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wide surface of the human race, from its origin down to the present hour.

Of the professional ministers of religion there are many who, exercising their functions in the spirit of the Lord Jesus, hold high rank among "the salt of the earth." Such men, whatever their creed, whatever their position, I honour and love. These are not "the priests" whom I censure in some of the following pages. The term is meant to describe a caste, a power, a direction of clerical agency which thinks more of itself than its avowed Master, and labours for what is called "the Church" rather than for the real interests of beings who cannot be well off hereafter except so far as, in the true sense, they are well off here. To this professionalism the downfall of Satan would be ruinous. But then, under any circumstances, the reign of the priest cannot last very long in such days of light, liberty and moral power, as are already printed in God's Great Year Book; and every true disciple of Christ will rejoice in the prospect of that copious outpouring of the Divine Spirit, which, neglecting all human "orders,” ranks and distinctions, shall establish the universal priesthood of humanity, by fulfilling the promise given by the lips of Joel and repeated by those of Peter: "I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy (teach religion), and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams, and on my servants and my handmaidens I will pour out of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy" (Joel ii. 28, 29; Acts ii. 17).




March, 1872.

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