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HE Occasion of Writing this Elay
is sufficiently declared in the TitleT
Page; and the Design thereof is to contribute something towards the Re
covery of those, who are almost drowned in the fatal Error, of thinking that they receive Christian Sacraments, when in Truth and Reality they receive none at all. I don't doubt but I shall procure to my self many Enemies by this Attempt ; but no matter for that, if this my poor Endeavour can but prove effectual to fir up the Clergy (whose Office it is) to Preach and Write frequently, to difabule Mankind in so weighty an Affair.
I am well aware, bow diligent the Adversaries will be to find what Faults they can; and I am not.fo vain, as to think my self to have escaped altogether free from some in this Esay. And therefore, that I might take away all Occasion
of unnecelary Dispute, and save my self the Trouble of future Answers to what may be cavill'd at by some; I once for all declar'd, in the Second Edition of this Book, what I thought necessary for the more clear Explanation of my Design and Meaning in fome Palages, which otherwise I fear'd might have given Offence.
In this Fourth Edition, all those Places are more correct in the Body of the Book it self, and therefore not necessary here to be particularly explain’d, except in the Appendix,
Page 128. and forwand, where, in Answer to the roth Obječtion, I have attempted to prove the Validity of Holy Orders conferr'd on Unbaptiz'd Persons: What I have propos’d in order thereto, I desire the Judicious Lovers of Truth to interpret only as an Essay. I am not so fond of any thing I þave said about it, as to strive with those who may happen to differ from me: Nay more ; if after due Confideration, it should be generally condemn'd by Orthodox Learned Men; I Mall acquiesce, acknowledging, That a Man ought to be a Member, before he should be admitted to be a Minister of Christ in his Church.
What I have said in the following, and other Parts of this Book, in General Terms, relating to Lay-Baptism, I think neceffary by way of Precaution here to explain; by telling my Reader, that I design thereby to mean such Baptism, as is performed by Persons who never receiv'd any Real Aushurity from their Bishops; or elfe by such as were
never really Authoriz'd, and yet act in Opposition to Episcopacy. " Whether Bishops, the Spiri6 tual Governors of the Church, who have « Power from Christ to give a Man a Stand66 ing Commission to be a Priest, cannot give « him a Commission pro hac vice, in cases of “ extreme Necessity, to do a Sacerdotal Act,” I will not presume to determine. Neither do I think it necessary to dispute against those, who affirm that they can; provided the Layman be in Communion with, and an actual Member of that partie cular National, or Provincial Church, over which the Bishops preside who give such an Occasional Commiffion; provided also that they give him this Commision in sucH A MANNER, and with such LIMITATIONS and RESTRICTIONS, as that there may be no more Reason to fufpect the Truth of the Divine Authority residing in hims for the Executing of that Sacerdotal Act pro hic & nunc, in a Case of extreme Necessity, than there is to question the Validity of the STANDING ComMISSION of the Ordinary Priesthood. For then, in such Case, the Man aēts not of himself, or as a mere Laick: He is suppos'd not to Administer by Virtue of any Canon of Foreign Councils; but AS empower'd by the Authority of those Particular Bishops he is subject to. And I think it necessary to make these Proviso's; because, on the other Hand, it is well known, how apt Men have been, and still are, to pervert and abuse this power and Authority, and misapply it to wrong and ill Purposes, by unfound and false Inferences ; (as I my self have found by Experience, in my Conversation relating to my own particular Cafe) so far as at last to make the Christian Priesthood be efeem'd by the Heedless Multitude; as a thing of
no necessary Use and Value at all: And for this Reafon 'tis that I have endeavoured so much (in this Essay, pag. 85. and Appendix, pag. 149, and 150.) to Joew the In Uses which Men are apt to make of the Church's Power.
After all, whether a Church bas, or has not the Power of Authorizing her own Laicks ( as above specified) to Baptize in Cafes of Extremity, I think I need make no Scruple to say,
ist, That the Practice of one National or Provincial Cburch in this case, cannot Authorize the Laicks of Another such Church, which gives them HO such Authority. (As here with Us.)
2dly, That no Church can have any Power to allow Laicks of Opposite Communions to her, to Administer Baptism in that case, much less when there is no Necessity at all: (As certainly there is none in our Diffenters Baptisms.)
3dly, That no Church has, or can have Power to Confirm Baptism so adminifter'd; because Confirmation supposes the Person to have been validly baptiz'd before, and his Baptism to be consummated and finished thereby.
The Author of a Pamphlet entitled, New Dangers to the Christian Priesthood; who with great Rudeness, inconsistent with bis Priestly Charaéter has, by PARTIAL Quotations from my Two Books of Sacerdotal Powers, and Disfenters Baptism Null and Void, endeavour'd to persuade the World, that I Separate the Divine Commision from the Christian Ministry, and that I hold and afirm, that Bishops have Power to Authorize Laymen to. Baptize, would have done but Gommon Justice to have confider'd, and let the World see what I have said here in Answer to a Question put to me concerning such a Power in Bifhops. · He knew in