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blinded that they do not discover this great Truth; yet, God be prais'd, they who continue in the Communion of the Truly Catholick and Apoftolick Church, and are Diligent and Inquisitive to know God's Will, and to live according to that knowledge, need never be put to so great a plunge, as to be in doubt and suspense concerning this Dispute, or the Validity of their Baptism, which they have receiv'd from the Lawfully Ordain’d Ministers of Christ, because, such Ministers must be visible and known, as long as there is or shall be, any truly Organiz'd Church of Chrilt in the World; and that there shall be always such a Church is plain by our Saviour's Promise, That the Gates of Hades shall not prevail against it; and as for the Valid Ministers thereof, that they shall alfo continue, is as certain, by his promising thus to his Apostles, Lo I am with you alway, even unto the End of the World; and this is further confirm'd by the Apostle St. Paul's assuring us, that when Christ Àfcended up on High, he gave fonie Apostles, and. Some Prophets, and some Evangelifts, and some Paftors, and Teachers, for the PERFECTING of the Saints, &c. 'till we all come into the UNITY of the Faith, &c. + unto a PER: FECT MAN. Now 'tis certain, that this Perfečtion and entire Unity will not be compleated till the End of the World, and therefore these Valid Officers appointed to bring about such excellent Purpoles, must continue
so long and be visible among us : And that the Continuance of such Valid Ministers who have Commission for the effecting of thefe Noble ende
in the Church, is to be le plain and pero Spicudus, as that'it shall be eafte to discover and distinguish them from NonCommiffion'd new Upstarts, is evident by another Defighi
, for which our Lord appointed them, viz. That we henceforthJould be no more Children toffod to and fro, and carried about with every Wind of Dottrine by the flight of Men, and cumning Crat Yiness whereby they lie in wait t to deceive,
(Eph. 4.14.) For how can Valid Ministers of Chrift defend us against every Wind of Doctrine, and the Cunning Craftinefs
of Deceivers, if they are not to be visible and known' to us? So that as sute as God is true, fo fure that his Validly Commission?Ministers, té. Apostles and Prophers, &c. fali continue, and be known in the Church to the Confummation of all things, and therefore we all never want fitch as have Capacity to Administer his Holy Sacraments, and confequently' need fic. ver be in Suspenfe about the Validity of our Baptism Administer'd by their Hands; fo that my affirming Baptism to be Invalid for want of such Divine Authority.or Conmillion in the "Administrator, do's not put this Divinte
upon an uncertain, but a fure and "Edfing Foundation.
BUT Here I expeể that it will be askod, In whom do I suppose this Divine Authority to
be fix'd ? I answer, that I do not only suppose, but firmly and undoubtedly
. Believe, after a ftri&t and impartial Enquiry which I have deliberately made into this Matterthat 'twas fettled by Christ himself at first, and continually convey'd down to this Day, in EPISCOPACY ONLY ; and of this I am as certain, as that our first Day of the Week was appointed by Christ and his Apostles, to be the Christian Sabbath : Nay, tho I am very well fatisfy'd that this our Christian Sabbath is of Divine Appointment ; yer I can safely affirm, that the Arguments by which it is to be prov'd, are not so numerous as those for the Divine Right of Episcopacy; 'as may easily be demonstrated whensoever it fhall be put to the Trial. As for those who are of another Opinion, I wish they had either more Knowledge, or more. Humility; it is none of my
Business here, to endeavour their Conviction : But if they would use their utmost Diligence to do the Will of God in all other Instances of
their Duty, and seek to him for that Wisdom which is from above; enquiring without Pres judice, by attentively reading the Sacred Qracles; and comparing therewith what has been said by many excellent Authors upon this Subje&t ; hope they would then knan of this Doctrine whether it be of God; which that they may, I heartily recommend these few. Modern Books to their serious Perusal, viz.
A Discourse sewing who they are that are nom qualify'd to Administer. Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Printed for C. Brome, at the Gun at the West-End of St. Paul's, 1698.5
Dr. Potter of Church Government. Printed for Tim. Child, at the White-Hart in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1707,
Dr. Hickes's Two Treatises, one of the Chriftian Priesthood, the other of the Dignity of the Episcopal Order. Printed for Richard Šare, at Grays-Inn-Gate in Holborn, 1707.
And, 'a little Book call’d, The Plain - Man's Guide to the True Church. Printed for R. Cla vel, at the Peacock in St. Paul's Church-Tard, 1708
IV. But some it's likely will charge me with Uncharitableness, in denying the validity of the Baptisms of Foreign Churches, where there is no Episcopal Ordination ; and of many Good and Dious Men who are with owt such Ordination among our felves.
Anf. The Main Drift of my Essay is against the Validity of that Baptism which Men know themselves to have received from Persons who were never Divinely Commissioned, and yet presume to usurp this Authority in Oppofition to the Divine Right of Episcopacy; which being duly confider'd, frees me from Answering to this Charge, with respect to such Foreigners, some of which have told you that they do not A& in Oppofuion to Episcopacy; and have pleaded, that they lie under a. Necessity not to have Bishops among them; but that they highly value and reverence that Order in our English Church. Whether this plea of Neceflity be good; or whether it affects them fo far, as to hinder their Receiving Episcopal Ordination from other Protestant Churches, tho', they cannot have Bishops refiding among themselves, is not my Business (here ) to enquire : But this I'm sure of, That there is not the least Reason, ( này, 'sis impious ), to compliment away the Great Truths of God, to please any, tho' never so great a Party of Men.
THE Divine Right of Episcopacy is plain from Scripture, and was never call’d in Queftion by any considerable Number of Men, till within these last Two Hundred Years;
and must we now lay it aside, for fear of Oph posing new upstart Notions and Opinions ?
God forbid! Must oyr holding fast the found Doctrine of Christ and his Apostles, be calld