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Robert Rainy

The advent of a new religion, making serious and impressive claims to embody a new revelation from on high, is not a frequent occurrence.

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Meanwhile the Church more and more provided for the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, by practically chaining His influence to the hierarchy and the sacraments.

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The earlier practice of the Church had been more or less to employ in worship under the presidency of the pastor or pastors, the gifts of the congregation.

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And in times and places where there was not much persecution, people could become and continue Christians who neither were nor professed to be very devoted persons.

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A tendency could not but arise to reconcile with Christian profession a good many modes of life, enjoyments, occupations, social actions and customs, from which the first Christians had recoiled.

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The principle that certain sins should not receive the Church's testimony of forgiveness was probably no novelty at all, but had been applied in various churches; perhaps, however, with no strict consistency.

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Of course the case of the Christian Church planted among the nations must differ, in various ways, from that of any sect forming in connection with religious awakening in a territory of professing Christianity.

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For the standard of Christian life was to be strained to a higher pitch; more fasting was required, and more careful separation from the manners and enjoyments of the world; celibacy and martyrdom had great value set upon them, and second marriages were prohibited.

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