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IT WAS seven weeks and four days since Christ had been nailed to the Cross. Fifty-three full days since the awful sentence that was so to change the course of mankind. A Procurator might brood in Herod's palace but his soldiery must patrol with watchful eye, for crowds of pilgrims were swarming upon Jerusalem eager to celebrate the Pentecostal rites, so ancient and significant to their race. On such a day, as the centurions well knew, the fires of nationalism could easily flare but as it happened there was no such trouble. Except by a few the tragedy of Calvary was either unknown or dimmed in the memory and a festive mood occupied the twisted streets. Rich harvest there must have been for the merchants and bazaars; and the clang of Roman arms, surely a minor note in all that Eastern tumult, continued to exact the usual respect although in the afternoon there was an incident which could not have escaped the attention of the patrol commanders. Around one narrow corner the flow of the mob had halted and the gay jostle and babble had faded as a man flanked by a small group of zealous-eyed companions began to speak. From his simple dress, the gnarl of his hands, the weathering of his face, one would judge him to be a laborer. He certainly was no known Doctor or richly fringed Pharisee yet he spoke, and with a strange authority, of God. And so eloquent was his faith, so convincing was his testimony that his haphazardly congregated audience, numbering between two and three thousand, did not jeer or scoff but listened with respect. It was the first sermon of Peter, the beginning of the Church on earth as an organized society, administered by men. A momentous event, this gathering on the crowded street, the commencement of a long story that has never yet sighted the horizon of finality, a story stained with blood and tears and woven with glory and shame, with triumph and disaster, but never obscured with the blanket of absolute defeat.