« PreviousContinue »
KERS in the Sin, as well as the Punishment of the Usurpers; as we see was exemplify'd in the Case of Corah and his Company, for no less than Fourteen thousand seven hundred of them were destroy'd by a Plague, besides the grear Number of those who were before swallow'd alive into the Earth, and burnt withi Fire from the Lord : and if so, may we not justly infer that God is still as Jealous of This Honour under the Gospel, the Ministers whereof being of so much greater Dignity, by how much the Gospel is more excellent than the Law of Moses? It is certain that even now, in the Christian Dispensation, No Man can take this Honour to himself, but be that is called of God, as was Aaron; and Aaron's Call was not by his great Gifts, and the inward Dictates of the Spirit, but by an EXTERNAL COMMISSION first given by God himself to Moses, and then by Moses, at the Command of God's to Aaron. But,
Secondly, The Example of our Saviour's not taking upon him to Minister in Holy Things between God and Man, till he was particularly and externally Commission'd by God for that purpofe ; isa further Advance towards proving, that the Divine Authority of the Administrator of Baptism, is an Effential Part of this Institution. For, notwithstanding he was full of the Holy Ghost, which was not given by Measure, but entirely to him; notwithftanding his Manhood was infeperably united
to the Second Person of the most Glorious Trinity, whereby he was more than sufficiently, nay, infinitely gifted for such a purpose; and notwithstanding the great Necessities, and consequent Miseries of all Mankind, which were continually wanting his Undertaking to Administer for them in Things pertaining to God; yet he kept himself in his private Station for about 30 Years together, and never would take upon himself fo High an Office, till he receiv’d his Commission and Inauguration thereinto, from the Hands of a Prophet (John the Baptift ] who Baptiz'd him, to fulfil this Part of Righteoufness and Justice, viz. of not taking upon himself to be a Minister of the New Covenant, without a special Warrant from God by the Mediation of one, who was by him appointed to convey this Power and Authority to him: And then we find, that God himself, by the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon him in a visible Glory, and by an audible Voice from Heaven, saying, This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleas’d, confirm'd his great Commission, and that from thence-forward (and not before ) he proceeded in the Execution of it: From that time he preachd and taughty gave his Apostles order to Baptize and Preach; wrought Miracles himself, and gave others Power to do so like wise, for the Confirmation of his Doctrine, gro Now what hould be the Reason of our Saviour's thus long defafting from the performance:
of sucli beneficial Offices ? Was he not fufficiently gifted? Yes certainly he was. Did not the Extream Miseries of Man's Spiritual Bondage call loudly for relief? beyond all doubt they did. Why then did not even Com. paffion it felf
, the Blessed Jesus, then personally among them, undertake their speedy Rescue? Was it because his Hour was not yet come? Doubtless it was not come; but why? bes caufe he had not yet receiv'd his COMMISSION from his Father, So that, if our Lord's Example may be allow'd in this case to be Conclusive, it is plain, that not all the Gifts imaginable, nor all the pressing Necessities that may be pleaded, can ever of themselves give fufficient Warrant to Minister Authoritatively, for Men, in things pretaining to God, when those things are of such a Nature, as that a Commission from him must be first obtain'd by the Person who undertakes to Adminifter: And that therefore such a Person ought to be duly Commiffion'd for such Administrations. Now that Christian Baptism is fuch an Institution as necessarily requires, and constantly supa poses the Divine Authority of the Adminiftrator; I shall endeavour to Demonstrate,
Thirdly, From the Words of Inftitution : And in order thereto, 'twill be very well worth while to observe, that our Saviour, a little before his Ascension into Heaven, apo pointed the ELEVEN APOSTLES, and THEM ONLY (notwithstanding the vaft
Father BUT BY ME, Joh. xiv. 6. And with ont me ye can do nothing, Joh. xv. 5. Hence we find why the Scripture says that Jesus made and Baptiz'd Disciples; Joh. ii. 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 Disciples : He Baptized;but'twas by them,vested with his Authority; and thereby it became his own Act; even fo, that Baptism might always be justly interpreted to be done by him (who is the only proper Mediator, and whose Mediatorial Aêts alone, are, as such, acceptable to his father, in our behalf.) He vested his Apostles and their Successors, and such as are Ordain’d by them, with HIS OWN AUTHORITY to Baptize to the End of the World, that they might personate him in this Act of Mediation, and that consequently 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 fent: 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 Administers Baptism is an Effential Part of that Holy Institution. But this is confirm'd also,
Fifthly, By the conftant Practice of those who truly are, and of others who pretend to be, the Lawful Ministers of Christ in his Church.
THE Lawful. Minister's 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 Apottles, unto this Day; and for this very Reafon, 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 Di. 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 Chriftian Church;) and since all Sober Christians, who know their Duty,
never laid Claim to this Authority; it necessarily follows, that the Lawful Minister's Claim is good, and consequently that the Divine Authority of him who Ādministers is an Essential Part of Baptism.
AS 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 efteem their Ministerial Commission to be of Divine Right ; and therefore will never fuffer their Common People to Administer Baptism: From whence it follows, that they also in prav Etice confirm this Assertion of the Divine Aukflority of the Administrator of Baptism: other