49.But this multitude. The first part of their pride was, that, relying on the title of Priests, they wished to subject all to them in a tyrannical manner. The next is, that they despise others as men of no estimation, as those who excessively flatter themselves are always disposed to abuse others, and an immoderate love of ourselves is accompanied by contempt of the brethren. They pronounce the whole populace to be accursed; and why? It is no doubt alleged by them that the people do not know the law; but another reason, which they concealed, was, that they thought that there was no holiness but in their own rank. In like manner, the Popish priests in our own day pretend that none but themselves deserve to be called the Church; and all others, whom they call the laity, they despise as if they were profane persons. But to throw down such madness of pride, God prefers the mean and despised to those who hold the highest authority and power. And it ought to be observed that they here boast of knowledge, not that which instructs men in religion and the fear of God, but such as they possessed while, with magisterial pride, they gave forth their responses, as if they alone had been qualified to interpret the law. It is undoubtedly true, that all who have not been instructed in the law of God are accursed, because by the knowledge of it we are truly sanctified. But this knowledge is not confined to a few who, swelled with false confidence, wish to exclude themselves from the rank of other men, but belongs in common to all the children of God, that all, from the smallest even to the greatest, may be united in the same obedience of faith.