Tests, Trials, Temptations

  A test is a procedure for critical evaluation; a means of determining the presence, quality, or truth of something.American Heritage Dictionary
  A trial is an examination of evidence and applicable law by a competent tribunal to determine the issue of specified charges or claims; the act or process of testing, trying, or putting to the proof.American Heritage Dictionary
  A temptation is something that is tempting or enticing.American Heritage Dictionary
  Tests, trials and temptations are all initiations, methods by which God gathers real evidence and proofs of your soul’s state of being. He tests you to determine the quality and truth of your soul’s state of being, which is the degree to which you are free of self. Cyclically, you are tried to prove whether you have more completely become the virtues and soul qualities to which you aspire, and your degree of conquering.
  Most temptations appeal to the physical senses, primarily taste and touchgustatory and sensual; some escapist temptations distort realitydrugs and alcohol. Other temptations invite you to wallow in emotion or indulge in mental malpractice and idle words or acts.

Edna Lister on Tests, Trials, and Temptations

An initiation consists of assuming a greater responsibility. Then tests are sent to you, to see if you are worthy and well qualified.–Edna Lister, January 30, 1933

You must pass your tests all alone.–Edna Lister, The Holy Spirit’s Work in Man, June 9, 1935

You can fail the initiation by complaining afterward.–Edna Lister, August 15, 1938

Set a guard on your lips, tongue, heart and mind so that when temptation comes, as it must to strengthen you, it will not find you weak, but in the full glory of strong Christed stature.–Edna Lister, October 25, 1938

Be prepared in your mind and heart to meet all tests with deep devotion and consecration to the Father and the Master.–Edna Lister, September 6, 1938

God will try you in the fire of life’s furnace until you are the pure gold of Spirit.–Edna Lister, December 26, 1938

Aircraft firms test every plane for structural weakness since each must be strong enough for high flight. The Father tests every ascending soul for dry rot, soft spots and weakness so that the soul can ascend in strength and endurance, so no lives will be lost. The ascending Elect are leaders, teachers, ensamples of life and law. When such a soul fails, he takes many others to the bottom.–Edna Lister, April 19, 1939

Your initiations consist of many tests, trials and temptations, and your great degrees have many lesser or subsidiary degrees. You must have them, for you are building a ladder from earth to heaven.–Edna Lister, Seven Degrees, June 7, 1939

Delay is a hard test of fire to overcome perfectly.–Edna Lister, December 7, 1939

The secret of success in passing all initiations is never speaking of blame or permitting blame. Take everything that comes and lift it all.–Edna Lister, December 11, 1939

God uses law to try, test, tempt the soul for weakness, dry rot, doubt, fear, pride and arrogance of place, position, knowledge of law, all criticism and demands, condemning and falsely judging.–Edna Lister, January 28, 1941

One initiation involves laughing your way through every situation for six months. The only sacrifice you can make is laughter for discomfort.–Edna Lister, July 3, 1941

To pass higher in soul ascension, God must test you for hidden weaknesses. Like testing a cable to bear a heavier load, every added strain pulls on each hidden strand. He tests you slowly, so that your Guardian Angels can strengthen you without harm when you show weakness.–Edna Lister, September 25, 1941

You do not always receive warnings that initiations are at hand. God shines the Lights on you to unveil your true soul advance, and watches while you live as you personally desire, to test your balance of desires.–Edna Lister, November 2, 1942

Each year is a higher cycle of advance. Trials, tests and temptations are on a higher vibration but they are for the same things you passed last year at this time.–Edna Lister, December 1, 1942

Your physical body reacts to the point of feeling blistered when your full sacrifice of desire accompanies inner high fire initiations, which is proof you are passing. You have no physical reaction when your sacrifice is only mental.–Edna Lister, December 28, 1944

Love alone places you in the position you have earned. All else is apt to prove a Tempter, and cause you to lose formerly-held ground.–Edna Lister, January 4, 1945

Sometimes an order contradicts a previous order, which is an initiation for instant obedience.–Edna Lister, January 31, 1945

Your tests come like a thief in the night.
  Obeying a hundred times when it’s not a test is better than obeying just to gain credits.–Edna Lister, July 6, 1945

Be alive and alert or you will fail when the test comes.–Edna Lister, July 8, 1945

When someone criticizes you, it shows what is under your surface. When you forget the test, temptation or trial and seize on the reprimand, law counts it as self-pity, self-pride, resentment, rebellion, intolerance or grief.
  God never gives you a test you cannot pass. All tests are two-part. If you do not pass the obvious trial, you can pass the second part, the initiation on anger or self-pity.–Edna Lister, July 11, 1945

Your colors may not flare in pride or resentment, even during initiations.–Edna Lister, July 23, 1945

At the time of a test is the time to rejoice, to be happy and joyous.–Edna Lister, August 6, 1945

Conquering the same old things wins new initiations. You build new creations on old conquering.–Edna Lister, September 1, 1945

Nothing is small. God tests you on the small incidents to build the strength to overcome all the large ones.–Edna Lister, September 20, 1945

If you still let self rule instead of soul, your cry under all forms of initiation is, "Lord, look into my heart and judge its purity" instead of seeking the selfish cause of your self-pity.–Edna Lister, September 28, 1945

When you pay debts and finish initiations, you move higher. Nothing lasts forever.–Edna Lister, February 18, 1946

Each must pass tests and trials of endurance of faith almost too great to bear at times, yet trials are your shares of debt to lighten the world’s burden of darkness.–Edna Lister, February 7, 1947

Every initiation opens a new basement and the Power seems to decline.–Edna Lister, April 7, 1947

Adepts use soul substance through control. They do not lift self or take initiations, but are very happy in their imagined control of Power.–Edna Lister, May 16, 1947

Analyze and look at self during the test.–Edna Lister, June 20, 1947

The traps will be deep, broad and slick on the sides. They will come until nothing is left to excuse, explain, modify, justify or think of self.–Edna Lister, June 20, 1947

Tests will come until your subconscious mind no longer gives excuses for not accepting responsibility, but silently take full blame for all around you.–Edna Lister, August 21, 1947

You can hold another high enough to overcome his low desires or withstand temptation only when you are fully in the Light. When you descend to the other fellow’s level, he can win against you.–Edna Lister, August 24, 1947

Being alone, in retreat from the world, does no good. Being tested in the fire is the only way to conquer selsf.–Edna Lister, December 13, 194

To go off and pray about it at the time of a test leaves the self free to continue as before. During the test is the time to lash the self into obedience.–Edna Lister, January 8, 1948

The Laws of the Crown initiations demand implicit obedience to law without question.–Edna Lister, March 21, 1948

If you claim 60% success in an initiation, 40% is left. This idea attracts debts to pay, and hounds you mentally and physically. Each day in every way, lift self’s remnants for Light to dissolve.–Edna Lister, June 3, 1948

True spiritual work is not a smorgasbord buffet where you may pick and choose, but a feast to which all are invited. Yet certain restrictions apply: You must scrape the platter clean after each course, or level of initiation, before the next may be served. To those who say, I can’t stand green beans, the law says, Eat your whole dinner or you’ll not get dessert, which is the Light of full comprehension. I can’t stand green beans is the self saying, I repudiate this law, lesson or truth. When you repudiate law, you throw your whole platter on the floor. Then you are embarrassed when you must squat to clean up the mess you yourself have created. Stop acting like a child. Sit at the table and mind your manners. Remember that a solitary green bean grew the stalk that Jack climbed all the way to the top.–Edna Lister, December 13, 1948

Whom God loves, He chastens. When God promotes you, He sends tests or temptations to try you for temper and ability to bear strains and burdens.–Edna Lister, February 3, 1949

God will try you until all your words build your soul’s vision. Cleanse your speech of retaliation and revenge until your soul speaks.–Edna Lister, July 13, 1949

Some initiations are harder than others. Though they shake you from top to bottom, it is easier if you take them in joy. Wearing a hair shirt of doubt or fear makes initiations harder.–Edna Lister, August 15, 1949

God calls His best beloved to stand in trying places because there are trying places where someone must stand, and the careless and indifferent are not great enough for such service.–Edna Lister, October 3, 1950

The trap, from Adept to Christos, lies in being tempted to ask why and how long the tests will last.–Edna Lister, Three Temptations on the Way, November 12, 1950

When God sends another soul crucifying humiliations, griefs or disappointments almost too great to bear, He tests your reaction to that soul’s experience.–Edna Lister, May 9, 1951

You cannot go Home until you have learned your lessons. Initiation is right where you are now. Tragically not everyone accepts that the kingdom of heaven is open to all believers. You receive credit on your report cards for the good you have done. Yet you still return to work out your own salvation here, and can, no matter how difficult, because you know.
  An unwavering desire for perfection will take you through the final degrees of initiation.–Edna Lister, June 14, 1951

The 33rd Degree is the toughest of all in tests, trials by fire and temptations and there are bloody temptations for the heart does bleed over the pulling out of the roots of self. Until the feet have been washed in the blood of the heart, no student is worthy to ascend.–Edna Lister, April 22, 1952

All your difficulties come between your high points of happiness because until self is fully cleansed, it is vulnerable to dark suggestions while your soul consciousness is high. So, the tests must come until all remaining darkness is lifted.–Edna Lister, The Golden Chalice, September 21, 1952

Taking chances usually deals with small initiations. Ask, is it right for you to do it once if doing it every time is not right for all?–Edna Lister, May 28, 1953

The whole of life and its tests, trials by fire and temptations, is for one purpose only, to ascend you to your divine Source point of origin.–Edna Lister, The Ten Virgins, May 8, 1955

After Ascension Day, God decides whether you receive a diploma or must retake the same initiations.–Edna Lister, August 7, 1955

Any new position presents challenges, obstacles to overcome, and barriers to burn away through hard work. The Path of Destiny tests the soul for courage and endurance. It is very narrow and offers no place where you can turn around and go back. Once you step onto the Path of Destiny, you sign a contract with your Source of Power, and something beyond explanation takes place. No matter what misunderstandings you encounter, no matter how much it hurts, a deathless desire takes over and you cannot quit. To do and to endure becomes your slogan.
  You must fan the flame of desire constantly until it becomes a burning, flaming, and consuming fire in your life. Only then can you fully enjoy that active, youthful state of consciousness you must hold through all the tests and trials of the world.–Edna Lister, Eternal Youth, 1956

Your tests are always about your worst favorites! They show you that you have more polishing to do. Therefore, stand and complete the lesson, no matter how it is being presented. Do not allow yourself the pleasure or convenience of waiting for a better time to face the same issue. Soon you learn to welcome these outer tests of strength, which teach you your highest and finest contact with God and His Power.–Edna Lister, Eternal Youth, 1956

You cannot see or hear fully or go to the Source until you have completed the mastery initiations.–Edna Lister, May 9, 1957

The 33 Via Christa Degrees are initiations by temptations on every law, from Neophyte to Christos.–Edna Lister, June 6, 1957

You face testing and initiation after the golden silence, when irritation, impatience and antagonism overtake you. If you love God enough to accept the blame that goes with irritation or resentment, you can put others higher in the Light to heal them and you too.–Edna Lister, December 2, 1957

Dreams of marriage mean initiations on the inner.–Edna Lister, July 7, 1958

The faster your initiations come, the faster you can ascend.–Edna Lister, September 4, 1958

If trials by fire still come as a surprise, look back and know that you would not be there had you been thinking clearly.–Edna Lister, December 15, 1958

You gain mastery by accepting responsibility under tests and trials.–Edna Lister, Transfiguration, Resurrection and Ascension, May 19, 1959

"I accept" is the testing for how much Power God can entrust to you. "I accept" promotes you to a sense of joy if you have accepted without a grudge, but you create a debt if you imagine that God thinks you are bad.–Edna Lister, July 13, 1959

Under morality, you accept law socially, and through tests and temptations you learn how to agree with God, adjust to man and release Power.–Edna Lister, The 33 Degrees of Soul Conquering, October 20, 1959

An initiation sets a higher goal of Ascension. After you choose to move higher in sacrifice of self, you make new vows. If you did not make a conscious vow on earth, you will still have a haunting memory of it. Almost at once it will open a new cycle of tests, temptations and trials to burn away the dross of self.–Edna Lister, October 24, 1959

In the wilderness, the devil tempted Jesus to misuse the Substance, Power and Mind of God. The "devil" represents both outer darkness and self taints. Everyone faces these three temptations and forty days and nights filled with heavy tests and trials by fire. When you find yourself kicking against the pricks, it is a warning that you have gone lax in your application of law. When the same people keep telling you what to do, it means you will not accept a new law. Whenever you find yourself in a period that seems like a previous one, you have entered a new series of forty days and nights.
  When annoying situations or others’ negative reactions hit you repeatedly, it means you have more to learn under illumination. The forty days of illumination generally more than equal the forty nights of temptation, provided you do not complain or lament. Pride may have entered and the law calls you to prove yourself again. You must, must remember the laws you learned. They are the "pearls of great price" that you add to your crown of comprehension of God.
  From birth until you ascend, you undergo repeated trials and tests. You may be tempted to rest on your laurels after a promotion, when you think you’ve learned a lesson and are tired of being challenged and tested. But the next lesson promptly comes and you find you are not so hot. All tests and initiations are to rid your consciousness of self and to learn to live as an ascending creator god. Everyone repeats these phases of three until they progress from instinctive intelligence and intellectual reasoning into intuitive comprehension of divine law.–Edna Lister, Tomorrow Is Yours, December 13, 1959

You can charge a debt of blame with a few words. You can lift it, but cannot free the person whom you have blamed, and he must take the initiation again. Placing a debt of blame on another is a challenge that he retakes all the initiations connected with that particular matter and a direct demand that he be chastened for misuse of law. The challenger, however, must pay double.
  It’s easy to gain. The trick is to hold.–Edna Lister, December 17, 1959

Do not tempt God with inaccurate words.–Edna Lister, February 11, 1960

Whenever you challenge another, or are prima donna-ed and praised, you will be tested, tempted and tried.
  Light tests you repeatedly for misuse of Mind, Power and Substance. You double your work and interest in the inner while you take your stand on the outer without blame or bitterness in your heart. You do not make excuses, or even speak about it. You do not need to be slapped for the same thing twice.–Edna Lister, March 30, 1960

The higher you go, the more tests you will face. If you always love God fervently, you need no tests because you would not let go. So, if you are being tested, you still have not reached that high point of freedom.–Edna Lister, How Can I Help Myself? May 31, 1960

You must keep lifting taints so you do not slide down the greased pole of self during tests.–Edna Lister, How Can I Help Myself, May 31, 1960

God never leads you into temptation, but you lead yourself with self thinking and devotion to self.–Edna Lister, The Ladder of Faith, December 18, 1960

Put God first in worship and love. If you excuse the self, you drop from the circle of responsibility into the depths of self. How far you drop depends on you. If you are constantly subject to trials by fire, look for your failures in responsibility.–Edna Lister, December 29, 1960.

Each level of initiation requires that you coordinate your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual contact.–Edna Lister, June 9, 1961

One initiation is hearing something that seems so familiar that you knew it years agoa shift in your awareness makes it new. First you must accept it as a new law to add to your daily living, to your goal as something to live up to. You cannot ascend fully until you lift the life sparks you have invested in idle words. We call this lifting "tests." When you ascend, you deal in universal substance, not your soul substance. You then face your personal three temptations. If you pass only 10%, you receive credit and continue; some have passed initiations 1% at a time.–Edna Lister, The Seven-Branched Candle Stand, October 10, 1961

The initiation of Rebirth is a new awakening of conscience and what it means to obey law.–Edna Lister, Heaven, a Place to Fill, April 10, 1962

Rajah yoga teaches loss of identity in cosmic consciousness, yet personality and form always exist, which Oriental religions do not teach. At one place, they ask you to give up personal identity as a great initiation.–Edna Lister, Fourteen Stations of the Cross, April 17, 1962

When one challenges another, he must pass the same initiations, seven times hotter and harder.–Edna Lister, May 15, 1962

The tests never cease.–Edna Lister, November 26, 1962

You may ask for anything in the Master’s name, and endure temptation until you have it.–Edna Lister, August 15, 1963

There is no room at the top for the one who wearies of ascension. It is their privilege to linger where they are, without desire to ascend, yet they must, by the laws, regress and forget what they had. Only those with the burning desire can take the law from the Source. The others grow weary, faint and fail. At transition they will review all of their neglected work, and the penalty of regression, which is to repeat from the beginning of the initiation the work laid aside, however they hold open the Gates of Light for their ascension. This is universal law and may not be set aside for any.–Edna Lister, July 26, 1964

Every laugh, smile, and hour of rejoicing furnishes needed credits for past initiations.–Edna Lister, November 28, 1964

When a physical test comes, do not deny it, accept it emotionally, or let it take charge of your subconscious mind. Ignore it and give it no room. Denial gives it substance for being, but ignoring it gives it no life, no substance.–Edna Lister, March 30, 1965

Temptation is putting a burden on a soul’s back greater than he can bear.–Edna Lister, January 12, 1966

God allows unpleasant testings when it pays a soul debt, promotes you or helps another to ascend.–Edna Lister, October 20, 1966

While your heart’s desire is perfect, you will always pass your initiations.–Edna Lister, October 26, 1966

You can desire perfection and still not spend time working for it. You may "hope" and "think" you will pass initiations this year, but thinking and hoping are not doing.–Edna Lister, October 26, 1967

Good manners are the first protocol of Ascension and the first initiation.–Edna Lister, Hold High Your Scepter of Power, May 31, 1970

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Stories That Illustrate the Three Temptations of Christ

Matthew’s Account: Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.–Matthew 4:1-11.

Luke’s Account: Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.–Luke 4:1-14

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New Testament Laws on Tests, Trials and Temptations

Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.–Matthew 4:7 and Luke 4:12

He that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.–Matthew 13:20-21

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.–Matthew 26:41 and Mark 14:38

They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.–Luke 8:13

Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.–Luke 12:15

Pray that ye enter not into temptation.–Luke 22:40

Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.–John 15:20

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.–John 16:33

We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.–Romans 5:3-5

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.–1 Corinthians 3:11-15

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.–1 Corinthians 10:13

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.–1 Thessalonians 5:21

If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.–Galatians 6:1

Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.–1 John 4:1-3.

Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.–James 1:2-4

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.–James 1:12-15

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.–1 Peter 4:12-13

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.–Revelation 3:10.

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The Lord will be found by those who tempt Him not; and shows Himself to those who trust him.–Wisdom of Solomon 1:2.

If you come to serve the Lord, prepare your soul for temptation.–Wisdom of Ben Sirach 2:1.

Before you pray, prepare yourself; and be not as one who tempts the Lord.–Wisdom of Ben Sirach 18:23.

The furnace proves the potter’s vessels; so the trial of man is in his reasoning.–Wisdom of Ben Sirach 27:5.

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of test: Latin testu, testum, "an earthen pot"; Latin testa, "shell."

Etymology of trial: Anglo-Norman trial, from trier, "to sort, try."

Etymology of temptation: Latin temptare, "to feel, to try."

Tests, trials and temptations are all initiations.


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed., Oxford University Press, 1971.

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