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the RIGHTS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH ASSERTED. The worthy Author, who has done the Church good Service, in answering that pernicious Book, I dare fay, never defigned, that any thing in his moft Excellent Book fhould be conftru'd to favour our Lay-Baptifms, which are evidently in Oppofition to the Divine Right of Epifcopacy, and for which the Hierarchical Powers of the Church of England have provided NO ACT OF CONFIRMATION. So that, in thefe Nations, our Lay-Baptizers, and their Profelytes, can reap no Benefit by any thing afferted in this Objection.
I HAVE already, under the Corollary of the Third Propofition, declar'd my Reafons against the Difpenfing Power pleaded in this Objection; to which I fhall further add, That I acknowledge the Divine Powers of the Hierarchy; but with this Reftriction; That fince the Settling of the Canon of the Holy Scriptures, they are for ever limited IN THINGS FUNDAMENTAL to that Rule, from which they have no Authority to deviate, and confequently not to difpenfe with any of the Effentials of Baptifm, which (without all doubt) is a Fundamental of Chriftianity: Such a Difpenfation must be a Violation of Chrift's Law; and how that should be to Edification, is inconceivable; fince Chrift, our Great Lawgiver, has provi ded Fundamentals fufficient for the Edification of his Church, in all Circumftances whatfo
ever; and Obedience to his Laws about Fundamentals, is moft certainly the best Edification: Otherwife, He who is Omniscient Wifdom it felf, would never have made fuch Laws. And therefore, with Submiffion, there feems to be no Neceffity for Empowering the Governors of the Church "to relax his Stated "Rules, no not in Cafes that appear neceffary "or expedient. Befides, if Chrift has made Stated Rules for the Effentials of Christian Sacraments, without providing for fuch pretended Cafes of Neceffity; the Hierarchical Powers must certainly run a great Hazard of Sin, in attempting to difpenfe with Things for which he has made no Provifion; and the Perfons difpens'd with can have no juft Satisfaction in fuch Difpenfations; efpecially when the feeming Caufe of them is remov'd, as it certainly is in the Cafe of Perfons baptiz'd by Unauthoriz'd Lay-men, contrary to the Stated Rule, who may afterwards obtain Epifcopal Baptifm agreeable to the Law of Chrift, if the Hierarchical Powers will but give them Leave.
THIS I fay in Oppofition to those who affirm, that the Hierarchical Powers ARE "ACTUALLY ENDOWED with Authority to difpenfe with Chrift's Laws, and to relax "Stated Rules, in Cafes that appear necessary "and expedient"; which the Learned Author, whofe Words they ufe, does not fay. All that he intimates, is only, that they MAY BE empower'd to do fo: Which plainly fhews,
that he would not venture to affirm that they really are; and 'tis reasonable to believe, that upon Second Thoughts, he will not allow fo much, as that they may be fo empower'd: Becaufe what may be, may not be, as far as we know. Nay, 'tis more agreeable to Reveal'd Religion, to fay, that they are not fo empower'd; because a Thing of fo great Moment would never have been left out of the Divine Oracles, to be handed down to us thro' all Ages, by the UNCERTAIN METHOD of Oral Tradition only. And therefore, 'tis very unsafe for us to truit in fuch [may be's], when the Receiving, or not Receiving, of Spiritual Supernatural Privileges and Benefits, depends upon the Truth or Falfity of fuch a Difpenfing Power, as it certainly does in the Administration of Chriftian Sacraments. "He
retical, Schifmatical and Mimical Baptifms, are in this Objection acknowledg'd to be "not "Entire or Valid in themselves; therefore in themselves thery are utterly and entirely Invalid; (by the Corollary of the Third Propofition.) It is alfo faid, That" as to any Spiritual Graces, "they are not to be had thereby, till, &c. Which is a plain Indication, that of THEMSELVES they are of no Efficacy to the Purposes of Chriftian Baptism; the Adminiftration whereof is certainly efficacious for the Conveyance of Spiritual Graces. Again: They are call'd here" Defective and Irregular Acts. But why are they Defective; except but for their being uncapable
uncapabic of producing the proper Effects of true Baptifm? And why fhould they be except only but for being contrary to the Stated Rule, (or, which is the fame) the First Inftitution of Chriftian Baptifm??
SO that the External Rite perform'd by thefe Heretical, Schifmatical and Mimical Baptizers, being thus acknowledg'd to be contrary to the Inftitution of Baptifm, and utterly incapable in it felf of being the Means to convey any Spiritual Graces; what has it to do with Chriftian Baptifm? Certainly it must be a mere Nullity, and all one as if it had never been perform'd: Because, if it had no Virtue to confer Spiritual Graces, it had no Virtue to confer any Benefit at all; for even the outward Privileges are no Privileges, when feparate from the Spiritual Graces. Thus, all Perfons on whom the faid External Rite was perform'd, can receive by means thereof none of the Benefits of Chriftian Baptism; which are all Spiritual and Supernatural; and confequently, muft remain in the State of the Unbaptiz'd, till they receive True Christian Baptifm; which, how they can receive, without repeating the External Rite by a Proper Adminiftrator, is utterly inconceivable. It is faid indeed, That" thofe Defective " and Irregular Acts (i. e. the External Rites of thofe Heretical, Schifmatical and Mimical Baptifms) are Supply'd, Righted, and Confirm'd
"by the Chrism of the Bishop, or Impofition of his "Hands, &c. For Anfwer to which, I refer the Reader to the Corollary of the Third Propo furion; and further add, That this is only faid, and not prov'd; and I believe never will, till it can be demonftrated, that, that which be fore was no Baptifm at all in the Christian Sense of the Word, is now made True, Chriftian Baptifin, (without the Act of Baptization merely by the Bishop's Chrifm, or Impoli tion of his Hands. Either the first External Rite was the ONE BAPTISM the Scripture fpeaks of, or it was not; if it was, then it was Entire and Valid Baptifm, and confequently wants no fuch Act of the Bishop to Supply and right it; but if it was not that ONE BAP TISM, then nothing can make it fo, but the very Act of Baptization by a Chriftian Minifter: For it may with as much reafon be af firm'd, that Baptifm is Adminifter'd really and truly by fuch Act of the Bishop, to all other Unbaptiz'd Perfons as well as to thofe, and fo at laft, Baptifm it felt will be render'd needlefs, when the want of it can be fo easily supply'd: But no less than a Divine Revelation will fuf fice to convince us, that this is true; and till that is produc'd, we must continue to believe, that not all the Acts of the Higheft Created Powers on Earth, are fufficient to make that which before was no Baptifm,to become Chri ftian Baptifm, without the Act of Baptization: by a proper Minister, as Chrift has appointed