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cils and Fathers; for, thefe latter can pretend to no more Divine Authority than the former; and it may be, upon a Just Examination, will be found to have much less, tho’I have no need to dwell upon this, because my Province is only confin’d to Lay-i. e. unauthorizd Baptism-such as is perform'd by Perfons who never were authoriz'd for that
pur. pole; who act in direct Opposition to that Order of Men who are impower'd by Christ to authorize others to Baptize; against Such Baptizers, I have produc'd Several Teftimo, nies from the Purelt Times ; and the Adver. fary can bring forth, in their behalf, not One Council, either General or Provincial, till the Corrupt Ones of the Church of Rome.
I am very well fatisfied that there is but ONE TRUE CHRISTIAN BAPTISM, which ouglit not to be repeated who have receiv'd it: I find my self under an Impossibility to believe, that this ONE BAP, TISM is any other, than what Christ himself Instituted Just before his Ascension into Hea. yen ; I reckon an Essential Part of this Inftitution (and I humbly hope in the Sequel of this Discourse to prove it) to be the DIVINE AUTHORITY of the ADMINISTRATOR as well as the Water, and the Form of Adr ministration.
I cannot be satisfied, that the Person who is said to have Baptiz'd me, ever had this Au thority; nay, I am fully convinc'd of the con :
trary; and also, that he was actually in oppositio. to it ; and tho' his meaning were never lo good, yet I cannot think God concurr'd with such an Usurpation, when it was done without Any Necefficy at all, in a Christian Country, where truly Authorized Ministers might have been hade with as much, if not greater ease and speed than he: For which Reafons I find no folid Foundation for believing, that I have received this ONE BAPTISM, especially since I my self should with great Reafon have refus’d his Admini- . ftration, as it would have been my Duty, if I had been put to my own free Choice; which, it's certain, I could not then, being but an Infant. I doubt not but some will say, “ That I need not concern my self so much about " that which I had no hand in, and wherein 1
was wholly Palfive; if there was any Fault in such my Baptism, 'twas none of mine, but theirs who
bad the Care of me: To whom I return this short Answer, That the Parent's, or Godfather's and Godmother's Act and Deed is interpretatively the Child's, and he must make it really his own when he comes to Years, by taking it upon himself; so that if THEN he owns their Sinful Ad (knowing it to be such) he makes himself PARTAKER with them in the Sin.
But to return once more to the Dispute in St. Cyprian's time, and the Decrees then and since made about it; I cannot Diffemble my Thoughts, that the Arguments and Deter
minations against his Doctrine and Practice, having nothing of that Reason and Solidity, which an Inquisitive Person might justly expect in them: And that on the contrary, St. Cyprian and his Colleagues defend their Assertion [ that the Baptisms of Hereticks and Schifmaticks are Invalid] with so much Judgment and Cogency of Argument, (founded upon the Topick of such Hereticks and Schifmaticks, being deftitute of Holy Orders while they were out of the Church of Christ ) that I wonder how it could possibly have come to pafs, that their Do&trine should be afterwards exploded ; especially when I consider, that what they taught and practic'd herein, was confirmed by NUMEROUS COUNCILS in those earlier Days, wherein Truth was more prevalent than afterwards; and Tertullian long before affirm'd the fame thing, “ That Baptism is referad to the “ Bishop: Hereticks are not able to give it, “ because they have it not; and therefore it “ is that we have a RULE to Re-baptize 66 them.
Here Tertullian talks of a Rule to Baptize fuch Persons; which plainly shews, that he is not speaking so much of his own Private Opinion as of the Law and Practice of the Church. This is his relation of Matter of Fact; and as such, to be receiv'd for a Testimony of the Church's Opinion concerning the Baptism of Hereticks, in his Days. But his strange odd Notions (in his Exhortation to
Chastity, and his Book of Baptifm) “ That “ Laicks are Priests, because it is written, “Chrift “ hath made us Kings and Priests unto God 66 and his Father: That when Three are ga" ther'd together altho’they be Laicks they make a Church; and that Laymen may Baptize in Cale
of Necessity and Absence of a Priest”; these appear to be only hisown particular Sentiments, and he cannot be call’d a Witness of the Clourches Custom and Allowance in these things ; for he talks of no Rule, no Law of the Church relating to them, as he does when he speaks of the Baptism of Hereticks, by saying we have a Rule to re-baptize them. And 'tis certain, that no Church, till the 4th Century, can be produc'd to have any Rule for the allowance of Lay Baptism, and then, none but the Council of Eliberis, which I have before obferv'd and remark'd on Pag. 11.
On the contrary, against Lay Baptism we have the Testimonies of St. Bafil, St. Chryfoftome, and the Catholicks disputing with tle Luciferians in the same Century, which is more than a Ballance against Tertullian's private Opinion concerning such Baptism, &c.' But to go ftill further backward to the Days wherein fome of the Apostles might be still living ; St. Ignatius, a Glorious Martyr, and Bishop of Ana tioch, Anno Dom. 71. in his Epistle to the Smyrneans, says, “ Let that SACRAMENT be “ judg’d effectual and firm, which is dispens'd by the BISHOP or him to whom the Bishop
« has committed it. It is not LAWFUL “ without the Bishop, either to Baptize or « Celebrate the Offices; but what he approves
of, according to the good pleasure of God, " that is FIRM AND SAFE, and so we do " every thing SECURELY.
This is so exactly agreeable to St. Cyprian's Doctrine, that 'tis no wonder he adherd to it all the Days of his Life'; and it seems to me, that nothing could have given Credit and Reputation to the contrary Opinion, but the monstrous increase of HERÉSY and SCHÍSM afterwards, which, together with many other Causes concurring, brought into the Church of Rome, and the rest of the Western Churches, whom she had subjected to her affalage,abundance of Damnable Doctrines and Practices, insomuch, that at last there was but little of Solid and Substantial Religion to be found in the Churches of Her Communion. And 'ris very observable, that even among some of us who have reform'd from Her Errors, there is too much of Her Leaven still remaining ; for one of Her very Great and Peculiar Corruptions, in the Matter of Lay Baptism and Midwives Baptism, is still elpous'd by too many who ought to oppofe it, and not only fo, but rather than part with it, they will fwallow another of Her Errors too, and assert the absolute Necessary of Baptism to all; and what is worse than Popery it self, affirm, that the want of it Peoples Hell with many Milions, as