Untitled, illustrated by Thomas Noyes-Lewis.
Little Colour Cards, Series VI.
Leighton Buzzard: Faith Press, 1920.
Digitized by Richard Mammana, 2011.
1. The Two Witnesses. On the Mount of Transfiguration the glory shone through and the Two Witnesses of the Old Testament, Moses and Elijah, were seen with our Lord. They were the greatest of the prophets to whom the knowledge of God had been given in the olden days. Prophet in Hebrew is nabi, a word which means outpouring! The spirit of God is pictured as a reservoir of living water which lies behind this word and gushes forth. Even the heathen have a little of this outpouring, but the main stream of the Water of Life (note the water flowing at the bottom of the picture) was in the chosen people, Israel, and in God's good time that water became the ocean of the Church. 2. S. John the Baptist. The prophets of the Old Testament lived and died. They form a chain of witnesses to Christ across history. The last of them was JOhn the Baptist, among whose followers the Christian Church began. Even our Saviour himself was a "Disciple of John" and the Christian Sacrament of Baptism was ordered by our Lord as a continual remembrance of the new Chosen People, the Children of the Spirit who spoke by the Prophets. The last word of the Old Testament is the first word of the New. Prophecy, remember, is the Keynote of the Churchman's Ministry. The Holy Spirit "who spake by the Prophets" comes to us in our Baptism, which is no longer by water only, but by water and the Holy Ghost. 3. The Ascension of our Lord into heaven marks the passing of the old Covenant into the New. After his Resurrection he walked again with his disciples for 40 days, teaching them the spirit of the Kingdom which he appointed them to rule. And then he passed from their sight. But in Sacrament he promised that he would be with them until the end of the world. The picture on the other side shows the cloud of heavenly witnesses which received him out of the sight of his apostles. They and the rest who had "companied with Jesus" are the cloud of earthly witnesses, which has grown into the Holy Catholic Church, every Christian is, therefore, first and foremost a witness to Jesus Christ as the Ruler of all things under God.
4. The First Whitsunday. Ten days after our Lord's Ascension came the Jewish Harvest Festival, a fitting day for the beginning of the harvest of souls in the Christian Church. As their daily custom was, the Apostles were all together in one place. Suddenly a great chance was wrought in them by the Holy Spirit, whose coming to them was marked by tongues of fire and the sounds of a great wind. They at once began to preach the Gospel to the crowds who assembled outside. The period of waiting was over. Active work had begun. Their mission to go into all the world and baptise had been given to them by their Master. They had now the Holy Spirit to guide them on their way. 5. At the Beautiful Gate. The power of the Holy Spirit at once began to work and many were baptised. Many sick people were also healed, one such cure brought trouble upon the Apostles, for it was wrought at the Gate of the Temple called Beautiful, and a great crowd gathered to whom SS. Peter and John took the opportunity to preach. The police of the Temple arrested them and brought them before the Council. This is the first breach between the Church and the old order, for the Apostles naturally refused to stop preaching Jesus. Fortunately the moderate Jews were able to protect the Church from persecution and it continued to grow. 6. The Seven Deacons. One result of the growth of the Church was that the management of the moneys of the Common Fund became a burden. The Apostles accordingly appointed Seven Deacons (or Ministers), with the special office of looking after the money. The Common Fund was a free-will offering made by the faithful, each spending as little as possible of his earnings on himself in order that there might be more to give away. The Seven Deacons are the first officers of the Church to be appointed other than the Apostles themselves, and with the priests (or elders), form the third grade of the Sacred Ministry.
7. The Trial of Stephen. Naturally the Deacons had many opportunities of preaching to those who were not Christians. And they made use of these opportunities. One Deacon especially attracted attention by the number of converts he made. So the Jews brought Stephen (that was his name) to trial for disbelieving the religion of the Old Testament. He defended himself ably, pointing out that the "new" Faith of Jesus was the fulfilment of the Old. Looking up he had a vision of Jesus in glory; but the Jews howled him down, dragged him out, and stoned him to death—the first Martyr of the Gospel but not the last. 8. Philip and the Ethiopian. A fierce persecution, headed by a young man named Saul, followed the murder of Stephen, and most Christians (but not the Apostles), fled from Jerusalem. Another Deacon, named Philip, went to Samaria and founded a Chruch there, the people being half-Jews and, therefore, already instructed in the Old Testament. Leaving Samaria, Philip planted the Gospel among another race of half-Jews, the S. Arabians and Ethiopians. An opportunity for this came out of a chance meeting with an official of the Queen of Ethiopia, who was returning from worship at Jerusalem, he was baptised and took the Gospel home with him. 9. The Conversion of St Paul. Meanwhile the leader of the persecution, Saul, had been converted by a vision which he received on the Damascus Road. He was travelling to root out Christianity at Damascus when he was smitted with blindness and heard Jesus calling to him. Humbled by the shock, he submitted to the laying on of hands by a Christian prophet, which restored his sight. He was baptised and came to Jerusalem to repent to the Apostles. While there, he tells us in 2. Cor., he had a vision of Jesus while praying in the Temple, and received commission to go forth as an Apostle.
10. The Vision of S. Peter. Meanwhile another enemy had arisen against the Church. A very wicked man, Herod Agrippa, had succeeded in becoming King of the Jews. To make friends with them he killed James and scattered the Apostolic College. Peter went down to Joppa, there he had a vision (see picture), of all sorts of animals let down from heaven in a sheet. He was hungry and a voice told him to kill and eat, but none of the animals were of the kinds a Jew was allowed to eat. While he wondered, messengers came to call him to baptise a Gentile, and he understood that in future all men (and animals) were alike to God. 11. Antioch. Saul (afterwards called Paul), settled at Antioch, the capital of Syria, of which Palestine is part. The Church had now spread from Jews to half-Jews (like the Samaritans) and from half-Jews to Greeks. On the other side is a picture of Antioch as it was. In the sky is a vision of St. George and the Dragon. Why? Before for many, many centuries men there had learnt to look for a champion who would overcome evil and put everything right. Our St. George has acquired the ancient legend, but the fact underlying it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. From Antioch then the mission of Paul and Barnabas went forth to tell of the Saviour-champion of the world. 12. The Living Water. We do not follow the history of the Way further than the beginning of the Church in Antioch. At first Jerusalem was jealous and tried to tie all converts to the narrow paths of the old law. But after a conference between the two Churches, Jerusalem and Antioch, freedom to worship God in their own way was allowed to the Greeks, and from that time forward the Flood of Living Waters has been spreading throughout the world. We began with the Transfiguration and the Two Witnesses. We end with our great High Priest between the angels of the two earliest Apostolic Churches. Our own Church is a branch of the stream flowing from their united efforts.
Untitled, illustrated by Thomas Noyes-Lewis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.