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the supernatural Advantages which are consequent to a Legal and Valid Naturalization?
And indeed all the Benefits and Privileges of True Christian Baptism are so great and many,
that it would be endless to recount them; let it fuffice to say, that it is a Sign, a Seal, a Means of Conveyance, and a Pledge to assure us of these Supernatural Advantages, viz, of being Incorporated into the Houfbolda and thereby made Members, of Christ, Children of God, and Heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven, and of all the unspeakable HappiResses thereof, which Eye hath not seen, nor Ear heard neither have enter'd into the Heart of Man to Conceive.
NOW, if any reasonable unprejudic'd Man will but duly reflect on these so inconceivable and ineftimable Privileges, fo infinitely above all the Powers of Nature, either to obtain or Bestow, without some supernatural Donation, 'twill be very difficult, nay, I may say, impoffible for him to believe, that God, who is the God of Order, and not of Confusion; will bestow them by the Mediation of those to whom he has given no Authority for that Purpose: Especially, when he remembers, that God has fet apart a Peculiar Order of Men, to be the Stewards of these his Mysteries, and to whom he has giv’n the Power of the Keys, whereby to admit into, and exclude out of his Spiritual Kingdom, as the Sacred Scripture do's sufficiently inform us: These Men he
has dignify'd with extraordinary Marks and signal Character of Honour, and separated them from the rest of Mankind; that they might represent his Sacred Presence among us, and that we inight have a strong Confidence and wellgrounded Assurance of their Divine Mission; and of our own Happiness in being admitted through Baptism into the Number and Privit leges of his Children, by their Authoriz'de Ministration.
For the Baptifm wherewith they initiate us into Christ's Spiritual Kingdom, is not Theirs, but HIS, 'tis He that Baptizes us by their Ministry. His Father sent him to be the one Mediator between God and Man; as such, He fent His Apostles and their Successors, to be His Representatives, to perform Acts of Mediation between God and Man in his Stead, and by his Authority, that so they might be HIS OWN ACTS, and become therefore acceptable to His Father for our Spiritual Benefit and Advantage : For, says he to these fame Apoftles whom he authoriz'd to Baptize; As my Father hath sent me, even fo send I you : Lo, I AM with you alway; thereby making them to personate himself, that he, tho' in Heaven, might visibly here on Earth, mediate for us himself by their Ministry, which is HIMSELF, because they act by his Authority, being sent by him: without him no Ministrations in our behalf can be acceptable to his Father: For, says he, no Man someth to the
Father BUT BY ME, Joh. xiv. 6. And with dut me ye can do nothing; Joh. xv. 5. Hence we find why the Scripture fays that Jesus made and Baptiz'd Disciples, Joh. iii. 22. iv. 1. because He did it by those whom he had sent for that purpose: For, verse 2. Jesus himself [i.e. in his own Person] Baptized not, but his Difciples : He Baptized, but'twas by them,vested with his Authority; and thereby it became his own Act; even so, that Baptism might always be justly interpreted to be done by him (who is the only proper Mediator, and whose Mediatorial Acts alone, are, as such, acceptable to his father, in our behalf.) He vested his Apostles and their Succeffors, and fuch as are Ordain'd by them, with HIS OWN AUTHORITY to Baptiże to the End of the World, that they might personate him in this A&t of Mediation, and that confequently HE might continue to make and Baptize Disciples by their Ministry; which he cannot be said to do, by the Act of one whom he never sent: For which Reason, added to those others I have brought under this 4th Head, we may truly say, That the Divine Authority of him who Adminifters Baptism is an Effential Part of that Holy Institution. But this is confirm’d also,
Fifthly, Bý the constant Practice of those who truly are, and of others who pretend to be, the Lawful Ministers of Christ in his Church
THE Lawful Ministers in all Ages have claim'd the Authority of Baptizing, even from the time of our Saviour's first giving the Commission to his Eleven Apoitles, unto this Day; and for this very Reason, because they Derir’d. their Ministerial Power and Authority from Christ: But if the Divine Authority of the Administrator of Baptism were not an Essential Part of that Institution, their Claim would have been unjust when founded upon their Dia vine Right, and so every Man would have had as much Authority to Baptize as they : But forasmuch as they were never accus’d of Injustice for making this Claim, (except by such Wretches as the Author of the Rights, &c. who would confound all Order in the Christian Church;) and since all Sober Christians, who know their Duty, never laid Claiin to this Authority; it necessarily follows, that the Lawful Minister's Claim is good, and consequently that the Divine Authority of him who Administers is an Essential Part of Baptism.
A S for those who pretend to be, but are not, the Lawful Ministers of Christ ; 'tis well known, that they plead for the Authority of Baptizing upon this very score, that they esteem their Ministerial Commission to be of Divine Right ; and therefore will never suffer their Common People to Administer Baptism: From whence it follows, that they also in pras Etice confirm this Assertion of the Divine Aushority of the Administrator of Baptism; other.
Wise their claiming the Power of Baptizing, by Virtue of the suppos’d Divine Right of their Million, would be a meer foolery, and indeed a Contradiction.
SO that, the Lawful Minister's claiming the Authority of Baptizing, because his Million is truly of Divine Right; and the unlawful Minister's claiming the fame Authority, because he esteems his Mission also to be of Divine Right, do both confpire by their Practice to Confirm this Truth, That the Divine Authority of the Administrator of Baptism is an Effential Part of that Holy Institution ; and this is not a little Corroborated,
Sixthly and Lasțly, From the Doctrine and Practice of the Church of England.
For in her 23d Article of Religion, she affirms, That" it is not Lawful for any Man to
take upon him the Office of Ministring the " Sacraments;. &c. before he be Lawfully call'd
and sent to execute the fame. Now what can this Article mean by [ it is not Lawful? ] Certainly nothing else but that it is Sinful, or Contrary to the Divine Law in the Holy Scrip. ture, for she is not treating of Civil
, but Spiritual Things. But against what Law in the Sacred Scriptures is this a Sin? Surely againik that Law which treats of these Sacraments, and this Law is principally in the Institution of them ; so that the plain meaning of this Article must be, that it is contrary to the very Inftitution of the Sacraments for Man to take