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Various Opinions of the Fathers
concerning Re-baptization, and Invalid Baptisms: with REMARKS.
N St. Cyprian's Days, about the middle of the third Century, arose a great Debate
in the Church concerning the Validity of Baptism, administer'd by such as were then either Hereticks or Schismaticks : St. Cyprian, with the rest of the Bishops of the African Churches, together with many of the Eastern Bishops, maintain'd, “That Catholick Bi“ shops were obliged to condemn all such e Baptisms, and to hold them void and null, “ and by consequence not strait to confirm, “ but first to baptize all such, as having re“ceived no other than those False Baptisms, “ in those False and Antichristian Communi
ons, left them, and came over to the One, " True, Catholick, and only Salutary Com“ munion.
“ Stephen Bishop of Rome, and his Party, "maintain'd, That by the Evangelical Law
“ Catholick Bishops were bound to ratify “ Heretical and Schismatical Baptisms, and
to hold them Good and Valid, and to ad
mit such as having been baptized by He“ reticks or Schifmaticks, deserted them, and
came over to the True Catholick Commu“ nion, without giving them Catholick Bap“ tism, or using any other Rite their Re
At “ ception, than that of Imposing the Hand “ for the Collation of the Holy Ghost.
“ The Stephanians muster’d up a great many Arguments for the Validity of such Bap
tisms; they pleaded that Hereticks them“ felves were not fo nice, as to baptize those " who came over from other Herelies to their “ Communion : That all Catechumeni, who “ died unbaptized, were not therefore damn “ ed; much less those who had received Bap6 tism, tho’ from Hereticks or Schismaticks: “ That to refuse those who were willing to “ forsake Heresy or Schism, unless they would o consent to be re-baptiz'd, was to obstruct “ their coming over : That those who had 6 been baptized by Philip in Samaria, were
not re-baptized by the Apostles when they
came among them (Acts 8.) and that they “ received Imposition of Hands only, for the “ Collation of the Holy Ghost: That tho “ fome in St. Paul's Time preach'd Christ out er of Envy and Strife, i. e. from a Contentious “ and Schifmatical Humour, yet he was plea“ sed that Christ was preached (Phil. 1. 15.)
“ That some Schismaticks, particularly the
Novatians, observed the due Form, and « proposed the due Interrogatories in Bap“ tism: That the Efficacy of the Sacraments “ did not depend on the Orthodoxy or the « Charity of the Administrators; and that if " Persons were baptiz'd in the Name of Christ
any manner of way, it was no matter who " baptized them : But the main Argument 36 (as St. Austin afterwards reckon'd it) was, " that Stephen Bishop of Rome had had it “ handed down to him by constant Tradi" tion from St. Peter and St. Paul, Founders “ of the Church of Rome; that those who
came over from Heretical or Schismatical « Communions, to the Communion of the “ True Catholick Church, should not be re
baptized ; and that all his Predecessors, Bi« shops of Rome, since the Days of those Apo“ stles, had always conform’d their Practice " to such unquestionable Tradition ; they “ had always Ratified, never Repudiated He« retical or Schismatical Baptism.
“The Arguments of the Cyprianists against • the Validity of such Baptisms were briefly “ these. St. Cyprian rejects the Baptisms of “Novatianus upon this very Score, that he
was not a Bishop; Cornelius was the only “ True Bishop of Rome ; no Valid Baptisms could be performed in that Church but by him, or in dependance on him : Novatianus disowned all Dependance on him, sepa
“ rated from him, and pretended to be Bi
shop of Rome in Opposition to him; his “ Baptisms therefore could not be Valid, they « could not be True Christian Sacraments, “ St. Cyprian's 69 Epift. And in the same “ Epistle these Three [to set up an Episcopal “ Chair] [to assume a Primacy] [and to pre“ tend to a Sovereign or Independent Power " of Baptizing and Offering, i. e. Consecra“ ting the Holy Eucharist] he plainly makes
Equivalent Phrafes, and by them expresses « the one Crime of Novatianus in standing up « whether they will bear the Test of Reason. “ He assembled at Carthage a Council of 71 4 Bishops, who confirmed all that had been « determined a little before in another Synod 4 held in the same City, concerning the Bap6 tism of Hereticks, viz. that it was null and « void; and about the same time, immedi“ ately after this Council
as an Anti-bishop to Cornelius : That all his “ Ministrations were of the fame Kidney with " those of Corah, Dathan and Abiram, which “ were wicked, damnable and naught, because
perform'd in Opposition to the High-Priest “ Aaron: That it was unaccountable in BI“ SHOPS to Ratify Heretical or Schismatical “ Baptisms; it was a Prostitutiou of the Ho
nour both of the Catholick Church and the “ EPISCOPAL COLLEGE; it tended to “ hinder People from coming over from He“ refy or Schism; it encourag'd them to think " themselves safe and secure enough in either; -“ for if there they had true Baptism, why not “ likewise a true Church and true Remiffion “ of Sins ? To weaken the Authority of a pre“ tended Custom to the contrary, he lays it “ down for an undoubted Truth, That we
are not to be determined by any CUS“ TOMS of that nature, but tu examine
, he writ a long Let“ ter to Jubaianus, a Bishop who had consult" ed him about this Question, wherein he
urges abundance of Reasons and Texts of • Scripture to support his own Opinion, and « answered the Objections that were brought 66 against it. In another Letter to Pompey Bi“ shop of Sabra, he opposes the TRUTH of 6 the Gospel, and the FIRST TRADITI. u ONS of the Apostles, both to the Custom 6 and Tradition which Stephen had alledg’d 6 for himself. Firmilian Bishop of Cefarea in 6. Cappadocia, in his Letter to St. Cyprian, O“ penly condemns the Procedure of Stephen
Bishop of Rome (who had answered St. Cy" prian very roughly] extols St. Cyprian's Con“ duct, declares himself entirely in favour of “ his Opinion, proves it by several Reasons, * and assures him it was the ancient Custom " of the Afarick Churches, and that it had “ been regulated many Years before in two " Numerous Synods held at Synnada and Ico66 nium. The same Firmilian answers Stephen's “ Plea of the conftant Tradition he had handHi ed down to himn from St. Peter and St. Paul,