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    December 23, 1897

    “Lessons From the Book of Hebrews. The Fruits of Grace” The Present Truth, 13, 51.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Our last lesson, Hebrews 6:1-6, showed that the unpardonable sin is the sin that is not repented of, or, rather, the sin of wilfully rejecting the grace that brings salvation.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 802.1

    “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” Matthew 12:31.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 802.2


    It was through the eternal Spirit “that Christ offered Himself.” Hebrews 9:14. The rejection of the Holy Ghost is the rejection of the means of salvation which the Holy Spirit provides. Now “whosoever will” may be saved. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. There is no sin that man can possibly commit for which there is not forgiveness, for “with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption.” Psalm 130:7. But if a man will not be forgiven, if he does despite to the Spirit of grace; how can there be salvation for him? Will you say, “Is not God able to provide other means?” If you do, you impeach His goodness, by implying that His present salvation is deficient-that He has not done all that He could. But He has given Himself, and that is all that there is to give; it is enough, and none need reproach God because there is no salvation for those who will not be saved ; no life for those who reject the Author of life.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 802.3

    Bear in mind that the text speaks of those whom it is impossible to renew again unto repentance, and not of those who repent but cannot find salvation. The fault, therefore, is not with God, but with the ones who resist all His gracious efforts to renew them. For note further that the very text implies the utmost effort on the part of God, for it says, “it is impossible, ... if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance.” But if the utmost effort were not put forth, it could not be said that it is impossible. So the test before us teaches us, contrary to what many think, that God never remits His efforts to save men. Here then is hope for the sinner. Do you wish to be saved?—“Yes.” Well, God is most anxious for you to be saved; now if you are willing and anxious, and He is also willing and anxious, what can hinder it? for He has all power.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 802.4


    So we continue our reading in the same line:—PTUK December 23, 1897, page 802.5

    “For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God; but that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.” Hebrews 6:7, 8.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 802.6

    The bringing forth of fruit by the earth is used by the Lord as an illustration of the bearing of the fruits of righteousness by men. “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, so shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth.” Isaiah 55:10, 11. “For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:11.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 802.7

    Again we read: “So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.” Mark 4:26, 27. But it is the rain from heaven, that causes the earth to bring forth and bud; therefore, as already read, the rain that falls on the earth is a visible representation of the grace and righteousness that God rains upon men. Thus we read: “Drop down ye heavens from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together.” Isaiah 45:8.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 802.8


    Let us now see how it is with the rain upon the earth. God said to Job: “Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; to cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, where there is no man; to satisfy the desoate and waste ground, and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?” Job 38:25-27. God's rain is like His grace; indeed, it is His grace, for Christ refers to it to show His kindness and forgiveness: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to then that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you; that ye may he the children of your Father which is in heaven; for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and unjust.” Matthew 5:44, 45. God sends rain upon the wicked man's farm, as well as the garden of the saint; yea, He sends rain on the desert, on the barren rocks, and on the sea. He is not sparing of His gifts. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Romans 5:20.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 802.9

    Just as the rain comes for the purpose of causing the earth to bring forth fruit, and it falls not only on the soft, rich soil, but on the hard, barren, desolate places, so with God's grace that brings salvation. The barren soil, or the soil that brings forth only thorns and thistles cannot plead as an excuse that it does not receive any encouragement in the shape of moisture. So in the text before us, Hebrews 6:7, 8, the rain is represented as falling oft upon both the earth that is fruitful and upon that which brings forth thorns and thistles. The earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it “receiveth blessing of God. But if it bear thorns and briers, it is rejected. It receives the grace of God in vain. So we see that even those texts which men so naturally use to prove that God has laid some hindrance in the way of their salvation, are full of encouragement.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 803.1

    It is all mercy that comes from God. “Yes, but the Bible says, that He hath mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.” Very true; but you should read the connection. Go back a few verses: “What shall we say, then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath lie mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.” Romans 9:14-18.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 803.2


    Can you not see that it is all mercy and compassion? He does not say that He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and that He will withhold it from whom He will withhold it. No; but it is mercy and compassion. But how about the hardening? Why, that comes simply from mercy rejected. When the plagues were on Pharaoh he said, “I have sinned,“ and promised to obey the Lord, and let Israel go; but as soon as God took away the plague, his heart was hardened. There are some folks who look upon kindness and favour as an indication of weakness. When God took away the plagues, Pharaoh looked upon it as an evidence that God was giving way, and that he was prevailing, and so he presumed upon God's mercy. The same sunshine has both a softening and a hardening effect. The rain that falls upon some soil makes it soft for the plough, while the same rain makes other soil hard and stiff.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 803.3

    “But the earth is not to blame for that.” No; of course not, for the earth is inanimate, and so is not an absolutely perfect illustration of man, who is endowed with the power to reason and to will. Man is to blame if he receives the gifts of God in vain. The rain of grace falls constantly. “Showers of blessing” the Lord gives. If the soul drinks it in, the fruits of righteousness will be brought forth, for they are the fruits meet for Him by whom it is dressed. If, in spite of God's ever-flowing mercy, the soul remains obdurate, despising the riches of His goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing nor caring that this goodness is to bring it to repentance, it heaps up to itself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. See Romans 2:4, 5. But God will be clear when He judges.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 803.4

    “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love which ye have showed toward His name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” Hebrews 6:9, 10.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 803.5

    “It is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13), yet He gives the soul credit for the work which it allows God to accomplish in it just as though it was spontaneous. There is nothing without God, yet He says, “For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself.” Mark 4:28. He counts it to the credit of the earth; just as though it had done it all. So when we yield to the influence of His Spirit, and the fruits of the Spirit appear, God counts it to us just as though we ourselves had originated it; for He endows us with His own Divine nature, and calls it our own. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” “Praise the Lord; for He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever.”PTUK December 23, 1897, page 803.6

    “There's a wideness in God's mercy,
    Like the wideness of the sea;
    There's a kindness in His justice,
    Which is more than liberty.
    PTUK December 23, 1897, page 803.7

    “If our love were but more simple,
    We should take Him at His word;
    And our lives would be all sunshine
    In the sweetness of our Lord.”
    PTUK December 23, 1897, page 803.8

    “Papal Supremacy” The Present Truth, 13, 51.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Speaking of the Papist riots in Manchester against lectures hostile to the Papacy, the Methodist Times says:—PTUK December 23, 1897, page 803.9

    Papists, especially Irish Papists, who are very clever journalists, have to a large extent either muzzled or corrupted our Press. So far as we are aware the entire metropolitan Press has maintained a conspiracy of silence in relation to the Manchester riots. If the brutal rioters had been Protestants, every newspaper in England would have denounced them in long leading articles. There is scarcely a secular newspaper which has not in its office an editor, sub-editor, news editor or reporter, who is a Papist. News hostile to Popery is constantly excluded. Fictions and extravagant eulogies and exaggerations on the side of Popery are placarded daily.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 803.10

    This is undoubtedly true, yet in spite of it, the Methodist Times declares that “Romanism is going down, down, down, all over the world.” The wish is undoubtedly father to the thought. To be sure it says, “A century ago the Romanist population outnumbered the Protestant population by one hundred millions. To-day we are equal in number. At the present rate of progress we shall within the first two decades of the twentieth century, outnumber them by thirty millions.” We do not know as to the correctness of these figures; but they do not signify in this case. Nothing in this world is more misleading than religious statistics. It is not quantity, but quality that counts. When the Romanists are all Romanists, and a large proportion of the so-called Protestants are imbued with Romanist principles, the figures do not afford much ground for self-congratulation.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 803.11

    “Boys’ Literature” The Present Truth, 13, 51.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A morning paper, which makes a specialty of its literary page, says in reviewing the Christmas literature for boys:—PTUK December 23, 1897, page 804.1

    Adventure and daring are still the staple and unfailing theme. The old three-decker, the pirateship, the treasure island, and the glorious wars are the things which still delight the sons of an age which is called degenerate. We have heard the present Bishop of London tell a story of a perfectly model boy. He had gained a Board-school scholarship, and the local County Council had engaged to train him free for any craft or trade he might desire, and when asked to write down what he wished to be, he wrote: “A pirate, please.” How far the County Council was legally bound to fulfil this holy desire we do not know, but we could willingly have written a whole library of books for that boy.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 804.2

    A taste for stories of blood and crime is here treated as a hearty symptom, something proving that the age is not “degenerate.” Such a taste proves rather that it is. It is far from being amusing, as the reviewer regards it.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 804.3

    “Survivals from Old Pagan Superstitions” The Present Truth, 13, 51.

    E. J. Waggoner


    As Christmas itself comes not from any connection with the birth of Christ-for He was not born at this time of the year, and Christmas was invented several centuries after Christ to take the place of the Roman festival of the Saturnalia-so, too, it is interesting to notice that many of the old world customs connected with it are distinctly traceable to their ancient origin in pagan sun or fire worship. In the Christmas number of the Queen, Lady Cunninghame has an article on the subject in which she says:—PTUK December 23, 1897, page 804.4

    “Many a religious observance, as well as many a household habit and everyday custom, may be traced back to times which, pagan and barbaric as they were, have given to the world of to-day some of its most cherished and poetic fancies. Let us give as an instance appropriate to the present season the burning of the Yule Log.... It takes the burning of the Yule Log out of the category of ordinary Christmas customs when we realise that it owes its origin to the religious ceremonies of pagan ancestor worship, and that the old-fashioned custom of lighting the Christmas log from the remains of the old one is a link in the chain that binds its to bygone times, when, to quote Max Müller, ‘the hearth was the first altar, the father the first elder, his wife, and children, and slaves, the first congregation, gathered together round the sacred fire.’PTUK December 23, 1897, page 804.5

    “It is not fifty years ago since, in Lanarkshire, it was considered unlucky to give a light to anyone on the morning of the New Year, and if the house fire was allowed to go out that day recourse must be had to the embers of the village bonfire.... In heathen days there was a sacred fire burning on a public hearth in every village, which was never allowed to go out. The Beltane fires of the Middle Ages were evidently in direct succession from these village hearths, round which all might gather. A curious relic of fire-worship was to be met with in Scotland when the century was young. It was called the festival of ‘The Clavie,’ and was held every year soon after Christmas, the scene being the little fishing village of Burghead. A tar-barrel was burnt on the shore, and as it fell to pieces there was a wild rush on the part of the fishwives of the place, eager to secure a piece of the lighted wood. With this a fire on each cottage hearth was at once lighted, which must be kept alight for the rest of the year if any ‘luck aboot the hoose’ was to be expected.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 804.6

    “An Admission Concerning Baptism” The Present Truth, 13, 51.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Rev. Canon Gore is delivering the Advent lectures in Westminster Abbey, and in the one on “Baptism and Confirmation,“ as published in The Church Times of December 10, we find the following statement:—PTUK December 23, 1897, page 804.7

    Baptism, you know, was at first administered,-at least generally,-by immersion.... This going down into the water, this plunging under the water, and this rising again from the water, represented the burial of Christ: “Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him.” It was part of the symbol. It has been my privilege in India to baptize a good many people by immersion at one time: and certainly it has a power of symbolism which our modern methods of baptizing here in the West have not. Nor can we but desire that where circumstances admit of it this practice of baptism by immersion should continue, and should be practised, so that people should not forget that this was the original and normal mode in which people were meant to be baptized, and which carried with it a perfect symbolism, such as the other has only in part.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 804.8

    This is simple truth, and there is no reason in the world why the expressive symbol should not be retained, for circumstances always admit of it. It was not the inclemency of the weather, but the spirit of apostasy from the Word, that led to its abandonment. Christ sent His disciples to preach the Gospel and to baptize, not sprinkle, in all the world, and He understood the climate of the world. The writer of this note has himself administered baptism in the open air in zero weather, and has seen the ordinance administered when the ice had to be broken, but has never heard of an instance where the slightest illness of inconvenience resulted. Men live, not die, by the word of the Lord.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 804.9

    “Strikes” The Present Truth, 13, 51.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The last Board of Trade return shows that in the last three years 15,500,000 days were lost in trade strikes. That is nearly equal to an entire year's idleness on the part of 60,000 men. The net difference in wages is shown to be a loss of some 18,500,000 a week. These figures ought to lead the labouring men to a serious consideration of the question if strikes pay. There is, to be sure, a far higher objection to strikes, but this is a thing that can be appreciated even by those who reject the law of Christ.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 804.10

    “Items of Interest” The Present Truth, 13, 51.

    E. J. Waggoner

    -British ships carry seven-tenths of the world's ocean-borne commerce.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 814.1

    -Engineers in Hamburg work 50? hours for 24s. In England the rate is 39s. for 54 hours.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 814.2

    -Two-thirds of the Spanish people are said to be Carlists, opposed to the present dynasty.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 814.3

    -Westmoreland is the most thinly populated county in England, having seven acres to each inhabitant.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 814.4

    -The departure of the German squadron for Chinese waters was the occasion of the most enthusiastic demonstrations in Germany.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 814.5

    -90,000 men, women, and children in Thessaly are dependent on charity from abroad. The suffering caused by war does not cease when the war ceases.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 814.6

    -Even now in Greece there is a strong party against the acceptance of the treaty of peace with Turkey, and the Government delayed its conclusion fearing a defeat in the Greek Chamber.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 814.7

    -Every ton of Atlantic water, when evaporated, yields 11 pounds of salt; a ton of Pacific water, 79 pounds; Arctic and Antarctic maters yield 85 pounds to the ton, and Dead Sea water, 187 pounds.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 814.8

    -The Jewish population of the world in January, 1897, was estimated at 10,000,000, distributed as follows: In Europe,7,701,208; in Asia, 260,000; in Africa, 336,506; in America, 772,000; in Australia, 15,135.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 814.9

    -While Austria is politically in a state bordering on chaos, Hungary has shown in contrast such strength and firmness that it is said to be more than Austria a bulwark of the Austrian Throne and of the Dual Monarchy. One party in Hungary desires separation, but it seems to be in the minority.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 814.10

    -The warships of the various Powers are hovering round the Chinese Coasts. When the word is given there is sure to be a scramble for China, which is a far richer prize than Africa. Russian warships are said to be shadowing British and Japanese ships. A Bible Society agent says that Russian soldiers are all about in Manchuria.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 814.11

    -The retirement of the advance frontier force in the Afridi country toward winter quarters was accomplished under severe fighting. The tribesmen fought bravely, and those really responsible for the rising are reported defiant as ever. It is considered quite probable in military circles at home that the campaign will be taken up in the spring. Now the snows and cold weather make the advance impossible.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 814.12

    -According to a consular report, the great salt wells at Tsz-Liu-Ching, in China, find work for no fewer than 350,000 people, in respect of the operation of the wells, and the necessary refining machinery. Most of the shafts are from 3,000 to 3,000 feet deep, and are said to have been bored by a form of hammer drill, supported at the end of bamboo ropes. The brine is raised from the wells by buckets and windlasses, the latter being driven by buffalo power.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 814.13

    “Back Page” The Present Truth, 13, 51.

    E. J. Waggoner

    An effort is being made, it is said, to give the Roman Catholic Archbishop a seat in the House of Lords as a life Peer, along with the Anglican Bishops.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.1

    The Bishop of London has been presented with a new mitre, of burnished ivory, on which, in gold letters, in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English, are the words, “Holiness to the Lord.”PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.2

    Many think it hard that the Lord should ask them to turn aside from the world and walk in the way of His commandments. The hardness, however, is in the world's way. “The way of the transgressor is hard,“ and the multitude find it so too late. Only Christ's yoke is easy and His burden light.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.3

    “The world, one feels it more and more,“ says Dean Farrar, “is an amalgamation of falsities, hypocrisies, and prejudices; it still swaggers on in amicable alliance with the nominal Church, arm in arm with the flesh and the devil.” True words; and God calls to every soul to come out from the world and be separate from all its spirit and ways.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.4

    “I'll tell you what I think about this portion of Scripture,“ says some one who is anxious to do me good. No; don't do it; I am not at all concerned to know what you think about it; tell me what you know, and if you don't know anything about it, don't tell me anything. I can't afford to be bothered with anybody's guesses or speculations. I have ignorance enough of my own, without taking in somebody else's ignorance also. What I want is more light, not more fog. Tell me what you know, and tell how and why you know it, so that others may know it as well as you do, not because you have told them, but because they can see it for themselves.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.5

    The Lord told Paul that He would send him to the Gentiles, “to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light.” Acts 26:17, 18. Two things are therefore necessary: to have our eyes open, and to turn towards the light. To have open eyes in the dark, or to have eyes shut in the light, are both the same thing, and both amount to blindness.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.6

    There are many blind people who are not aware of it. The Lord says: “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; I counsel thee to buy of lIe gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” Revelation 3:17, 18.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.7

    What is the characteristic of a blind man?—This, that he cannot see. That is all. Now how often we hear one say, when a truth plainly stated in the Scripture is presented to him: “I cannot see it. The man doesn't know that he is blind. Indeed, while still protesting that he cannot see the thing that is put in plain, simple terms, he will sometimes presume to give a discourse upon light! Ah, we don't need to go to a blind man to learn to distinguish colours; and whoever says, “I can't see,” thereby declares himself to be blind. “Awake, thou that sleepest, and rise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light,“ for He is the Light, and He has the eyesalve.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.8

    A letter just received from a brother who has been sent by the Danish Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, to labour in Iceland, says:—PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.9

    Before I started I did hot know any Icelandic Sabbath-keepers. But here on the journey I have already met two, a man and his wife. They received the truth in America, through reading and had seen but one Adventist before they mat me; but they have been so strongly worked upon by the Spirit of God, to do something for Iceland, that they have sold their little farm, and are now on their journey to their native land, to seek to spread the truth.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.10

    Thus is the knowledge of God's Sabbath spread throughout the world. Truly, not in vain are the islands waiting for His law.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.11

    At a meeting of the Glasgow Corporation on the 16th, the question of opening the People's Palace on Sundays was discussed pro and con with great fervour, and to great length. Of course the fourth commandment was quoted against Sunday opening, and, unfortunately, there seemed to be no one present who was able to tell the council that the fourth commandment has no reference whatever to Sunday, except to tell all men to work on it. The proposal to open on Sundays was lost, eighteen members voting for it, and forty-four against it.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.12

    “Dishonouring the Cross of Christ” The Present Truth, 13, 51.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Dishonouring the Cross of Christ.—Cardinal Kopp has sent the following telegram to the German Emperor:—PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.13

    The voyage of your illustrious brother to the Far East for the protection of the Cross is consecrated by the sincerest blessings.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.14

    We have nothing to say of the work in which the Emperor is engaged, but would only call attention to the idea that the cross is to be protected. Only the weak need protection. But the cross of Christ is the power of God. It is the protector and refuge of those who flee to it. It has no more need of protection than has God Himself. All so-called “holy wars;” all crusades, every exercise of force for the “defence” or “support” of the religion of Christ, is simply an evidence of unbelief in the value of that religion. Heathen gods must needs be protected, since they cannot help themselves; but God is the Refuge of His people. No greater contempt could be heaped upon the cross, than to talk about protecting or defending it. If men would but acknowledge their own helplessness, and trust the power of the cross to save, we should hear no more patronising talk about defending the Lord, and wars would cease unto the ends of the earth.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.15

    “What War Is” The Present Truth, 13, 51.

    E. J. Waggoner

    What War Is .—Writing in the British Medical Journal, of gunshot wounds on the modern battle-field, a surgeon, who treats the matter merely from the professional point of view, says some things which show the demoniacal nature of war. Of the new Dum-dum bullet, now being used on the Indian frontier, he says:—PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.16

    I am told on authority that on impact it collapses “like a concertina,“ making so ghastly a wound that in all probability it would be forbidden in European warfare.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.17

    And of a service revolver bullet, he says:—PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.18

    On entering the body, the front acts like a wadding punch, cutting a clean circular hole, which does not close up, like those caused by other bullets. Expansion commences at once, and after travelling six inches it produces a jagged hole four inches in diameter, a wound doubtless sufficient to finish even a fanatic.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.19

    These results are attained after long study and experimentation to produce such a bullet.PTUK December 23, 1897, page 816.20

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