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6. Do the same with a list of Bible characters learned in your

church school. 7. Each member of the class make a list of the places studied and

add the new ones as they appear from lesson to lesson. 8. The class appoint a committee of two to have the Scripture

texts given in this book for each lesson marked in a Bible, so they may be ready if needed during the lesson period.

LESSON II

ASIA, THE CONTINENT OF CONTRASTS

“THE earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof," but the earth is also the home of man. The first home of the human race of which we have any record was in the continent of Asia. As we shall refer to even distant parts of Asia again and again, it is necessary for us to have a clear conception of it. Besides being the home of most of the peoples about whom we shall study in this book, parts of the continent are directly connected with our everyday life. We hear constantly of Japan and its silk, China and its tea and rice, and our own Philippine Islands, which furnish us manila hemp and sugar. Some of us may have friends who are teaching boys and girls in far-away India, or who are engineers building railroads in China or Manchuria.

Of most interest to us, however, is the fact that Asia is the cradle of the religion of the one true God. This religion was carried westward by Abraham, into Egypt by Joseph and his brothers, and was developed in the Sinai Peninsula and Palestine under Moses and Samuel. Elijah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah were among those who kept the religion of Jehovah alive during the period of idolatry among the children of Israel. Ezekiel, Nehemiah, and others helped the people to live it in Babylonia, where they were captives for many years. We have already noted in Lesson I how the Jews returned to Jerusalem, where they kept their religion alive until the coming of Christ. After his death Palestine became the Holy Land of the Christians as well as of the Jews.

Man is largely the product of his environment and to understand the growth of civilization in southwest Asia, where we are to visit, we must study very briefly the continent as a whole.

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We shall discover the natural conditions that aided or hindered human development.

WHY WE STUDY ASIA

"No man liveth to himself," but each is influenced more or less by his neighbors. This is true also of nations. As the earlier peoples increased they' moved into new districts, and differences in geographic conditions caused them to develop different ways of working and thinking. Tribes living in the cold, isolated highlands became hardy, brave, and often cruel, as are the Afghans. Those dwelling in the fertile valleys or broad plains, as the Chinese, Assyrians, and Babylonians, developed the natural resources of their country much more rapidly, and needed new tools and inventions to carry on their work.

Development of nations.—Their needs often brought peoples into contact with their neighbors. Quarrels arose and the stronger ones conquered the weaker. Nations soon grew up within great physical divisions bounded by highlands and waterways, as in China, India, Persia, and Mesopotamia. Countries in the highways between these warring nations suffered much, and were often conquered, as for example, Palestine and Syria by the Persians and Greeks. Tribes living on the sea developed into maritime nations and discovered new lands, as did the Phænicians.

Size and position.-Asia, the largest of the continents, has a broad belt of land extending from the Arctic Ocean to the Caspian Sea, attaching it to Europe. It joins Africa at the Isthmus of Suez, from which it stretches away to the Bering Sea within fifty miles of our own North America. The distance thus covered is 6,000 miles, or over one third of that around the world on the sixtieth parallel of latitude. If you were making this trip, you would have to change your watch ten times. Asia extends from within ninety miles of the equator to half way between the arctic circle and the north pole, or a distance of about 5,350 miles from south to north.

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