« AnteriorContinuar »
"gives the holy Spirit, and worketh the Re""miffion of Sins."
But here, before I proceed further, I must obferve, that it does not hence follow, that because the Faith or Sanctity of the Minister avails nothing to the Validity of Baptism, therefore his AUTHORITY by which he acts, avails nothing thereto: For AUTHO RITY may very well be, and often is DIS TINCT and SEPARATE from both thofe excellent Qualities. And again; Every one will grant, that it is God, and not the Mini fter, who gives the Holy Spirit, &c. What then? Does it thence follow that any Perfon may ftand in God's ftead, as appointed by him to Adminifter? Can it be reasonably expected that God fhould concur with the USURPATIONS of thofe who act therein without HIS COMMISSION, nay, and in OPPOSITION thereto [as is the Cafe with us?] Certainly no; it cannot: For, however he may difpenfe with the WANT of a Sacrament, yet he has no where promised to give EFFICACY to thofe Administrations, which are in any Refpect contrary to the Effentials of his own Inftitutions; and to me it seems a mere Fool-hardinefs and Prefumption to expect it.
But to proceed :
St. Auguftin, in the 7th Book of Baptifm, Cap. 53. lays thus: "It is asked whether that "Baptifm is to be approved which is admi"niftred
niftred by an Unbaptized Perfon, who out "of Curiofity has learned the Way of baptizing among Chriftians? It is asked further, "Whether it be neceffary for the Validity of દ Baptifm, that he who either adminifters or "receives it, be fincere? And if they fhould "be only in Jeft, whether their Baptifm "ought to be adminiftred again in the "Church? Whether Baptifm conferr'd in "Derifion, as that would be, which should "be adminiftred by a Comedian, might be "accounted Valid? Whether Baptism admi46 niftred by an Actor may become Valid, "when he that receives it is well difpos'd?"
He answers to thefe, and fuch like Que ftions, "That the fecureft way is to return
no Answer to Questions that never were "decided in any Council, General or Natio"nal. But he adds; Should any Man, meeting with me at fuch Council, ask my Ad"vice about thefe Queftions, and that it were my Turn to declare my Opinion, having not heard other Mens Opinions, which I "might prefer before my own, &c, I fhould "without difficulty acknowledge, that they
all receive Baptifm truly, in any Place whatfoever, and by WHOMSOEVER ad"miniftred, if on their Part they receive it "with Faith and Sincerity. I am apt alfo ડા to believe, that fuch as receive Baptism in "the Church, or in what is fuppofed to be "the Church, are truly baptized, as to the
"Sacramental Part of the Action, whatfoever be their Intention: But as for Baptifm "adminiftred and received out of the Church, " in Raillery, Contempt, and to make Sport, "I could not approve the fame without a "Revelation."
He endeavours to overthrow the Reafons and Testimonies of the Cyprianifts against the Validity of Heretical and Schifmatical Baptisms by the Comparifon of concealed Hereticks and evil Minifters, with known Hereticks and Schifmaticks. "For (fays he) if the Baptifm admi"niftred by the FORMER is Valid, and not 66 to be renewed, why fhould not the fame "thing be faid of the LATTER, fince all the "Reasons that are alledg'd for the Nullity of "the Baptifm of Hereticks, may also belong 66 to evil Minifters? It is faid, for Example, "That to give the Holy Ghoft, one must have it: "That Hereticks have it not; and confequently. "that they cannot give it. Why may we not "reafon after the fame manner concerning "Baptism conferr'd by conceal'd Hereticks, or by wicked Priefts? Have they the Holy "Ghost to give?" Thus St. Auguftin.
I cannot but take Notice here, that this Great Man does not appear (to me) to have made the Comparison according to the Defign of St. Cyprian and his Collegues: for, by the manner of handling this Difpute in thofe Days, 'tis plain to me that the Hereticks and Schifmaticks were fuppofed to be (by their fepa
rating themselves from the Communion of the Church) AS EXCOMMUNICATE, and confequently to have loft all Valid Power and Authority for the Adminiftration of Christian Sacraments,being themselves out of the Church: Whereas the Conceal'd Heretick and Evil Minifter, not having separated themselves from, nor been excluded out of the Church, cannot, during this their Secrefy, lofe that VISIBLE AUTHORITY wherewith they were at first invested; and we have no OTHER Authority to truft to, except we had the Gift of difcerning Spirits. So that the Reasons against the Validity of Baptifm adminiftred by KNOWN Self-Excommunicate Hereticks and Schifmaticks, will not equally hold good against the Validity of Baptifm conferr'd by UNKNOWN Hereticks and Evil Priefts,who ftill continue in external Communion with the CHURCH, because the former were by the Cyprianifts fuppofed to have not, but the latter have that VISIBLE AUTHORITY and COMMISSION, which Chrift gave them to adminifter his Sacraments, as is plain from the Example of Judas Iscariot, whom our Saviour vefted with the divine Commiffion, notwithstanding his great Wickedness.
Leo Bishop of Rome in his 18th Answer to feveral Queftions put to him by Rufticus Bifhop of Norbonne, Anno 442, fays, "That it is "fufficient to lay Hands upon, and call upon "the Holy Spirit, over those that do rememC 3 "ber
"ber that they have been Baptized, but "know not in what Sect."
Gennadius, a Prieft of Marseille, affirms, "That there is BUT ONE BAPTISM, and "that we must not baptize them again who "have been baptized by Hereticks, with the "Invocation of the Name of the Trinity; "but they who have not been baptized in "the Name of the Trinity, ought to be re"baptized, because fuch a Baptism is not "true."
The fecond Council of Arles, Canon 17, fays, "The Bonofiaci, who baptize as well as "the Arians, in the Name of the Trinity; it "is fufficient to admit them into the Church "by Chrism, and Impofition of Hands."
St. Gregory, about the latter End of the 6th Century, fpeaking about the Return of feveral Sorts of Hereticks into the Church, fays, "That they are Baptized when they RE "ENTER into the Church; the Baptifm "which they have received, not being true, "fince it was not given in the Name of the
Trinity. When it is UNCERTAIN whether a Perfon has been Baptized or Con"firmed, we muft Baptize or Confirm them, "rather than fuffer them to perifh in this Doubt.
Gregory II. a little after, Anno 700, in his Decretal Epiftle, anfwering feveral Questions put to him by Boniface, Article 8. "forbids to "Re-baptize those who have been once Bap