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HE Gospel, which was founded by deeds, is
spread by NARRATIVE.
Narrative, not yet
written, but current in the mouths of eye-witnesses and of holy men. The journal of that diffusion runs thus 'Such an one went down to the city of such a people, and proclaimed unto them THE WORD. And the Word was concerning Jesus of Nazareth how that God anointed Him with the Holy Ghost and with power: concerning his life, and his words, and his death, and his rising again, and his going up into heaven.' 'I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you,' writes St. Paul to the Corinthians, speaking of the great facts of the Resurrection. And it is to be ob
served that, in what follows, he enumerates the
many separate appearances of the Lord in order,
and calls to their mind how that he had given them all these details while he was among them. This points to a care and precision as regards the completeness and order of facts, which we should hardly have been disposed to predicate of the fervid Apostle of the Gentiles. And it is most valuable, as pointing to the kind of foundation which was laid before the Gospel testimony was committed to writing.
Perhaps we do not sufficiently realise in our imaginations the state of the newly founded Churches during this first and deeply interesting period. And perhaps in consequence we do not appreciate the full significance of the apostolic Epistles, and their entire appropriateness to the work which was then to be done.
Let us, by way of introduction to the Epistles, take the case of one such church, in Asia Minor or on the opposite shores of Greece, and endeavour to enter into its state and its wants.
Imagine a fair plain, with sheltering mountains. The scenery differs not much from that which some of us have seen in the south of Italy, save that the palm has somewhat, encroached on the cypress and the olive which latter trees however are found