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be invalid is a sufficient ground for a due readministration of the sacrament; so that the question at issue-Ought schismatics, on their admission to the church, to be rebaptized or not?—may be thus resolved: If their baptism has been administered by one who possesses no authority, no commission, no credentials, for his spiritual office, the spirit of unity and order which animates the church catholic must unquestionably decide that they should. The practice of primitive antiquity, notwithstanding the great diversity of opinion which exists on the subject, appears clearly to sanction this course. The original power of baptizing was lodged solely and entirely in bishops, and both extraordinarily and ordinarily was derivatively conveyed from them to others ; so that the truth of this (which can scarcely be gainsaid) annuls at once the validity of uncommissioned baptisms. In the first and second centuries, Ignatius* lays it down as a rule, that “without bishops, priests, and deacons, there is no church,” and consequently no sacraments; and that “ without the bishop it is not lawful to baptize ;” while St. Hermast mentions no other than authorized baptisms in the greatest extremities. In the third century, Tertulliant refers us to the practice of the church whereby the bishop had the power of baptizing, and after him presbyters and deacons, yet not even they without the authority of the bishop. The right which this father is said to have assigned to laymen, to baptize in the absence of the clergy (and that only with the bishop's consent), was founded on the same erroneous plea as that on which women's baptism was admitted,—viz., its absolute necessity, whether regularly administered or not. St. Cyprianę declares baptism, without the episcopal commission, to be null and void ; so does Firmilian,ll so does Novatus à Thamagade, so does Pomponius à Dionysiana, so does Clarus à Masculi; 4 and so does the forty-seventh canon in the apostolical constitutions.

In the fourth century, Hilary the deacon,** fifty years after the council of Eliberis (the canons of which are sometimes quoted in favour of lay-baptism), bears his testimony that laymen did not then baptize Pacian,t+ Bishop of Barcelona, teaches that the new birth cannot be effected but by episcopal baptism. Optutusti admits the baptism of both catholics and schismatics, but the schismatics of his day had been

See his Epistles to the Smyrneans and Trallians. + Simil. XIX.

See his book “De Baptismo," c. 17. Speaking of persons who had received heretical baptism, Tertullian says, “ We have a rule among us to rebaptize them." De Pudicitia, c. 19. Edit. Rigal. Lutet. 1634.

This evidence is transmitted to us by Basil. Ep. 1, ad Amphil. c. 1. || Firmil. Epist. inter Ep. Cyp. 75, p. 159.

q These were Cyprian's colleagues in the Council of Carthage. See the proceedings of that Council in S. Cyp. Oper. p. 354.

** "Nunc neque clerici (inferior clergy) vel laici baptizant." Ambros. Com. in Ephes. iv. p. 948.

1 S. Paciani Sermo ad Fideles Catech. de bap. Biblioth. Patrum. vol. iv. P. 247.

11 Optat. contr. Parmen. lib. v. p. 90. See Du Pin's Ecc. Hist. cent. iv. pp.

88, 89.

episcopally commissioned. St. Basil* annuls lay-baptism ; so does St. Chrysostomt and so most emphatically does St. Jerome.

Thus might we go on through succeeding centuries to the same purpose; but that we have arrived at the almost unanimous opinion of the church, in her purest ages, on the subject of irregular baptism, is enough to satisfy us how contrary to true primitive principle is that course which would lead us to acquiesce in the numerous schisms that are rife in our land, to acknowledge the validity of the counterfeit passport by which their supporters claim admittance to the church of Christ, and so to add fuel to a flame of the full force of which we shall only then be aware when it comes to be extinguished by the prompt and active measures its virulence demands. Should any yet object, that it would be better to leave the parties concerned to the uncovenanted mercy of God than to rebaptize them, I answer, that while not to readminister this important sacrament to the convert may be construed into an admission of an usurped spiritual authority, we can have no right to decide in terms of the objection, when a validly commissioned baptism can everywhere be obtained, if they who want it will but qualify themselves to seek for and receive it. But in this course we are not left without a guide in the primitive church. In the Apostolical Constitutionsę there exists a canon which condemned that bishop or priest who should not rebaptize a converted heretic to deposition, as “one who derides the cross and death of Christ." The same decision was made at the council of Nice,ll with reference to the Paulianists; and the same determined by St. Basil, as to the Puritans, Saccophorians, and Encratites.

I have only to add to this (I fear) already too long letter, that while in early times irregular baptism was never at all acknowledged but on the plea of necessity, and then in a spirit of strict reverence and respect for the episcopal authority and commission, in these modern days there can be no schism other than a wilful schism; and the baptisms which we are called on to acknowledge, so far from having the mistaken plea of necessity to support them, are administered in open, avowed, and obstinate contempt of that authority which the church has determined to be indispensable to the rite. If, Sir, we adopt the course suggested by your correspondent “T. C.,' the speedy destruction of our holy catholic church must be the inevitable consequence, the history of truth must soon be degraded into a mere idle fable, the example of Christ and his apostles scouted and scorned, and that sound as well as liberal guide of our Christian forefathers, “Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus,” must be contemptuously set aside, and rudely superseded by the indefeasible right of private judgment. If the self-chosen priest of any sect may administer baptism lawfully, he may lawfully administer the Lord's

• Ep. ad Amphil. c. 1.
† Chrysos. de Sacerdot. lib. iii. c. 5. See also his Homil. 61.
| See the whole of his “ Dialog. cum Luciferianis."
$ Ap. Can, 39.

# Nic. Can. 19.
s Basil. Can. i. 47, 48. (Vade Mecum, vol. 2.)

supper; and if he may dispense the sacraments, he may make a church; if he, then, may build and cast down, re-erect or re-model, as faney or caprice may lead him, any man on earth, with equal plausibility, arrogance, and presumption, may do the same; and thus finally, Sir, instead of the one holy catholic church, comprehending and comprising all others, we shall have some included in the great church of Calvin, some in the great church of Wesley, some in the great church of Brown, some in the great church of Fox, some in the great church of Swedenborg, some in the yreat church of Southcote, and none in the small church of Christ.

I remain, your obedient humble servant, DUNELMENSIS.


SIR,— The attention of some of your correspondents has lately been directed to the validity of presbyterian baptism. Permit me to record an interesting fact upon the subject. A friend of my own, an excellent clergy man of the church of England, is the son of a very wortby presbyterian minister. In the course of his studies at an university (not an English one), he conceived the wish to become not only a member, but a minister, of the protestant episcopal church. The course of his reading and consequent reflection led him to consider that the baptism which had been administered to him by his own respected father was not a true and valid baptism. “Immediately he conferred not with flesh and blood.” He broke through the prejudices of early education, set aside the strong bias of nature and affection, incurred the risk of being regarded as an apostate and an alien by his kindred according to the flesh, unhesitatingly stated his apprehensions upon the point, declared that, though his bishop might be satisfied with non-episcopal baptism, he could not be satisfied, any more than he could be by a non-episcopal ordination, and accordingly submitted himself to unconditional baptism, as an adult, before his confirmation, and has been subsequently ordained deacon and priest. Παλαιγενής Παλιγγενής. .

THE TERM ALTAR AND CHURCH-HOMAGE. SiR — Those of your readers who were interested in a discussion which appeared in the British Magazine some time back on the use of the word “Altar” may, perhaps, be gratified with what was declared on that subject by the church itself in her “ Canons Ecclesiastical,” published in 1610. To me it is always delightful to be able to bring questions of this character to the tribunal of the church, where that is possible ; and in the hope that it may be so to others also, I give the entire canon as I find it in an authentic “ Collection of Articles, Injunctions, Canons, &c., printed for Robert Pawlet, at the Bible, in Chancery Lane, 1675." There are other points of great importance Vol. XIV. -Nov. 1838.

4 B

alluded to in the same canon, which I have underlined to draw atten. tion to them; points on which there has lately been much expressed diversity of opinion, which we should not (I am inclined to believe) ever have heard of, had we pursued a little more than we have done the practice of our Christian forefathers, and sought for solutions to any difficulties or differences of opinion, that time as it mored along might bring to the surface, in the records of the past, rather than in the unfixed views of the passing day. Besides other circumstances which speak in favour of this course, and which have had their eulogists among some of the best and brightest specimens of theological wisdom and Christian piety the present age has to boast of, I might instance this circumstance in particular, as greatly more than enough to recommend it to our regard. Such a course, I cannot help thinking, would tend most materially to discountenance that spirit of the age whose effects are found to be so fatal to the church and religion of Christ. I mean that unhallowed and daring readiness with which we behold even the members of the church, those who are heirs to the mysteries, assume the seat of judgment on matters which have not been left to the determination of individuals, and which, it were unnecessary to say, were always (till within the Cromwellian era now current) received upon the anthority of the church alone with gratitude and faith. May it not be owing to this, that that evil disease, NEOLOGISM, which has attained so fearfully wide a spread among us in this country, is still upheld, is imperceptibly incapacitating the mind for the reception of all divine truths relating to the soul, and rapidly paving the way for the subversion of all that makes Christianity differ from any mere moral code of laws? We shall at least be justified, I am sure, in thinking seriously on these points.

VII.-A DeclaRATION CONCERNING SOME RITES AND CEREMONIES. “ Because it is generally to be wished, that unity of faith were accompanied with uniformity of practice in the outward worship and service of God, chietly for the avoiding of groundless suspicions of those who are weak, and the malicious aspersions of the professed enemies of our religion, the one fearing the innovations

, the other flattering themselves with the vain hope of our backslidings unto their popish superstition, by reason of the situation of the communion-table, and the approaches thereunto, the synod declareth as followeth :

“ That the standing of the communion-table sideway under the east window of every chancel or chapel is in its own nature indifferent, neither commanded nor coddemned by the word of God, either expressly or by immediate induction, and there, fore that no religion is to be placed therein, or scruple to be made thereon. And albeit, at the time of reforming this church from that gross superstition of popery, it was carefully provided that all means should be used to root out of the minds of the people, both the inclination thereunto and memory thereof, especially of the idolatry committed in the mass, for which cause the popish altars were demolished; yet notwithstanding it was then ordered by the injunctions and advertisements of Queen Elizabeth, of blessed memory, that the holy tables should stand in the place where the altars stood, and accordingly have been continued in the royal chapels of three famous and pious princes, and in most cathedral and some parochial churches

, which doth sufficiently acquit the manner of placing the said tables from any allegality of just suspicion of popish superstition or innovation. And therefore we judge it fit and convenient, that all churches and chapels do conform themselves in this particular to the example of the cathedral or mother churches, saving always the general liberty left to the bishop by law, during the time of administration of the holy communion. And we declare that this situation of the holy table doth not imply that it is or ought to be

esteemed a true and Proper altar whereon Christ is again sacrificed ; but it is, and may be culled, an altar by us, in that sense in which the primitive church called it an ultar, and in no other."

The words which conclude the above passage are, it will be perceived, more in favour of the views of your correspondent who defended the use of the word altar as synonymous with communiontable than of those who were objectors to it.

“ And because experience hath shewed us how irreverent the behaviour of many people is in many places, some leaning, others casting their hats, and some sitting upon, some standing (upon), and others sitting under the communion-table in time of divine service ; for the avoiding of these and the like abuses, it is thought meet and convenient hy this present synod, that the said communion-tables in all chancels or chapels be decently severed with rails, to preserve them from such, or worse profanations."

The transcriber of these lines would hope they may meet the eye of those clergymen who allow such unseemly practices to exist in their churches as are the practices herein specified; which, it is deeply to be regretted, are still far from being uncommon in many country churches, and only because of the low feeling which so generally prevails in regard to things sacred, as if in the hems of our church's garments all virtue had now gone to decay.

“ And because the administration of holy things is to be performed with all possible decency and reverence, therefore we judge it fit and convenient, (according to the word of the service book, established by act of parliament, Draw near, &c.,) that all communicants with all humble reverence shall draw near and approach to the holy table, there to receive the divine mysteries, which have heretofore in some places been unfitly carried up and down by the minister, unless it shall be other wise appointed in respect of the incapacity of the place, or other inconvenience, by the bishop himself in his jurisdiction, and other ordinaries respectively in theirs."

There is often found some difference in the time at which congregations in different churches go from their seats towards the altar at the celebration of the communion. This injunction would appear to require that they should do so when the invitation beginning with the words, Draw near, &c., has been read.

“ And lastly, whereas the church is the house of God, dedicated to his holy worship, and therefore ought to nrind us both of the greatness and goodness of his divine majesty, certain it is that the acknowledgment thereof, not only inwardly in our hearts, but also outwardly with our bodies, must needs be pious in itself, profitable unto us, and edifying unto others. We therefore think it very meet and behoveful, and heartily commend it to all good and well-affected people, members of this church, that they be ready to tender unto the Lord the said acknowledgment, by doing reverence and obeisunce, both at their coming in and going out of the said churches, chancels, or chapels, according to the most ancient custom of the primitive church in the purest times, and of this church also for muny years of the reign of queen Elizabeth. The reviving, therefore, of this ancient and laudable custom we heartily commend to the serious consideration of all good people, not with any intention to exbibit any religious worship to the communion-table, the east, or church, or anything therein contained, in so doing, or to perform the said gesture in the celebration of the holy eucharist upon any opinion of a corporeal presence of the body of Jesus Christ on the boly table, or in mystical elements, but only for the advancement of God's majesty, and to give him alone that honour and glory that is due to him, and no otherwise ; and in the practice of omission of this rite, we desire that the rule of charity prescribed by the apostle may be observed, which is, that they which choose this rite despise not them who use it not, and they who use it not condemn not those that use it."

Had these extracts not extended over considerable space already, !

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