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TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN, BY THE REV. ALEXANDER NAPIER, M.A.,
VICAR OF HOLKHAM, NORFOLK.
DUBLIN: JAMES M'GLASHAN.
101. a. 132,
THE EPISTLE OF PAUL
PRACTICALLY AND HISTORICALLY CONSIDERED.
When the Spirit of God revealed to holy men of old the word of Truth, to be by them proclaimed for the salvation of men, -- when He revealed Himself, through their life, their discourses, their writings, as the vessels of His Spirit,--this is not to be regarded as a fact of sole occurrence, and as belonging only to the Past. To us, as living members of the body of Christ, partakers of the communion of the Spirit—a communion which connects the Present, as a part, with the progressive development of the whole, since the first outpouring of the Spirit by the glorified Son of Man,—this cannot be as a dispensation in which we have no interest or concern; the Past must become to us the Present. We need, it is true, no further new revelations, but we must feel, as if the Lord had spoken to us at this moment, inasmuch as He has given us instruction, sufficient for all the higher requirements of the Present, inasmuch as He has declared everything which it is needful for us to know, that we may find consolation under all present sufferings,—the means of certain victory in all our conflicts,—the clue to extricate us from a labyrinth of embarrassments of an age however disorganised. As the pre-requisite to this attainment, we must attentively investigate the ascertained historical conditions and relations under which these vessels of the Spirit of God spoke and acted; we must place ourselves livingly in the Past, and in