« PreviousContinue »
Commission and Authority. The Article says also, that the Sacraments are “ because of Christ's Institution and Promise : If so, then take away the Cause, and their effe&tuality will cease. The Cause of their being Effectual, is Christ's Institution and Promise ; His Institution [of Go ye] is wanting, when an Unauthorizd Perfon attempts to Baptize, (St. Matt. xxviii. 19. and Arti. cle 23 of the Church of England) His Promise is also here no ways concern’d, for, that [Lo I am with you always, &c.] was made only to Authoriz’d Perfons, (St. Matth. xxviii. 19.) consepuently the Uncommissie on'd Baptizer 'has neither Christ's Institution, nor his Promise, and therefore his Ministration being destitute of these, has not the Cause sufficient to make it effectual by this 26th Article of our Church; and the unavoidable Consequence of this is, that such his Miniftration is in its own Nature ineffectual, and therefore Null and Void, because deftitute of the Cause which makes Good and Valid,
S. IX. The 27th Article of the Church of England defines Baptism to be “ not only
& Sign of Profession and Mark of Difference, &c. but also a Sign of Regeneration
or New Birth, whereby, as by an Inffru. “ ment, they that receive Baptism rightly,
are grafied into the Church, the Prom « mises of Forgiveness of Sin, and of our A. “ doption to be the Sons of God, &c. are vi
“ dibly Sign'd and Seald;”and in her most Excellent Catechism she teaches, that a Sacrament is a “Pledge to assure" us of Inward Spiritual Grace, consequently, that, Baptism (which is a Sacrament) is a Pledge or Earnest given us, to assure us of those infinite Blessings before spoken of in the 27th Article. This Illustrates the Reason of the Church's Assertions in her 23d and 26th Articles ; for, hereby She necessarily gives us to understand, that, to the Essential Administring of Christian Sacraments there must be something sufficient to give them the true Value and Worth of an In. ftrument visibly Sign’d and Seal'd betwen God and us. Something, that may give them the true Power and Virtue of God's Pledge or Earnest to us, that we shall be partakers of his unspeakable Graces and Favours. This Something, can be no other, than ei. ther God himfelf, or his Lawful Attorney, sent by him to act in his Stead; for, Signing and Sealing, and giving of Pledges can never be validly done by any, but ei. ther the Principal, who Covenants with us directly, or by his appointed Agent, whom he fends to Covenant with us in his Stead. And there is no other conceivable Reveal'd
Way, under our present Christian Dispention, for God visibly to Sign and Seal to us, and give us an outward Visible Pledge to assure us of, his Grace and Favour, but by by means of his Commission'd Substitutes,
and therefore 'tis the Church's Doctrine in this 27th Article, and in her moft admirable Catechism, that Men must be vested with the Divine Commission to Baptize, because, without such a Commission, Baptism is not a Sign, Seal, and Pledge on God's Part, and therefore not the Baptifm which he Instituted, Consequently no Christian Baptism, and if so, then utterly Invalid.
S. X. Again: In the 37th Article, our Church says, “We give not to our Prin.
ces the minidring either of God's “ Word, or of the Sacraments,
but “ that only Prerogative, &c.
that “ they should Rule all Estates and Degrees « committed to their Charge by God, whe, “ther they be Ecclefiaftical or Temporal, and “ and restrain with the Civil Sword the « Stubborn and Evil Doers.
The Church by this Expression, We give not to our Princes, &c. is to be understood to mean, We attribute not to our Princes, or we believe not that our Princes have, the Power or Authority of ministring either God's Word or the Sacraments. That She is to be under
ftood in this Sense, is plain, by what follows in the Article; for, 'tis not to be suppos’d, that She gives Princes the Prerogative of Ruling, &c. that Prerogative they have, without any Gift from her ; She only designs to teach us, that she believes Princes
have such a Prerogative So that the Church informs us in this Article, That our Princes themselves, Have not the Power of ministring the Sacraments : Now, this could not be true, if Lay-Christians, as such, had that Power; because, a Man's being a Prince, do's by no means deprive him of any Power he had as a Lay-Christian, before his Promotion to that Dignity ; therefore, since our Church do's believe, and her Belief is True, that our Princes have not the Power of Ministring Sacraments: She necessarily includes all other Lay-men to be deftitute of this Power,
otherwise, inferior Lay-Christians, are, as such, Superior in Spiritual Power, to their Lay-Christian Sovereigns, which is absurd;
and therefore, 'tis the Belief of our Church, that Princes and other Lay.Chrifians, attempting (without Authority) to adminifter Sacraments, do not minister them; for if they do minister Sacraments, then the ministring of the Sacraments is in their Power, which is contrary to the Article; and therefore, any unauthoriz'd At
tempt of theirs to minister the Sacraments is in the Sense of this Article, a Null and Void Ministration.
6. XI. Thus we have seen what the Church has taught us by her Articles; viz. That to the Administration of the Sacraments, their Institution, which is the only Law that appoints Essentials, requires this Essential, that the Administrator of them, and therefore of Baptism, be lawfully Call’d and Sent, Article 23d.
That the Efficacy, or Validity of the Sacraments, and confequently of Baptism, is founded upon the Commission which the Administrator has receiv'd from Chrift, Ar. ticle 26th.
That the Ministration of the Sacrament of Baptism is a visible Signing, Sealing, and giving to us a Pledge on God's Part, and therefore necessarily requires, that it be done either by God himself, who is the Principal; or else by one Authoriz'd by him to aĉt therein, as his lawful Attorney, (Article 27th, and Church Catechifm.)
Lastly, That even our Princes and therefore no other unauthoriz'd Lay-man whatfoever, has this Commission to minifter any Sacrament, Article 37th; and consequently, that when any such unauthoriz’d Person attempts to Baptize, he is