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Members of her own Communion, for that Time and Circumstance; which, whether right or no, is no ways applicable to our Lay.men and Dissenters, who are utterly dem ftitute of any such Plea, since the Alteration of our Office of Private Baptism, which now, do’s not attempt to give that Power, which the Church at the beginning of our Reformation was suppos’d to have granted; And this I take to be a full Answer to our Writer's five first Pages.
S. V. Before I proceed any further with this Author, I think it necessary to enquire from the present Articles, Canons and Rubricks of our Church, what we may learn concerning Baptisms perform’d withoutAu, thority; such as our Dissenters and other Lay-Baptisms with us, are; and what Her Opinion is about them?
S. VI. Our Church's XXXIX Articles then are Articles of Religion ; and therefore are Matters of Doctrine relating to God and his Laws; and not meer Doctrines and Commandments of Men, to be chang’d and alter'd at Pleasure, as some have represented them ; for, they were made for the stablishing of Consent touching True Religion, as their Title declares; and they were Ratify'd and Confirm’d, because
" they do contain the True Doctrine of the “ Church of England, agreeable to God's
Waord,” as the Declaration prefix'd to them do's affirm.-So that, what they pronounce to be Lawful, or Unlawful, must necessarily be acknowledged to be fo, with respect to True Religion taught in the Word of God; which is the Standard by which thefe Articles were made ; and therefore what they call Unlawful, is certainly in the Sense of the Church, Unlawful by the Word of God himself.
S. VII. Her 23d Article affirms, that, " it is Not Lawful, [therefore 'tis contrary to the Law of God] " for any Man to
him the Office of ministring the “ Sacraments before he be Lawfully calld F and sent to execute the same.” The Law relating to the ministring of Sacraments, is in our Saviour's Institution of them, therefore, 'tis by this Article, contrary to the very Institution of the Christian Sacraments, for any Man to take upon him the Office of ministring them, before he be Lawfully callid and fent, Consequently, a Man not calld and fent, as our Lay-men and Diffenters are not, a&ts contrary to the Inftitution of the Sacraments, when he pretends to adminifter them; because, he is not that Lawfully call d and sent Administrator, which the In
ftitution of the Sacraments constantly and unalterably do's require; and what will make such pretended Ministrations Invalid, if contrariety to the very Essential Law of the loftituțion will not? If the Church, in any of her Articles, had said, It is not Lawful for any other Form to be used in B.1ptism, than that, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghoft; would not any reasonable Man, that made use of his Faculty of Thinking, prefently conclude, that the Church excluded all other Forms, because of their being contrary to the Inftituted Form of Baptism? Would he not from thence infer, that, pretended Baptism, with such an Un-instituted Form, is not thé Instituted Baptism? Would he not say, that he learn’d this from the Church's Article i and consequently, that the Church Null's such a Baptism? I don't doubt but he would; and why then should we not conftrue the Church's 23d Article, to Null Baptisms perform’d by such as were Never called or fent ? Certainly the same Reason will hold for her Nulling this, as for her voiding the other fupposed Baptism, since the Authoriz'd Administrator is as much, and as Durable a part of the Institution of Baptism, as the Form it felf is. Our Church in this article, is declaring her Doctrine concerning the Minister of Sacraments; this Doctrine of Her's relates to True Relia
gion, as was before observ'd, S. VI. Therefore, when She says, “'tis not Lawful, &c. She do's not refer to any human Law; The do's not appeal to any Arbitrary Injunction of Man, but to the Divine Law recorded in Holy Scripture; that Law is the Only Standard, whereby Articles of True Religion are to be try'd and examin'd, and 'tis from this Law that She takes Her True Doctrine concerning the Minister of Sacraments; and 'cis only to this Law that She appeals, when she says, “ It is not Law, “ ful for any Man to take upon him the Of"fice, &c. So that, If this Divine Law of the Institution of Christian Sacraments, makes the Authority of him who ministers them, to be an Essential part of their Inftitution; then the Church, by this Article appealing to the fame Law, do's alfo Determine, that the Authority of the Minister is an Essential part of that Law, and consequently, that the whole Law is Vacated, when one of its Essential Parts is made Void, as it certainly is, in the Cafe of Unauthoriz'd and Anti-Episcopal Baptism: And to gainsay this, our Author must en, ter into the Merits of the Cause, and endeavour to prove such Baptism good and Valid, in the Sense of the Divine Law; tho' he is so very loath to engage himself in this Matter! But further, the Church does not rest here ; She says more ftill ; For,
S. VIII. In Her 26th Article, she affirms, concerning the Minister of Baptism (which is one of the Sacraments She is there speaking of) That he do's“ not minister the
same in his own Name, but in Chritt's “ 'and by his Commission and Authority.
That the Sacraments be effeétual, " because of Christ's Jnftitution and Pias 66 mile." "This The asserts, to take off the Scruples of some mistaken People, who think, that the Efficacy of the Word and Sacraments is destroyd, by the Wickedness of the Minister who Officiates in them. Wherein we may observe, by what Means The would reduce their erroneous Judgments; for, by this Article, She informs them, that it is not the Worthiness or San<tity of the Minister's Person, but the Com. mission by which he Acts, that they ought chiefly to regard, the Sacraments are not his, but Christ's, because ministred by his Commission and Authority ; and the Church gives this of Christ's Commission and Anthority, for the Reason why we should use the infttry even of Bad men in
ceiving the Sacraments; but this can never hold with respect to the Ministry of any Man, how Good and Holy foever, that is not Authoriz'd; for he can upon No account whatsoever, be said to have Christ's