« PoprzedniaDalej »
Good and Valid, notwithstanding his being destitute of the Personal Qualification of Holi-nefs of Life; and 'tis universally acknowledg?d, that the same is true of all other wicked BiMops, Priests, and Deacons whatfoever, otherwise we could never be fatisfied with the Validity of Ordinations in any Age of Christianity. And therefore, tho Holinefs of Life is a neceffary Personal Qualification for the Miniftry, because of great Edification to the People, &c. Yet if a truly Ordained Minister fhould be a wicked Man, the People ought not to suspect the Validity of his Miniftrations by reason of the Wickedness of his Life, because, 'tis Christ that Administers by him as his Proxy only, and Christ's Ministrations are certainly Good and Valid ; let his visible Representative be never so wicked, he himself (and not the People, except they concur with, and encourage him in his Wickedness,) mult answer for that. This is exactly agreeable to the 26th Article of the Church of England; and therefore there is no need longer to inlist upon it, but to proceed to Baptism, another Personal Qualification for Holy Orders.
Í T is certainly the indispensable Duty of Every. Minister to be Baptiz’d, as well as to be personally Holy, because 'tis a Divine Law to which all ought to pay Obedience. For which Reason I cannot omit commending the laudable Custom of the Church of Rome, who (tho' Corrupt and scandalously Wicked in other
Matters, yet) requires her Candidates for Holy Orders to prove their Baptism, before they can be admitted into the Ministry: And I should heartily rejoice to see the Governors of the Church of England require the fame of her Candidates for the Ministerial Function, who, 'tis to be fear'd, ever since the Reformation,have never been enjoyn’d to bring Certificates of their Baptism, as well as of their Good Behaviour and Christian Conversation. This Omission, I charitably believe, proceeded only from an Opinion, that none would
presume to enter into Holy Orders before they were Baptiz’d, and that therefore 'twas needless to require a Proof of their Baptism : But however, if this Custom had been preserv’d, 'tis reasonable to believe, that the English Clergy would (some of them) have been more strict in keep: ing their Parisb-Registers of Persons Baptiz?d by Lawfully Ordain'd Ministers, and not have suffer'd Schismatical Lay-Baptisms to have been Register'd among the True Baptisms, as ’tis now scandalously practic'd in some Places, to the
great Grief of many, and I hope almost all English Clergymen, who have constantly oppos'd this unwarrantable Practice, and will (to their Praise be it spoken) never fuffer such Registers to be made in their Parish Books. I say, if this good Custom of requiring Certificates of their Baptism had been continu’d, ’tis very likely, that no Lay-Baptiz’d Person would have got such a Certificate from the
well as ; and it be
Minister of any Parish; because a Minister's giving such a Certificate, would have been a publishing of his own fault, in making a Registerthat is contrary to the Lawsand Customs of the Church; for he must have mention'd the Lay-man's Name, who was said to have Baptiz'd the Person,and thereby have declarid, that he himself took part with Schismaticks, and consequently must have incurrd the Penalties of the 10th and 57th Canons of the Church of England : And this might have been an effectual means of preserving the Registers en tire, and consequently of keeping out of the Ministry, those who receiv'd Baptism from Lay-Preachers; no other Lay-men being at least now so presumptuous, as once to pretend to Baptize. " But this only by way of Di gression,
AND now to return; Christian Baptism is certainly a Personal Qualification for Holy Orders, and that it is no more than a Personal One, I infer from hence, because all Christians are EQUALLY bound to be Baptiz'd, Minifters as People, cannot prov'd, that it is more the Duty of the one than of the other to be Baptiz’d: If it be said, Yes it is, because there must of necessity bę a Chriftian Minister, before there can be a Baptiz'd Lay-man; this is not deny’d: It is certainly true there must be fo; but it does not there, fore follow that he is not a Chriltian Minister if he is .Unbaptiz'd; for 'tis not his Baptism,
but the Commission that makes him a Chri. stian Minister, or one set apart to Minister in the Divine Offices of the Christian Religion. His being Baptized is not his Commission; for, if it is, then all Baptiz'd Persons are, as such, Commission'd Officers of the Church; and so there is no need of any other Ordination, which is absurd,and contrary to the Principles upon which this Objection is rais’d. Again, His being Baptiz'd, is no Instituted Essential Part of his Com. mission; for, if it be, then all Baptiz'd Persons, as such, have One Instituted Essential Part of à Commission, tho' not a whole Commission ; which is also absurd, because a Commission is but ONE THING, and the Essential Parts thereof cannot be separated without Violence and Destruction to the whole ; and therefore all Baptiz’d Persons, if they have One Essential Part of a Commission, must have the whole; which brings us back to the first Absurdity, and consequently Baptism it felf,being no Conftituent Ellential Part of his Commission, or Ordination, He who is Destitute of Baptism, is not by reason of that. WANT ALONE, Destitute of Holy Orders. If it be objected, that while he is 'Unbaptiz’d, he is out of the Church; And how can he, who is not of the Church, admit another by Baptism into the Church? Į Answer, Tho? he is out of the Church with respect to any Benefits himself, yet not with respect to the Spiritual Benefits, he has Authority and Commission mediately to
convey to others : For, a Man may be a True Messenger to carry that Good to another,which he himself neitlier does, nör ever will enjoy. A Master of a Family may send a Neighbour, or a Stranger, who is not of his Family, and give him full Power and Authority to adopt and enter into his Family, fome Poor, Destitute, Orphan Children, whom he Commiserates. And tho' that Stranger be not of the Family himself, yet his Adopting those poor Children into that Family, stands good, because the Master of the Family sent and impower?d him to do it. And this I take to be very parallel to the Case in hand: And therefore he who is not of the Church, because Unbaptiz'd, may as truly admit a Person into the Church by Baptism, as he who (tho' Baptiz’d) thro' his Wickedness, is destitute of the Holy Ghost, can convey the Gift of the Holy Ghost by his Ministration of Sacraments to others: For, as ?tis not the Personal Holiness of the Adminiftrator, that conveys Holiness to me in the Ministration of any Sacrament; so neither does his having receiv’d'that Sacrament, signify any thing to me for the Validity thereof, when he Administers it to me by virtue of a Divine Com. mission explicitly given to him. This COMMISSION ALONE, is that which makes the Ministration not his, but God's own Act, and as such (without any
other Appendant Cause) ’tis Good and Valid. Hence our Blessed Lord call’d both Unbaptiz’d and Unholy Men, viz.