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“ tized in the Name of the Trinity, altho' it
were by a wicked Priest.
“ Gregory III. Orders that they shall be “ Baptized again in the Name of the Trinity, « who have been Baptized by Heathens. And “ also that those shall be Re-baprized, who “ have been Baptized by a Priest that hath “ Sacrificed to Jupiter, or eaten Meat offer’d
to Idols. Thus far I think, may suffice to have Collected what has been said about Rebaptization.
And I should not have given my self, or the Reader, the Trouble of this Account of Men's various Judgments and Opinions in this Case; were it not that I expected to hear from some, that I had wholly neglected to search into Antiquity, concerning the Sense of the Primitive Fathers about it. To Obviate which Objection, and because I have been told, that
it becomes me to rest satisfied in the Deter5 minations of the Christian Church about “ this matter, I thought it not amiss to enquire into them thus far; to the intent, that I might see whether I could procure any WELL-GROUNDED Satisfaction from their Authority; and indeed I must acknowledge, that if this had been a Thing Indifferent in its own Nature, and not DE TERMINED by the Word of God, but left to the Wisdom and Prudence of the Church to Decree as she should think convenient and necessary, I ought to have acquiesc'd with her Determinations; C4
If she had in General Council made any about Unauthoriz’dand Anti-Episcopal Baptisms, which in Truth she has not; nor any Provincial Council neither, as it plain by the foregoing Colle&tion.
The Church of Rome has indeed assun'd to herself a pretended Power of declaring all Baptisms in or with Water in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by whom. soever administerd, whether by a Woman or Layman, Heretick or Orthodox, Communicant or Schismatick, of what sort foever, to be Good and Valid: But this Her Determination ought to be brought to the Test, and weigh'd in the Ballance of the Sanctuary. · Baptism, and all things Essential thereto, are Fundamentals of Christianity; 'tis ( in the Apostles Stile) a Principle of the Doctrine of Christ; 'tis a Positive Institution made by God Himself; and the Holy Scriptures as interpreted by the Doctrine and Practice of the Primitive Catholick Church, are CLEAR ENOUGH for the Determination of all the Necessaries thereof, as well as of all other Fundamental Points of our Religion ; and therefore the Decrees of some Particular Fathers and Councils have no more weight with me in this matter (of Lay-Baptism) than what they receive from their Conformity to those Divine Oracles, which are the only Original Rule of our Faith and Practice in Fundamentals, as all found Protestants have affirm'd.
If any shall ask me, who must be Judge between you and the Councils ? I answer, The same that must be Judge between the Contradictious Canons of Different Councils; the same that must be Judge between me, and a Council that Commands me to Worship Saints and Angels, &c. Now who this is upon Earth, I cannot tell ; a Living Infallible Judge we have none; and therefore I mult look for a Rule or Guide, i. e. the Holy Scripture; and if the Councils and I Differ about this Rule, I must have recourse to the BEST and PUREST Ages of Christianity, and see what the Apostolick Fathers, and the Councils next after them, understood by that Rule. After all, I must be allow'd a fudgment of Discretion for my self; in Conjunction with these, and à JUST DEFERENCE to the Canons of that particular Church whereof I am, or ought to be a Member; and by all these Methods, I am brought to conclude for my self, that Lay-Baptism, BY ONE IN OPPOSITION to the Church, can never be Good and Valid.
'Tis by this Rule ţhat I reckon the Councils of Carthage, Iconium and Synnada, together with the Cultoms of the Asiatick and African Churches, confirming St. Cyprian's Doctrine, have as much (if not more) Authority to sway my Judgement in the Matter of Heretical and Schismatical Baptisms; as the Council of Arles, and the After-Determinations of other Coun
eils and Fathers; for, these latter can pretend to no more Divine Authority than the for. ķer; and it may be, upon a Just Examination, will be found to have much less; tho’I have no need to dwell upon this, because my Province is only confin’d to Lay-i, e. unauthoriz'd Baptism-such as is perform'd by Perfons who never were authoriz'd for that purpose; who act in direct Opposition to that Order of Men who are impower'd by Christ to authorize others to Baptize; against Such Baptizers, I have produc'd Several Testimonies from the Purelt Times; and the Adver, "sary can bring forth, in their behalf, not One Council, either General or Provincial, till the Corrupt Ones of the Church of Rome.
I am very well satisfied that there is but ONE TRUE CHRISTIAN BAPTISM, which ought not to be repeated upon those who have receiv'd it: I find my self under an Impossibility to believe, that this ONE BAP TISM is any other than what Christ himself Instituted Juft before his Ascension into Hear ven; I reckon an Essential Part of this Institution (and I humbly hope in the Sequel of this Discourse to prove it) to be the DIVINE AUTHORITY of the ADMINISTRATOR as well as the Water, and the Form of Administration.
I cannot be satisfied, that the Person who is faid to have Baptiz'd me, ever had this Authority; nay, I am fully convincd of the con
trary; and also, that he was actually in opposition to it; and tho' his meaning were never so good, yet I cannot think God concurr'd with such an Usurpation, when it was done withcut Any Necessity at all
, in a Christian Country, where truly Authorig'd Ministers might have been had with as much, if not greater ease and speed than he: For which Reasons I find no folid Foundation for believing, that I have received this ONE. BAPTISM, especially since I my self should with great Reason have refus’d his Admini. stration, as it would have been my Duty, if I had been put to my own free Choice; which, it's certain, I could not then, being but an Infant. I doubt not but some will say, " That I need not concern my self so much about " that which I had no hand in, and wherein I
was wholly Pallève; if there was any Fault in
Such my Baptism, 'twas none of mine, but theirs es
who had the Care of me: To whom I return this short Answer, That the Parent's, or Godfather's and Godmother's Act and Deed is interpretatively the Child's, and he must make it really his own when he comes to Years, by taking it upon himself; so that if THEN he owns their Sinful Aą (knowing it to be such) he makes himself PARTAKER with them in the Sin.
But to return once more to the Dispute in St. Cyprian's time, and the Decrees then and since made about it, I cannot Diffemble my Thoughts, that the Arguments and Deter