In that ancient day when, as related in the book of Exodus, laws were formulated for the government of the children of Israel, provision was made for the keeping of three festivals, one of which was to be celebrated during the harvest season. "Thou shalt keep . . . the feast of harvest," runs the record, "the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field." From the earliest times, it seems, mankind has been wont to express gratitude for the bounteous return for its labors in the field, even though behind this recognition lay superstition and fear. The titular deity which was supposed to preside over the destinies of the crops and flocks was to be appeased in such manner as would best assure continued prosperity, expressed in plenteous increase.

With a clearer concept of Deity, the one infinite God came to be recognized as the source of increase and of all good. While gratitude for abundant harvests was not lessened, its form of expression changed from ceremonies with the purpose of appeasing Deity, the better to insure the abundance of the next year's crops, to the expression of heartfelt thanksgiving and praise for the increase, accompanied by an abiding assurance of God's munificent provisions for the future needs of the willing and obedient. The children of Israel very generally celebrated the season of harvest, and with increasing spirituality. As the old traditions were departed from, clearer glimpses of the truth of being were had, and a more comprehensive understanding of God as Life.

The Kinship of Spirit
November 1, 1922

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