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It is a thoroughly anti-christian doctrine that the Spirit of God, and therefore the life and governing power of the Church, resides in the ministry, to the exclusion of the people.
If the Church is a living body united to the same head, governed by the same laws, and pervaded by the same Spirit, it is impossible that one part should be independent of all the rest.
If all Church power vests in the clergy, then the people are practically bound to passive obedience in all matters of faith and practice; for all right of private judgment is then denied.
Christ has not only ordained that there shall be such officers in his Church - he has not only specified their duties and prerogatives - but he gives the requisite qualifications, and calls those thus qualified, and by that call gives them their official authority.
But to be the Vicar of Christ, to claim to exercise his prerogatives on earth, does involve a claim to his attributes, and therefore our opposition to Popery is opposition to a man claiming to be God.
As the Church is the aggregate of believers, there is an intimate analogy between the experience of the individual believer, and of the Church as a whole.
All the reasons which require the subjection of a believer to the brethren of a particular church, require his subjection to all his brethren in the Lord.
The ultimate ground of faith and knowledge is confidence in God
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