The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for the ‘Matthias Scheeben’ Category

(UPDATED) Resources For The Ascension (for both Forms of the Rite)

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 12, 2010

Note: in some diocese the Ascension is celebrated on Thursday, May 13th, as is traditional, others will celebrate it on Sunday, May 16th, this post can be used for preparing for both.  Those who celebrated the Ascension on Thursday can find resources for the normal Sunday Mass here.

This post contains resources for Ascension Thursday/Ascension Sunday for both forms of the Roman Rite, along with some general resources.  It will be updated several times between now and Ascension Day.

Monday updates are marked with a pound sign (#).  Tuesday update marked %.  Wednesday’s updates marked $

General Resources:

  • Commentary on the SummaReginald Garrigou-LaGrange’s commentary on St Thomas’ teaching regarding the Ascension.

Ordinary Form of the Rite:

  • #Aquinas’ Lecture on Hebrews: Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:19-23 is the alternate Epistle reading.
    • On Heb. 9:23-28The link below to the lecture on 10:19-25 is broken, but you can scroll down to find it.
    • On Heb 10:19-23.  Link is broke, scroll down from above link.

Extraordinary Form of the Rite:

  • Aquinas’ Homily Notes on the Gospel Reading.  Oops!  Sorry, these notes have not survived.
  • Commentary on the Epistle (i.e., the first) ReadingAn exegetical sermon by Bishop Bonomelli.  Like the previous links this reading is based upon the pre-Vatican II lectionary used in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  It should be noted however that this reading (Acts 1:1-15) has been mostly retained in the Ordinary Form, which uses Acts 1:1-11.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Dogmatic Theology, Matthias Scheeben, ST THOMAS AND THE SUMMA, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

The Glories of Divine Grace

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 16, 2009

The following is from the GLORIES OF DIVINE GRACE by Matthias Scheeben.
1.  All good things come to me together with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.  She is an infinite treasure to men, which they that use, become the friends of God, being commended for the gifts of discipline (Wis 7:11, 14).

These beautiful words which the Book of Wisdom speaks in praise of the wisdom that comes from God, may also be applied to Divine grace.  The true and heavenly wisdom of which Holy Scriptures speaks, is, indeed, that supernatural enlightenment which the sun of eternal wisdom infuses into our souls from the bosom of Divine light.  This wisdom is itself a grace, or rather the most beautiful and glorious fruit of grace in our soul.

When, therefore, St John, in the beginning of his Gospel, wishes to express in a word that the whole plentitude of the treasures and gifts which the Son of God brought into this world at His Incarnation, he says: “We saw His glory, the glory as it were of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14).  Grace again it is which the Apostle Paul, at the beginning and the end of his Epistles, wishes the faithful: “Grace to you, and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”  We do not hesitate, then, to say that grace is the most precious, and, since it contains all other gifts, is the only great good, which is the subject of the Gospel, that joyful heavenly message brought to this earth by the Son of God.  By grace we are made true children of God and acquire the right to the possession of the highest gifts that God can bestow upon His creatures, even to the possession of God Himself, who wishes to become the inheritance of His children, with all His infinite glory and happiness.

“Most great and precious promises,” St Peter tells us, “hath God given us by Him; that by these you may be made partakers of the Divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4).  They are most great, because they surpass all created things, be these ever so good and noble, and precious, because they contain the best that God, in His omnipotence, can give us; they are infinitely precious, as is the price paid for tjem, the blood of the Son of God.  The prince of the Apostles indicates himself the reason of this greatness, when he adds: “that by these you may be made partakers of the Divine nature.”  Can there be anything greater for a creature than to be elevated from its natural lowliness and nothingness, to participate in the nature of the Creator and be associated with Him?

This one word expresses the whole greatness and glory of grace, and tells what a great and sublime mystery grace must be.  Grace is that “mystery of Christ,” of which the Apostle says: “Which in other generations was not known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed to His holy Apostles and Prophets in the Spirit.  That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and co-partners of His promise in Christ Jesus by the Gospel” (Eph 3:4-6).  Grace is that mystery of which the same Apostle says, it hath not entered into the heart of man, but could be revealed to us by the Spirit of God, who searches all things, even the profound things of God (1 Cor 2:9-10).  The more grace is a mystery, the more concealed it is from our natural eye, the more incomprehensible and ineffable it is; the greater must appear to us its value, the higher its glory, and the more comprehensive its riches.

2. This sweet and sublime mystery is too little known even among Christians, although the teachings of Holy Scripture and the Holy Church sufficiently enlighten us about it, and the lack of this knowledge is the more lamentable, as the knowledge of the doctrine of grace alone can lead us to understand and appreciate our exalted dignity, our great hopes, and the inexhaustible wealth of the merits of Christ.

At the mention of the grace of God, we often represent to oursleves nothing but the restoration of God’s favor, lost by sin, or such gifts of Divine love as will assist our weak nature in avoiding sin and in the practice of virtue.  Certainly, forgiveness of sins and this protection and assistance must also be accounted effects of God’s grace, but these effects alone do not constitute its highest value and its innermost nature.

Forgiveness of sins is a grace on the part of God and restores to us that benevolent love which God bestowed upon us before sin.  But we must ask: which love did God bear us previous to our sin; was it a love eqaul only to the worth of our human nature, or was it a greater, an ampler love, that gave additional beauty to our nature, and elevated it to the heart of God unto fraternal union with His Divine Son?

Grace strengthens our weakened nature against the temptation to evil and in performance of good works; it facilitates the fulfillment of our duties and the attainment of our last end.  But here again the question presents itself: Does grace unite itself with man in his natural condition, and, by co-operating with his inborn virtue, assist and strengthen nature, does grace only temper nature-or does it elevate and transform it, and communicate to it a new nature, a new force, a new life, and new laws of life?

A correct solution to these questions is of primary importance, and we can arrive at it easily by a clear and distinct definition of the term Christian Grace.~Continue reading bottom of page 17 “Grace means, in the first place…

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The Progress of Revelation

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 3, 2009

Section 6: The Progress of Revelation.

1.  Revelation not complete in the beginning. Supernatural Revelation was not given at once in all its completeness.  From the day of Creation to the day of Judgment God has spoken, and will speak, to mankind at sundry times and in divers manners (Heb 1:1).  Natural and Supernatural Revelation run in parallel lines.  Yet, whilst the former is addressed to all men at all times in the same form, the latter is made immediately only to individuals, and is not necessarily meant for all mankind.  We are not, however, concerned here with private revelations, but only with those which are public, i.e., destined for all men.

2.  Two portions of revelation. Public Revelation may be divided into two portions: the Revelation made to man in his original state of integrity in Paradise, and the Revelation made to fallen man-that is, the Revelation of Redemption.

a.  The Revelation in Paradise was public because it was to be handed down to all men as an inseparable complement of Natural Revelation.  Holy Scripture mentions as its subject-matter only the law of probation given to Adam, but it connects this law with the supernatural order because the possession of immortality was to be the reward of obedience.  It may be inferred, however, that all other necessary elements of the order of grace were clearly revealed, e.g., the Divine adoption of man, and the corresponding moral law, although the Old Testament mentions only the gift of integrity.

b.  The Revelation of Redemption. The Revelation of Redemption, or of the Gospel, was preparatory in the Old Testament and complete in the New.  The preparatory stage was begun with the Patriarchs and continued with Moses and the Prophets.  The Patriarchal Revelation contained the promise of the coming of the Redeemer, and pointed out the family from which He was to spring; it also enacted some few positive commandments.  But as it did not form a complete system of religious truths and morals, and added little to what might be known by the unaided light of reason, it may be called the Law of Nature.  The next stage, the Mosaic Revelation, was a closer preparation for the Revelation of the Gospel, and laid the foundation of an organized kingdom of God upon earth.  Its object was to secure the worship of the one God and to keep alive the expectation of the Redeemer.  Man is considered as a guilty servant of God, not as His child (Gal 4:1).  Nevertheless even this Revelation contains little more than Natural Revelation, except the positive ordinances for safeguarding the Law of Nature, for the institution of public worship, and for the atonement for sin.  In the days of the Prophets the Revelation of the Gospel already began to dawn: the supernatural and the Divine began to appear in purer and clearer outline.  Finally, the Revelation completed through Christ and the Holy Ghost surpasses all the others in dignity because its Mediator was the Only Begotten Son of God (Heb 1:1), Who told what He Himself had heard (John 1:18), nay, Who is Himself the Word of God, and in Whom God speaks (John 8:25).  The descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles supplemented and completed what Christ had revealed.  “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will teach you all truth” (John 16:13).

3.  No further Revelation to be expected. The dignity and perfection of Christian Revelation require that no further public Revelation is to be made.  The Old Testament dispensation pointed to one that was to follow, but the Christian dispensation is that “which remaineth” (2 Cor 3:11; cf. Rom 10:3, sqq.; Gal 3:23, sqq.); an “immovable kingdom” (Heb 12:28); perfect and absolutely sufficient (Heb 7:11, sqq.); not the shadow, but the very image of the things to come (Heb 10:1).  And Christ distinctly says that His doctrine shall be preached until the consummation of the world, and declares “All things whatsoever I have heard from My Father I have made known unto you” (John 15:15), and “when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will teach you all truth” πασαν την αληθειαν (John 16:13).  The Apostles also exhort their disciples to stand by the doctrine which they received, and to listen only to the Church (2 Tim 2:2, and 3:14).  And the epistle ascribed to St Barnabas contains the well-known formula: “The rule of light is, to keep what thou has received without adding or taking away.”  Moreover, the Church has always rejected the pretension of those who claimed to have received new revelations of a higher order from the Holy Ghost, e.g., the Montanists, Manichaeans, Fraticelli, the Anabaptists, Quakers, and Irvingites.

The finality of the present Revelation does not, however, exclude the possibility of minor and susidiary revelations made in order to throw light upon doctrine or discipline.  The Church is the judge of the value of these revelations.  We may mention as instances of those which have been approved, the Feast of Corpus Christi and the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

From the above we deduce the existence of a gradual progress, both extensive and intensive, in Revelation.  The extensive progress does not start from Adam or Noah, but from Abraham, the patriarch selected among fallen mankind.  Patriarchal Revelation was made to a family, Mosaic Revelation to a people, Prophetical Revelation to several peoples, Christian Revelation to the whole world.  The intensive progress consists in a higher degree of illumination and a wider range of the revealed truths.  The intensive progress likewise begins with Abraham and ascends through Moses and the Prophets to Christ, Who leads us to the bright day of eternity.

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The Province of Revelation

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 21, 2008

Section 5.  The Province of Revelation.

I.  Revelation embraces all those truths which have been revealed in any way whatever.
1.  Some revealed truths can be known only by means of Revelation; as, for example, the Blessed Trinity, the Incarnation, and Grace.  Others can e known by natural reason also; for instance, the Unity of God, Creation, and the Spirituality of the Soul.  The former, which are purely and simply matters of Faith, are revealed in order to be made known; whereas the latter are mentioned in Revelation to serve as a basis.
2.  Another important distinction is that between matters of Faith and matters of Morals.  Matters of Faith refer to God and His works, and are primarily of a speculative character.  Matters of morals refer to man and his conduct, for which they prescribe practical rules.

3.  A third distinction is between truths revealed for their own sake and truths revealed fro the sake of those.  This distinction is of great importance with regard to the content of Holy Writ.

4.  Lastly , some truths stand out clearly in Revelation, and are revealed in their completeness, while others can only be inferred by means of reflection and study.  The latter are called corollaries of the Faith, or theological truths.  It may come to pass that these may be proposed as matters of Faith by the Church, because they are necessary for the support of the Faith and also for the attainment of its object.
These four groups of revealed truths may not inaptly be compared to the different parts of a tree; the natural truths which serve as a basis are the roots; truths incidentally revealed are the bark which envelops and protects the trunk; truths inferred by ratiocination are the branches which spring from the trunk; while the practical truths are the buds and flowers, from which proceeds the fruit of Christian life.

II.  Although, strictly speaking, things revealed are alone the subject-matter of Faith, nevertheless many truths belonging to the domain of natural reason, but at the same time so connected and interwoven with Revelation that they cannot be separated from it, may also be reckoned as matter of Faith.  These truths are, as it were, the atmosphere in which the tree of Revelation lives and thrives.  The determination of the meaning of words used  for the expression of dogmas, and of passages in Holy Scripture and other documents, are instances.  In like manner many truths are inseparably connected with matters of morals, e.g. discipline, ceremonies, Religious Orders, the temporal power of the Pope, ect.

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The Subject of Supernatural Revelation-Mysteries

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 27, 2007

1.  We learn from the preceding section that Supernatural Revelation gives us knowledge of truths unrevealed by Natural Revelation.  These truths constitute the specific and proper contents of Supernatural Revelation.  As, however, this Revelation is by word of mouth,and not, as in the Revelation of Glory, by the vision of its object; as it does not entirely lift the veil from revealed things: it leaves them in obscurity, entirely withholding, their reality from the mind’s eye, and only reproducing their essence in analogical concepts taken from the sphere of our natural knowledge.  This peculiar character of the content of Supernatural Revelation is called Mystery, or mystery of God; that is, a truth hidden in God, but made known to man by a free communication.

2.  Mystery in common parlance means something hidden or veiled, especially by one mind from another.  It implies the notion that some advantage attaches to the knowledge of it which gives the initiated a position superior to outsiders.  The heathens gave the name of “mysteries” to the symbolical or sacred words and acts which they kept secret from the multitude, or to the hidden meaning of thier liturgy, understood only by the initiated.  The Fathers appled the term to the sacred words and acts of the true religion, kept secret from the heathen and the catechumens, and understood only by the perfect, especially the mysteries knowable only by Fatih which are veiled under the sacramental appearances. (see Newman’s Developement of Doctrine, pg 27)

a.   The notion of theological mystery properly so-called implies that the mysterious truth is incapable of being discovered by human reason , and that, even after it is revealed, reason cannot prove its existence.  These conditions, however, are fulfilled by many truths which are not usually styled mysteries.  Hence we must add the further condition that the truth should be naturally unknowable on account of its absolute and objective superiority to our sphere of knowledge, and that we should consequently be unable to obtain a direct and proper, but only an anological, representation of its contents.  A mystery is therefore subjectively above reason and objectively above nature.

b.   That there are such mysteries has been defined by the First Vatican Council: “Besides those things which natural reason can attain, there are proposed for our belief the mysteries hidden in God, which, unless they were divinely revealed, could not be know.”  Although by means of anlaogy we may attain some knowledge of these mysteries, nevertheless human reason is never able to perceive them in the same way as it peceives the truths which are its proper object.  “The Divine mysteries, by there very nature, so far surpass the created intellect that, even when they have been imparted by Revelation and received by Faith, they nevertheless lie hidden and enveloped, as it were, in a sort of mist, as long as in this mortal life we are absent from the Lord, for we walk by faith and not by sight” (Vat. Council I; sess. 3, chap 4).  And the council speaks of the two elements, subjective and objective, in the corresponding canon 1: “If anyone shall say that in Divine Revelation no mysteries properly so called are contained, but that all the dogmas of the Faith may be understood and demonstrated from natural principles by reason duly cultured, let him be anathema”

c.  The doctrine of the Council is based on many pasages of Holy Scripture, some of which are quoted or alluded to in the decrees.  The fullest text is 1 Cor 2:6-12  “We do speak wisdom among the perfect, yet not the wisdom of this world, neither of the rulers of this world that come to nothing; rather, we speak the Wisdom of God in a mystery which is hidden, which God ordained before the world for our glory: which none of the rulers of this world knew… But as it is written: eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of men, what things God has prepared for those who love Him.  But to us God has revealed them by His Spirit.  For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  For what man knows the things of man, but the spirit of a man that is within him?  So the things that are of God no man knows, but the Spirit of God.  Now we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God: that we may know the things that are given us from God.”   (See also, Eph 3:4-9; Col 1:26-27; Matt 11:25-27; John 1:18).

d.  The presence of myteries in Christian Revelation is essential to its sublime character.  The principle of Revelation is God Himself in His character as Father, sending His Son and, through Him, the Holy Spirit into this world to announce “What the Son received from the Father, and the Holy Spirit from both.”  Again, the motive of Revelation is the immense love of the Son of God for us: He speaks to us as a friend to friends, telling us the secret things of His Father (John 15:14).  And the end of Revelation is to lead us on to a truly supernatural state, the direct vision of God face to face.  Moreover, without mysteries, Fatih would not be “the evidence of things that appear not” (Heb 9:1), nor would it be meritorious (Rom 5; Heb 10).  In fact, the very essence of Revelation is to be supernatural and therefore mysterious, so that all who deny the existence of mysteries deny also the supernatural character of Christianity.  We may add that the study of the revealed truths themselves will plainly show their mysterious nature.

e.  The mysteries which are the subject-matter of Revelation are not merely a few isolated truths, but form a supernatural world whose parts are organically connected as those of the natural world-a mystical cosmos, the outcome of the “manifold Wisdom of God” (Eph 3:10).  In their origin the represent under various forms the communication of the Divine Nature by the Trinity, the Incarnation, and Grace; in their final object they represent an order in which the Trinity appears as the ideal and end of a communion of God and His creatures rendered possible through the God-Man, and accomplished by means of grace and glory.

f.   It is folly to maintain that the revelation of mysteries degrade our reason; on the contrary, it is at once an honor and a benefit.  To say that there are truths beyond the reach of our reason is surely not to degrade it, but to acknowledge the true extent of its powers.  And what an honor it is to man to be made in some way a confidant of God!  Moreover, the more a truth is above reason the more precious it is to us.  Finally, the knowledge of things supernatural is a pledge and foretaste of the prefect knowledge which is to come.  (From A MANUAL OF CATHOLIC THEOLOGY chap 1, sect. 4)

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The Nature and Subject-matter of Natural Revelation

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 16, 2007

What follows is the second section of chapter 1: Divine Revelation from A MANUAL OF CATHOLIC THEOLOGY.


Chapter 1: Divine Revelation

Section 2: The Nature and Subject-matter of Natural Revelation


Natural Revelation is the principle of ordinary knowledge, and therefore belongs to the domain of Philosophy. We touch upon it here because it is the basis of Supernatural Revelation, and also because at the present day all forms of Revelation have been confused and have lost their proper significance.


1) All natural knowledge of intellectual, religious, and ethical truths must be connected with Divine Revelation of some kind, and this for two reasons: To maintain the dependence of truths upon God, and the better to inculcate the duty of obeying them. This Revelation, however, is nothing else but the action of God as Creator, giving and preserving to nature its existence, form, and life. Created things embody Divine Ideas, and are thus imitations of their antitypes, the Divine Perfections. The human intellect, in particular, is an image of the Divine Intellect: The Creator endows it with power to infer, from visible nature, the existence and perfections of its Author; and; from its own spiritual nature, the spiritual nature of the Author of all things. The revealing action of the Creator, then, consists in exhibiting, in matter and mind, the image of Himself, and in keeping alive in man the power of knowing the image and, through the image, him who is represented. Theories which confound this Natural Revelation with Positive Revelation, like Traditionalism, or with the Revelation of Glory, like Ontologism completely misapprehend the bearing and energy of God’s creative operations and of created nature itself.


2) The following propositions, met with in the Fathers, and even within the Scripture, must be understood to refer to a Natural Revelation. When rightly explained they serve to confirm the doctrine stated above.

a. “God is the teacher of all truth, even natural truth,” i.e. not by formal speech nor by an inner supernatural enlightenment, but by sustaining the mid and faculties withwhich he has endowed our nature (cf. St Augustine, DE MAGISTRO, and St Thomas, DE VERITATE, q. XI).

b. “God is the light in which we know all truth,” that is, not the light which we see, but the Light which creates and preserves in us the faculty of knowing all things as they are.

c. “God is the truth in which we read all truth,”-not as in a book or as in a mirror, but in the sense that, by means of the light received from God, we read in creatures the truths impressed upon them. The same idea is sometimes expressed by saying that God impresses His truth upon our mind and writes it in our soul.

d. It is particularly said that God has written His law upon our hearts (Rom 2:14-15) and that He speaks to us in our conscience. This, however, does not mean a supernatural intervention; Through the light of reason God makes known to us His Will in a more vivid manner than even human language could do.


3) Natural Revelation embraces all the truths which we can apprehend by the light of our reason. Nevertheless only those which concern God and our relations with Him are said to belong to Natural Revelation, because they are the only truths in which He reveals Himself to us and in which He commands us to acknowledge. Thus St Paul (Rom 1:18-20 and 2:14-15) points out as naturally revealed “the invisible things of God,” especially “His eternal power and Divinity,” and also the Moral Law.


It must not, however, be thought that all that can be or ought to be known about God, His designs, and His works, is within the sphere of Natural Revelation. The unaided light of reason can attain only a mediate knowledge of God by means of the study of His creature, and must consequently be imperfect. Both the subjective medium (the human mind) and the objective medium (creation), are finite, whereas God is infinite. Moreover, the human intellect, by reason of its dependence on the senses, is so imperfect that it knows the essences of things only from their phenomena, and therefore only obscurely and imperfectly. And lastly, the study of nature can result only in the knowledge of such truths as are necessarily connected with it, and can tell us nothing about the free acts which God may have performed above and beyond nature, the knowledge of which He may nevertheless require of us.


Thus, even if teh knowledge of God through the medium of nature without any special help were sufficient for our natural vocation, there would still be room for another ans a supernatural revelation. But Natural Revelation is, in a certain sense, insufficient even for our natural vocation, as we shall now proceed to prove.


Coming soon, section 3: The Object and Necessity of a Positive Revelation-Its Supernatural Character.

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The objective principles of Theological Knowledge Section 1

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 15, 2007

Chapter 1

Divine Revelation

Section 1 

Notion of Revelation- Three degrees of Revelation


1) The notion of revelation: The word Revelation originally means an unveiling- an manifestation of some object by drawing back the covering by which it was hidden.  Hence we commonly use the word fo bringing to ligt some fact or truth hitherto not generally known.  But it is especially applied to manifestations made by God, Who is Himself hidden from our eyes, yet makes Himself known to us.  It is with this divine revelation with which we are here concerned.


2) The degrees of revelation:  God discloses himself to us in three ways.  The study of the universe, and especially of man, the noblest object in the universe, clearly proves to us the existence of One Who is the Creator and Lord of all.  This mode of manifestation is called Natural Revelation, because it is brought about by means of nature, and because our own nature has a claim to it, as will be hereafter explained.  But God has also spoken to man by His own voice, both directly and through the Prophets, Apostles, and Sacred Writers.  This positive (as opposed to natural) Revelation proceeds from the gratuitous condescension of God, and tends to a gratuitous union with Him, both of which are far beyond the demands of our nature.  Hence it is called Supernatural Revelation, and sometimes revelation pure and simple, because it is more properly a disclosure of something hidden.  The third and highest degree of Revelation is in the Beatific Vision in heaven Where God withdraws the veil entirely, and manifests Himself in all His glory.  Here on earth, even in Supernatural Revelation, “we walk by faith and not by sight;” “we see now through a glass in a dark manner, but then (in the Beatific Vision) face to face;” “we shall see him as he is (2 Cor 5:7; 1 Cor 13:12; 1 John 3:2).  (From A MANUAL OF CATHOLIC THEOLOGY based on Scheeben’s DOGMATIK by J. Wilhelm and T Scannell)


Tomorrow, Section 2: The Nature and Subject-matter of Natural Revelation


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