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by Dr. John Thomas
By the ministerial influence of this order of men multitudes departed from the faith; and by their accession to municipal and state authority, they were enabled to give political existence to the apostasy they had consummated.
It is unnecesary to narrate the history of their evil deeds from the beginning to the present time.
It would require volumes to do justice to their ignorance, hypocrisy, and crime.
As ecclesiastical policemen they have kept the world in order for the advantage and behoof of the oppressors and destroyers of the earth; and have used the people for their own profit under pretence of "curing their souls".
But while this is undeniably true of the order, I am free to admit that there have been, and no doubt are, many sincere, honest, and moral men, who bear the names of "clergyman" and "minister": -- many, who conscientiously believe their theories to be the true sense of scripture; and who would suffer the loss of all things, and life itself, rather than surrender what they believe to be the truth.
There have been many such; and may still be, should occasion arise to necessitate their manifestation.
These are men who are in advance of the systems by which they have been created "clergymen," and "ministers".
Their position is an unhappy one.
System has made them; and they conscientiously support and perpetuate the system, having been indoctrinated by their predecessors into the belief that the system is the religion of God!
But I have hope that if this book fall into the hands of this respectable class of professors, it may be instrumental in opening their eyes to see the deception practised upon them by the traditions of their fathers.
Sincerity, honesty, piety, and morality, are good qualities without which no man can be saved.
I admit they have all these.
But they should remember that Cornelius was as estimable a man as they; and had the advantage of them in this, that his character was attested of God by the mouth of a special messenger from heaven; whereas they have no attestation beyond what is purely human.
Now piety and God fearing did not save Cornelius: they only commended him to God's remembrance.
It was necessary for him to believe words, and to be baptized in the name of the Lord, as I have already shown.
These words were the gospel of the kingdom of God and His Christ.
This necessity has never been abrogated.
It is in full force to this day.
Clergy and ministers do not believe it.
Much of it they sneer at as "the millennial hypothesis".
If they would attain to the kingdom of God, they must believe the doctrine concerning it.
Martyrdom for opinion's sake is no substitute for "the obedience of faith".
It is self-deception to say that God is with us to the end of the world, when we neither understand, nor believe and obey, the truth.