Laying on of hands upon baptized believers, as such, proved an ordinance of Christ in answer to Mr. Danvers's former book intituled, A treatise of laying on of hands : with a brief answer to a late book called, A treatise concerning laying on of hands, written by a nameless author
Keach, Benjamin, 1640-1704.


Opening, and further proving Laying on of hands from Acts 8.16, 17. and 19.6. Al∣so shewing the Judgment of Antient and Modern Writers upon those two Places.

MR. Danvers having laboured to weaken the proof of our Practice from Heb. 6.1, 2. Page  65 (tho all he says signifies nothing) comes p. 45. to examine Acts 8.17. and 19.6. which we affirm to be full Precedents for Laying on of hands up∣on baptized Believers. The sum of his Objections, or the way he takes to invalidate what we infer from thence, take as follows, p. 46.

Object. As to that of Samaria, it is said that several being converted in that City, and baptized by Philip, who wrought many Miracles, and con∣tinued some time with them, Acts 8.13. yet did not he impose hands upon them as we read of: the Church of Jerusalem hearing that Samaria had re∣ceived the Word of God, and that the Spirit was not fallen upon any of them, viz. in a visible man∣ner, (which was a Phrase attributed to those extra∣ordinary Measures frequently given in those days, Acts 10.44. which sometimes did fall upon them before Baptism, and sometimes after) sent Peter and John, who it seems were extraordinarily gifted by God, so that on whomsoever they prayed, and laid their hands, the Spirit was visibly, extraordi∣narily, and immediately given; and 'tis said they laid their hands upon them, but how many 'tis not said; surely not upon all, for Simon by his profane offer discovered he had neither lot nor part therein, tho baptized, &c.

Answ. The first thing he hints at, as an Objec∣tion against our Practice from this place, is be∣cause Philip laid not his hands upon them, after he had baptized them: Which we have answered already; but this I must say now, that if Peter and John laid their hands on those Believers in Samaria, as Men miraculously gifted, or by vir∣tue of their extraordinary Attainments, it might Page  66 seem strange that Philip laid not his hands upon them, being (tho but a Deacon) endowed with those extraordinary Gifts, and had wrought won∣derful Signs and Miracles in the same City be∣fore: The reason therefore why Philip did not impose hands upon them was,

1. Because not ministerially capacitated so to do, it not belonging to him on the account of his Office, nor his extraordinary Gifts and Endow∣ments. This also I might further shew, because the Church at Jerusalem did not send to Samaria Men simply indowed with miraculous Gifts, but such as had Ministerial Power and Authority as the Servants of Christ, in his Name to compleat and perfect what was wanting among them.

'Tis an Act (saith Dr. Hammond on Acts 8.17.) reserved to the Rulers of the Church, and not com∣municated or allowed to inferiour Officers, such as Philip the Deacon here.

2. But whereas Mr. Danvers seems to affirm, that as some in the primitive time had the Gift of Healing, so others had the Gift or Power to give the Holy Spirit; 'tis utterly denied, and the contrary has often been proved, for that 'tis only the Gift of God, and Christ's blessed Prerogative; they were found in their Duty, they prayed, and laid on their hands, and left the issue to God to give the Spirit, according to his promise and good pleasure.

Object. But probably some may object, We read of none but the Apostles that laid hands on baptized Believers; and tho they acted not by virtue of their miraculous Endowments, nor had power to give the Holy Spirit, yet they might act herein by virtue of their extraordinary call unto that Office.

Page  67Answ. I affirm that they acted in all other Or∣dinances, yea, and did whatsoever they did in the Worship and Service of Christ, by virtue of the said extraordinary Call unto the Ministry, as well as in this: But doth it therefore follow that nothing the Apostles practised is a Precedent or Rule unto us, as some ignorantly have affirm∣ed, unless so called of God, and endowed as they were?

3. Had not Matthias the same power to ad∣minister Ordinances (who was mediately called to his Office by the Church) as the other Apo∣stles immediately called by Christ Jesus? and is not the End and Work of the Office (however called to it) one and the same? viz. the work of the Ministry, the perfecting the Saints, and edify∣ing the Body of Christ, Eph. 4.

4. We read hardly of any that preached the Word Authoritatively, or officiated in any Gos∣pel-administration by virtue of their Office, be∣sides the extraordinary Apostles; and therefore if what they did be not a Law or Rule to us, and to all ordinary Ministers, to the end of the World, we shall be at a loss in many other re∣spects: It must therefore be granted, that what they taught and practised as an Ordinance of Christ, and foundation-Principle of his Doctrine, they delivered it unto faithful Men, that were their Successors, that they might be able to teach others also, 2 Tim. 2.3. And this agrees with Phil. 4.9. Those things that you have both learned and received, heard and seen in me, do; and the God of Peace shall be with you.

5. Had it been a Service for that Day only, Page  68 and none to be Administrators thereof but those great Apostles, it would not have been left as a standing, or foundation principle in God's House, and been joined to Faith, and the Resurrection.

In the 2d place, he would have us believe the end of that Administration was for the extraor∣dinary or visible Gifts of the Holy Spirit, which we have clearly refuted; yet I shall say further, that by his arguing, the Apostles resolved that all the Church at Samaria, yea and that at Ephesus, should have the extraordinary Gifts, since they laid their hands on all that were baptized, with∣out exception. Nay, it follows roundly, that where ever the Apostles found any particular Dis∣ciple, or Disciples, that had not received those visible, or extraordinary Gifts, they were to lay their hands on them to that end: For I presume Mr. Danvers judges, had Paul found 1200, as he found 12, at Ephesus, who had not received, nor heard of the Holy Ghost, he would have laid hands on them; which presupposes also, that those miraculous Gifts were promised, and belong to every particular Member in the Church, which is directly contrary to 1 Cor. 12.4, 7, 8, 9, 29, 30. for tho (as we have proved) the Holy Spirit be promised to every sincere Believer in the Lord Jesus, yet are not the extraordinary Gifts promised to any in particular, being only reserved in the bosom or breast of the Almighty, to whom, and after what manner he will distri∣bute them. 1 Cor. 12.4. There are diversities of Gifts, but the same Spirit; to one is given by the same Spirit, the word of Wisdom; to another the word of Knowledg; to another Faith; to another the gift Page  69 of Healing, by the same Spirit; to another the work∣ing of Miracles; to another Prophecy; to another discerning of Tongues, v. 8, 9, 10. Are all Prophets? are all workers of Miracles? have all the Gift of Healing? do all speak with Tongues? &c. Hence nothing can be clearer than this, that tho all have right to the Spirit, yet but very few had the extra∣ordinary Gifts thereof in the primitive Times.

The Third thing Mr. Danvers seems to affirm, is, that all in Samaria that were baptized, had not hands laid upon them, because it is said of Simon, he had no part nor lot in that matter.

1. Here he begs the Question, taking for gran∣ted, that Simon had not hands laid upon him; but why might not Simon have lot and part in that matter, if by Lot and Part be meant the vi∣sible, or miraculous Gifts of the Spirit, since Hy∣pocrites may partake of them, as our Saviour plainly signifies, and also doth our Apostle, 1 Cor. 13.1, 2?

2. He might come under the Ordinance, and yet his heart not being right with God, he might not have any part or lot in the blessed Com∣forter, the Spirit of Promise; which the World receiveth not, nor can an unsanctified Heart par∣take of.

3. Their reception of the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, was partly to convince the Apostles and Believers themselves that Christ had made good his promise of sending the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to them.

4. By Lot or Part in that matter, may not be meant partaking of the ritual, or external part of the Ordinance, but rather refers to his desire of Page  70 having power to be an Administrator of it upon others, so that the Holy Spirit might be given to those he laid his hands on. But,

5. If we should grant Simon had not hands im∣posed upon him, which I rather incline to, yet would it not hurt our Cause in the least, because he might be discovered to be a profane Wretch be∣fore it came to be his lot to partake thereof: if therefore it appears, and may be granted, that all that were baptized in Samaria came under this Appointment save Simon, we have as much as we desire: And surely this cannot rationally be denied by any that read the words, vers. 12. When they believed they were baptized, both Men and Women. Compare this with vers. 16. that the Holy Spirit was fallen on none of themonly they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Must not they, and them, mean all who are said to be baptized? So like∣wise when 'tis said ver. 13. they laid their hands upon them; doth not them intend the very same they prayed for? and shall we think they did not pray for them all? had not all the like need of God's Spirit? and is it not promised to all the Sons and Handmaids? Or shall we think the Apostle did not pray for the Women as well as the Men, the weaker Vessels, as well as the stronger? In Mat. 28.19, 20. (as 'tis well noted by Mr. Fisher) 'tis said, Go, teach all Nations, baptizing them; and in the words following, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. By them must Page  71 needs intend them all, and every of them that were made Disciples, and baptized.

One word or two further concerning what Mr. D. objects against us from Acts 19.6. from the Effects that followed this Administration; he still arguing as if that were the absolute End thereof: Which, as a great Doctor well observes, is too trifling a fancy to be put in balance against so sacred an Institution. But let us examin this Scripture a little more: Have you received the Holy Spirit since ye believed? (saith our Apostle.) They said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit. Ʋnto what then were ye baptized? &c. Two things are here very remarkable.

1. That the Holy Spirit (according to the sense of the Apostle inquiring after their recep∣tion of it) is the undoubted Right of every bap∣tized Believer in Christ Jesus, appears from these two expressions; Have ye received the Spirit since ye believed? (No.) Ʋnto what then were ye bap∣tized? It seems strange (as if Paul should say) that you having believed in Christ, and been baptized, have not yet received the Holy Spirit, since it is the great Legacy our Lord and Master left to every one of his Disciples?

2. 'Tis evident that whosoever was baptized af∣ter Christ's resurrection in his Name was instruct∣ed into the Promise of the Holy Ghost, and conse∣quently into Laying on of Hands, the outward Ceremony, or Ministry of it, belonging to them as Persons so considered. Paul seems to question their Baptism, since they were wholly ignorant of that glorious Promise of Blessing, annexed Page  72 thereto; which considered, may fully satisfy any unbiassed Person that the extraordinary or mi∣raculous Gifts could not be the End of this Ad∣ministration: and as touching those Effects that followed, 'tis clear the like Effects followed all other Ordinances as well as this.

Object. And whereas Mr. D. presumes to say, They were some of the Church of Ephesus; and again, not the whole Church.

Answ. 1. Can it be thought that those were at that time Members of the Church, and yet so ignorant of the Holy Spirit? And surely Paul would not have baptized them again, if they had been Members of the Church before.

2. They are not called the Church, nor of the Church, nor some of the Church, but certain Disciples; yea, and such as appears were only instructed into the Baptism of John.

3. Tho we read but of 12 that had hands laid on them, which was the number of the Men * that Paul found at that time who lay short of their Duty and Privilege in that respect; since we see the Spirit was their Right, as baptized Believers, it follows that it is the duty of every Believer to yield obedience to this Ordinance, as well as those twelve. The way of God touching the Administration of Gospel-Institutions being one and the same in all the Churches of the Saints, notwithstanding what has already been offered, may be a satisfactory Answer to Mr. D. concerning what he minds from those two Scriptures: yet finding so many Page  73 Learned Men, both antient and of later times, a∣greeing with us in their Expositions on these two Places; and not knowing but their Words may with some take more place than what such a one as I may speak, I'll cite a Passage or two.

Cyprian, speaking of Acts 8.17. saith, It was not necessary they should be baptized again, only what was wanting, was performed by Peter and John, that by Prayer and Imposition of Hands the Holy Spirit should be invocated.

Saith Hierom on the Acts of the Apostles, We find another Instance of the Celebration of this ri∣tual Mystery, for it is signally exprest of the Bapti∣zed at Ephesus: Paul first baptized them, and then laid his Hands upon them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And these Testimonies are the great Warranty for this holy Ordinance.

Eucherites is cited by Dr. Taylor p. 43. speaking, thus: The same thing now done in Imposition of Hands on single Persons, is no other than what was done upon all Believers in the descent of the H. Spirit.

He mentions Zanchius, saying, I wish the Ex∣amples of the Apostles and Primitive Churches were of more value amongst Christians. It were well if they were so, (saith the Doctor) but there is more than meer Examples; these Examples of such Solemnities, the Apostles are our Masters in them, and have given Rules and Precedents for the Church to follow: this is a Christian Law, and written (as all Scriptures are) for our Instruction.

Estius on Heb. 6.2. affirms that the Laying on of Hands mentioned Acts 8.17. Acts 19.6. by St. Luke, is that of Confirmation, whereby the Spirit of God is given to Persons baptized, where∣with Page  74 with they being strengthned, confess the Name of Christ undauntedly among the Enemies of the Faith. And again (saith he) That Hands were wont to be laid upon Persons baptized, after the example of the Apostles, all Antiquity teacheth.

Dr. Hammond also in his Annot. on Acts 8.17. saith; That it was Confirmation, may appear pro∣bable, because it so soon attended their Conversion and Baptism. When the Apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent Peter and John, vers. 14. Which agrees well (saith he) with that of Confir∣mation, which is an Act reserved to the Rulers of the Church, and not communicated or allowed to in∣ferior Officers, such as Philip the Deacon here.

And then paraphasing upon Acts 19.6. he saith, After this Paul by Imposition of hands, and benedic∣tion, gave them Confirmation, by which means the Holy Spirit came on them.

Mr. Ralph Venning in his Remains, speaking of Acts 8.17. and 19.6. gives his understanding upon them; That it was the practice of the Apostles, after they had baptized Persons, sooner or later, to lay Hands upon them.

Thus from what has been said, I hope it may appear to all inquiring Souls, in opposition to what Mr. Danvers saith, page 47. that these two Places are clear Precedents and Rules for this Practice, as well as Heb. 6.1, 2. and other Scrip∣tures we have insisted upon, for as much as there was a Laying on of Hands practised immediately after Baptism, and with much certainty upon every Member, or baptized Believer, and to such an End as is attainable in these times.