Shewing who the Antients are, and of their Credit and Authority who have born witness to Laying on of Hands.
ADmit we grant what Mr. Danvers speaks concerning Dionysius the Areopagite, and the Decretal Epistles of the first Popes, to be impi∣ous Lies and Forgeries, shall we therefore con∣clude they are all suborned Witnesses. viz. the Antients who have written concerning Laying on of Hands? Surely many of the Fathers who have born witness thereunto, are generally received, and their Authority approved as the best of hu∣man Writers: What say you to Tertullian, shall we call him a Knight of the Post? Take his Te∣stimony: (A.D. 200. de Bapt. c. 6.) Manus im∣ponitur per benedictionem, advocans & invitans Spiritum Sanctum; tunc ille Sanctissimus Spiritus super emundata, & benedicta Corpora, libens à Pa∣tre descendit. After Baptism the Hand is imposed by Blessing, and calling and inviting of the Holy Spirit, who willingly descends from the Father on the Bodies that are cleansed and blessed. Moreover he saith:*It is the fleshly, or outward act of Baptism, that we are dipt in water; the spiritual effects, that we are freed from our Sins: Then follows Laying on of hands, the Dispenser inviting Page 29 the Spirit of God by Prayer. And being cleansed by Baptismal Water (saith he) we are disposed for the Holy Spirit, under the Hands of the Angel of the Church. And further, speaking concerning the happy state of the Church in this day, he saith, (de Script. cap. 36.) She believeth in God, she signs with Water (that is, baptizeth) she clothes with the Spirit, (viz. by Imposition of hands) she feeds with the Eucharist, and exhorts to Martyrdom; and against this Order or Institution she receives no Man.
Another Witness I shall call in, shall be Euse∣bius (not the Pope of that Name) but Eusebius Pamphilus, who lived in the time of Constantinus Magnus the Emperor, about three hundred Years after Christ; he certifies fully to our pur∣pose, (lib. 7. c. 2.) that the antient manner of re∣ceiving Members into the Church, was with Prayer, and Laying on of hands. Doubtless by calling it the antient manner, he must needs re∣fer to the Apostles time.
Again, Eusebius declareth, (lib. 6. c. 26.) That one Novatus being sick was baptized, if it may be called a Baptism (saith he) which he received, for he obtained not after his recovery that which he should have done by the Canon of the Church, to wit Confirmation by the Hands of the Bishop; which having not obtained, how can he be supposed to have received the Holy Spirit? This was about the Year 260. 'Tis also to be noted, that in neither of those places, nor any where else in Euse∣bius, is the least mention made of Crossing, or Chrysm, in the administration of this Ordi∣nance.
Page 30*Cyprian shall be the next, whom none I suppose take for a suborned Witness: having urged that of the Apostles going to Samaria, to im∣pose Hands on those that Philip had baptized, (saith he) which Custom is also descend∣ed to us, that they who are baptized, might be brought by the Rulers of the Church, and by Prayer, and Imposition of Hands obtain the Holy Ghost. Again saith St. Cyprian, (Ep. ad Steph. de Haere∣ticis, Ep. 72.) It is of no purpose to lay Hands on them to receive the Holy Spirit, unless they receive the Baptism of the Church. I might produce O∣rigen, in his 7th Homily upon Ezekiel, who speaks concerning it.
Also Hierom, who answers this Question, viz. Why he that is baptized in the Church, doth not re∣ceive the Holy Ghost, but by Imposition of hands, saith he (Dial. ad Lucifer.) This Observation for the honour of the Priesthood, did descend from the Scriptures; If you ask me where it is written? 'tis answered, in Actibus Apostolorum, in the Acts of the Apostles.
Ambrose is cited by Mr. Danvers himself; with Augustin, and others, whose Authority is not questioned: To which I might add Chrysostom, Theodoret, &c. Several others, yea many might be produced, besides those he calls suborned Wit∣nesses; and yet have we far better Authors and Witnesses to defend this sacred Truth; for we have the Authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, 'tis left on record amongst the first Principles of his Doctrine; we have the Testimony of the Apo∣stles Peter and John; and one not inferior to Page 31 them, viz. blessed St. Paul, (Heb. 5. 12. and 6. 1, 2.) as hath, and shall (God assisting) be made further evident: And upon no better Authority, I must confess, is this sacred Ordinance imposed upon us.
But now to speak more directly to Mr. Dan∣vers, what he insists on in pag. 33. about the Rite of Confirmation, as practised in the Church of Rome, and as corrupted from the pure Instituti∣on, we readily grant it is of no better Authority than Infants Baptism. And as touching what he speaks of Rivet, (Controv. Tom. 2. Exercit. p. 44.) that it was neither instituted by Christ, nor his Apostles, 'tis spoken with respect of the Popish manner with Chrysm, and other ridiculous Cere∣monies, which was before done with Prayer and Imposition of hands without Chrysm: They did, saith Mr. Baxter, make haste to corrupt it; they quickly introduced the Crosses, and Chrysm; but from the beginning it was not so. And as to what he says concerning Ambrose, Jerom, Augustin, and some others, it is granted, they lived in those times when the Church was adulterated, and the holy Appointments of Christ corrupted, and changed from their primitive purity; yet this makes no more against the holy Ordinance of Laying on of hands, than it doth against Bap∣tism, and the Supper of our Lord, &c. as I have already shewed. All that Mr. Danvers hath said hitherto of Tradition, and Fathers, makes only against the Church of Rome and England, and others who have drunk of the Whores Cup; those things which they cry up for Apostolical Traditions, are nought else save meer human In∣novations, Page 32 and cursed Inventions of corrupt Men. I shall close this with a passage of Dr. Jer. Taylor, who treating about Laying on of hands upon bap∣tized Persons as such, saith, This was antient, and long before Popery entred into the World; and that this Rite has been more abused by Popery than by any thing. As to what Mr. Danvers speaks of the Waldenses, that the true ones were against Im∣position of hands; if that be true, yet it must be understood of the Popish Confirmation, which they disowned as a Sacrament, accompanied with Ceremonies; for so I find they express them∣selves: Such a Confirmation, I grant, they wit∣ness against, as being none of Christ's Instituti∣on, but introduced by the Devil's Instigation; 'twas the corruption of it, and not the thing it self, doubtless they witness against: but that they owned not Laying on of hands at all after Bap∣tism, before admission was granted to the Lord's Table, I judg too hard for any to make appear. But if they were ignorant of this Truth, 'tis no marvel, considering the Day they lived in.
Object. If it be objected, they with other Churches and People he mentions, were much en∣lightned into the Truths of the Gospel.
Answ. That is no good Argument, since glo∣rious Reformers, and eminent enlightned Souls, may notwithstanding lie short of some Institution of the Almighty, as appears both in the Old and New Testament: What glorious Light had Da∣vid, Solomon, Hezekiah, Josiah, and many others of the Godly Kings and Prophets in Juda? And yet one thing plainly laid down in the Book of the Law, they were short in, nay, as some judg, Page 33 they did not see it, viz. sitting in Booths in the Feast of the 7th Month; of which we read in Nehem. 8. 13, 14. They found written (saith the Text) in the Law which God commanded by Mo∣ses, that the Children of Israel should dwell in Booths, in the Feast of the seventh Month. Vers. 15. And all the Congregation of them, that were come again out of Captivity, made Booths, and sate under the Booths: For since the days of Joshua the Son of Nun, unto that day, had not the Chil∣dren of Israel done so; and there was very great gladness, verse 47.