"Having written so much upon both the inspiration and the interpretation of Holy Writ, it is necessary, in order to give completeness unto the same, to supply one or two articles upon the application thereof. First, because this is very closely related to exegesis itself: if a wrong application or use be made of a verse, then our explanation of it is certain to be erroneous. For example, Romanism insists that 'Feed My sheep' (John 21:15-17) was Christ's bestowal upon Peter of a special privilege and peculiar honour, being one of the passages to which that evil system appeals in support of her contention for the primacy of that apostle. Yet there is nothing whatever in Peter's own writings which indicates that he regarded those injunctions of his Master as constituting him 'Universal Bishop.' Instead, in his first epistle there is plainly that to the contrary, for there we find him exhorting the elders or bishops, 'Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock' (v. 2, 3).
Thus it is quite clear from the above passage that Christ's precepts in John 21:15-17, apply or pertain unto all pastors. On the other hand, our Lord's words to Peter and Andrew, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men' (Matt. 4:19) do not apply to the rank and file of His disciples, but only unto those whom He calls into and qualifies for the ministry. That is evident from the fact that in none of the Epistles, where both the privileges and the duties of the saints are specifically defined, is there any such precept or promise. Thus, on the one hand, we must ever beware of unwarrantable restricting the scope of a verse; and, on the other hand, be constantly on our guard against making general what is manifestly particular. It is only by carefully taking heed to the general Analogy of Faith that we shall be preserved from either mistake. Scripture ever interprets Scripture, but much familiarity with the contents, and a diligent and prayerful comparing of one part with another, is necessary before anyone is justified in dogmatically deciding the precise meaning or application of any passage...."
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