Imagini ale paginilor


that such Washings as are Irrregular for want of a PROPER Administrator, are Valid Baptisms, and this without any Limitations, either for Cafes of Necesity, or for the excluding of Women, Heathens, or Stage-Players, &c. is such a Latitude, that it does not fall sort of even the worst Core ruptions of the Church of Rome. Nay, the Decrees of some of their popes, &c. concerning Midwife-Baptism, and that given by Pagans, limit them to Cafes of Necessity; but this design'd Declaration makes not even this Provision, to secure the Authority of the Christian Priesthood for the Administration of Baptism, but opens a Door for all Intruders, even where there is no Pretence of Neceflity. It advises indeed, that “Men take “ heed that they usurp not an office whereun

to they be not call'd, for God will call them “ to account for fo Doing :” But alas, what Effect can this Advice have, when the Declaration before pronounces their Ministrations Valid; Valid without any Exception of Time, Person, Place, or Circumstance. Will God call Men to account for their Valid Miniftrations ? For their effecting that which he has appointed to be effected? For their doing of that, which he concurs with, and from the Valid Performance whereof, he has by no Law excluded them? For, if be has by any of his Laws excluded them from the Valid Ministration of Christian Baptism, then their Attempt to Minifter it, is an Invalid Act. If he has by no Law excluded them from the Valid Ministration thereof, then their Attempt to Minister it, is no Breach of any Law of bis; for, where there is no Law, there is no Transgression, and consequently they will not be calls to account for it; which plainly shews the great Inconfiftency of such a Declara


tion. Befides, this Declaration was defignd, it Says, "To teach a Truth, to take a Yoke of cs Doubtfulness from Men's Consciences, and u to refift an Error NOT MUCH differing from


The supposed Trutb it would teach, has been seen already. Its Latitude, its contrariety to the Scripture, to the Judgment of the Universal Church, and of the Church of England in particular, which never made a Law or Canon of so universal and unlimited a Nature, are evident to all serious and knowing Enquirers into this Matter. Tertullian Himself, who by degrees fell into this fingular Latitude of allowing Laymen to be Priests, in Cases of Neceffity, contrary to the Do&trine and Practice of the Catholick Church; exprefly and absolutely Excludes Women's Power to Baptize. De Baptismo Cap. 17.-The Constitutions of the Apostles, Book III. Chap. 6, 9, & 1o. repudiate all LayMiniftrations, and particularly Lay-Baptism, and Baptism by Women. So does St. Epiphanius against the Collyridians utterly disallow of Baptism by Women, See bis Works, Book III. Tom. 2. Which Teftimonies I thought proper to add bere (to those of my Preliminary Discourse) upon this Occasion, that Men may, see what a pretended Truth some would Establish, and how Conformable it is to the Judgment and Practice of the Catholick Church.

The “ Yoke of Doubtfulness," &c. would be laid beavier on, rather than taken from, Men's Gonfciences by such a Declaration; which says, That “God will call Men to account for usurp" ing an Office (of Baptizing] whereunto they us be not CALL'D.” For, will not the scrupulous Person, who was pretendedly Baptiz’d by one


[ocr errors]

of these, and comes to know it, be very apt to say, How can I reft satisfied in a Baptifm declar'd to be Irregular, for want of a proper Administrator, [i.e. One calld of God] When the Uncallod pretended Administrator, will by God himself be callid to Account as an Usurper of the Priefly Office, for Baptizing me? Will God judge him for To doing? And shall I escape bis Judgment for know- į ingly concurring with, or acquiefcing in, bis finful ? By what means Mall 1 extricate my self out of this Difficulty? If 'tis Sin in bim, 'tis so in me too, by my approving of it; and yet (that this Scruple may cease ) approve of it I muft. But how can I approve of it, since it was finful in the very AEZ? And thủs I find no Relief from such a Declaration, which involves me in Sin, and prohibits my being extricated out of it.

The supposed Error it was designed to oppose, is this; That pretended Baptifm, Administred without" the Divine' Authority or Commission; i.e. by One who has not this Commiffion, is not Christian Baptism, but Null and Void. Is not this much Differing from the Real Error of Donatism, which was, That the Donatifts Rebaptiz'd those who came over to them from the Catholick Church, tho' they had been before rightly Baptiz?d in or with Water in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and by One in Real, Valid Holy Orders too? What basithis to do with the Matter before us?

And as for Anabaptism, its Error is twofold: First, It Nulls Baptism in 'az Infant, howsoever and by whomsoever Adminifter'd. Secondly, In Grown Perfons, if they were not plung'd all over in Water; in both which they make the Age of the Perfon Baptized, and the very GREAT


QUANTITY of Water sufficient to cover the Perfon, Essential to the Miniftration of this Sacrament; Errors so infinitely Different from the Cafe before us, that one would wonder how Men could Invent the Notion, of their being not much Different from what is Afferted, and, I hope, fairly proved, to be a Great Truth in this Efay. The Author of a Pamphlet, calld, The

Judg. ment of the Church of England in the Case of Lay-Baptism and Diffenters Baptism, has publism'd what be calls The Second Part of the Judgment, &c. 'Tis an amazing

thing to see Men je expose themselves : For this Gentleman amuses the World with a Repetition of all that he bad said before; and gives his Reader the same Things over again, but in other Words, and in a Method fomething diversified from the former ; putting People. to an Unnecessary Charge, besides à Trial of their Patience, to bear with the Reading a second Time what they had read before ; which is still the more aggravated by his Want of Argument; by his not so much as endeavouring to confute the Reasons brought against his First Part, in the Answer thereto, calld, Disfenters Baptism Null and Void; (for he tells his Reader, that he does. not design this as a Reply to that Book ;) by bis unbecoming Language, in giving Ill Names to what he knows he cannot confute; and lastly, by his industriously Evading the Merits. OF THE CAyse; when he knows that the Church of England has concern'd Her Self therewith, that her Articles of Religion are built upon it, and that he is oblig'd in his own Defence to enter into it.

This Author mightily triumphs in Bisloops confirming Children, pretendedly Baptiz'd by Dillenting Teachers, as if they therefore acknowledg'd those




[ocr errors]

Baptisms to be Dalid. But I can tell him, that there are some who say, that those Baptisms are not Valid before Confirmation, but made valid by Confirmation; this (tho I absolutely deny it) I can prove to be the Foundation upon which Confirmation has been given to Persons fo pretendedly Baptiz'd; and our Author would da well to consider, whether thofe Biskops be Speaks of, did not Confirm them upon the fame Foundati- ; on, before be so positively affirms, that those Bijoops allowed their Baptisms to be Valid: For, if 'tis true, that some act upon this false Foundation, others may have done so likewise ; and this will Spoil our Writer's Supposition, however insufficient to make those Baptisms Valid, as I bave endeavoured to prove in this Elay.

I have in this Fourth Edition added some further Arguments to prove the main Proposition, so much avoided by this Author, and endeavour'd to Answer new Objections for the Satisfaction of some who may be led away by them. I have nothing more to request of my Reader than Christian Justice and Equity in his Censures, and that he would beartily join with me in this Prayer to Almighty God, That it would please Him to bring into the Way of Truth, all such as have Erred, and are Deceived.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »