twenty-two persons, men and women, some of the women with nursing babies, in a narrow cell, low and damp, containing about 120 feet. The Lord, however, gave us strength to bear it; we can but praise Him for it. Over Easter the officer did not molest us on account of the holy days. We leave the future with the Lord.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 416.8

    “Patience” The Present Truth, 12, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Patience .-“Here it is the patience of the saints.” What a remarkable expression, in all its possible significance. “Patience of the saints!” When we realise that “all things work together for good to them that love God,” we may begin to appreciate the infinite possibilities of achievement and attainment possible to the patience of the saints. When patience has had its perfect work then it will surely be seen that patient waiters are no losers. Patience is the handmaid of faith, and to faith nothing is impossible.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 416.9

    “Disorder in Crete” The Present Truth, 12, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Disorder In Crete .-A religious journal, in the following statement, shows how loose a conception of what Christianity is prevails in the religious world generally:-PTUK June 25, 1896, page 416.10

    The Christian inhabitants of the western provinces of the island of Crete are in open rebellion against their Turkish rulers, owing to the tyrannies from which they have so long suffered. The revolutionary committees judged the present an opportune moment to revolt, and relied on aid from Greece or the intervention of the Powers.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 416.11

    Now, granting that Turkish misrule is all that is said of it, it must be remembered that Nero-whose name has become a synonym for cruelty-was on the throne when Paul wrote, by the Holy Spirit, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.” And in telling Titus how to establish the Cretians in the Gospel he said: “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers.” Christians are not found in revolt with arms in their hands. They can suffer and give their lives rather than do an evil thing, and can bear injustice to the death, and take it patiently, but they cannot render evil for evil. This militant idea of Christianity which is possessing all Christendom is bound to bring back just such times as broke upon the world when the Church in the early centuries turned from the principles of Jesus, and let worldly principles lead into violence and corruption.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 416.12

    “Where Rome Has Free Sway” The Present Truth, 12, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Where Rome Has Free Sway .-To see what the papal principle is we need to look to places where Rome has power to do as she pleases. Mr. Henry Norman, in the Cosmopolis, describes Manila, in the Philippine Islands, where Romanism rules, “unrestrained by any outside influence“:-PTUK June 25, 1896, page 416.13

    Here the Church has free sway, and interrupted by alien faith, undeterred by secular criticism. All is in the hands of the priests.... The people are plunged in superstition, and their principal professed interest in life (after cock-fighting) is the elaborate religious procession for which every feast-day offers a pretext.... If you would prosper, it is absolutely indispensable that you should be on good terms with the priests. Their suspicion and disfavour mean ruin. The personal liberty of the common man may almost be said to be in their keeping. It is hardly necessary to add that the people, as a whole, are idle and dissipated, and that most of the trade is in the hands of the foreign houses. Altogether Manila...is a remarkable and instructive example of the free natural development of “age-reared priestcraft, and the shapes of woe.”PTUK June 25, 1896, page 416.14

    “God’s or Man’s?” The Present Truth, 12, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    God’s or Man’s? -A Church paper, finding fault with the Government generally, says: “In the next place, when an attack was made upon the English Sunday, the Government failed to conserve this great institution.” It is well stated. It is only the English Sunday-nothing Divine about it, and dependent wholly upon human support, as its origin was only human. It is well to call things by their right name. We have the English sabbath, the Scottish sabbath, the American sabbath, etc., but none of these have anything to do with “the Sabbath of the Lord thy God,” save as they are all rivals to the one and only day that is claimed by the Lord, “the Lord’s day” indeed. The fact that Parliamentary bodies are looked to to conserve these national substitutes for God’s Sabbath shows that they are recognised as feeble human institutions unable to stand without support. God’s Sabbath stands eternally His, nor can all the powers of this world tear it down to set up the papal substitute in its place.PTUK June 25, 1896, page 416.15

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