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“ ter.” In Page 19 of his Book, he further acquaints us, That he do's “not pretend
to enter into the merits of the Cause, nor “ to Dispute whether Lay-Baptism be Valid, “ or Invalid, nor whether it be Lawful, or “ Unlawful to Reabaptize [as he calls it] “ such as have been Baptiz’d by Lay
“ Hands.” And Lastly, to put us out of all Doubt concerning the Design of his Book, he says, in his Conclusion, Page 38.
“ Thus. I have gone through the little Work “ I undertook, which was, not to prove the “ Validity of Lay-Baytism, nor to prove “ the Baptism of Dissensers to be Good and “ Valid, in Opposition to the Author of Lay“ Baptism's Invalidity, or in Opposition to “ Dr. Hicks, his Abetter and Encourager; « This [says he] was not my Design; but “ to make good my Position, That the Church " of England hath, by no Publick & of “ hers, made or declared Lay-Baptism
6 to be Invalid. Both those Writers (fays he] had affirm’d, that the Church of Eng
“ land accounts Lay-Baptifm, and the “ Baptism of Dissenting Ministers to be “ Invalid ; as far as they have affirm'd " that, I have concern’d my self with them, 6 and no farther.
S. II. Thus we see our Author's Design; and if we may believe him, 'tis the whole of his .Undertaking; but how true that is, will be shewn in the process of this An
at present 'tis very remarkable, how thy he is of the main Matter' Disputed; and his saying, that the little Work he undertook was not to prove the Validity of LayBaptism, &c. looks as if he did not think his Supposed Judgment of the Church concerninng that Matter, to be any proof for the Validity thereof; for, if he did in truth believe, that her Opinion was any good Proof, that Lay-Baptism is Valid, his endeavouring to produce her Opinion, would have shewn, and he must have acknowledg’d it, that his Design was to prove, in Opposition to the two Author's he mențions, that Lay Baptism and the Dissenters Baptism is Good and Valid; But he is well aware that bare Opinion is no Proof; and therefore he very Judiciously! waves the Merits of the Cause.
§. III. But how much soever he pretends to evade the main Matter Disputed, viz. Whether Lay-Baptism be Valid or Invalid, he will find himself to be deeply concern'd in it; and that Men will judge, that the Design of his Undertaking was, not only
to oppose the Inferences which Dr. Hicks and his Friend have drawn from the Church's Articles and Rubricks ; but also to endeavour to prove, the Valididity of our Dissenting Teachers and other Lay-Baptisms; this in due time will be prov'd upon him, and the Insufficiency of his Imaginary Arguments from the Church's fuppos’d Opinion in this Weighty Matter, will fairly be represented to the Reader's View.
But before I concern my self with his way of Arguing, I must inform the Reader, that the Matter in Dispute is only this, viz. Whether Persons not Authoriz'd by their Bia shops to Baptize, especially when they act in opo position to Episcopacy it felf, can administer V alid B iptism. This, in short, is the Great Question which has been very largely Dif. cuss’d; and those who have Treated of it, have (among other Arguments) insisted upon the Church of England's Articles and Rubricks, as standing Evidences, against such Persons administring Valid Baptism : And tħat the Consequences of the Church's Publick Acts, do Núll and make Void, such Unauthorized and Anti-Episcopal Baptisins. ?Tis in Opposition to this, that our Author now exerts himself; but with what strength of Argument, I come now to Enquire,
5. IV. The Position he lays down, and which he pretends is the only Design of his Book to prove, is this, Page ist. “ That the
“ Church of England hath by no Publick “ A&t of Hers, made or declared Lay-Bap
“ tism to be Invalid.” This he endeavours to evidence by three suppos'd Arguments. ift, From the two first Commons Prayer-Books in the the Reign of King Edvard the VIth. Publish'd, Anno 1549, and 1552. In both which Books, it was allow'd, that in Private Baptism (which was for Cases of Necessity) one of the Perfons present should Name and Baptize the Child : From whence our Author concludes, Page the ud and 4th, That às in Times of Popery, so in our first Reformation, the Bap, tism of Lay-men and Midivives was allow'd; and that it was then the Belief of the Church of England, That a Child Baptiz'd by a Lay Person in due Matter and Form, is Lawfully and Perfectly Baptiz’d. To which, I Answer, That our Author himself do's in his 18th Page Confute the Positiveness of this Allertion ; for, there he tells thus us, “ Even the
« Rubrick of King Edward's Book was so 56 worded, as to leave it Disputable and " Doubtful, whether the Church allow'd or 6 intended to allow of Lay-Baptism in Cam “ les of Necessity.” This shews how unB4
certain he is in this Matter : But I further
“ them that be present call upon God, &c.
the Water upon him, saying these “ Words, ----N. I Baptize thee, &c. whereby it is plain, the Bishops in those Days Commanded this Baptism; [one of them Shall do it] esteeming themselves to have Authority to Command, and thereby to impower such a Baptizer for that Time and Circumstance; and therefore the Person Baptizing acted then [in the Opinion of the Church] by Authority of the Bishops; they were the commanding Power, which gave a Suppos’d Authority to such Administrators, at the beginning of the Reformation : Só that, whatsoever Validity such Baptisms were believ'd to liave had, it was owing to the Baptizer's acting, (not by any pretended Power or Authority of his own, much less in Opposition to the Church, but) by Virtue of the Church's Power and Authoty, suppos’d to have been committed to the