One in Forty

                Now it came to pass, about nine hundred years ago, that there was a king who wished to find a wife for his son. Therefore, this king commanded that a census be made of all the virgins in the city. When this census was completed, it was known that there were forty women that were available for the king’s son.

                Whereupon the king called in his son and said, “My son, you must go out among the people and select a wife for yourself.”

                “Father I will go,” replied the young man, whose name chanced to be Collin. “And I will return with her afterwards.”

                So saying the father and son took leave of each other, and the boy departed for to seek a wife.

                Now the father had prepared an escort for the son, which included twenty and five soldiers and four servants. These accompanied the prince and carried a list of names of the women for whom to speak to.

                The first was the daughter of a rich landowner. She wished to be excused so that she might inherit her father’s land.

                Another was a rich merchant who loved the riches of the city rather than that prince’s love.

                And so the search continued for many days. Some wanted nothing to do with the prince. Other some wished only to get into the castle, but wished to live their own life. Some wished to finish their own plans before joining the prince, and still others didn’t see a need of change in their lives.

                And so the names on the list were blotted out as the search continued. As the names on the list dwindled in number, the chances became smaller for the prince to find a wife.

                Now it came to pass on the last day of August, that the search reached its thirty-first day. All the names on the list had been blotted out save one: a girl by the name of Cornelia.

                Now Cornelia at twenty-one was a year younger than Prince Collin. She was the daughter of a poor farmer whose wife had been a harlot, and whose son had been a thief. As Cornelia was their only daughter, she was tenderly loved by her parents.

                Now this same Cornelia had been placed on the bottom of the list, the king’s scribes supposing that the prince would not want to see her. But Collin persisted in fulfilling the mission, and so went to see her.

                Upon arrival to the place, Cornelia’s father came out trembling. Falling on his knees before the prince, this same farmer asked that the prince spare the family and not grieve them worse than what had already befallen them.

                “I came,” said Collin, “out of mercy. I request to speak to your daughter Cornelia.”

                “But sir,” spake the farmer, “you will not want my daughter for your wife. She is much too poor to join you in yonder castle.”

                Nevertheless the prince prevailed with the farmer to speak to Cornelia, and the farmer brought in the prince to see Cornelia. The prince expressed his desire of marriage.

                “Nay,” said Cornelia, “I cannot be your wife. I am too poor to join you and have no garment fit for the castle.”

                “Nothing is required of you, dear girl, but to love me with all of your heart and soul and mind and to follow me withersoever I lead you.”

                At this one of the servants shewed a garment which was as white as snow. “This garment shall become yours,” said Collin.

                “If you can love me,” said Cornelia, “then I will love you.”

                Therefore, the day was set for the wedding, and the two arrived at the castle three days afterwards.

                The two were very happy, as was Collin’s father, the king. Cornelia was accepted by all of the servants, and many were certified that this same poor girl had become the king’s daughter.

                But it came to pass after three years had gone by that Cornelia was taken in the act of stealing by one of the servants. When asked what he would do, Collin requested to speak to Cornelia privately.

                “My dear,” said he, “what is this that I hear of thee? Thou art said to have stolen money.”

                “My lord,” said she, weeping bitter tears, “I am sorry. The door was there and no one was watching. I wanted a little extra money; forgive me.”

                “I truly believe thou art repentant,” said he, kissing her fondly. “Thou art forgiven.”

                Now some indeed thought Cornelia should be put out of the castle, but Collin refused, saying that she had been forgiven.

                But in the process of time, Cornelia was brought to Collin. “Your wife,” said a servant, “was taking a silver cup from the café.”

                Collin again spoke to her, upon which she repented and was forgiven.

                But when Cornelia was apprehended stealing a silver spoon from the kitchen, Collin placed her in ward for a week.

                “My dear,” Collin said when he released her from prison, “take heed what you do. Forty lashes shall be given you if this occurs again. Steal no more, for worse punishment shall be given you.”

                “Sir,” asked one which worked in the court, “why do you not divorce your wife and bar her from the castle?”

                “Because,” said Collin, “she is my wife, and shall always be. I love her, and she truly loves me and does not want to steal. It is a battle for her to resist it. I believe she will not be found to steal again.”

                Now it came to pass in the process of time that as Cornelia was walking along the fields that she happened upon some wildflowers. “How pretty,” said she, as she began picking them. “These would look nice on our table.”

                Now a certain robber was also on the trail and traveling towards that castle. This same robber happened upon Cornelia as she was carrying her bouquet to the castle. Seizing her by the arm, the robber demanded her money, and threatened to slay her if she refused.

                “Help!” cried Cornelia. “Collin, help! A robber!”

                Collin immediately appeared with his sword drawn, while two other soldiers were not far behind. “Leave her alone!” he called out, “lest I smite thee.”

                Whereupon the robber quickly withdrew, leaving the two in peace.

                “Oh my love,” Cornelia said, “Thank you.”

                “Thou art surely welcome,” said Collin. “Thou never needest to be afraid to call upon me. I will always be there.”

                “And I, my lord,” said Cornelia, “shall always remember this day, and shall never again put my hand to steal.”

                “I believe you, my love,” said he, kissing her.

                The two walked home in peace.      

A Wedding

Okay, so perhaps this isn’t your typical Bible conference post, but at any rate, I thought I’d share it with you.

                Now, as many of you know, I don’t normally share personal stories. But after a little thought, I decided to ask Antoine about this. As you remember from A Day with the Millers, my family and I spent an entire day with Brother Antoine. It was then that he shared this story with us while we were on tonight’s topic. Antoine told us this story, and linked it to the subject. So after talking to him, I decided to release this story.

Continue reading

One Day

“Well,” I began after we climbed into the car that Friday night as we headed to the hotel, “that was a good one, too.”

            “Yes,” Felicity agreed. “It was. What a sad view to believe.”

            “Not much different from Post-Trib,” Steve observed. “In both cases, you get to die.”

*                                  *                                  *                                  *

            “There,” Steve said, setting the case in the trunk. “Mama packed an extra set of clothes for today.”

            I nodded my head. “Alright,” I said as I checked to see his fingers were out of the way before shutting the trunk. “Everyone ready?”

            We climbed in the car, prayed briefly for safety today, and started up. Backing the car up,  I put it in drive and we wheeled out the parking lot.

            “This glad morning since the night is o’er/ We’ll drive away,” Steve started our travel version of I’ll Fly Away. The children had one verse so far that they had modified (or murdered—not sure which).

            “We’ll drive away, drive away (Oh glory!)/We’ll drive away/When night’s done (Hallelujah!) by and by/We’ll drive away!” they finished.

            “Could we sing the real song?” Susie asked.

            Felicity began the song in her alto voice, “Some glad morning…”

             We sang all the way to the Martins’, and arrived about three minutes early.

            “Good morning,” Ed greeted us as we walked to his door. Ruth, David, and the twins stood just behind him. Emily and Anna emerged from the kitchen.

            “We take our shoes off,” Ed stated when I caught sight of seven pairs of socks standing around. “Keeps the house cleaner.”

            “That’s what we think too,” I agreed as we took our shoes off. “We take our shoes off at home, too.”

            Just then the Millers emerged from their various locations.

            “Good morning,” Antoine declared. “You all are a little early.”

            “A little, I guess,” I stated.

            “But breakfast is almost ready,” he stated. “If everyone wants to head to the kitchen.”

            We marched our way to the kitchen and sat down. After Ed led in prayer, I glanced around in the kitchen. Six adults: Ed and his wife, Emily; Antoine and his wife, Anna; and Felicity and I sat like islands among the sea of children: my three, Steve, Susie, and Joel; Ed’s five, Anna, David, Ruth, Rachel, and Rebecca; and Antoine’s six, Sharon, Adeline, Luke, Timothy, Lisa, and Esther.

            The breakfast was well done: fried eggs, scrambled eggs (which was a good thing—Felicity and Susie both can’t stand fried eggs), sausage, biscuits, gravy, and hash browns. Condiments included ketchup, mustard, grape, peach and strawberry jelly, and butter. And to wash it down, the Martins had water, juice, or milk (including chocolate syrup—much to Steve and Joel’s delight). All ate well, and there was some leftovers, which, (upon Ed’s insistence), we agreed to take when we got back. Ed read two chapters from Revelation after breakfast.

            After eating and reading, the sea of children (ranging in age from about eighteen to four)scattered throughout the house (and outside), while we adults prepared to leave.

            Once dinner (uh—the noon meal, that is) was ready, Antoine called the children in to finish getting ready. “Remember to get extra clothes so you have dry ones,” Emily instructed. “Oh, by the way,” she added, turning to me, “do you need clothes?”

            “Uh, no, thanks, we packed some,” I replied.

            “Alright,” she smiled. “Just wanted to make sure.”

            After everyone was ready, Ed led in prayer, and then we headed (after putting all those shoes on) to the vehicles.

            We followed the Martins and the Millers all the way to Biloxi, and then all of us drove to the beach. It was somewhat difficult to find a spot, being a Saturday, but we finally did.

            The rest of the day was spent there, with the typical activities. One time Antoine quoted a story I might have heard once or twice before:

            Antoine was helping some of the boys put together a sand castle. After it was finished, he stood up and remarked, “Reminds me of the story about the scientists.”   

            “What’s that?” I asked.           

            “Scientists told God, ‘With all our equipment and technology, we can do anything you can do!’” he began. “God said, ‘Okay, build a man.’ The scientists said, ‘Well, you built a man out of dirt, we’ll build a man out of dirt.’ God said, ‘NOPE! Get your own dirt!’”

            Everyone laughed.

            We ate around one in the afternoon. The Martins had packed lunchmeat, cheese, bread, sandwich condiments, fruit, and Antoine and Ed left briefly to pick up ice cream. Since they offered, I went with them. We picked up ice cream sandwiches at Wal-Mart and returned about twenty-thirty minutes after we left.

            After dinner (uh—the noon meal; well, maybe I should call it the afternoon meal), we played a bit more in the water, and then the children asked for a story. Antoine volunteered and then sailed off into a pirate story that I will try to share with everyone soon.

            As the afternoon became late, we quickly cleaned up and changed our clothes. Then we left for the church, after stopping briefly at the Martins’ house for the leftovers. It had been a great day with fellow children of God, and we all were looking forward to this evening.