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Tongue, as will give them true Views of the State of the Primitive Church in the Beft and Pureft Ages, and of the Manners of the Primitive Chriftians in them. And were this diligently done by the Clergy, the Church would foon find great Benefit, and God receive much Glory by it; and the Stray-Sheep of our Countries, after your Example, would return in Flocks to her Folds.
Your Enquiring Genius, and the Providence of God, led you to read fuch Books; and his Bleffing upon Reading of them, made you fee, and correct your Error. And tho' you have an Advantage above most others of the Laity, in Understanding Latin; yet there is already a great deal written in English, to let Pious and Inqurfitive Perfons into the Knowledge of the Primitive Church, and Primitive Chriftianity: Such as Dr. Cave's Primitive Chriftianity; and his Learned and Elaborate Lives of the Fathers; Fleury, Of the Manners and Behaviour of the Primitive Chriftians, turn'd into English; The Ecclefiaftical Hiftorians, in a Noble New Edition, illuftrated with Maps by the Learned Dr. Wells; The Genuine Epistles of the Apoftolical Fathers, by the Learned Bishop Wake, which is come forth in a Second Edition: The Learned Mr. Bingham's Origines Ec clefiaftica,
clefiaftica, or Antiquities of the Chriftian Church; worthy to be read by all Men: The Second Part of the Clergyman's Vade Mecum, commended above: Mr. Reeves's Apologies of the Antient Chriftians; for which he well deferves the Thanks and Praise of all Lovers of Primitive Chriftianity; who cannot but delight to hear them fpeak in our Language the fame Things, with the fame United Force of Wit and Reason, and with the fame Charms of Eloquence that they did in their own. To these let me add the Sermons and other Tracts of the late Bishop Beveridge, wherein much of Primitive Chriftian Antiquity may be learned; as alfo the Sermons of the late Bishop Bull, (which will e're long fee the Light) and in which likewife many Primitive Chriftian Doctrines are taught. There are other Excellent Pens at Work in Books of the like Nature with these; and I cannot but hope, that God hath excited the Spirit of Cultivating the more Earby Ecclefiaftical Antiquities, in Mercy to his Church. I could name * feveral other English Tracts upon feveral Subjects, full of Primitive Christian Divinity, were fuch a Bibliotheque fit for this Place. And befides thofe which are written in English, there are many Excellent Pieces of the
As the Principles of the Cyprianick Age, and the Defence of it, worthy to be read by all Learned Men.
fame Kinds written in French: As Du Pin's Nouvelle Bibliotheque des Auteurs Ecclefiaftiques, tranflated into English: Tillemont's Memoires, Pour fervir à P Hiftoire Ecclefi aftique, which alfo deferves to be tranflated: The Works of St. Cyprian, in French; which I cannot but wish that all Englishmen, who are not verfed in Latin, but understand that Language, would carefully read. Were our People exercised in fuch Writings as thefe, and their Minds feafon'd with the Antient Doctrines and Principles which are in them, we should foon fee the Spirit of Primitive Christianity begin to revive among them, in the Soundness and Orthodoxy of their Faith, in the Piety of their Practice, in their Zeal for the Divine Inftitutions, in their Love and Reverence of the Clergy, and in their Prayers and Endeavours, for fupplying whatever is wanting to make the Church of England (in the Sanctity of her Clergy and People, and in the Strictness of her Difcipline, and every other thing) as Pure, and Perfect, and Venerable, as the Primitive Church.
Sir, Your Book, had I Time to write them, would furnish me with Matter for more Ufeful Reflections and Obfervations; but these are fufficient to fhew you, with how much Diligence and Delight it hath been read over by
Tour Friend, and Servant,
Various Opinions of the Fathers concerning Re-baptization, and Invalid Baptifms: with REMARKS.
N St. Cyprian's Days, about the middle of the third Century, arofe a great Debate in the Church concerning the Validity of Baptifm, adminifter'd by fuch as were then either Hereticks or Schifmaticks: St. Cyprian, with the rest of the Bishops of the African Churches, together with many of the Eastern Bishops, maintain'd, "That Catholick Bi"fhops were obliged to condemn all fuch "Baptifms, and to hold them void and null, " and by confequence not ftrait to confirm, "but firft to baptize all fuch, as having re"ceived no other than thofe False Baptifms, "in thofe False and Antichriftian Communi66 ons, left them, and came over to the One, True, Catholick, and only Salutary Com"munion.
"Stephen Bishop of Rome, and his Party, "maintain'd, That by the Evangelical Law
"Catholick Bishops were bound to ratify "Heretical and Schifmatical Baptifms, and 66 to hold them Good and Valid, and to ad"mit fuch as having been baptized by He"reticks or Schifmaticks, deferted them, and 66 came over to the True Catholick Commu"nion, without giving them Catholick Bap"tifm, or ufing any other Rite at their Re"ception, than that of Impofing the Hand "for the Collation of the Holy Ghost.
"The Stephanians mufter'd up a great ma( ny Arguments for the Validity of fuch Bap"tifms; they pleaded that Hereticks them"felves were not fo nice, as to baptize thofe "who came over from other Herefies to their "Communion: That all Catechumeni, who "died unbaptized, were not therefore damn❝ed; much less those who had received Bap"tifm, tho' from Hereticks or Schifmaticks: "That to refuse those who were willing to "forfake Herefy or Schifm, unless they would "confent to be re-baptiz'd, was to obftruct "their coming over: That those who had "been baptized by Philip in Samaria, were
not re-baptized by the Apoftles when they 66 came among them (Acts 8.) and that they "received Impofition of Hands only, for the "Collation of the Holy Ghoft: That tho' "fome in St. Paul's Time preach'd Chrift out "of Envy and Strife, i. e. from a Contentious "and Schifmatical Humour, yet he was plea"fed that Chrift was preached (Phil. 1. 15.)