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I am well aware, how diligent the Adversaries will be to find what Faults they can; and I am not so vain, as to think my self to have escaped altogether free from fome in this Elay. And therefore, that I might take away all Occasion of unnecelary Dispute, and save my self the Trouble of future Answers to what may be cavilld at by fome I once for all declar'd, in the Second Edition of this Book, what I thought necesary for the more clear Explanation of my Design and Meaning in Some Pasages, which otherwise I fear'd might have given Offence.
In this Fourth Edition, all those Places are more correct in the Body of the Book it self, and therefore not necesary here to be particularly explain'd, except in the Appendix,
Page 128. and forward, wbere, in Answer to the roth Objection, I have attempted to prove the Validity of Holy Orders conferr'd on Unbaptiz'd Persans: What I have propos’d in order thereto, I defire the Judicious Lovers of Truth to interpret. only as an Essay. I am not so fond of any thing I bave said about it, as to strive with those who may happen to differ from me : Nay more ; if after due Consideration, it pould be generally condemn'd by Orthodox Learned Men; I Mall acquiesce, acknowledging, That a Man ought to be a Member, before he should be admitted to be a Minister of Christ in his Ghurch.
What I bave said in the following, and other Parts of this Book, in General Terms, relating to Lay-Baptism, I think necesary by way of Precaution here to explain; by telling mv Reader, that I design thereby to mean such Baptism, as is performed by Perfons who never receiv'd any Real Allthority from their Bishopsį, or else by such as were
never really Authoriz'd, and yet act in Opposition to Episcopacy. " Whether Bishops, the Spirios tual Governors of the Church, who have “ Power from Christ to give a Man a Standcing Commission to be a Priest, cannot give “ him a Commission pro hac vice, in cases of " extreme Necessity, to do a Sacerdotal Act,” I will not presume to determine. Neither do I think it necesary to dispute against those, who affirm that they can; provided the Layman be in Como munion with, and an actual Member of that particular National, or Provincial Church, over which the Bishops preside who give such an Occasional Çommision; provided also that they give bim this Commission in such a Manner, and with sucha LIMITATIONS and RESTRICTIONS, as that there may be no more Reason to suspect the Truth of the Divine Authority residing in him, for the Executing of that Sacerdotal Act pro hic& nunc, in a Case of extreme Necessity, than there is to question the Validity of the STANDING ComMISSION of the Ordinary Priesthood. For then, in such case, the Man acts not of himself, or as a mere Laick: He is suppos’d not to Administer by Virtue of any Canon of Foreign Councils; but As empower'd by the Authority of those Particular Bishops he is subje&t to. And I think it necessary to make these Proviso's; because, on the other Hand, it is well known, how api Men have been, and fill are, to pervert and abuse this power and Authority, and misapply it to wrong and ill Purposes, by unfound and false Inferences; (as I my self have found by Experience, in my Conversaţion relating to my own particular Case) so far as at last to make the Christian Priesthood be eJteem'd by the Heedless Multitude, as a thing of
no necessary Use and Value at all: And for this Reason 'tis that I have endeavoured so much (in this Essay, pag. 85. and Appendix, pag. 149, and 150.) to sew the Ini Uses which Men are apt to make of the Church's Power.
After all, whether a Church has, or has not the Power of Authorizing her own Laicks (as above specified) to Baptize in cases of Extremity, I think I need make no Scruple to say,
ist, That the Practice of one National or Provincial Cburch in this case, cannot Authorize the Laicks of Another such Church, which gives them no such Authority (As here with Us.)
2dly, That no Church can have any Power to allow Laicks of Opposite Communions to her, to Administer Baptism in that case, much less when there is no Necesity at all: (As certainly there is none in our Dissenters Baptisms.)
3dly, That no Church has, or can have Power to Confirm Baptism so administer'd; because Confirmation supposes the Person to have been validly baptiz'd before, and his Baptism to be consummated and finished thereby.
The Author of a Pamphlet entitled, New Dangers to the Christian Priesthood; who with great Rudeness, inconsistent with his Priestly Character bas, by PARTIAL Quotations from my Two Books of Sacerdotal Powers, and Diflenters Baptism Null and Void, endeavour'd to persuade the World, that I Separate the Divine Commission from the Christian Ministry, and that I hold and affirm, that Bishops bave Power to Authorize Laymen to Baptize, would have done but Common Justice to have consider'd, and let the World see what I have said here in Answer to a Question put to me concerning such a Power in Bishops
. He knew in
bis Conscience, or might know, that this was in the Second Edition of Lay-Baptism Invalid, for be refers to that Edition in bis abusive Pamphlet. He cannot deny, that in the same Edition, P.155. I use these very Words, viz. “When IT CAN BE
PROVED, Thąt Christ has vested his Church 6 with such a Power, it will necessarily fol6 low, &c." He might have known, that this was in Answer to an Objection which affirm’d, that the “Validity of Lay-Baptism stands on the Authority of the Church's Power to
GRANT SUCH Licence to Lay-men in Extré“ mities.” He cannot chufe but be conscious to himself, if he read the Book, that I in the same Edition, P. 155, 156. few'd the Danger of the Church's making use of such a supposed Power; these Passages are in p. 148, 149, and 1 5o. of this present Edition. His Conscience must also tell him, that in p. 83. of Sacerdotal Powers, (which he pretends to quote, tho' be does it very unfairly) I say concerning Baptisms
. Administer'd by virtue of the Canon of the Council of Eliberis, thefe Words, 6 IF ANY THING CAN BE SAID for the Vali“dity of those Lay-Baptifms." And p. 85. concerning Midwife-Baptism, allow'd by the Church of Rome, I say. thus,So that upon Supposition, “ which I DARE NOT GRANT, that those Mid" wife-Baptisms could be defended as Valid,
upon the Account of their Bishops having " first granted them such Power, &C." - Lastly, to let the World see a little more of the Integrity of this Writer, be cannot be ignorant that he is very unjust in his Quotation, from p. 6, and 7. of Dirsenter's Baptism Null and Void; for in.p.67. ben fore the Period is finisbd, I say, concerning the Church's Power to Authorize her Laymen 10
Baptize, thus,' “ Which, whether RIGHT OR
NO, is no ways applicable to our Laymen and
Disenters, who are utterly destitute of any o such Plea, &c." By all which Pasages the Impartial Reader may easily see, that I do not afirm, that Bishops have Power so to Authorize Laymen; but that, if Bishops could be suppos’d, or prov'd to have such a Power, yet even then our Dissenters Baptisms are Null and Void notwithstanding. The whole Argument runs upon [if they had Power] [whether Right or no, &c.] But these necessary Connections he purposely – mitted, because he knew that if he had inserted them 'twould have discovered the Falseness of his Charge, and have spoild bis Design, of endeavouring to render a Person odious, when he was not able to confute that Truth which he had afSerted. How aukwardly soever I may have defended it, that must be left to more impartial Judges than this Gentleman has mew'd himself to be; however, tbus much He and his Friends have discovered by their Attempts hitherto, that they dare venture no farther than to nibble at such little things, as are wholly foreign to the MAIN MATTER dispúted; and this they do without any Argument at all, while the Merits of the Cause lie neglected by them, as being in their opinion, either not worth their Regard, or else, because the Invalidity of Lay-Baptism is too great a Truth for them exprefly and directly to endeavour to overthrow. This Writer calls upon me to anfwer him positively, whether I will bold and maintain, that “ Bishops can Authorize Laymen to “ Baptize." I hereby assure him, that I will give him no positive Answer to this Question. I will not Declare my self absolutely, either for or a