Shewing how, and upon what ground the Bapti∣zed Churches do assert Laying on of hands.
HOW those learned Persons he speaks of have writ and asserted Laying on of hands from that Text, I shall leave to the judicious Reader, by considering the Instances forecited; and that they hold it also as necessary to Church-Com∣munion, might I presume be made manifest, but that is not our present work, but rather to make the thing it self appear to be an Ordinance of Page 40 Jesus Christ; and in order to this, those two Particulars, or Principles Mr. Danvers lays down we will consider, viz.
First, That to every Ordinance of Christ there must be some plain positive word of Institution to confirm it; and not only human Tradition, or far∣fetcht Consequences and Inferences, such as the many Volumes written of Circumcision, and fe∣deral Holiness, to assert Infants Baptism to be an Ordinance of Christ, which no ordinary Capacity can reach, and only Men of Parts and Abilities can trace, and follow in their Meanders.
Secondly, That to practise any thing in the Wor∣ship of God for an Ordinance of his, without an Institution, is Will-worship and Superstition, &c.
Answ. The great Text urged for this Institu∣tion, he says, is Heb. 6.1, 2. Therefore leaving the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of Repentance from dead Works, and of Faith towards God, of the Doctrine of Baptisms, Laying on of hands, &c.
This is the Text affirmed, saith he, to be the great Charter of the Church, for this point of Faith and Practice; but how to find the least warrant for the same there, he says we see not: If it was indeed said, let all baptized Believers have hands laid upon them, with as much plainness, as let all Believers be baptized, Mat. 28.29. Acts 10.43. or, let all baptized Believers eat the Lord's Supper, 1 Cor. 11.24. Acts 2.41. it was something to the purpose.
Answ. First, we grant that to every Ordi∣nance of Christ there must be some word of In∣stitution, Page 41 and that such far-fetch Consequence, as he minds, will not do, or be sufficient: but that every Institution must be laid down in such plain positive Words, as he seems to affirm, viz. Let all baptized Believers have Hands laid upon them, I deny, it being none of our Principle I judg, nor theirs neither; since they practise such things as Institutions of Christ, which are no where in so many plain positive words command∣ed, as may hereafter be shewed.
But as to the other thing he minds, we do a∣gree with him in that matter, and say, Whatso∣ever is done in the Worship and Service of God, without an Institution, is Will-worship; and you shall see that our Principles agree and com∣port with all those honest Protestant Principles concerning what we have to say further about Laying on of hands, &c.
But to reply to what he says concerning Heb. 6. it matters not whether it be Heb. 5.12. or Heb. 6.1, 2. or Acts 8.16, 17. or Acts 19.6. or any other Scripture, that is the chief Text urged to prove Laying on of hands an Ordinance and Institution of Jesus Christ; provided that the Scripture urged on this account, will prove it so to be. But whereas he says he finds not the least warrant for the same, I somewhat marvel at it, considering what has been formerly written, and proved from that Text, by several worthy and able Men, whose Books he, nor none else have ever yet answered. But it seems he would have it said in so many plain words, Let all baptized Believers have hands laid upon them, or else all is just nothing that is asserted.
Page 42But is it in Mat. 28.19. or Acts 10.48. said in so many plain words, Let all Believers be bap∣tized? 'tis not so read in my Bible. Nay, and I affirm, that from Mat. 28.19, 20. none can prove that all Believers ought to be baptized in Water, without making use of some Inference, or some other Text of Scripture to prove it, for as much as Water is not exprest or mentioned there. Suppose a Quaker should tell you, the Apostles had power given them to baptize with the Holy Ghost, and that Christ commanded them to baptize all those that were taught, or dis∣cipled, with the Spirit, and that it intends not Water in the least; what would you say or do to refute him? Do you think you should not need some Consequence or other, or help from some other Scripture, to prove 'tis Water which is in∣tended there?
But again, secondly; Is it said in 1 Cor. 11.24. in so many plain words, Let all Believers eat the Lord's Supper, or in Acts 2.41, 42? The Pe∣dobaptists say, how can you prove by so many plain words, that Women received the Lord's Supper? I grant 'tis easy to prove they did, yet when they demand such plain Texts for it, how do you answer them? is it not by Inferences? And I see not how such Answers do in the least betray the truth, or the justice of our Cause; as do not our Answers to such Queries so usually brought by those that assert Pedobaptism confute us, as you are pleased to say p. 54. for we are not in the least against drawing of Inferences, or natural Consequences from the Scripture. And would not you allow any Pedobaptist to urge a Page 43 Text of Scripture, and infer what he will from it for his Practice, provided it may naturally be infer'd or drawn from the Premises or Text he brings? surely you, as well as we, will readily give him that liberty. But when Men shall mention Scriptures to prove their Principles or Practice by, and infer this or that from them, to the palpable wronging and wresting of the Text, it being as far from the intent of the Spirit of God therein as the East is from the West, as the Con∣sequences and Inferences brought from Circumci∣sion, and federal Holiness, to prove Infants Bap∣tism; they are such kind of Inferences we de∣clare against. But we need not trouble our selves with things of this nature, having the holy Scrip∣tures so plain for our Practice, as Acts 8.17. Acts 19.6. and Heb. 6.1, 2. where it is called a Founda¦tion-Principle of the Doctrine of Christ.
To this he says in p. 42. by way of Concession, That Laying on of hands is a Principle of the Doc∣trine of Christ. But then he says, It must be such a Laying on of hands as is somewhere taught or practised; but such a Laying on of hands upon all baptized Believers, we find no where taught or prac∣tised: Jesus Christ had no hands laid upon him by John Baptist, after he baptized him; neither did he give one word of it in his Commission upon his Ascension; neither do we read that the Church of the Hebrews practised any such thing; for there is no mention that the 120 had Hands laid on them, nor the 3000 in Acts 2. or 5000 in Acts 4. after their Baptism, before they broke Bread; neither do we find the least of it in any other Churches in the New Testament; neither in Samaria by Philip, norPage 44 Corinth, Philippi, Colossia, Thessalonica, Rome, the Churches of Galatia, the Churches in Asia, Smyrna, Thyatira, Pergamos, Sardis, Phila∣delphia, no nor in Ephesus, It is true Paul laid his hands upon twelve of their number upon another occasion, as Peter and John did in Samaria, &c.
Answ. He has said here a great deal, and re∣futed us with as good Arguments as the Scots∣man refuted Bellarmin: what is here more than meer Affirmations? he acknowledges there is a Laying on of hands which is called a Principle of Christ's Doctrine, but he says it must be such a one as is somewhere taught and practised; but he is bold to say, this never was.
Answ. Where is that Laying on of hands taught, which he affirms to be a Principle of Christ's Doctrine? Not that I question it, I be∣lieve it was taught, tho not as one of the first Oracles of God, or beginning Principles of Christ's Doctrine; yet where does he find Lay∣ing on of hands on Officers taught? let him not be too confident; for that Scripture, affirmed by him to be a full Precept for it, 1 Tim. 5.22. is very doubtful * what Laying on of hands is mentioned there. Mr.†Baxter saith, Some think by it is meant Imposition of hands in Confirmation, some in Ordination, and some for Absolution.
Let all Men here consider his partiality; Is this a Precept in so many words, Lay hands on all Officers? whereas the word Page 45 Officer, or Elder, is not mentioned in the Text, or Verse, before nor after, nor elsewhere through∣out that fifth Chapter: we must therefore have recourse to other Scriptures in the case of Offi∣cers, which are full Precedents for it, as Acts 13.3. and 6.6. as we compare Heb. 6.2. Acts 8.15, 17. and 19.6. for the clearing the Truth we contend for, comparing Scripture with Scrip∣ture.
But secondly, The words are rather in them∣selves a Caution or Prohibition than otherwise; will he call this a full Precept? the most he can assert from hence is this, that the words do im∣ply that Timothy was to lay hands on some body, otherwise no room for those Expressions; but then what kind of Laying on of hands he intends is the question; whether it be only one sort, or more, from hence it may be hard to decide. May we not conclude Paul's Counsel to Timothy thus far comprehensive, viz. do not lay hands suddenly on any Man, neither to Office, let them first be proved, 1 Tim. 3.10. nor upon Per∣sons baptized as such, they must first be taught, or instructed in the Truth they are about to practise; which may be gathered from Mat. 28.20. Heb. 5.12. they must be so taught, and the Truth so explained, that Persons may obey the same in Faith, and with understanding.
Thirdly, This must needs be granted on all hands, that without some Inference, or help of other Scripture, Laying on of hands for Ordina∣tion cannot be proved from this Text, which Mr. Danvers will not admit us to do; we must have every Principle of Christ's Doctrine in so many Page 46 plain words, and from Christ's own mouth too, or else 'tis no Institution.
Object. But may be, some will say, he urges other Scriptures to prove Laying on of hands on Officers, pag. 54. Acts 6.6. & 13.3, &c.
Answ. Granted, yet those are only brought as Examples (for so indeed they are) and not Precepts; and there is none urged by him to prove it commanded, save that we have spoken to, 1 Tim. 5.22. and what can be produced save clear Precedents on that account, I know not.
But now as to Imposition of hands on baptized Believers as such, we have not only clear Exam∣ples, but also the Scripture shews it was taught as a positive Command and Institution of Jesus Christ, or what was commanded by him; which I shall fully shew from Heb. 6.1, 2. where the Apo∣stle writing of the six Principles, or Foundation-Doctrines of Christ, uses the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in the 1st Verse, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in the 2d Verse, that is Word and Doctrine; so this of Laying on of Hands, a∣mongst other Principles, the Apostle there, by the Spirit of God, calls the Word and Doctrine of Christ: now the Words of Christ, and Commands of Christ, are Terms synonymous, or of the like import; as Deut. 10.4. shews, where the ten Com∣mandments are called in the margin ten Words, as most suting with the Hebrew Text. Again, John 14.21. with 23. and 24. v. compared with vers. 21. further evinces it; He that hath my Com∣mandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: In Vers. 23. If any Man love me, he will keep my Words; and in Verse 24. called Sayings: and the Word is said in John 7.16. to be the Father's, Page 47 and Christ's Word said to be what he had from the Father. So now, Laying on of hands, as well as Repentance, Faith and Baptism, is the Word and Doctrine of Christ, and therefore equally to be observed and obeyed by all the Saints, being one of the Principles, or Funda∣mental Truths, which the Hebrew Church, at the Command and Word of Christ, came under the practice of, Heb. 5.12. and 6.1, 2. More∣over this Principle is, by the said Author to the Hebrews, called one of the Oracles of God, which he tells them they had need again to be instruc∣ted in; plainly implying they had once been taught it, and were in the practice thereof. Now the Oracles of God are the Commands of God; see Acts 7.38. where the ten Commandments are called lively Oracles; compared with Rom. 3.2. Ʋnto them were committed the Oracles of God. Methinks this might convince any dissatisfied Per∣son, that Laying on of hands, as well as the o∣ther Principles, was taught and commanded by Jesus Christ.
But yet again, consider that what the Apostles wrote to the Churches as the Word of Christ, ought to be owned by all that are Spriritual, to be the Commands of God, 1 Cor. 14.37. But vers. 38. If any will be ignorant, let him be igno∣rant. Yet not withstanding what we say on this Account, still I find this Objection brought against this Appointment, viz.
Object. Where is Laying on of hands com∣manded by Christ? we find nothing of it in the Commission, Mat. 28.
Page 48Answ. 1. Why should you make such a stir about an express Command? must it be plainly laid down, or exprest in the Commission, or else no Divine Institution? Does not this make as much every way against Laying on of hands upon Of∣ficers, as against that on baptized Believers as such? We account that Man very malicious who resolves to wound his Neighbour, tho himself be wounded thereby.
2. We have as plain Precedents for Laying on of hands on baptized Believers, as we have on Officers, Acts 8.16, 17. and Acts 19.6. yea and more than bare Examples for it: it is called a Principle of the Doctrine of Christ; but where that on Officers is call'd so I know not: for that the Laying on of hands in Heb. 6.2. cannot intend that on Officers, has been clearly proved by di∣vers Arguments; and that it intends Laying on of hands on the Baptized for the Spirit of Pro∣mise, and to confirm them in the Faith newly received, is not only our light and apprehen∣sion, but has also been asserted to be the sense of that Text by many Antient and Modern Divines of several Perswasions, as has been shewed.
Object. But such a Laying on of hands you contend for, was no where practised; John did not lay hands upon Christ.
Answ. We will grant you, John Baptist did not lay hands on the Lord Jesus; it cannot be rationally concluded he should, considering the lesser is blessed of the greater. Baptism might be administred by John, it being a figure of Christ's Death, Burial, and Resurrection; but the pro∣mised Spirit, which is the end of the Ordinance Page 49 of Laying on of hands, is said to be Christ's own gift, Eph. 4.7. But tho John laid not his hands on Christ, being not a fit Administrator thereof, yet I may say, the Father laid his hands upon him, and the Spirit came down visibly in the likeness of a Dove, and rested on him just after he came out of the Water; and this might, as many of the Learned affirm, contain the sub∣stance of this Administration contended for.
Moreover, In this way Christ Jesus was visibly sealed by God the Father after he was baptized: saith Dr. Taylor, Confirm. p. 12. He had another, or new Administration past upon him for the recep∣tion of the Holy Spirit, and this was done for our sakes; we also must follow that Example: and it plainly describes to us the Order of this Admini∣stration, and the Blessing designed to us; after we are baptized we need to be strengthned and confir∣med. And again he saith (citing a passage of Optatus) Christ was washed when he was in the hands of John, and the Father finished what was wanting; the Heavens were opened, God the Father anointed him, the Spiritual Ʋnction pre∣sently descended in the likeness of a Dove, and sate upon his Head, and was spread all over him when he was anointed of the Father; to whom also, lest Imposition of hands should seem to be wanting, the Voice of God was heard from the Cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased. I shall leave this to consideration.
Object. But further you affirm, that Christ did not lay hands upon his Disciples.
Answ. And how do you come to know he did not? may be you will say, 'tis no where written Page 50 that he did. But pray where do you read that the 12 Disciples, or Apostles of Christ, were bap∣tized? Doth it follow because we read not of their Baptism, they were not baptized?
Obj. But you say, there is not one word of it in the Commission.
Answ. 1. There is not one word in the Com∣mission, as I have shewed, concerning any Lay∣ing on of hands, yet you own that upon Officers to be a Principle of Christ's Doctrine.
2. There is not one word in the Commission concerning the Resurrection of the Dead, nor of Eternal Judgment, nor Prayer, nor Assembling together, nor other things that are undoubtedly Gospel-Truths and Institutions; yet tho they are not exprest, they are included, as those words plainly hold forth, Teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: And surely every one may see, unless he wilfully shut his eyes, that there are many more Precepts implied in the words of the Commission than are exprest; for if nothing must be received for Gospel-Insti∣tutions but what are exprest in the Commission, you must throw away the greatest part of those Precepts you call Commands, or Appointments of Jesus Christ.
Object. But you proceed, and say, That the Church of the Hebrews practised no such thing, for there is no mention that the hundred and twenty had hands laid upon them, nor the three thousand, Acts 2.
Answ. That the Church of the Hebrews prac∣tised this Ordinance as well as other Churches, is plain in Heb. 6.1, 2. As they repented, believed, Page 51 and were baptized, so they were under the practice of Laying on of hands: for that is a practical Or∣dinance all confess; Not laying again, saith the Author, Repentance from dead Works, &c. this plainly sheweth they had once laid all those Foun∣dation-principles.
Object. But may be, you will say, there is no∣thing of this signified in Acts 2. when that Church was first gathered.
Answ. 'Tis very clear you are mistaken; for is it not said Acts 2.42. They continued in the Apostles Doctrine? which they could not do, if they had not submitted to every Part or Precept of it; and is not Laying on of hands, as well as Baptism, and those other Principles, part there∣of? 'tis called the Apostles Doctrine, Acts 2. in Heb. 6.2. Christ's Doctrine; not the Apostles any other ways than they were taught it by, and re∣ceived it from the Lord Jesus: and let none con∣clude they were not taught Laying on of hands, because not plainly exprest, or particularly laid down Acts 2. for we may as well conclude, the Apostle taught them not the Resurrection of the Dead, nor Eternal Judgment, since we read no∣thing there to that purpose: Doubtless Philip, Acts 8. preached Baptism to the Eunuch, how should he else cry out, Lo here is Water, what doth hinder me from being baptized? yet we read not one word of Philip's preaching of it to him. The Author to the Hebrews (writing to this very People) ch. 5.12. tells us, They had need to be taught again which are the first Principles of the Oracles of God; therefore it follows clearly, they had been taught it, and had practised it, as chap. 6.1, 2. proves.
Page 52Mr. Danvers goes on, and affirms, that we find not the least mention of it in any of the Chur∣ches in the New Testament, neither in Samaria af∣ter Philip had baptized them, nor Corinth, Philip∣pi, Colossia, Thessalonica, Rome, Galatia, Smyrna, Thyatira, Pergamos, Sardis, Phila∣delphia, no nor Ephesus.
Answ. I cannot but admire at such affirma∣tions: but first, as to the Church in Samaria, 'tis granted Philip did not lay hands on them af∣ter he had baptized them; he being only a Dea∣con, it might not upon that account concern, or belong to him to impose hands on them: and be∣sides, God had other work for him to do, viz. the Conversion of the Eunuch. Yet most evident it is, when the Apostles and Brethren at Jeru∣salem heard that the People in Samaria had re∣ceived the Word of God, and were baptized, ra∣ther than they should lie short of any part of their duty, especially that in which so great a Bles∣sing is promised, they would send Peter and John to pray and lay their hands upon them; and that it was not for the extraordinary Gifts of the Spirit, has been clearly proved. And as to the Church at Rome, 'tis said plainly Rom. 6.17. That they had obeyed from the heart that Form of Doctrine delivered to them: And what Form can the Apostle intend save that in Heb. 6.1, 2? we read of no other delivered to the Saints for their obedience. And as to the Church of Ephesus, we read of their coming under this Ordinance when first planted, Acts 19.6.
2. And now as to some other Churches he speaks of, I grant we read not of their practi∣sing Page 53 this Ordinance; yet what doth this make against it? For where do we read of their Re∣pentance or Faith, of their being baptized, or their believing the Resurrection of the Dead, or Eternal Judgment? There is nothing spoken of several Churches as to any of these other Princi∣ples; and it is very observable, that we read but of one or two Churches that practised the Lord's Supper: yet none doubt but all the Churches continued in the practice of it, God's way being the same in every Church, 1 Cor. 4.17. If in some Scriptures it is spoken of as the duty and prac∣tice of the Saints, tho not exprest in all places, it matters not; for if what is the duty of one Be∣liever as a Believer, be the duty of every Be∣liever, then there is no need for the Almighty to speak of every particular Church's obedience ei∣ther to Baptism, Laying on of hands, or the Lord's Supper, &c.
One thing I cannot but call over again, owned and confessed by Mr. Danvers, viz. That there is a Laying on of hands reckoned amongst the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ.
Ans. 'Tis well he will grant this; nay, and it is one of his first Teachings, he also acknow∣ledges: then I hope he will allow us to say, Christ taught a Laying on of hands as a Founda∣tion-principle; and if he taught it, 'twas that it might be practised as a Foundation, or begin∣ning Truth; and then ought not all to yield obe∣dience thereto? For as every Person is actually to repent, believe, and be baptized, so each one ought to come under the practice of Laying on of hands, it being of the same extent, nature and Page 54 quality with the other, and joined to them; and it cannot be said to be obeyed otherwise than by practice; as in Baptism, I do not yield obedience by believing other Persons were or ought to be baptized, but by being baptized my self. We grant that some Act done upon, or Practice done by others, may be teaching to us, tho not inga∣ged in our own Persons to do the same; but then it must not be such a fundamental Principle and Practice as this, being of the same nature with Repentance, Faith, and Baptism; Will it serve my turn to believe 'tis another Man's duty to re∣pent? Surely no, I must repent and believe my self, or else I neglect my duty.
Object. And whereas he tells us in pag. 43▪ of other beginning Teachings, proper for all baptized Babes.
Answ. 1. He pretends to take the stumbling-block out of the way of God's People: But in this 'tis pal∣pable he rather cast one in their way; will he make new Foundation-Principles, or call those beginning Principles of Christ's Doctrine, or of Church-Constitution, which God no where so calls? We say, such only are to be accounted beginning Principles, which God's Word de∣clares so to be.
2. It appears as if he would make Laying on of hands for miraculous healing, to be that in Heb. 6. which has been fully answered again and again; they should have refuted Mr. Griffith and Mr. Rider, before they insist on this: I think it needless on that account to speak any thing to it, and shall only refer the Reader to their excellent Books for satisfaction. But this I must say, that Page 55 that Laying on of hands for healing belongs not to Babes as such; strong Men, and Fathers may be sick, and have need of it, as well as others: besides, this sort concerns not all (no, only sick Persons) and may be practised again and again, as oft as Persons may be sick, or under bodily in∣firmities; but that Principle that is one of the beginning words of Christ's Doctrine, is only to be laid, or practised once, Heb. 6.1. Not Laying again, &c. 2ly. Unbelievers had hands laid upon them for healing, and therefore I might also ar∣gue it appertains not unto Babes as such: More∣over, anointing with Oil is left as the Ordinance for healing in the Church.
3. Mr. Danvers should make a difference be∣tween what Christ taught as a Promise or Gift to some particular Persons, and what he taught as a general Practice; that which is minded in Mark 16. is laid down promissory-wise to such as should have the gift of Faith, or the Faith of Mi∣racles *, and is therefore nothing to the pur∣pose.
4. They distinguish not between the Word or Doctrine of Christ, and Miracles, which were for the confirmation thereof, which in Mark 16.20. the Spirit doth; which causeth their mistake.
But, do they not confute themselves by thus ar∣guing? they own the Doctrine of Laying on of hands to be a Foundation-principle of Christ; but this they speak of here must needs be granted to be temporary, being for the confirmation of the Page 56 Word, as he himself confesseth; and every Word or Ordinance of Christ, as I have shewed, was more or less confirmed with Signs, and Wonders according to this Promise of Christ. I shall say no more to this, but proceed to his next Objection.
2. Object. Page 44. If every one of these Prin∣ciples in Heb. 6.2. are so absolutely to be taken in by Babes, and without which we are not to esteem them communicable, what do you say to the Doc∣trine of Baptisms, in the Text one of the Principles? must all be baptized with the Baptism of the Spirit, and of Sufferings? &c.
Answ. We answer, by distinguishing between that Baptism that is a practical Duty, and that which is taught or laid down by our Lord Jesus to be believed: that that is commanded, ought absolutely to be obeyed by every Babe; and 'tis as necessary for every Babe to believe the Doc∣trine of Sufferings, which Jesus Christ preached to all that would follow him and be his Disciples; this was that which he taught, Mat. 20.22, 23. to the two Sons of Zebedee, that they (and con∣sequently all God's Children) should more or less be baptized with. In the World (saith Christ) you shall have tribulation, John 16.33. 'Tis ne∣cessary every Saint should be instructed into this, and believe this, that through much Tribulation we must enter into the Kingdom of God, Acts 14.22. and all those who will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution, 2 Tim. 3.12. We say not, that every one must actually forsake House, and Lands, and Life for Christ's sake, and the Gospel, or else be none of his Disciples, but be ready in holy disposition so to do when call'd to it.
Page 57And as to the Baptism of the Spirit, that the Spirit is promised to every true Believer, see Joel 2.28, 29. which Peter (Acts 2.17. compared with vers. 38, 39.) applies indefinitely to all pe∣nitent baptized Persons, whether Jews or Gen∣tiles, as their Right by promise of the Father to receive; and not to them of that Generation only, but also to such as should repent, and be baptized in all succeeding Ages; this Promise is one and the same with that in John 7.38. called Rivers of Water, implying fillings* with the Spirit. In Acts 2.38. 'tis said to be the Gift of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 11.17. like Gifts. In Acts 8.15. the Holy Spirit: which the Apostles in the belief of the promise, Joel 2. and Joh. 14.16. Acts 2.38, prayed for. From which Scriptures it appears, that all Believers are under the like Promises of the Holy Ghost, on like terms of Repentance, Faith, &c. And according to the mea∣sure of Faith given us by Christ, may our fillings with the Holy Spirit be.
And thus it is the duty of every Disciple to believe he shall receive, or be baptized with the Spirit, (according as the Will of the same Spirit is, that divides to every Man the particular measures thereof) having the Promise of a faith∣ful and never-failing God to rely upon; provided he go on in his Obedience, as directed in the blessed Word, for the attaining of it.
Page 58Object. But if it be objected, none are baptized with the Holy Spirit, but such as receive it visi∣bly, and in its extraordinary Gifts.
Answ. 1. Suppose none are so baptized now, yet all the Saints are to believe the Promise of the Spirit, and do receive it too; and doth not God perform his Promise, because none so receive the Spirit, viz. to be baptiz'd therewith? 1 Cor. 12.13.
2. All are to believe the Baptism of the Spirit was given in the Apostles days to con∣firm the Gospel or Word of Christ. And 'tis to be observed, that Paul to the Ephesians (on whom he had imposed hands, Acts 19.6. and the spake with Tongues, and prophesied) takes no notice of those visible Gifts, but saith, In whom also after ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise, Eph. 1.13. plainly shewing 'tis the great Benefit received, and enjoyed by Believers, to be sealed by the Spirit: 'tis not matter of rejoicing to work Mi∣racles, as 'tis to know our Names are written in Heaven. And thus we have explained the Doc∣trine of Baptisms.
Now to what he says in the 3d place, p.45. That the Laying on of hands, Heb. 6.2. may re∣spect the Laying on of hands upon the Ministry for their solemn Investiture into their Office, whether Deacons, Elders, or Messengers, which he says is necessary to be taught, known, and understood by all, tho all are not commanded into the personal practice of it, for all are not Prophets, Apostles, Teachers; and 'tis most remarkable, that the Doctrine, or teaching of Laying on of hands, is all that is men∣tioned in this Scripture; all baptized Believers Page 59 must be taught it, that's plain, but that they are obliged therefore to practise it, is not here or else∣where to be found.
Answ. Before I give a further Answer to this grand Objection, I can't but observe how he mistakes the Text, i. e. than the Doctrine, or teaching of Laying on of hands only is mentioned in this Scripture; why does he speak thus of Im∣position of hands only? may he not as well speak so concerning Repentance, Faith, and Baptism, as of this Principle? i. e. they also are necessary only to be taught and known by all, and none concern'd in the personal practice of them? Would any judg this Good Divinity? What reason can he give, seeing all the four are practical Ordi∣nances, that the three first should be taught so as to be personally practis'd by all, and the other only to be believ'd? Tho what he says here has al∣ready been fully answer'd, yet I shall examin this Text further, and make it evident, that the Lay∣ing on of hands in this Text cannot intend or be meant that upon Church-Officers, but must mean that sort now contended for; and I am more willing to speak further to this Objection, be∣cause this being answered, our work is done.
1. Mind that the Apostle is speaking only here of the first Principles of the Doctrine of Christ; are they not so called? i. e. Doctrinae Christianae Initia, seu Rudimenta; the Beginnings or Rudi∣ments of Christian Doctrine: Or, as Beza, Prima Christianismi Principia; the first Principles of Christianity. Now Laying on of hands on Offi∣cers, is not a beginning Principle, nor of the Al∣phabet of the Christian Religion, I think they Page 60 will not affirm it so to be. May not a Church, or People, profess and practise the first or begin∣ning Principles of Religion, and proceed very far in the way of Christianity, and yet have no Officers orderly ordained amongst them?
But 2. These Principles appertain to the Foun∣dation of God's House, being such on which the House is built; they are all equal in kind, na∣ture, and quality, and one not to be without the other, God having joined them together as all of one rank, for the bearing up this Spiritual Fa∣brick, see vers. 1. But laying on of hands on Officers, is an Ordinance of another rank and nature; a Church must be first gathered, or con∣stituted, and Persons make a considerable pro∣gress in the Profession of Religion, before they can orderly be chosen, or ordained to the Office of Elders or Deacons: In short, Officers are not for the being, but well-being of the Church; and therefore such a Laying on of hands cannot be intended here. We read of Churches who had no Officers amongst them, Tit. 1.5, 6. If a Mi∣nister were to preach unto a People what are the Fundamentals of a Gospel-Church, viz. what Per∣sons ought to do, that so in an orderly way they may be congregated together in the fellowship of the Gospel, or be made regular Members of the visible Church, would he tell them Laying on of hands on Officers is one Principle? Surely no; he would not affirm this to be one of the Rudi∣ments of Christian Practice (that which first of all a Christian should be instructed in and come under, that he may have a being in God's House) nor a Foundation-principle of Church-Constituti∣on; Page 61 but that the Laying on of hands spoken of Heb. 6. is so, nothing is more evident: for if it be a Principle of the Foundation, either it must be a Fundamental of Salvation, or of Church-Constitution; but none will say of the former, therefore it wust be of the latter.
3. That it cannot intend Laying on of hands on Church-Officers, might appear further, be∣cause 'tis joined to, or coupled with Baptism; why should Laying on of hands on Officers, be by the Spirit of God laid down after this sort? Repentance from dead Works, and Faith to∣wards God; the Doctrine of Baptisms, and Lay∣ing on of hands; the Resurrection from the Dead, and Eternal Judgment. May we not safely ar∣gue, that the Laying on of hands, which follows here in order of words, is what followed in order of practice? See Acts 8.17. and 19.6. And is it not according to what they acknowledg sound reasoning in another case upon Mat. 28.20. and Mark 16. that Baptism mentioned in the Commission, joined to, and following Faith and Illumination in order of words, is what the Apostles in order of practice, viz. after Faith and Illumination, did baptize with? Acts 2.41. Acts 8. and 10. But that was the Baptism of Water, which therefore is only intended in the Commission, &c. And thus by comparing Scrip∣ture with Scripture, we may be satisfied in those things, which at first seem'd doubtful.
4. It cannot be meant here, because all the Church of the Hebrews, as well as that in Sama∣ria, Acts 8. (and consequently all other Churches) had laid, or come under this Principle, as they Page 62 had laid Repentance, Faith, and Baptism, when they were Babes: Now, who can reasonably i∣magine, either that the whole Church of the He∣brews were Officers, or that Officers are Babes in Christ? That this is the Laying on of hands on baptized Believers, is easy to understand: 1. Be∣cause taught to Babes, Heb. 5.12. 2. Babes are capable, or meet subjects thereof. 3. Babes have need of it, as Children of Milk. 4. Babes we read were in the practice thereof, Acts 8. and 19.5. Because it belongs to them as such, and were at first taught it, Heb. 5. and 6.1, 2. this cannot be said of any other sort. I shall say no more, only add something out of Dr. Jer. Taylor, of Confirm. p. 45—48. full to our purpose, which considering the learning and worthiness of the Author, I judg may be useful; what he minds, take as followeth, speaking of Laying on of hands, called Confir∣mation: We have seen (saith he) the Original from Christ, the practice and exercise of it in the Apostles, and the first Converts in Christianity: what I shall now remark is, That this is esta∣blished and passed into a Christian Doctrine; the Warranty for what I say, is Heb. 6.1. where the holy Rite of Confirmation, so called from the ef∣fects of this Administration, and exprest by the ritual part of it, Imposition of hands, is reckoned a fundamental Point; and here are six fundamental points of St. Paul's Catechism, which he laid as the Foundation, or beginning of the Institution of the Christian Church; and therefore they who deny it, dig up Foundations. Now that this Imposition of hands is what the Apostle used in confirming the Baptized, and invocating the Holy Spirit upon them, Page 63 remains to be proved; which is done, by shewing, 1. It cannot intend Absolution; nor 2. Ordination. And this is evident:
1. Because the Apostle would henceforth leave to speak of the Foundation, and go on to perfection, that is to higher Mysteries; now in Rituals there is none higher than Ordination.
2. The Apostle saying he would speak no more of Imposition of Hands, presently discourses of the mysteriousness of the Evangelical Priesthood, and the Honour of that Vocation; by which 'tis evident he speaks nothing of Ordination in the Catechism, or Narratives of Fundamentals.
3. This also appears from the Context, not only because Laying on of hands is immediately set after Baptism, but because in the very next words of his Discourse, he enumerates and apportions to these Ordinances their proper proportioned Effects, i. e. to Faith and Baptism, Illumination; to Laying on of hands, the tasting the Heavenly Gift, and being made Partakers of the Holy Spirit; by the thing signified declaring the Sign, and by hopes of the Resurrection, tastes of the good things of the World to come: He that falls from this state, and turns Apostate from this whole Dispensation, digging down, and turning up these Foundations, shall never be built again; he can never be baptized again, and never confirmed any more: If he remains on these Foundations, tho he sins, he may be renewed 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, by Repentance, and by resuscitation of the Spirit, if he had not wholly quenched him; but if he renounces the whole Covenant, disown and cancel these Foundations, he is desperate, he can ne∣ver be renewed. This is the full explication of Page 64 this excellent place, and otherways it cannot be ex∣plicated; but therefore into this place any notice of Ordination cannot come; no Sense, no Mystery can be made of it, or drawn from it, but by the in∣terposition of Confirmation: The whole Context is clear, rational and intelligible. He cites Calvin, and Chrysostom, as speaking the same things upon this place, p. 50.
To these I might add Estius on Heb. 6.1, 2. 'Tis (saith he) undoubtedly to be understood of that Laying on of hands, which was administred to the Faithful presently after Baptism, of which St. Luke speaks, Acts 8. & 19. I might produce Grotius and Heming, and other modern Authors, upon the same place: But having upon occasion men∣tioned several before, I shall close this with a pas∣sage out of Erasmus on Heb. 6.1. The first step to Christianity (saith he) is Repentance of our for∣mer Life, next that Salvation is to be hoped from God, next that we be purged in Baptism from our filth, next that by Laying on of hands we receive the Holy Spirit, &c.