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the Author of a Book fallly Intituled, The Judgment of the Church of England, in the Cafe of Lay Baptism, and of Diffenters Baptism has done. And what is the most astonishing of all is, that they who oppose the Popisb Doctrine before spoken of, are calld Promoters of POPERÎ, particularly by Dr. Burnet the late Bishop of Sarum; jait as the Church's best Friends are called her greatest Enemies : But 'cis easie from hence to discover, who they are, that would introduce and establisha POPERY among us.

And now, after all that has been said, I declare, that it is not my Design to meddle with the Cyprianick Dispute in this Discourse; my business is not to enquire wliether those who were once duly Authoriz'd, and afterwards fall into HERESY or SCHISM, and thereby separate themselves, or are excluded from the Church, can Administer Valid Sacraments and Ordinations during this their Separation: No, I shall not so much as touch upon this at all, because I don't think my Cafe affected by it; all that I need concern my self about, is, whether chofe who act in opposition to the acknowledg’d and duly Authoriz'd Ministers of Clirist; and who themselves were NEVER duly Aut thorizd, can Administer tridly Valid Baptismo and whether the Receivers of those Baptisms can safely reft fàtisfied with themespecially: when they know of this want of Power and Authority in the Administrator. This is my Casa,and this is all that I concern myself about.


And therefore I wrote the following ESSAY in a Mathematical Method of Definition, Axiom, and Proposition, for the Information of my own Judgment, in this great Affair : It was not at first defign'd for Publick View, but finding others have been, and it may be still do Labour under the fame Circumstances with my self, I thought it might not be unacceptable to them; and if they shall reap any bene fit thereby, or if some abler Pen will undertake to mend my Faults, by letting the World see something more Correct and Exa£t for that purpose, (the only Motive of my Writing) I shall obtain my end, which God be praised is not mixt with any Alloy of Worldly Gain, or desire of Human Applause for this Undertaking.

As for Caviling and Disputing, 'tis not my design to concern my self and lose my precious time) in such endless Impertinencies. If any one will candidly shew me my Errors, I shall heartily thank him for so doing; but I declare before-hand, that no less than fuch Demonstration as the Nature of the Thing will bear, can ever go down with me for Conviction ; I am not to be put off with the Authority of any great Names, Separate from Scripture, and the

Consentient Doctrine and PreEtice of the Primitive Church, for, this has eaused too much Error in the World already, and 'tis high time now to reform from it. London, 22d of October, 1722. Lay




Of the Nature and Obligation

of Divine Positive Institutions of Religion.

Definitions: IA

Divine Positive Institution of Religion

is; that which God himself requires and commands to be done, and which (having no intrinsick or moral Excellency in it felf) without his Command and Appointment, we could never have been bound to the Observance of; nor ever have convey'd to us by the Obferva: tion thereof, any SUPERNATURAL Bee nefit or Advantage whatsoever.

II. The Essential Parts of a Divine Positive Institution, are those which we are oblig'd constantly to observe, as long as the utmost dus



ration, of the Force and Obligation of the Inftitution it felf.

III. I call an Ad Invalid for the purposes of such an Institution, when we have no just Reafon or Motive from Divine Revelation to expect, that God should so far concur with that Act, as to convey by MEANS THEREOF, those Supernatural Advantages he has annex'd to the Institution.

IV. By the Supernatural Advantages Annex'd to an Inftitution, I mean.all those Spiritual Privileges and Benefits which by Naturewe cannot have, and which God has promis’d to bestow, upon Condition of our duly Performing that Institution, which he has made to be the Ordinary means of Conveying those Benefits to us.

V. By the Divine Authority of the Administrator, I mean that Commiffion which God at firft gave to Men, and which they have ever since handed down to others, by his Order and Appointment, to Administer in his Holy Ordinances. :;!

VI. By a Lay Administration I mean, That which is perform’d by One who never was commiffion’d or Impower'd for that Act, by those whom God has appointed to be the Conveyers of his Authority and Commillion to Men, for that purpofe.


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I. The Essential Parts of any thing, are of the fanie Nature as the whote.

II. God himself may dispense with any of his own Positive Institutions, either in whole or in Part ; and bestow the Benefits annex'd to them, when, to whom, and how he pleases.

III. No Ecclefiaftcal or Civil Authority can Dispense with any Divine Pofitive Institution, either in whole, or in any Essential Part, so long as it is binding and obliging to us.

IV. The only way to determine whether an Alt is Valid or Invalid, for the Purposes of a Divine Positive Institution, is, to know whether that Ad be Lawful or Unlawful, Agree able, or Contrary to the Will of God; which is to be found no where, but either in the In, ftitution it self or in some other Part or Parts of hisWritten Word,relating tothe same Institution,

V. No Power or Authority on Earth, can by any after-Act ( not appointed by God for that

D 2

purpose )

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