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.

CHAP. VIII.

Containing a few Motives or Arguments, pro∣voking and encouraging to Obedience to the Holy Ordinance of Imposition of Hands.

BEfore I conclude, I judg it necessary to offer two or three Motives, to stir up to Obedience such as desire to be found sincere Followers of the Lord Jesus, and of the primitive Saints, and to walk in all the Commandments of the Lord blame∣less; and to consider, whether they do not lie short of their Duty and Privilege, whilst they omit or neglect this precious (tho despised) Ordi∣nance of Imposition of Hands.

Motive 1. Brethren, Consider, you have the holy Pattern of the Saints of old to stir you up to a diligent search in the Book of God's Law, to find out what his Mind and Will may be concern∣ing you. How glad were the Children of Israel, when upon enquiry they found out that long-neg∣lected Ordinance of sitting in Booths in the Feast of Tabernacles? Neh. 8.14,—17. they did not then contend against it, or raise Objections, saying it has not been done for many years: Samuel, David, Hezekiah, and Josiah did it not, who had glori∣ous Page  97 Light, and were great Reformers; and we have no immediate Vision, or miraculous Ap∣pearance of God to revive this Institution.

We find nothing of this nature stumbled them, but as they found it written, they set about the Work, and there was great Joy: They were not like many Souls in our days, who make Objec∣tions against Baptism and Laying on of hands; such and such eminent Men (say they) see it not, practise it not; 'tis not an Institution of Christ; if it were, sure Mr. such a one (a learned Mini∣ster and Brother) would be for it; he is a Man of greater light and understanding than you, &c. 'Tis no marvel they are thus beclouded, whilst their eyes are so fixt on Men; and instead of walking by the perfect Light of God's Word, walk by the Light of those that are so imperfect.

Motive 2. Consider that by a universal obedi∣ence to Christ, you will appear to be his Disci∣ples indeed, and of the Remnant of the Woman's Seed, Rev. 12.17. Yea you will enter into strong bands of Alliance and Friendstip with the Lord Jesus: You are my Friends (saith he) if you do whatsoever I command you, Joh. 15.14. This also will add boldness to the Saints. Then shall I not be ashamed (saith David) when I have respect to all thy Commandments.

Mot. 3. Let the Nature of the Ordinance move you to consider your fault and neglect herein; and as you desire that the Church you have given up your selves to walk in the order of the Gospel with, being knit and fitly framed together, may grow into a Holy Temple in the Lord. Be sure see there is no defect in the Foundation, take heed Page  98 it wants not one principal Pillar; and let none speak slightingly of this Institution, lest he provoke Jesus Christ thereby. Did he command any thing in vain? And by the same Argument you adven∣ture to cast off this Principle, another may do so by Baptism, and consequently all the rest; and so in time God's Spiritual House be like un∣to the literal Temple, viz. not have one Stone left upon another which will not be thrown down.

Motive 4. Consider that those blessed Promises God has made of giving the Comforter, the Spi∣rit of Truth, which the World cannot receive, are entailed to the obedient Soul; if we will have the Blessing, we must be found in our Duty. And how has God crowned this Service, as has been shewed, with wonderful manifestations thereof? Nay, consider what measure soever God has given thee of his Spirit, by waiting up∣on him in other Ordinances; yet this of Imposi∣tion of hands Christ has appointed as the Mini∣stry thereof to baptized Believers as such: to every particular Institution there is some special and peculiar Blessing annexed; and 'tis ordained as God's ordinary way for the conveyance of it, as I might largely shew, in respect of Preaching the Word, Baptism, the Lord's Supper, Church-Censures, &c. and the like also in this of Laying on of hands: and tho God is not tied to this or that Ordinance, yet he hath tied us to the exact observation of them: He may anticipate his own Order, and give us the Mercy promised (in part) in some other way; yet we ought not to neglect our Duty.

Page  99Because I have obtained Faith in some other than God's usual way for the begetting it, shall I not hear the Word preached, for the further increasing it in my Heart? Again, because I have remission of Sins, and other Blessings promised in Baptism before baptized, shall I reject that Ordinance? Sure Cornelius did not do so, Acts 10. 45, 47. And again, I feed by Faith on Jesus Christ, and receive his Flesh which is Meat in∣deed, and his Blood which is Drink indeed; shall I therefore refuse the Ordinance of the Lord's Supper, which is appointed as the Ministry of his Body and Blood? God forbid. Even so, let none neglect this Appointment, nothwithstanding any Gift, or Measure of the Holy Spirit they have received, since it has pleased God to direct to it, and left it in his House as a perpetual Mi∣nistration; Destroy it not, for a Blessing that is in it, Isa. 65.8.

Motive 5. Consider the great need thou hast of the Holy Spirit, yea and of a further increase thereof, tho I should grant thou hast received it already; for without it none can savingly believe, nor call Jesus Lord. Yet there is a further Pro∣mise made to thee, as thou art a Believer in Je∣sus Christ: and what can a poor Saint do with∣out the Spirit? what Temptations dost thou meet with, what Lusts and Corruptions still hast thou to mortify? and what outward Tribulations art thou (who professest the Gospel) exposed to? O therefore use all means, and particularly this, which God injoins thee, that thou mayst obtain a further measure and increase of the Spirit of God.

Page  100Motive 6. Lastly, Consider the excellent and unspeakable worth and usefulness of the Holy Spi∣rit; O what spiritual Profit and Advantage do the Saints of God receive hereby!

1. 'Tis the Holy Spirit that enlightens the eyes of our Ʋnderstandings, 1 Cor. 2. 10, 11, 12, 13. Eph. 1.17. we cannot see afar off, without our Eyes are anointed with this Eye-salve: And O what Beauty do we hereby behold in Jesus Christ! how are our Souls taken with invisible Objects! and what an empty and nothing-World is this, when we look through the Prospect-glass of the Spirit of God upon it!

2. 'Tis the Holy Spirit that revives and quickens us, and makes us lively in the Paths of Righte∣ousness, Joh. 6.63. Col. 2.13.

3. 'Tis the Spirit that leads us in the way we should walk, Rom. 8.14. yea and makes them Paths of peace and pleasantness unto our Souls, Prov. 3.17. 'tis he that guides us into all Truth, and brings Christ's Words to our remembrance, Joh. 14.26.

4. 'Tis the Holy Spirit that comforts us when cast down; 'tis from hence we receive all Hea∣venly Consolation, Joh. 14. 16, 26.

5. 'Tis the Holy Spirit that makes us profit under the Word and means of Grace; 'tis that which maketh our Souls to grow and flourish in the Courts of the Lord's House, Heb. 4.2. 1 Cor. 3.6.

6. 'Tis the Spirit that helps us to pray, helps our Infirmities, and teacheth us what to pray for, and gives us access at the Throne of Grace; yea makes Intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered, Rom. 8.26.

Page  1017. 'Tis by the Spirit we cry Abba Father; 'tis that which bears witness with our Spirits, that we are the Children of God, Rom. 8. 13, 15, 16.

8. 'Tis by the Holy Spirit we mortify the Deeds of the body, Gal. 5.22. 'tis by that we live and stand, and are confirmed in Christ Jesus, and sanctified throughout.

9. 'Tis from the Holy Spirit that all heavenly Grace and spiritual Gifts flow; 'tis he that divides to every man severally as he will, 1 Cor. 12. 5, 8, 9.

10. 'Tis the Holy Spirit which is the Earnest of our Inheritance, and which gives an Assurance of the purchased Possession unto our Souls, Eph. 1. 10, 14.

11. 'Tis the Holy Spirit by which we are sealed to the day of Redemption, Eph. 1.13.

12. 'Tis by the Spirit we are made strong, and enabled to overcome all Enemies, and helped to triumph over Death, 1 Cor. 15. 55, 57. 'tis by the Spirit we know that when our earthly House is dissolved we have a Building of God, a House not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens, 2 Cor. 5.1. These things considered, let none blame us that we so earnestly contend for the Holy Ordinance of Prayer with Imposition of Hands, in which God has promised, and so sweetly com∣municated, as through a Conduit-Pipe, such bles∣sed Water of Life to our Souls. Shall it not trouble our Spirits, when Persons labour to take away the Childrens Bread, or spill any of their sweet and heavenly Milk upon the ground?