Page images

mediate between God and the Peoplein Christ's ftead, these are Sacrifices peculiar to the Order of the Clergy, and this Text never defign'd them to be perform'd by Lay-Chri ftians. For fays St. Paul " Are all Apofles? 'Tis His ftrong Negation, as much as if he had faid, ALL Chriftians are NOT APOSTLES. The Apostles and their Succeffors are Chriftian Priests, because their Minifterial Office is to Mediate with God, as Christ's Representatives, in our behalf: this the Scripture abundantly proves, and the Univerfal Church conftantly teftifies. Common Chriitians are not fuch Priests, they have not this Office of being Chrift's Reprefentatives, committed to them, for who can take this Honour to himself, but he that is call'd of God as was Aaron? The Text adduced will as much prove them Literal Kings, as fuch Priests; for tis faid, Chrift has made us KINGS and Priefs, If People once perfwade themselves, that this Great Office belongs to them, because they are Chriftians; God's Authority in His Kings will be trampled under Foot, and difpifed among Men. It behoves Princes, and all other inferior Orders, to take care of fuch dangerous Interpreters of Scripture as these would be. Chriftians as fuch are highly exalted, by their Redemption from the Slavery and Bondage of Sin and Satan; from the vile Servitude to their own Lufts; and from the Burden of the Mofaic Law of Coftly Ceremonies, &c.

In this they are Kings, being brought into the Glorious Liberty of the Sons of God, and having through the Aids and Affistances of the Holy Ghoft, a Capacity of overcoming all the Powers of Darkness. But they'll lofe this their Spiritual Dignity, if they affume to themselves the Title and Office of Kings in the proper Literal Senfe of the Word: and fo they will their Priesthood too, if they prefume, like Saul, to attempt to Minifter in the Pofitive Inftituted Functions of Chrift's Appointed Priests.

Thus we see that Chriftians, as fuch, are no otherwise Priests than the Common Jews were; only thus much they are higher advanc'd than the Jews, that they are Kings too, by that Spiritual Freedom, Libert, and Power, which I have mention'd, and which the Jews, under their Dispensation, could not boaft of, as we may.

There is another Senfe wherein Christians, as fuch, Collectively taken, may be term'd Kings and Priefts; and that is, as they are the Members of that BODY, whofe Head Chrift Jefus is King and Prieft in the highest Senfe of those Words: It is no Novelty to call the Body by the Name given to the Head: For the Scripture it felf calls the Church, which is the Body of Chrift, by the Name CHRIST. I Cor. xii. 12. For as the Body is One, and hath many Nembers, and all the Members of that One Body, being many, are One Body: Jo alfo is

[ocr errors]


CHRIST, or the Body of Chrift, which is His Church. And fince the Scripture calls the Church, Chrift, 'tis no Wonder to find the fame Divine Writings call Chriftians, i. e. all the Church of Chrift, Kings and Priests; for thofe Texts fpeak of the Univerfal Body, the Church collectively taken: "A Spiritual "Houfe; a Holy Priesthood; a Royal Priesthood, This is the meaning of that other Text, "Kings and Priests; i. e. in One Body ye are Kings and Priests, because ye are the Body of Chrift, who is KING AND PRIEST. And as any fingle Member (as fuch) of that Body, is not Chrift in the proper Sense of the word; fo neither is any Member thereof, as fuch, a King or Prieft in the proper Senfe of thofe Words. They are only fo in a Figurative Senfe, as they are related to, and are in Union with their Head: And fo they are likewife as they are Members of the Refpeative particular Churches, whofe vifible Spiritual Heads, the Bishops, are Spiritual Kings and Priests by Christ's Inftitution; to whom the Members are united, and confequently in fubjection: And therefore, tho' Chrift refpects no particular Perfon, more or lefs, for being of a Jewish or Gentile Offfpring; for being Bond or Free, Male or Female, but regards the Obedience, &c. of all alike; yet he makes a diftinction of Offices, and requires the feveral Members of his Body the Church, to


keep their proper Stations, (as St. Paul most excellently argues throughout his 12th Chapter of the ift Epiftle to the Corinthians) to perform their feveral refpective Functions; and to be in Subordination, the Inferior to the Superior, that his Authority may be preferv'd vifible in his Church, and all the Members thereof may refer to him, the Spiritual Benefits they receive through his Inftituted Miniftrations, by attending on, and receiving them, at the Hands of those, whom he has made his Reprefentatives for that purpose: And therefore, 'tis abfolutely neceffary by Christ's Inftitution, that when we are Baptiz'd, we should receive Baptifm from an Epifcopal Hand, which is Chrift's Officer, and fo far himself, notwithstanding that, in Chrift Jefus there is no Diftinction, or Refpect of Perfons.

I CONCLUDE this Appendix, earnestly intreating the moft Reverend, the Right Reverend, and Reverend GOVERNORS and MINISTERS of Chrift over his Flock, in all Parts of the UNIVERSAL Church, the PRIESTS of the most High God! who are duly Authoriz'd to reprefent and make visible to us, the once Vilible, but now Invisible PRIESTHOOD of the Great High Priest of our Profeffion Chrift Fefus! who have not taken this Honour unto themselves without being call'd of God, as was Aaron! who are therefore the Delegated AMBASSADORS for Christ, and ap pointed STEWARDS of the Mysteries of God,


to whom he has given the KEYS, and committed the Cuftody of the TWO GREAT SEALS of the Kingdom of Heaven; fo that whatsoever they fall bind on Earth, fhall be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever they shall loose on Earth, fball be loofed in Heaven. I humbly befeech them, in the Bowels of Jefus Chrift, to confider the great Dignity of their High and Holy Calling, and their UNALIENABLE Right to Administer those SACRAMENTS, which the Infinite Wisdom of our great Lawgiver has appropriated to their Sacred Funtion. For, if the Miniftration of the Sacraments is not ESSENTIAT to their Office, and THEIR OFFICE ESSENTIAL to the Ministration of Valid Sacraments, what fignifies the Inftitution of the Priesthood, and to what purpose did our Bleffed Lord promise to be with his Priefts, and concur with their Ministrations to the End of the World? If the prefumptuous Ministrations of Lay-men acting of themselves, or in oppofition to the Church and her Priefts, is not inconfiftent with the Nature and Property of True Sacraments: Or if they can be True and Valid Sacraments when given by their Hands, how, and by what means fhall we be convinc'd of the Neceffity of the Chriftian Priesthood to the Church, by Divine Inftitution, and its Perpetuity, till the Confummation of all things? How fhall we be perfwaded to value the Ministrations of a Prieft more than those


« PreviousContinue »