« ÎnapoiContinuă »
KERS in the Sin, as well as the Punishment of the Ufurpers; as we fee was exemplify'd in the Cafe of Corah and his Company, for no lefs than Fourteen thousand feven hundred of them were deftroy'd by a Plague, befides the great Number of thofe who were before fwal low'd alive into the Earth, and burnt with Fire from the Lord and if fo, may we not justly infer that God is ftill as Jealous of This Honour under the Gospel, the Ministers whereof being of fo much greater Dignity, by how much the Gofpel is more excellent than the Law of Mofes? It is certain that even now, in the Chriftian Difpenfation, No Man can take this Honour to himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron; and Aaron's Call was not by his great Gifts, and the inward Dictates of the Spirit, but by an EXTERNAL COMMISSION first given by God himself to Mofes, and then by Mofes, at the Command of God, to Aaron. But,
Secondly, The Example of our Saviour's not taking upon him to Minifter in Holy Things between God and Man, till he was particularly and externally Commiffion'd by God for that purpofe; isa further Advance towards proving, that the Divine Authority of the Adminiftrator of Baptism, is an Effential Part of this Inftitution. For, notwithstanding he was full of the Holy Ghoft, which was not given by Measure, but entirely to him; notwithAtanding his Manhood was infeperably united
to the Second Perfon of the moft Glorious Trinity, whereby he was more than fufficiently, nay, infinitely gifted for fuch a purpose; and notwithstanding the great Neceffities, and confequent Miseries of all Mankind, which were continually wanting his Undertaking to Adminifter for them in Things pertaining to God; yet he kept himself in his private Station for about 30 Years together, and never would take upon himself fo High an Office, till he receiv'd his Commiffion and Inauguration thereinto, from the Hands of a Prophet [John the Baptift] who Baptiz'd him, to fulfil this Part of Righteoufnefs and Justice, viz. of not taking upon himself to be a Minister of the New Covenant, without a fpecial Warrant from God by the Mediation of one, who was. by him appointed to convey this Power and Authority to him: And then we find, that God himself, by the Defcent of the Holy. Ghoft upon him in a vifible Glory, and by an audible Voice from Heaven, faying, This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleas'd, confirm'd his great Commiffion, and that from thence-forward (and not before) he proceeded in the Execution of it: From that time he: preach'd and taught, gave his Apoftles order to Baptize and Preach; wrought Miracles himfelf, and gave others Power to do fo like wife, for the Confirmation of his Doctrine, Sr. Now what should be the Reafon of our Savi our's thus long defifting from the performance
of fuch beneficial Offices? Was he not fuffi ciently gifted? Yes certainly he was. Did not the Extream Miferies of Man's Spiritual Bondage call loudly for relief? beyond all doubt they did. Why then did not even Com paffion it felf, the Bleffed Jefus, then perfonally among them, undertake their speedy Rescue? Was it because his Hour was not yet come? Doubtless it was not come; but why? be caufe he had not yet receiv'd his COMMISSION from his Father, So that, if our Lord's Example may be allow'd in this Cafe to be Conclufive, it is plain, that not all the Gifts imaginable, nor all the preffing Neceffities that may be pleaded, can ever of themselves give fufficient Warrant to Minifter Authoritatively, for Men, in things pretaining to God, when thofe things are of fuch a Nature, as that a Commiffion from him must be first obtain'd by the Perfon who undertakes to Adminifter: And that therefore fuch a Perfon ought to be duly Commiffion'd for fuch Administrations. Now that Chriftian Baptism is fuch an Inftitution as neceffarily requires, and conftantly fupposes the Divine Authority of the Adminiftrator, I fhall endeavour to Demonstrate,
Thirdly, From the Words of Inftitution : And in order thereto, 'twill be very well worth while to obferve, that our Saviour, a little before his Afcenfion into Heaven, appointed the ELEVEN APOSTLES, and THEM ONLY (notwithstanding the vaft Numbers
Father BUT BY ME, Joh. xiv. 6. And without me ye can do nothing, Joh. xv. 5. Hence we find why the Scripture fays that Jefus made and Baptiz'd Difciples, Joh. iii. 22: iv. 1. bes caufe He did it by those whom he had fent for that purpose: For, verfe 2. Jefus himself [i.e. in his own Perfon] Baptized not, but his Difciples: He Baptized,but'twas by them,vefted with his Authority; and thereby it became his own Act; even fo, that Baptifm might always be justly interpreted to be done by him (who is the only proper Mediator, and whofe Mediatorial Acts alone, are, as fuch, acceptable to his Father, in our behalf.) He vefted his Apoftles and their Succeffors, and fuch as are Ordain'd by them, with HIS OWN AUTHORITY to Baptize to the End of the World, that they might perfonate him in this Act of Mediation, and that confequently HE might continue to make and Baptize Difciples by their Miniftry; which he cannot be faid to do, by the Act of one whom he never fent: For which Reason, added to those others I have brought under this 4th Head, we may truly fay, That the Divine Authority of him who Adminifters Baptifm is an Effential Part of that Holy Inftitution. But this is confirm'd alfo,
Fifthly, By the conftant Practice of those who truly are, and of others who pretend to be, the Lawful Minifters of Christ in his Church.
THE Lawful Minifters in all Ages have claim'd the Authority of Baptizing, even from the time of our Saviour's first giving the Commiffion to his Eleven Apoitles, unto this Day; and for this very Reafon, because they Deriv'd their Minifterial Power and Authority from Chrift: But if the Divine Authority of the Adminiftrator of Baptifm were not an Effential Part of that Inftitution, their Claim would have been unjust when founded upon their Di vine Right, and fo every Man would have had as much Authority to Baptize as they: But forafmuch as they were never accus'd of Injuftice for making this Claim, (except by fuch Wretches as the Author of the Rights, &c. who would confound all Order in the Chriftian Church;) and fince all Sober Christians, who know their Duty, never laid Claim to this Authority; it neceffarily follows, that the Lawful Minifter's Claim is good, and confe quently that the Divine Authority of him who Adminifters is an Effential Part of Baptism.
AS for thofe who pretend to be, but are not, the Lawful Minifters of Chrift; 'tis well known, that they plead for the Authority of Baptizing upon this very score, that they efteem their Minifterial Commiffion to be of Divine Right; and therefore will never fuffer their Common People to Adminifter Baptifm: From whence it follows, that they alfo in praEtice confirm this Affertion of the Divine Authority of the Adminiftrator of Baptifin: other.