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in this Affair; and upon this Promife, one would naturally expect to find something produc'd by him, which the Church of England has affirm'd for the Validity of Lay-Baptifm; that She has fome where or other, in her prefent Articles, Canons, or Rubricks, pronounced Lay-Baptifm to be good and Valid; This one would reafonably expect from him when he talks of the Church's Judgment; For the Judgment of a Man, or of a Body of Men, is fomething Declared, either in Express Terms, or in fuch General Ones, as neceffarily infer the Judgment we are feeking for; but alas, inftead of this, he feeds his Reader with an Empty Propofition, which contains, if 0 it were prov'd, no more than a Negative, viz. She has by no publick Act of hers, made or declared Lay-Baptifm to be Invalid. Is a Negative fufficient to define what is the Judgment of any Perfon or Perfons? Is Silence, fuppofing the Church had been Silent, juftly to be term'd a Declarative thing; is any thing to be prov'd thereby, for or against a Propofition of what fort foever? What poor Shifts will Men endeavour to make (like a Man ready to be Drown'd) they will catch at every Straw, to uphold what has nothing Substantial to fupport and maintain it. A 4
Our Author asks Dr. Hicks, "Cannot an "Honeft Clergy-man defend the ali"Dity tho' not the Regularity and Law. "fulness of Baptifm adminiftred by Dif 66 fenting Teachers, without being falfe to "his Sacred Truft, if he believe himself "warranted fo to do by Scripture and "Authority of Church-Practice, both An"tient and Modern?" I prefume to answer this Gentleman, that an Honest Clergyman cannot till he proves,that Scripture and Church-Practice, both Antient and Modern, all concurring together, do allow of the Validity of Unauthoriz'd Baptifm: He cannot, without this being first prov'd, defend the Validity of fuch Baptifm: And as for his not defending the Regularity and Lawfulness thereof, it will amount to the fame thing, as if he fhould fay, I may not defend the Validity of thofe Baptifms. So that he will be reduc'd to this Contradiction, The Validity of thofe Baptifms is Defenfible, it is not Defenfible. For Validity and Regularity in this Cafe, are the fame thing. He Here acknowledges they are not Regular, they are not Lawful. The want of a Commiffion is their Irregularity and Unlawfulness; but to what Rule and Law is this Irregularity and Unlawfulness to be re
ferr'd? To a mere Humane, or to a Divine Law? If only to a Humane Law, then the Commiffion to Baptize is only Humane, this is highly Prophane, and of the fame Stamp with the Wickedness of the Pretended Rights, &c. which I dare fay our Author abhors. The Irregularity and Unlawfulness then, of Uncommiffion'd Baptifm, muft néceffarily be referr'd to the Divine Law concerning Baptifm, that Law is the Inftitution. The Inftitution prefcribes Commiffion'd Baptifm, and makes no Provifo for any other; Therefore, if any Clergyman attempts to defend the Walidity, tho' not the Regularity and Lawfulness of Diffenters Baptifms; he at the fame time attempts to prove, that a Baptifm is Valid, tho' at the fame time an Oppofition to the very Effential Law of God concerning Baptifm; and herein he must be conftrued to betray his Sacred Trust; because he teaches, that the Tranfgreffion of an unchangable Law of God, is of the fame Validity, as Obedience thereto, and do's thereby make the Law of God to be of none Effect, and a needlefs Impofition upon Mankind.
This Author would make his Reader believe, that Ancient Church Practice authorizes the Validity of our Diffenters Baptifms, but he produces not one Intance
Atance thereof, and indeed he'll find upon Examination, that the Ancient Church never declar'd unauthoriz'd Baptism to be Good and Valid, but of this I have faid enough in my Book of Sacerdotal Powers.
His Uncharitableness concerning Perfons not Baptiz'd, runs beyond all Bounds; for in Page X. of his Preface he fays, concerning the Doctrin of the Invalidity of LayBaptifm; that, If it be True, it has Peopled many Millions. Whither will not fome Men's Anger hurry them! If Dr. Hicks or his Friend had faid any thing like this, the whole Party would have branded them for a Couple of Furies; but God be prais'd they have nothing of this Spirit; they know that God is not Limited by thofe Pofitive Inftitutions, which he has prefcrib'd to us, for our Obedience, but not to confine his Mercy! Abundance of Catechumens of Old Dy'd before they could obtain Baptifm ; and no doubt but God receiv'd them to Blifs and Happiness, for the Heartiness of their Endeavours, and Sincerity of their Design to Obey his In ftitution of Baptifm, tho' they were not actually Incorporated by that Sacrament into the Visible Body or Church of Chrift, And I can fee no Inconfiftency in hoping the fame, concerning many others, who
have been Deligent, Honeft and Sincere to know and do their Duty, in proportion to their Station and Circumftance, tho' they have not attained unto it in this refpect of Epifcopal Baptifm, for want of Power and Ability, and it may be by reafon of Obftructions too, from those who ought, and yet refuse to give it them.
"The Dread of drawing down the Church "Rabble upon our Author; [he fays] is fo great, that he will not have it fo much as "Whisper'd where he lives, nor of what Pro"feffion he is," Preface, p. x. This of his Habitation and Profeffion is no great Matter--- but his Language of [Church Rabble] is too indecent to be retaliated---- It fhews however the Quarter from whence it comes; 'tis an Inftance of the Temper of the Writer, and betrays the Weakness of the Cause he is engag'd in, as does alfo his Doctors Commons Story at the latter end of his Preface, which he fays is his 4th Proof, and a very fenfible One, next to a Demonstration; that the Diffenters Baptifms are efteem'd Good and Valid by our Church, For, a Friend comes to him, and very gravely tells him, "That all the Profecutions, Excommunications, &c, that the Diffenters "have Undergone, from the Days of Old "Elizabeth to the prefent Times, are fo many