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blinded that they do not difcover this great Truth; yet, God be prais'd, they who continue in the Communion of the Truly CathoTick and Apoftolick Church, and are Diligent and Inquifitive to know God's Will, and to live according to that knowledge, need never be put to fo great a plunge, as to be in doubt and fufpenfe concerning this Difpute, or the Validity of their Baptifm, which they have receiv'd from the Lawfully Ordain'd Minifters of Chrift; because, fuch Ministers must be vifible and known, as long as there is or fhall be, any truly Organiz'd Church of Chrift in the World; and that there fhall be always fuch a Church is plain by our Saviour's Promife, That the Gates of Hades fhall not prevail against it; and as for the Valid Minifters thereof, that they fhall alfo continue, is as certain, by his promifing thus to his Apoftles, Lo I am with you alway, even unto the End of the World; and this is further confirm'd by the Apoftle St. Paul's affuring us, that when Chrift Afcended up on High, he gave fome Apostles, and Some Prophets, and fome Evangelifts, and fome Paftors, and Teachers, for the PERFECTING of the Saints, &c. 'till we all come into the UNITY of the Faith, &c. unto a PERFECT MAN. Now 'tis certain, that this Perfection and entire Unity will not be compleated till the End of the World, and therefore thefe Valid Officers appointed to bring about fuch excellent Purpofes, muft continue
Jo long and be visible among us: And that the Continuance of fuch Valid Minifters who have Commiffion for the effecting of thefe Noble enda in the Church, is to be fo plain and per fpicuous, as that it fhall be eaffe to discover and diftinguifh them from Non-Commiffion'd new Upftarts, is evident by another Defigni, for which our Lord appointed them, viz. That we henceforth should be no more Children tofs'd to and fro, and carried about with every Wind of Doctrine by the flight of Men, and cunning Craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive, (Eph. 4. 14.) For how can Valid Ministers of Chrift defend us against every Wind of Doctrine, and the Cunning Craftiness of Deceivers, if they are not to be vifible and known to us? So that as fute as God is true, fo fure we are, that his Validly Commiffion'd Minifters, .. Apostles and Prophets, &c. fhall continue, and be known in the Church to the Confummati on of all things; and therefore we mall never want fuch as have Capacity to Adminifter his Holy Sacraments, and confequently need ne ver be in Sufpenfe about the Validity of our Baptifin Adminifter'd by their Hands; fo that my affirming Baptifm to be Invalid for want of fuch Divine Authority or Commiffion in the Adminiftrator, do's not put this Divine Inftitution upon an uncertain, but a fare and bafting Foundation.
BUT here I expect that it will be ask'd, In whom do I fuppofe this Droine Authority to
be fix'd? I anfwer, that I do not only suppose, but firmly and undoubtedly Believe, after a ftrict and impartial Enquiry which I have deliberately made into this Matter; that 'twas fettled by Chrift himself at firft, and continually convey'd down to this Day, in EPISCOPACY ONLY; and of this I am as certain, as that our first Day of the Week was appointed by Chrift and his Apoftles, to be the Chriftian Sabbath: Nay, tho' I am very well fatisfy'd that this our Chriftian Sabbath is of Divine Appointment; yet I can fafely affirm, that the Arguments by which it is to be prov'd, are not fo numerous as thofe for the Divine Right of Epifcopacy; as may easily be demonftrated whenfoever it fhall be put to the Trial. As for thofe who are of another Opinion, I wish they had either more Knowledge, or more. Humility; it is none of my Business here, to endeavour their Conviction: But if they would use their utmoft Diligence, to do the Will of God in all other Inftances of their Duty, and feek to him for that Wildom which is from above, enquiring without Prejudice, by attentively reading the Sacred Oracles; and comparing therewith what has been faid by many excellent Authors upon this Subject; hope they would then know of this Doctrine whether it be of God, which that they may, I heartily recommend thefe few Modern Books to their ferious Perufal, viz. nom de
A Modeft Proof of the Order and Government fettled by Chrift and his Apostles in the Church. Printed for John Wyat, at the Rofe in St. Paul's Church-Tard, 1705.
A Difcourfe fhewing who they are that are now qualify'd to Adminifter Baptifm and the Lord's Supper. Printed for C. Brome, at the Gun at the Weft-End of St. Paul's, 1698..
Dr. Potter of Church Government. Printed for Tim. Child, at the White-Hart in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1707,
Dr. Hickes's Two Treatifes, one of the Chriftian Priesthood, the other of the Dignity of the Epifcopal Order. Printed for Richard Sare, at Grays-Inn-Gate in Holborn, 1707.
And a little Book call'd, The Plain Man's Guide to the True Church. Printed for R. Cla vel. at the Peacock in St. Paul's Church-Tard, 1708.
IV. But fome it's likely will charge me with Uncharitablenefs, in denying the Validity of the Baptifms of Foreign Churches, where there is no Epifcopal Ordination; and of many Good and Pious Men who are with out fuch Ordination among our felves.
Anf The Main Drift of my Effay is against the Validity of that Baptifm which Men know themselves to have received from Perfons who were never Divinely Commiffioned, and yet prefume to ufurp this Authority in Oppofition to the Divine Right of Epifcopacy, which being duly confider'd, frees me from Anfwering to this Charge, with refpect to fuch Foreigners, fome of which have told you that they do not Act in Oppofuion to Epif copacy; and have pleaded, that they lie under a Neceffity not to have Bishops among them; but that they highly value and reverence that Order in our English Church. Whe ther this Plea of Neceffity be good; or whether it affects them fo far, as to hinder their Receiving Epifcopal Ordination from other Proteftant Churches, tho' they cannot have Bifhops refiding among themselves, is not my Bufinefs (here) to enquire: But this I'm fure of, That there is not the leaft Reason, (nay, tis impious), to compliment away the Great Truths of God, to please any, tho' never fo great a Party of Men.
THE Divine Right of Epifcopacy is plain from Scripture, and was never call'd in Queftion by any confiderable Number of Men, till within thefe laft Two Hundred Years; and muft we now lay it afide, for fear of Oppofing new upftart Notions and Opinions? God forbid Muft our holding faft the found Doctrine of Chrift and his Apostles, be call'd