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any Man by means thereof, and they could acquire no SUPERNATURAL ONÉ to do so, till Christ gave them
that Power by a particular Def nation; as we find he did, in the very Words of Institution; and therefore, since the Apostles themselves could never have presum'd to act in this great Ministration, without a Particular Divine Commission ; it being impossi. ble for even them to administer Baptism valid, for supernatural Ends and Purposes, without it it must needs follow, that no others can do so, but by Virtue of this, or fome other nens Commission; and if they have no new one, they must do it by Virtue of the Old; and consequently he who administers Baptism, valid for Supernatuyal Purposes (AND'TIS NOT CHRISTIAN BAPTISM IF IT BE NOT THUS VALID) must necessarily be vested with the Divine Commission, given at first to the Eleven Apostles, and by their Successors convey'd down to him: And if so, then all others are excluded from any Valid Ministration hereof, because they are Destitute of this Divine Commission, which was never once given to them for such a purpose. Obj
. II. Others may probably object, That at this Rate I confine the Efficacy of the Sacraments, and particularly of Baptism, wholly to the Divine Authority of the Administrator and fo, if the Person who Ministers, has' not been Commission'd by Christ
, he administers po real Sacraments at all.
Ans. When the outward Elements of the Christian Sacraments are rightly administer'd according to all the Essential Parts of their 196 ftitution, then, and then only, they become effio ecious to the worthy Receiver of them; and this their Efficacy proceeds only from God's Concurrence with his Promise, made to such due 'Administration of them: So that, in Christian Baptism, the Efficacy depends no more upon the Divine Commission of him who Administers, thani upon the Water, and the Form of Administration; but upon God's performing his Promife, to bestow the Supernatugal Graces thereof, by the Mediation of his own Minister's applying the Water in the Name of the Trinity: And therefore, as the Church' has constantly affirm’d, that God does not give Efficacy to Water administer'd even by his OVA Minister, without the use of these Words [In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghoft] because an Essential. Part of the Inftitution is omitted ; So, we have no Reason from Divine Revelation (which is our ONLY GUIDE in this Cafe) to believe, that he will give Efficacy to Water administer'd with the pronouncing of the said Form of Words, when 'cis done by one who has not the Divine Commis fion for so doing, because, this is also an Ó: mision of another equally Essential Part of the fame Institution, as I humbly hope I have fufficiently provid.
AS to the latter Part of this Objection, viz. That if the Perfon who Ministers has not been Commission'd by Christ, he admin nisters no real Sacraments at all; I readily acknowledge that my Discourse does imply fo much ; and that the contrary ought upon no Account whatsoever to be affirm'd or believ'd; because, the qutward Elements are not Sacran ments by themselves, nor made any ways Efficacious for Supernatural Purposes till adminifter'd as God has appointed in their Iostitution; and when they are so adminifterid, then they become Sacraments, and are thereby made Means of conveying, and also Pledges to assure us of the Supernatural Graces which God has annex'd to such their Administration. Now, who does not fee at first Sight, thať none can make any thing to be the Means of conveying Supernatural Benefits and Advantages, who have not the Power and Authority of a Supernatural Commiffion? That, no Perfön can make that, which before had no fuch excellent Quality to become a Pledge or an Earnest of Afsurance, that God will grant us such inestimable Gra. ces and Privileges (as Nature could never have entituld us to ) except he be firft sent, and thereby authoriz'd for that. Purpose, by him who is to acknowledge the Pledge as his own, and for the sake thereof, is to perform all that was promis’d, and imply'd by the giving and receiving of it?
As for Instance,
IN Christian Baptifm, Water, the outward Element, is no Christian Sacrament till apply'd as the Institution of Baptism requires, and then, and then only, 'tis a Means of convey ing, and a Pledge to affare us of, the Myftica Wafbing away of Sin; and how fha!l we rest fatisfy'd and affur'd, that it is such a Meats and Pledge, if it is not apply'd and given to us by GOD HIMSELF in the Person of his Representative, Commiffion'd by him to give us this Aflurance? 'tis certain, that if Water be apply'd never fo seriously, it cannot be the Cbriftian Satranient of Baptism, if it wants the true Form, [ In the Name of the Trinity, ] appointed in the Institution ; this every one will acknowledge; and why then should any plead for its being a Sacrament, when the very Truth of the Form it felf is destroy'd, by the Adminiftration of a Non-Commiffion' Person, who cannot really and truly, ană with. out a Lye, say, I Baptize thee in the Name [07 by the Authority and Commission of the Frther, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghoft; this his Uhurpation is as contrary to the Institution, as a truly Commission'd Person's leaving out the Form would be; as I think I have prov'd; and therefore, if the one hinders the Water from being a True Christian Sacrament, the other mult do fo too, because the Perfon Com miffiond to Administer-is as much appointed, as
the Matter and Form of Administration: And this Person is AS MUCH the Representative of God the giver, as the matter is the Representation of the Graces given; insomuch, that we have at least as much reason to omit the. Symbolical Element, as we have to leave out the Divine Authority or Commission, which reprefents no less than God himself; and therefore those Administrations of the former, which are deftitute of the latter, are no Christian Sacraments or (which is the fame) Means and Pledd ges of Supernatural Graces.
Obj. IIl. But if this befo, (others will fay) you have brought us to a fine Pass For 'tis well known, that this Divine Authority is very much controverted, and where to fix it, is not yet determin’d: So that, while we are in this Suspense, we must be always doubting concerning the Validity of our Bap tism; and thereby you put this Divine Institution upon a very Precarius and Uncertain Foundation.
Anf. That the Divine Right of who shall Minister in things pertaining to God, has been, and still is very much Disputed by some Ignorant and Foolish Men, and also by others of corrupt Principles and wicked Designs, we find to be too true, by woful Experience ; but what then, do's that argue that it is not to be determind who has this Divine Right? cer tainly no; for, tho' through Herefy and Schism the Minds of many Men are so dreadfully