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Spiritual Strength

Spiritual Strength

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. R. J. CAMPBELL, M.A,

" Strengthened with Might by His Spirit in the Inner
man"— Epkes. iii. i6.
BY REV. R. J. CAMPBELL, M.A,

" Strengthened with Might by His Spirit in the Inner
man"— Epkes. iii. i6.

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Published by: glennpease on Feb 08, 2014
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02/08/2014

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SPIRITUAL STRENGTH BY REV. R. J. CAMPBELL, M.A," Strengthened with Might by His Spirit in the Inner man"— Epkes. iii. i6. The epistle to the Ephesians might more fitly be called the epistle from the Ephesians, for although it bears the name of St. Paul, and exhibits many traces of his influence, its affinities are rather with the Johannine writings, and the epistle to the Hebrews than with Romans and Corinthians. Knowing as we do that the metropolitan city of Ephesus was the great centre of the type of thought associated with the name of the apostle John, we can see some reason why this Christian writing should be described as addressed to Ephesians. If it did not originate in Ephesus it came from the hand of one who had received his Christian training in the Ephesian atmosphere. But this fact has some interesting consequences. For one thing it did much to foster and encourage the great idea of the Catholic Church. Although
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not expressly stated, this idea permeates and colours all that the writer of this epistle has to say. It has been pointed out that Roman Catholic Christianity has drawn more support from the language of the epistle to the Ephesians than from all the Pauline SPIRITUAL STRENGTH 211 writings put together. How is this? Well, prin-cipally because Pauline Christianity begins with the individual, and emphasises continually the indi-vidual relationship of the Christian to his Lord ; on the other hand, this Ephesian writer, while greatly indebted to the mysticism of St. Paul, makes far more of the thought of an ideal humanity in which every individual unit shall be merged and fulfilled in the life of the whole. Of course, it is quite clear that this conception is always present to the mind of St. Paul too, but he does not give it the all-dominating place which it occupies in this epistle. To the man who wrote our text the whole objective of the Christian revelation was the production of a
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perfect spiritual society rooted and grounded in Christ; in fact, he sometimes seems to lose sight of society in his assertion of something even higher, namely, the mystic unity of a redeemed human race. The ideal is a very lofty one, and it is here set forth in a style appropriate to the theme. It is not the glowing, pointed, personal style of the apostle Paul, but it is not without a certain force and magic of its own. To catch the spirit of it w^e ought to realise that the early struggles between Jewish and Gentile Christianity are now over. You know, of course, to what I refer. Read the epistle to the Galatians, for instance, and see how bravely Paul fought for the inclusion of Gentiles within the benefits of the gospel of Christ on equal terms with converts of Jewish birth. We may wonder now that such a conflict was ever necessary, but it was. But by the time my text came to be written Paul's 212 SPIRITUAL STRENGTH
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