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[286] and power of the gospel as a matter of actual experience; it bears unmistakable evidence of a realization, on the part of its author, of the truth, that Christianity is not simply historical and traditional, but present and permanent, with its roots in the infinite past and its branches in the infinite future, the eternal spring and growth of Divine love; not the dying echo of words uttered centuries ago, never to be repeated, but God's good tidings spoken afresh in every soul,—the perennial fountain and unstinted outflow of wisdom and goodness, forever old and forever new. It is a lofty plea for patience, trust, hope, and holy confidence, under the shadow, as well as in the light, of Christian experience, whether the cloud seems to reston the tabernacle, or moves guidingly forward. It is perhaps too exclusively addressed to those who minister in the inner sanctuary, to be entirely intelligible to the vaster number who wait in the outer courts; it overlooks, perhaps, too much the solidarity and oneness of humanity;1 but all who read it will feel its earnestness, and confess to the singular beauty of its style, the strong, steady march of its argument, and the wide and varied learning which illustrates it. To use the language of one of its reviewers in the Scottish press:—

Beauty there is in the book; exquisite glimpses into the loveliness of nature here and there shine out from its lines,—a charm wanting which meditative

1 ‘The good are not so good as I once thought, nor the bad so evil, and in all there is more for grace to make advantage of, and more to testify for God and holiness, than I once believed.’ —Baxter.

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Richard Baxter (1)
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