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Salvation

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Salvation", Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes paints a picture of himself as a little boy whose decisions at a church revival directly reflect mans own instinctive behavioral tendencies for obedience. A young Langston whose congregation wants him to go up and get saved, gives into obedience and ventures to the altar as if he has seen the light of the Holy Spirit.

Hughes goes on to say: " So I decided that maybe to save further trouble, I'd rather lie, too, and say that Jesus had come ,and get up and be saved ." In saying this, Langston has obviously overlooked his personal belief to meet the level of obedience laid out by the congregation. It leads us to fact that people may believe strongly in an idea or thought but will overlook that belief to be obedient. One can make a justified assumption that everyone in society has at one time or another overlooked his or her personal feelings to conform this occurrence whether it is instinctive or judgmental is one that each individual deals with a personal level.

He was a young boy who wanted to see Jesus, who wanted to earn salvation, but when he couldn't see Jesus, when everyone else saw,he found himself in the terrible position of disappointing not only himself but everyone in his community.He finally "saved" himself by pretending to see Jesus . He was saved not by love of Jesus as a congregation or preacher intended but by pretending to be other that who he was. One wanders what would have happened if he didn't stepped forward? Would they have seen a frightened boy? It is hard to say. However, it is kind of evident that he was afraid to be rejected;therefore, he fall into the trap of trying to please everyone. In addition, he met the needs of no one since he deceived everybody in church and himself as well.

Faith can not be based upon whether or not we receive what we want. Hughes waited long and hard for Jesus to come,and he believed that He would and should come since he asked him.

Hughes wasn't ready to put trust in God since He didn't succumb to his will. Even though his little body was knelling, he didn't humbled himself. The position of earnest subservience does not replace a prideful spirit. The bowling of the head and clenching of the hands are to be an outpouring of the spirit's state. Kneeling results from a humble prayer: humility doesn't come from kneeling. The question of the relationship between what we pray for and what actually happens is incorporated into "Salvation". Does God have to grant every request?

Langston Hughes creates a past experience into a true to life drama of guilt, deception, and grief, in "Salvation." He reveals the story of how he was forced into receiving Christ by his peers, relatives, and preacher. Helpless and alone, he struggles against overwhelming odds. After a long-winded sermon the children of the congregation are asked to come forward and accept Jesus.
Instead of moving forward, Langston waits for the Lord to come to him. When nothing happens, Langston goes forward anyway just to please his aunt and the church. In the end be is not only grief-stricken, but has Lost all belief in God.
Group pressure forced Langston into doing something that was totally against his good judgment. When Langston's friend Westley went forward the pressure increased twofold. Not only was he exposed to the persuasion of the church, but he realized that if Westley did it, it might be admissible. A similar situation might be Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
When Adam saw that Eve had taken of the fruit and was unharmed, he too ate of the tree of knowledge. Westley certainly hadn't been struck dead, so why not give in to save further trouble? If he didn't get saved everyone would turn against him. In a sense the congregation became his God because they pushed him into going to the platform.
The author gains the respect of the reader by telling the story from his point of view and in his own voice. He tells the story truthfully as accurately as he can remember it.
The highly vivid descriptions of the church, the preacher, and his aunt, help keep the momentum of the story rolling. Langston provides the main character an audience and the reader a bit of human excitement. He recreates the true drama of facing an opposing force without any outside help.
Although Langston Hughes believed in the reality of Jesus, he was deceivingly forced into doing something completely against his will. He fooled everyone by making an insincere decision. His emotions and feelings come out in the end of the story. Langston could hear himself thinking during the ordeal and he knew that he was alone. His final decision was based on what was sufficient for the congregation, not himself.
"Salvation" is an awesome portrayal of what true salvation is all about. It is a heart decision, not just walking down an aisle. It was Keith Green, the Gospel Artist, who once said: "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian, anymore than going to McDonald's makes you a hamburger." Endquote!
It is my sincere desire that those who don't know the Lord who read "Salvation" may understand what it really says in I John 1:9: If we confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead, we shall be saved."
Notice, confession is from belief in the heart, not out of peer pressure or submission to what everyone else wants you to do. I sincerely believe "Salvation" by Langston Hughes makes those who have merely walked down an aisle, not because they wanted to find Jesus, think twice.
When one truly finds Christ, it'll be from the heart, not from anything else.

"Salvation" is a chapter in The Big Sea, one of Langston Hughes' autobiographies. The ironic title foreshadows Hughes' loss of faith: " . . . now I didn't believe there was a Jesus any more, since he didn't come to help me." Hughes' experience demonstrates how adults confuse children when they don't explain the religious metaphors.
Auntie Reed is primarily responsible for Langston's loss of faith. Instead of explaining to the young Langston that Jesus' words as they appear in The Sermon on the Mount serve a useful guide for living one's life, she told him that "when you were saved you saw a light, and something happened to your insides!" This figurative description had no meaning for the boy, because he took these metaphors literally. He expected literally to see a light and literally to feel something happen to his insides. He believed his aunt's descriptions of salvation, because he had heard "a great many old people say the same thing."
During the last meeting of the revival when the children were to be saved, Langston gave up believing in Jesus, because he saw no light and did not feel Jesus had done something to his insides. As he sat on the mourners' bench with another young sinner named Westley, he felt guilty as the adults encouraged him to come and be saved. His confusion magnified when Westley finally got up and was "saved." Langston knew Westley had not experienced Jesus. So when Langston finally stood up to be saved, he lost his faith, because he knew the act was a lie. He had not seen a light and had not felt something happen. Westley had lied too and even said, "God damn" and didn't seem to be suffering for sins.

That night when Langston cries because he lied and deceived everybody, he shows that he is a good person. He didn't want to disappoint the adults. He knows he lied because he pretended to accept that metaphor when he did not even understand it. He suffered because he lied, which demonstrates that he was a good Christian who accepts the commandment against lying. But as a child the young Langston does not understand his own goodness. Auntie Reed is lost in the metaphor and completely misreads Langston's feelings. When she hears him crying, she explains to her husband that Langston experienced the Holy Ghost and saw Jesus.

Adult ignorance of a child's literal mind causes children to suffer loss of self- esteem. Adults become entangled in their metaphors and do not realize that those metaphors need to be interpreted for children. If Auntie Reed had explained that loving others and being loved by them is like a light in your life, twelve-year-old Langston would have accepted that as "seeing a light." If she had explained that seeing people respond to good deeds is seeing Jesus, he would have understood also. The unexplained metaphors of "light" and "seeing Jesus" resulted in confusion to the child, who then suffered a loss of faith in the existence of Christ and a loss of trust in his own good nature.
Salvation"--which appears in our Essay Sampler: Models of Good Writing (Part Three)--is an excerpt from The Big Sea (1940), an autobiography by Langston Hughes (1902-1967). Poet, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and newspaper columnist, Hughes is best known for his insightful and imaginative portrayals of African-American life from the 1920s through the 1960s.

In the short narrative "Salvation," Hughes recounts an incident from his childhood that deeply affected him at the time. To test how carefully you have read the essay, take this short quiz, and then compare your responses with the answers at the bottom of the page.

1. The first sentence of "Salvation"--"I was saved from sin when I was going on thirteen"--is an example of irony. After reading the essay, how might we reinterpret this opening sentence? (a) As it turns out, Hughes was actually only ten years old when he was saved from sin. (b) Hughes is fooling himself: he may think that he was saved from sin when he was a boy, but his lie in church shows that he did not want to be saved. (c) Although the boy wants to be saved, in the end he only pretends to be saved "to save further trouble." (d) The boy is saved because he stands up in church and is led to the platform. (e) Because the boy has no mind of his own, he simply imitates the behavior of his friend Westley. 2. Who has told young Langston about what he will see and hear and feel when he is saved? (a) his friend Westley (b) the preacher (c) the Holy Ghost (d) his Auntie Reed and a great many old people (e) the deacons and the old women 3. Why does Westley get up to be saved? (a) He has seen Jesus. (b) He is inspired by the prayers and songs of the congregation. (c) He is frightened by the preacher's sermon. (d) He wants to impress the young girls. (e) He tells Langston that he is tired of sitting on the mourner's bench. 4. Why does young Langston wait so long before getting up to be saved? (a) He wants to get revenge against his aunt for making him go to church. (b) He is terrified of the preacher. (c) He is not a very religious person. (d) He wants to see Jesus, and he is waiting for Jesus to appear. (e) He is afraid that God will strike him dead. 5. At the end of the essay, which one of the following reasons does Hughes not give to explain why he was crying? (a) He was afraid that God would punish him for lying. (b) He couldn't bear to tell Auntie Reed that he had lied in church. (c) He didn't want to tell his aunt that he had deceived everybody in the church. (d) He wasn't able to tell Auntie Reed that he had not seen Jesus. (e) He couldn't tell his aunt that he didn't believe that there was a Jesus anymore.

ANSWERS: 1. c; 2. d; 3. e; 4. d; 5. a.

In most people's lives, there comes a point in time where their perception changes abruptly; a single moment in their life when they come to a sudden realization. In Langston Hughes' "Salvation", contrary to all expectations, a young Hughes is not saved by Jesus, but is saved from his own innocence.
"Salvation" is the story of a young boy who has an experience of revelation. While attending a church revival, he comes to the sudden realization that Jesus will not physically come save him.
In the first three sentences of the essay, the speaker adopts a very childlike style. He makes use of simple words and keeps the sentences short, similar in style to that of an early aged teenager. But since the text is written in the past tense and the narrator mentions that he was "going on thirteen" (181), we know the speaker is now older. After reading a little further, we find that the style becomes more complex, with a more select choice of words and longer...... • Little kitten writes: "Lots of people will read the Bible and not fully understand what was read. I don't understand everything and no one will. some people do feel diffrently and some people don't weather he saved or not only god knows. Who save and whos not that gods business," • Trooper writes: "I have been invited to a few of these spiritual awakenings by friends. As a Catholic I have always found the concept of being `saved` as somewhat forced and foreign. Since baptism, which occured shorly after birth, I have always assumed that God was in our presence. My friends would talk of `transformations` that had occured to them after they had accepted Jesus Christ as their personal lord and saviour. They would ask me if I had accepted Jesus to which I would have to reply that God had always been a part of my life even before I remembered. Unlike them I could not write a magical date when a `transformation` had taken place within me. I noticed with this `transformation` came the additional pressure to interpret the Bible literally instead of figuratively. --- Perhaps what I write about is foreign to you. If you want to see the Catholic perspective, I would recommend Graham Green`s `The Heart of the Matter`, which has influence my thinking and hence my writing. ---- Still all in all, faith is a personal choice. I believe that we must be like Hughs and look through the `persuasion` to find the truth for ourselves." • The author writes about a previous revision: "The word "see" is italicised in the official copy. It's possible that it doesn't show up on some internet copies because of some technical reasons, but it's in the version I provided a link to, as well as the version given to me in my class, taken from a classic literature book. And you say that I wrote that Hughes was born again that night, but I'm trying to figure out which part of my essay you have read to give you that impression. I think I wrote very clearly that he was not REALLY saved, he only pretended it for his aunt and church. There is only one line that I say he was born again: "We can be sure that whatever Langston's family and church had hoped for him to feel through his acceptance of Christ, they had not imagined that he would be weeping under his pillow on the night he was born again." This is the only line where I refer to him as being "born again", and I did not mean that *I* personally thought he was born again. It was his family that was under that impression, because he CLAIMED to have been saved, and it was there perspective that I was addressing in that line." • The author writes about a previous revision: "Hi. Thank you for your thoughts Helen. I felt that Hughes was confused on whether the "light" was literal or metaphorical because of this line: "Still, I kept waiting to SEE Jesus." In the essay, the word "see" is italicised, which would seem to indicate that Langston took his aunts words literally. This is why I believe he was confused on the matter. Thanks!"

The Christianity meaning of salvation is the act of delivering from sin or saving from evil. ... A little boy’s view of salvation made him confused, misled and lost.
The little 12-year-old boy in Langston’s Hughes’ “Salvation” was confused because of what his aunt told him about what will happen when you become saved, but what she failed to remember is that he is only 12 years old. ... Something that he heard from his aunt ends up being a misrepresentation of salvation. ... Being a child, he did not realize that salvation came from within, and not what others had told him, so he was lost. ... At the same time, they were letting him down by a misrepresentation of salvation.

Langston Hughes
“Salvation”

Meaning

1. The main point of Hughes’s narrative is to describe how his experience of being “saved” only caused him to be disappointed in himself. This also results in his lying to the church and his feeling of guilt for doing so. The “saving” of Hughes eventually leads to his loss of faith in Jesus Christ. This just shows the reader how the pressure that an adult can have on a child causes so much damage to the infant who is not aware of what exactly is going on.

2. Hughes finally decides to get up after he grows impatient for waiting on Jesus to come to him and save him. He felt that since he was the last one on the mourner’s bench, the whole church was just waiting on him to be saved. Hughes’s didn’t want to hold everything up so long and he began to feel ashamed of himself for doing so. He also believed that if God had not punished Westley for lying to the church then he should lie too. This has a great affect on him afterward when he realizes what he had done. Hughes’s was feeling guilty at the fact that he had lied to everybody at the congregation, making them believe that he had in fact seen Jesus. This really brings him down and causes him to cry. This all results in his belief that Jesus in fact does not exist because he did not help him.

3. The title basically lays out the topic of the narrative to the reader. The first two sentences allow the reader to see that the narrative is something that is going to be contradicting of itself. Later as the story follows, one is able to see why Hughes’s would lay out such opposing ideas: the fact that Hughes was meant to be saved, but in his heart and mind, he never was, even though everybody else believed so. Hughes is saying that salvation was not what he was expecting it to be. In the end it all is up to the person and how they interpret this notion of salvation.

Purpose and Audience

1. Hughes’s probably wrote “Salvation” as part of his autobiography more than two decades after the experience because perhaps at an adult age he was able to fully understand what it was that happened in that event of his life. His purpose was simply to express his feelings by this significant event in his life. He was not at all trying to criticize his aunt and the other adults in the congregation. He was simply explaining the distance of the generations and how they differed in their way of thinking of certain concepts and things. This is shown when Hughes’s and his aunt have a difference in thought about what is expected from a “salvation.” “And I kept waiting serenely for Jesus, waiting, waiting-but he didn’t come.” Hughes’s (the younger generation) literally wanted to see Jesus and was expecting him to come to him. On the other hand his aunt (the older generation) thought that Hughes’s was crying “because the Holy Ghost had come into my life, and because I had seen Jesus.”

2. Hughes’s assumes that his readers are familiar with a typical black church. Where there is “much preaching, singing, praying, and shouting,” “rhythmical sermon, all moans and shouts and lonely cries and dire pictures of hell,” “sea of shouting,” “women leaped in the air,” and “few ecstatic ‘Amens.’”

3. The dialogue and the details of the sounds recreate the story of the event in the readers mind. This way the reader is able to put himself in Hughes’s shoes and get to feel the pressure that was being put into the situation. With the dialogue the reader literally connects with the story having this sense of understanding as to what the author was going through, almost feeling as if the dialogue is meant for the reader himself. The recreation of the sounds help to put the reader in the setting that the author was put in, envisioning the reader and surrounding him with the environment that Hughes’s was in at that time. All of this contributes to the strong feeling of attachment between the reader and the author. The things that add to the pressure is the repetition of the question “Why don’t you come? Why don’t you come to Jesus?” This adds to the frustration that Hughes’s experiences when he can no longer wait for Jesus, since he feels that he is “holding everything up so long.” Also the pressure intensifies when he becomes the last one on the mourner’s bench, the last to be “saved.”

Method and Structure

1. I think Hughes’s chose narration because it was his way of really putting down his feelings and emotions just as they were the way that he had experienced them. This would add to the credibility of the story and the effect that it would have on the reader based on criticism, due to the fact that this dealt with a argumentative topic: religion. The title could have been “Interpretations,” because it all had to do on how Hughes’s interpreted “salvation” and how other people of the church interpreted it as well.

2. Hughes mostly summarizes events after Westley is saved and the events that happened right after the service was over. He doesn’t go into much detail about the emotions of the people and their reactions when Westley claimed to be “saved.” After Hughes’s was saved, he ends that event with “…all the new young lambs were blessed in the name of God. Then joyous singing filled the room.” Right after this he goes right into, “That night…” This idea of summarizing takes away from the importance of the events to the story. Clearly one can see that the description of such events weren’t critical to the point of the narrative.

3. Hughes uses signal transitions: “Going on thirteen,” “for weeks,” “then just before,” “for days ahead,” “then,” “still,” “finally,” “now,” “suddenly,” “when things quieted down,” and “that night.” These signal transitions are used throughout the essay, mainly at the time of the “salvation.”

4. The process analysis of the understanding of how a revival meeting works is critical to the essay. Without this piece of information a reader who is not known with such things would not be able to connect with Hughes’s due to the lack of knowledge of such an event. The reader has to be acquainted with the material that he is reading to even gain a sort of relationship with the author. The fact that Hughes did lay out the process set a ground for the reader to connect to the story.

Language

1. Hughes’s language reveals that he was writing this story as if he were still a child, holding on to the feelings and thoughts of that time. During the time of the event, Hughes’s felt more confused and frustrated because Jesus would not come to him. He was beginning to feel afraid that Jesus would not come. “I wanted something to happen to me, but nothing happened.” Towards the end of the story this all changes to feelings of guilt, disillusionment, and sadness. “That night…I cried.” “I couldn’t bear to tell her that I had lied…and that now I didn’t believe there was a Jesus anymore, since he didn’t come to help me.”

2. The effect of the short sentences and the beginnings of the sentences with the word And, emphasize the idea of this being a child. This allows the reader to truly feel as if a child were telling the story, which would take the reader back to that time that event took place. Overall, this adds to the credibility that the story is in fact that of a confused and vulnerable child.

3. Hughes thought that when his aunt explained to him that he would “see” Jesus, he expected to literally “see” Jesus in flesh and blood like any other human being. His aunt and the other members of the church viewed the “seeing” of Jesus as something more spiritual and mental, feeling a close connection with God through their body and soul. The significance of this in Hughes’s story is the difference of perception between the two generations. Children take things literal, while adults take things more into consideration dealing with emotions, feelings, and thoughts.

Langston Hughes creates a past experience into a true to life drama of guilt, deception, and grief, in "Salvation." He reveals the story of how he was forced into receiving Christ by his peers, relatives, and preacher. Helpless and alone, he struggles against overwhelming odds. After a long-winded sermon the children of the congregation are asked to come forward and accept Jesus.
Instead of moving forward, Langston waits for the Lord to come to him. When nothing happens, Langston goes forward anyway just to please his aunt and the church. In the end be is not only grief-stricken, but has Lost all belief in God.
Group pressure forced Langston into doing something that was totally against his good judgment. When Langston's friend Westley went forward the pressure increased twofold. Not only was he exposed to the persuasion of the church, but he realized that if Westley did it, it might be admissable. A similar situation might be Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
When Adam saw that Eve had taken of the fruit and was unharmed, he too ate of the tree of knowledge. Westley certainly hadn't been struck dead, so why not give in to save further trouble? If he didn't get saved everyone would turn against him. In a sense the congregation became his God because they pushed him into going to the platform.
The author gains the respect of the reader by telling the story from his point of view and in his own voice. He tells the story truthfully as accurately as he can remember it.
The highly vivid descriptions of the church, the preacher, and his aunt, help keep the momentum of the story rolling. Langston provides the main character an audience and the reader a bit of human excitement. He recreates the true drama of facing an opposing force without any outside help.
Although Langston Hughes believed in the reality of Jesus, he was deceivingly forced into doing something completely against his will. He fooled everyone by making an insincere decision. His emotions and feelings come out in the end of the story. Langston could hear himself thinking during the ordeal and he knew that he was alone. His final decision was based on what was sufficient for the congregation, not himself.
"Salvation" is an awesome portrayal of what true salvation is all about. It is a heart decision, not just walking down an aisle. It was Keith Green, the Gospel Artist, who once said: "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian, anymore than going to McDonald's makes you a hamburger." Endquote!
It is my sincere desire that those who don't know the Lord who read "Salvation" may understand what it really says in I John 1:9: If we confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead, we shall be saved."
Notice, confession is from belief in the heart, not out of peer pressure or submission to what everyone else wants you to do. I sincerely believe "Salvation" by Langston Hughes makes those who have merely walked down an aisle, not because they wanted to find Jesus, think twice.
When one truly finds Christ, it'll be from the heart, not from anything else, and true happiness will be the result...
Don Alexander is owner of leading-online-business.com and writes on a variety of subjects. To learn more about this topic Don recommends you visit http://www.homebusinessjobs.biz

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...Salvation Living in a country where we are entitled to freedom of religion, many of us have grown to have our own beliefs and ways of viewing religion on a whole. There are others who have been pressured by family or friends to believe in God and him alone. Sometimes with the pressure of others, we can begin to believe in something that we truly do not feel is right. In the essay “Salvation” by Langston Hughes, the main character faces a struggle of wanting to be saved by God. Does he want to be saved for his sake? Or has his salvation been influenced and forced upon by family members? Our main character and narrator in “Salvation” goes by the name of Langston. Langston attends church with his aunt and desires salvation from Jesus Christ. His aunt has told him that “when you were saved you saw a light, and something happened to you inside! And Jesus came into your life.” When it was time for Langston’s salvation he saw nothing and felt nothing, to him it seemed as if God wasn’t real. He proceeded to head to the altar even though he did not see that light or feel the spirit. He later feels regret for “lying” about seeing the light and being saved. This creates a question of, what is the true meaning of Salvation? Salvation is being saved or protected from harm or being saved or delivered from some dire situation. To me, salvation is when you feel safe and free from all things you feel hold you back, this may not have to be a spiritual or religious act, just the thought......

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...Biblical Perspective, What Is Salvation Salvation simply stated “Is the deliverance from our sinful nature and eternal punishment through Gods gifted grace.” With-in several scriptures and books of the Bible, you can find diverse illustration’s explaining the provisions for salvation. Christ crucifixion on the cross paid the price for our salvation; God’s grace extended to us through the sacrifice of Christ his [Son]. In Mark 10:24-27, the idea of salvation being a gift from God, not anything that we can procure through self-enterprise was introduced. Isaiah speaks of how [He] took upon Himself our transgressions and iniquities; peace was given to us through the penance that was placed on him, and healing came through [His] wounds (Isaiah 53:5). In (John 1:23) he makes reference to Christ being the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” I find it fascinated how prior to Christ, it was in the Law of Moses to offer a sacrifice to God for atonement of sin. Typically this was a [lamb] having no unclean markings and John the Baptist indicated Christ as the [Lamb]. The very definition of “Jesus” derived from the Hebrew name “Yeshua” means salvation. Instructed by an Angel, Joseph and Mary named Christ, Jesus, “for he will save his people from their sins” (Mat 1:21-23). Christ purpose for coming was to seek out, teach and save us from our sins. Perhaps the most critical component to salvation is the resurrection. “We would all still be in sin if Christ......

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...Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Salvation Salvation has been the most common term used in our churches today. But, what is salvation? Since I was a child, my parents always taught me that without salvation I was going to hell. Being so young and innocent, I would look at my parents and ask them, what I need to do to be saved. Their answer was simple. Fear God and stay away from sin; I guess that was my parent’s definition of salvation. Just like my parents, everyone has their own definition of salvation, depending on the religion you were brought up with and your faith. As I grew older, I came to realize that salvation not only involved fearing the maker but also salvation refers to being granted eternal life when the Day of Judgment comes. We all know temptation is real and the devil is not sleeping. I came to understand that salvation was everything to do with being spared from eternal penalty of sin. But that begs a different question; do all human beings deserve being spared the eternal fire? From the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament, we learn that only the righteous shall be saved and inherit the kingdom of God. During judgment day, while others will be rejoicing together with Christ in paradise others will be burning in eternal fire. Even the Bible states that salvation is only for those who will repent and turn to God. The prophet Ezekiel said “the soul who sins shall dies” (Ezekiel 18.4 NKJ). We can also see the same in the writing of the apostle Paul......

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The Salvation Army

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