A TREATISE OF Laying on of Hands, With the HISTORY THEREOF, Both from the Scripture and Antiquity. Wherein an Account is given how it hath been practised in all Ages since Christ, the mistakes about it rectified and the sence of Heb. 6.2. cleared.


Isa. 57.14.

Take up the stumbling-block out of the way of my People.

LONDON, Printed for Fran. Smith, at the Elephant and Castle near the Royal Exchange in Cornhil. 1674.

A TREATISE OF Laying on of Hands.

HAving given you an Account both from Scripture and Antiquity of the business of Baptism in its In­stitution, Subject, Manner, End, The Intro­duction. &c. It may neither be unnecessary nor unprofita­ble to give you here some Account of that of Laying on of Hands, not only because it im­mediately followes that of Baptisms, Heb. 6.1, 2. but more especially, because for Confirmation, as it hath been called, it hath been next after Baptism, so solemnly asserted, practised, and enjoined both in former and latter times, as an Ordinance of Christ and Essentially necessary to Church-Communion. But what this laying on of Hands is, and how that of Confirmati­on is founded upon the Word of God, we shall here consider and examine, and recommend to the judgment of all discerning and impartial Christians.

The Me­thod obser­ved.The Method I shall observe herein, shall be, first to give you an Account what we find of this Rite in the New Testament. Secondly, How asserted and Practised by the Ancients, with the Opinions of the Fathers and Decrees of Councils upon it. Thirdly, How Practi­sed and enjoyned by the Church of Rome. Fourthly, How by the Church of England. Fifthly, How asserted by some of the Presby­terian and Independent perswasion. Sixthly, And how practised and enjoyned by several of the Baptised Churches in this Nation, with some remarks upon each of them for the bet­ter discovery of Truth.1. How u­sed in the New Te­stament.

1. How laying on of Hands is used in the New Testament.

1. Benedi­ction.First, in Benediction, Mark 10.16. He took the young Children up in his Arms, put his Hands upon them, and blessed them.

Miracu­lous heal­ings.Secondly, In the Cure of Diseases and healing the sick Mark 6.5. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his Hands upon a few sick folks and healed them: And c. 16.17, 18. In my Name they shall cast out De­vils they shall speak with New Tongues, they shall take up Serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; They shall lay Hands on the sick and they shall recover, Acts 28.8. And it came to pass, that the Father of Publius lay sick of a Feaver and of a Bloody Flux, to whom Paul entred in and prayed, and laid his Hands on him and healed him.

3. For ex­traordina­ry Gifts 1. Before Baptism.Thirdly, For the conferring the extraordi­nary Gifts of the Spirit. viz.

1. Before Baptism, Act. 9.17. And Ana­nias [Page 5] went his way and entred into the House, and putting his Hands on him said, brother Saul, the Lord even Jesus that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me that thou might'st receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, and immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been Scales, and he received sight forthwith and arose and was Baptised.

2. After Baptism, 2. After Baptism. Acts 8.14, 15., &c. Now when the Apostles which were at Jerusa­lem, heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John, who when they were come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost, for as yet he was faln upon none of them, only they were Baptised in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Then laid they their Hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the Apostles Hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them mony, saying, give me also this Power that on whomsoever I lay Hands they may receive the Holy Ghost, but Peter said, thy Mony perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with mony, &c.

Fourthly,4. Ordina­tion. 1. Deacons In Ordination or setting apart to Office, viz. Acts 6.6. whom they set be­fore the Apostles (viz. the seven Deacons the Church had chosen) and when they had prayed and laid their hands on them, and the Word of God encreased, &c.

1. Tim. 4.14. Neglect not the Gift which is in thee that was given thee by Prophecy with the laying on of Hands of the Presbytery. 2.2. Elders. Tim. 1.6. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance [Page 6] that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee, by the putting on of my hands. 1 Tim. 5.22. Lay hands suddenly on no Man, neither be par­taker of other mens sins, keep thy self pure.

3 Messen­gers.Acts 13.3. And when they (viz. the Elders or Teachers of Antioch; had Fasted and Prayed, and laid their hands on them [viz. Paul and Bar­nabas] they sent them away.

In which Scriptures speaking of this Rite, we may take notice of these things.

1. First, the several kinds of it, viz. For Benediction, Healing, Ordination, and giving of the Spirit.

2. Secondly, what called, viz. Laying on of Hands.

3. Thirdly, the Subjects, viz. Little Children, Sick Persons, and such upon whom the Spirit had not faln, and Church-Officers.

4. Fourthly, the Administrators, viz. Christ Jesus himself, any gifted Believer, the Elders, or Presbyters, The gifted Apostles.

5. Fifthly, the end, to Bless little Children, to give Miraculous healing. And for Extraor­dinary gifts of the Spirit to confirm the Gospel. And for Ordination of Church-Offi­cers.

2 How by the Anci­ents.Secondly, How asserted by the Ancients, and by the Canons and Decrees of several Councils.

Dionysius Dionysius. the Areopagite Pauls Convert at Athens supposed to be the first Writer about the year 70. in his Ecclesiastical Hierarchy cap. de Bapt. saith, After Baptism let the Sacra­ment of Confirmation be adjoined with Ʋnction, [Page 7] then let the Eucharist be given, Contemp. 3. Serm. 8.

Pope Clement P. Clement in his fourth Epistle, saith, Let them be Baptized, and then Consigned by the Bishop for the Holy Spirit, for without Confir­mation no perfection. Joseph, Vice comes De Bapt. Ritibus p. 369. c. 18.

Justin Martyrs Responses 137. Quest. saith,Justin Martyr. after Baptism we are to anoint with Holy Chrysm for Spiritual benefit, Vice com. ch. 28. p. 369.

Pope Hyginus P. Hygi­nus. in his Decree, as saith Gratian L. Osiand. Cent. 2. l. 2. c. 5. saith, in Cate­chism, Baptism, and Confirmation, let there be a Gossip if necessity require.

Pope Calixtus, P. Calixtus Anno. 218. Ordained Con­firmation to be performed with Chrism, Flores Temporum confes. Fabo. c. 7.

Pope Ʋrban P. Ʋrban. in, his decretal Epistle enjoins, that the Sacrament of Confirmation be immedi­ately given after Baptism, and that all the faith­ful are to wait for the Spirit by the imposition of the Hands of the Bishop, Vice co. c. 38. p. 370.

Pope Melchiades, P. Melchi­ades. or Meltiades about 310. ordained Imposition of hands as necessary to perfect Baptism. And in his Ʋniversal De­cretal Epistle, answering the Question, which of the Sacraments Baptism or Confirmation was of greater Efficacy and Vertue, saith, they are to be joined together, there being such Affinity be­twixt them, that one is not to be done without the other; neither of them being perfect alone, Vice comes p.

Pope Eusebius P. Eusebi­us. in his Decretal Epistle calls Imposition of hands a Sacrament which was not Lawful to be administred but by the Bishop. Magd. [Page 8] Cent. 4. p. 478. Also in his Epistle to the Bishop of Tusca, prefers laying on of hands or Confirmation before Baptism, Mag. Cen. 4. c. 7. p. 581.

Cyprian Cyprian. in his 73 Epistle to Jubajan saith, that Baptism is consummated by the Sacrament of Confirmation. And again in Ep. 72. lev. 1. Persons are fully sanctified, and may be sons of God if they be born of both Sacraments, viz. Baptism and Confirmation, Vice. com. p. 370.

Ambrose Ambrose. after the Font or Baptism, let there be perfection or Confirmation, for so he calls imposi­tion of hands, Lib. 2. c. 7.

Jerom Jerom. advers. Lucif. Contending for the Rites of the Church, saith, And do not you know that it is the Custom of the Church, that upon the Baptised, hands should be imposed, Mag. Cen. 4. p. 420.

Augustin; Augustin. That Imposition of Hands after Baptism, was necessary for the gifts of the Spi­rit. And that if Ignorant Infants be brought to be Baptised, let them Answer for them that brought them, and being Baptised let them be Confirmed and Anointed with holy Chrysme, and so let them receive the Eucharist, Lib. de Eccles. Dogm. Vice comes, c. 28. p. 371.

Pope Innocent P. Innocent. in his first Ep. 22. Macedon. c. 5, Shews how impious and Sacrilegious it is to repeat the Baptism of Infants or Adult, and how requisite to lay hands on the Bapti­sed after the Example of Peter and John, Acts 8.17. and Paul 19.6. Vice comes c. 3 [...]. p. 376.

Isidore Isidore. saith, that Imposition of hands did belong not to the Bishops Vicars, but to the Bi­shops [Page 9] themselves; And the Reason he renders is, be­cause that none of the 70 Disciples who Represent­ed the Apostles, had power by laying on of hands to give the Spirit, Magdeburg. Cent. 6. p. 675.

Haimo upon Hebrews 6. saith,Hstimo. Imposition of hands is called Confirmation, which by the Spirit is received, and after Baptism confirms the Ʋnity of the Church, and that Children as well as Adult were to partake thereof, Mag. Cen. 9.

Rabanus Rabanus. Maurus Lib. 1. Inst. Cler. c. 30. saith, that there are two laying on of hands, one by the Priest in Baptism, the other by the Bishop in Confirmation, as Christ gave the Spirit by blow­ing upon them before the Resurrection and after upon the day of Pentecost.

Canons and Decrees of Councils.

In the Council of Laodicea C. Laod. in Phrygia Pa­catiana, held under P. Sylvester the first of that Name, Bishop of Rome about 315. It was decreed in the 48 Canon, that the Baptised ought to receive after Baptism the most sacred Chrysme, and be made partakers of the Heavenly Kingdom. Vice com. p. 371.

In the Council of Eliberis in Spain, C. Elibe­ris. held 305. unde Pope Mercellius. It was decreed in the 38 Canon. That such as sayled into strange [Page 10] Countries, or if a Church be not near at hand, a Believer if he hath Baptism intire viz. Baptism and Confirmation, and have not two Wives, may Baptise a Catechumen in case of necessity through sickness, but so that if he Recover, he bring him to the Bishop that he may be perfected by Imposition of Hands, and Canon 77. If any Deacon shall without a Presbyter Baptise, the Bishop ought by blessing to perfect or Con­firm them.C. Carth.

In the 4 Council of Carthage under P. Inno­cent the first, about 418. It was decreed that there should be Imposition of hands for the Absolving the Penitent, Vicler. L. 2. de persecut. Vandal.C. Spalen.

The Council of Spalenca, ordained that the Baptised were to have hands laid upon them and to be signed with Chrism, and that the Bishops only were to perform it. Magdeb. Cent. 7. p. 148.

C. Brace­rens.The Council of Bracerens c. 7. Command­ed that a little Balsom should be put into the Consecrated Oyl, and that no less Reverence should be paid to this Ceremony, than to Baptism it self. Mag. Cen. 7. p. 148.

The Council of Constantinople chap. 7. That none were to be admitted to Confirmation but those that were instructed by Catechism, C. Constan and could say the Creed and Lords Prayer by heart. Mag. Cen. 7. p. 148.

C. Cabil.The Council of Cabillonosis Cap. 6. In the time of Pope Eugenius, Decreed that the Bap­tism of the Adult should presently, if Infants after some years of understanding, be confirmed [Page 11] with Consignation and Chrysm and that Confir­mation should not be reiterated, Mag. Cen. 8. p. 350.

In the Gallican Gallican. Council it was decreed, that when the Bishop goes his Canonical Circuit to Confirm, that the Priests be always ready for his Assistance, and that there be Gossips as well in this, as in Baptism; and that the confirmed have his hair cut, Mag. Cent. 8. p. 350.

The Council of Trent about Confirmation Decreed.C. Trent.

1. That whosoever said it was an Idle Ce­remony not a Sacrament properly, or that it was formerly used that Children might give an Ac­count of their Faith. 2. That to ascribe Vertue to Chrysm was to wrong the holy Spirit. 3. That every simple Priest is the ordinary Minister for Confirmation and not the Bishop only, should be accursed. Osian. Cent. 16. p. 417.

By which sayings of the Ancients, Canons, and Decrees of Councils, it appears they had early set a foot something for an Ordinance of the Church enjoyned to be Practised after Baptism, and whereof we give you this brief account from them.

First,1 Name. as to the Name by which it was called viz. Confirmation. 2. Anointing or Chrysm. 3. Imposition of hands. 4. Perfection.

[Page 12]1. Confirmation, because both Baptism and the Ʋnity of the Church was thereby con­firmed. 2. Chrysm or anointing, because Oyl mingled with Balsom, the thing used herewith in imitation of the holy Oyl used of old. 3. Imposition of hands in allusion to the Apo­stles practise, Act. 8.19. who laid on hands for the Spirit (though this could not properly be so called, because it was but crossing the Forehead with the Finger.) 4. Perfection, be­cause they esteemed Baptism imperfect with­out it, therefore for the first times they used to practise it together.

2 Ground.2. As to the Grounds upon which it was practised, viz. as an Apostolical Tradition handed to them from the Apostles times by the Eminent Doctors of the three first Centuries, upon whose Authority it was practised, till con­firmed by the Councils before mentioned, viz. Laodicea, Eliberis, &c.

3 Manner.3. As to the manner of performing it viz. by Crossing and anointing the Forehead of the Confirmed party, with Oyl and Chrysm.

4 Admin.4. As to the Administrators, viz. only a Bi­shop to whom in an especial manner it was en­tailed, it being unlawful for any other to do it from Peter and Johns being sent by the Church of Jerusalem, to impose hands which Philip did not do.

5 Subjects.5. As to the Subjects, viz. All Baptised persons who were either Adult, or Infants, im­mediately, [Page 13] or afterwards, Baptised Infants at years of discretion. The Adult were first the Catechumens, who were either the Children of Heathen that inclined to Christianity, or the Children of Christians newly come to the Faith, who to their com­pleating in Christianity, were to take these five steps, thus known and distinguished.

1. They were to be Catechised, 1. Adult. taught and instructed, and then were called the Catechu­meni. 2. Upon their propounding themselves to Baptism, were called the Competentes. 3. Be­ing admitted to Baptism, were called the Illu­minati or initiati. 4. After Baptism being confirmed, were called the Perfecti. 5. After Confirmation and receiving the Eucharist, they were called the fideles.

Or, Secondly. Infants who were for the 4,2 Infants. presently. 5, 6 and 7. Cent. the Subjects of it, and with Baptism, did receive Confirmation and the Eucharist immediately, and so esteemed per­fect and compleat Christians, then it began to be deferred for a week after Baptism, the Children wearing the Baptismal white Gar­ment all the week and upon the 8 day Baptism was perfected by Confirmation, as saith Raban Maurus L. Inst. Cler. c. 30.

Or, 3.2. Persons Baptised in Infancy in their Adult state. Such Infants who after they had been Baptised, did arrive to knowledge and dis­cretion, and were able to say the Lords Prayer, 10 Commandements, and Creed by heart, as appears by some of those latter Councils.

And the reason of the said Alteration, as saith Vice comes, p. 378. was because about Charles the first's time, in the 8 Cent. Adult Baptism, did very much wear off. The People for the most part being now Christians, their Children became so numerous, that the Bishop found it too hard a task to perform his part.

Therefore they appointed certain Visitations, especially at Easter and Whitsontide, to confirm those in their Diocesses, that having been Bapti­sed in Infancy, were able to give an Account of their Faith, which, saith Vice comes, was Practised in several places in the Latin Church.

6. The End6. As to the end of this Rite, viz. For the giving of the Spirit, and conferring of Grace, to perfect and confirm imperfect Baptism, and therefore esteemed a Sacrament of greater force and Vertue than Baptism it self, and there­fore to be done with Oyl, typing, figuring, or signing the Spirit.

7. Cere­monies.7. As to the Ceremonies; they were di­vers, viz. The party to be confirmed was to be in white Garments, his head bound up in Linnen, the hair of the head to be Cut, and to have Gossips to undertake for them.

8. The Or­der.8. As to the Order of Administring it, viz. especially after Baptism (though some of the Catechumens in Imitation of Ananias his impo­sing hands upon Paul Act. 9. had it before.) and then had they an immediate right given them to partake of the Eucharist, without [Page 15] which they could not be admitted to partake thereof.

9. As to the Form The Form. in which the Bishop ad­ministred it, viz. in these words, I Sign thee with the Sign of the Cross, and confirm thee with the Chrysm of Salvation in the Name of the Father, Son, and holy Spirit.

The Vsage of the Church of Rome.

The Church of RomeChurch of Rome. observed the very same Order and manner with the same rites and Ceremonies to the same ends and upon the same ground as an Apostolical Tradition, which the former Centuries had done; only whereas there began to be some space betwixt the In­fants Baptism, and their Confirmation, that they for the most part especially in the latter Centuries have performed them together.

Contarenus, Lib. de Sacrament.Contare­nus. a great Po­pish Writer saith, that Thomas Aquinas thought that this Sacrament ought to be given to very young Infants, because they obtain more Grace and therefore more Glory, which custom, saith he, we have kept, leaning upon the Authority of so great a Man. Aq. part 3. Q 72. Ar. 8.

Didoclavius saith in Altar Damasc. Many think it to be expedient rather in the time of In­fancy, because the Infant-Age is not capable of Fiction, whereby the effect of the Sacrament [Page 16] may be hindred, and that the Antient use of the Church favours that Opinion.

Ordo Rom. In the Ordo Romanis An old Popish Missal, it is Recorded, that the Bishop having seated him­self in the Church, the Arch-Deacon holding the Chrysm, the Priest presents the Baptised Infants with their Names to the Bishop, who dipping his Finger in the Oyl, and Crossing every one in the Forehead, saith, I Signe thee with the Sign of the Cross, and Confirm thee with the Chrysm of Salvation in the Name of the Father, Son and Spirit; and which Rite they say is confirmed by the Act of the Apostles and opinion of the Fa­thers from the Scriptures, viz. Act. 8.17. Acts 19.6. and Heb. 6.2. and called Confirma­tion, because the Ʋnity of the Church was confir­med by the Bishop, as saith Ambrose upon Heb. 6. Haimo and Ansel. Joseph Vice comes c. 30. p. 375.

C. Trent.The Council of Trent, as before, decreed, That whosoever should say that Children should first give an account of their Faith before Confir­mation should be accursed.

Bellar.Bellarmine de Sacrament. L. c. 11. saith, that Confirmation confers greater Grace than Baptism, neither can Baptism be perfected without it.

And again Tom. 2. saith, Confirmation is to confer Grace that maketh acceptable, and to strengthen the soul against the Assaults of the De­vil, and to be enroled thereby the servants of Christ.

And again in the same Tom. 2. That it is more perfect than Baptism it self, for whereas Baptism may be administred by Ordinary Priests or Deacons, yea even women themselves in case of necessity, this is not to be performed but by the holy hands of a Bishop.

The Vsage of the Church of England.

The Church of England, Chur. of Engl. though they lop off many of the Ancient and Popish Superstitions and Ceremonies herein; yet do they retain the thing, viz. Confirmation after Baptism by a Bishop only, and the Subjects, viz. Baptized Children, able to say their Cate­chism, according to the Decrees of the Coun­cil of Constance, and the Gallican Councils before-mentioned. The whole Rite and Cere­mony thereof, with what appertains thereto, you have at large in the Engl. Liturgy, in the Rubrick; the substance whereof you may please to take as followeth.

The Order of Confirmation or Laying on of Hands upon Children Baptized, and able to render an Account of their Faith according to the Cate­chism.

TO the end that Confirmation may be admi­nistred to the more edifying of such as shall receive it (according to St. Paul's Doctrine, who teacheth that all things should be done in the Church to the Edification of the same) it is thought good that none hereafter shall be confirm­ed, [Page 18] but such as can say in their Mother-Tongue the Articles of the Faith, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, and can also answer to such Questions of the short Catechism as the Bi­shop (or such as he shall appoint) shall by his discretion appose him; and this Order is most convenient to be observed, for divers Considera­tions;

First, Because that when Children come to the years of Discretion, and have learned what their Godfathers and Godmothers promised for them in Baptism, they may then themselves, with their own mouth, and with their own consent, openly before the Church, ratifie and confirm the same, and also promise that by the Grace of God, they will evermore endeavour themselves faithfully to observe and keep such things as they by their own mouths and Confession have assented unto.

Secondly, Forasmuch as Confirmation is mi­nistred to them that are baptized, that by Impo­sition of hands and Prayer, they may receive strength and defence against all Temptations to Sin, and the Assaults of the World and the De­vil; it is most meet to be ministred when Chil­dren come to that Age, that partly by the frailty of their own Flesh, partly by the Assaults of the World and the Devil, they begin to be in danger to fall into sundry kinds of Sin.

Thirdly, For that it is agreeable with the Ʋ ­sage of the Church in times past; whereby it was ordained that Confirmation should be ministred to them that were of perfect Age; that they being instructed in Christ's Religion, should openly profess their own Faith, and promise to be obedient to the Will of God.

The Order it self, this fol­lowing Prayer being said.

ALmighty and everlast­ing God, who hast vouchsafed to regene­rate these thy Servants by Water, and the Holy Ghost, and hast given unto them forgiveness of all their sins; strengthen them, we beseech thee, O Lord, with the Holy Ghost the Comforter, and daily encrease in them thy manifold Gifts of Grace, the Spirit of Wisdom and Vn­derstanding, the Spirit of counsel and ghostly strength, the Spirit of knowledge and true Godliness, and fill them O Lord, with the Spirit of thy Holy Fear, Amen.

Then shall the Bishop lay his hand upon every Child severally, saying,

DEfend, O Lord, this Child with thy Hea­venly Grace, that he may continue thine for ever, and daily encrease in thy Ho­ly Spirit more and more, until he come into thy ever­lasting Kingdom, Amen.

Then shall the Bishop say,

ALmighty and everlast­ing God, which ma­keth us both to will & to do those things that be good & acceptable unto thy Majesty, we make our hum­ble supplications unto thee for these Children, upon whom, after the example of the Holy Apostles, we have laid our hands, to certifie [Page 21] them (by this Sign) of thy Favour and Gracious Good­ness towards them, let thy Fatherly Hand, we beseech thee, be over them, let thy Holy Spirit ever be with them, and so lead them in the knowledge and obedience of thy Word, that in the end they may obtain the ever­lasting Life, through our Lord Iesus, who with thee and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end, Amen.

Then the Bishop shall bless the Children, saying,

The Blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, be upon you and remain with you for ever and ever, Amen.

After are added these Directions relating to Confirmation, viz.

That the Curate of every Parish, or some other at his appointment, shall diligently on Sun­days and Holy-days, half an hour before Evening-Prayer, openly in the Chureh, instruct and exa­mine so many Children of his Parish sent unto him, as the time will serve, and as he shall think convenient, in some part of this Cate­chism.

And all Fathers, Mothers, Masters and Dames shall cause their Children, Servants and Ap­prentices (which have not learned their Cate­chism) to come to the Church at the time ap­pointed, and obediently to bear and be ordered by the Curate, until such time as they have learned all that is here appointed for them to learn; and whensoever the Bishop shall give knowledge for Children to be brought before him to any con­venient place for their Confirmation, then shall the Curate of every Parish either bring or send in writing the Names of all those Children of his Parish which can say the Articles of the Faith, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments; and also how many of them can answer to the other Questions contained in this Catechism.

And there shall none be admitted to the Holy Communion until such time as he can say the Catechism, and be confirmed.

Dr. Cave, Dr. Cave. in his late Primitive Christianity, upon the Subject, saith of our English Con­firmation, That almost exactly according to the Primitive usage, it is still retained and practised in our Church at this day; and happy were it for us, were it kept up in its due power and vigour: Sure I am that many of our chiefest Breaches and Controversies in Religion, do, if not wholly, in a great measure, owe their Birth and Rise to the neglect and contempt of this excellent Ʋsage of the Church. p. 219.

Concerning which Rite, as used by the Church of England, we observe,

1. The Name given it, viz. Confirmation.

2. The Subjects, viz. Children Baptized in their Infancies, that are taught their Cate­chism, and are able to say the Creed, Lord's Prayer, and Ten Commandments in the English Tongue.

3. The Administrators, a Bishop only; and therefore the Ceremony was so vulgarly called Bishoping.

4. The Force and manner, as expr [...]ss'd by the Bishop's putting the hand upon the Head of the Children, and saying that Form of words directed.

5. The Ends, as declared, viz. 1. To con­firm Infants Baptized, and the Promise of the Sureties made for them therein. 2. To give the Spirit for the encrease of Grace, and strength against Temptations. 3. To confirm the Ʋnity and Order of the Church, and or­derly to admit them therein.

6. The Time when administred; betwixt [Page 24] their Baptism and the Supper, assoon as they can say their Catechism.

7. The Grounds upon which they assert; viz. The Ʋsage of the Ancient Church, De­crees of Councils, Apostles Practice.

Performed by them with very little Reve­rence or Caution, either how or upon whom they do it, saith Mr. Hanmer and Mr. Bax­ter.

Mr. Hanmer, p. 42. Though they deem it to be of some weight and consequence, yet as used by them, it is little less than ridiculous, a meer vain and empty Ceremony; or (as the Saxon-Confession terms the Romish Sacrament of Confirmation) Inanis Ʋmbra, an Empty Sha­dow; and Hommius, a vain Invention of Super­stitious men.

Mr. Baxter, In his Book Of Confirmation, p. 155. saith, To his knowledge it was done by the best of them in a careless hudling way, mumbling over a few formal Prayers upon persons that they knew not whether they were Christians or Infidels, or that they did so much as know there was a God.

In the Fifth place, We come to give you an Account how this Rite hath been asserted and pleaded by some, both of the Indepen­dent and Presbyterian Perswasion; so especially by Mr. Jonathan Hanmer, in his Book called Confirmation the ancient way of compleating Church-Members: Written with great applause in the year 1657. And Mr. Baxter, in con­firmation thereof, in his Book called Confir­mation and Restoration the necessary means of Re­formation [Page 25] and Reconciliation: Who do there­in undertake to prove the necessity of Confir­mation, a laying on of the hands of the Pres­bytery for the confirming and compleating In­fants-Baptism, perfecting their Church-Member­ship upon their Profession and Confession of Faith; and which they endeavour to make good by this five-fold Argument.

1. By Scripture. 2. By the Testimony of Fathers. 3. By Councils. 4. By the Judg­ment and Practice of the Waldenses. 5. By the Judgment of many of the Reformed Di­vines.

I. As to Scripture.

The main Scripture he insists on to prove this Confirmation by (and which as modest­ly said, is a probable ground for the the same) is that of Heb. 6.2. And laying on of Hands. Where, as urged, it is made one of the Princi­ples of the Doctrine of Christ. Where,

1. Its Place is to be taken notice of, being next after Baptism, and as it were, an Appen­dix thereof, and for the most part immediate­ly following it in such Adult as were baptized, and the next Priviledge in the Church as such did enjoy who were baptized in Infancy.

2. Because the best Interpreters do usually understand this of one or more of the three Particulars that Imposition of hands hath re­lation to, viz.

1. Of the extraordinary Gifts of the Holy Ghost, which was conferr'd at first upon many new Converts by the laying on of the Apostles hands, Acts 8.17, 19.

[Page 26]2. Of the Officers of the Church who were or­dained and set apart unto their Offices by Prayer and Imposition of hands. This Pareus in Heb. 6.1. Initiata erat Doctrina de Donis Spiritualibus & Ministerio Ecclesiae; It was an Initial Doctrine concerning Spiritual Gifts and the Ministry of the Church, Ames. in Bellarm. Enervat. By Imposition of Hands is meant the whole Ministry; Per Impositionem Manuum Ministerium totum intelligitur.

3. Of the Confirmation of such who had been baptized, who before the Church made a Profession of Faith, the Adult before Baptism, the Baptized Infant before Confirmation. So Piscator, Beza, Rivet, Doctors of Leyden, Anselm, Calvin, Hyperius, Illyricus, Mr. Dee­ring upon the place. By these and other Ex­positors, it is said, is this place of Scripture understood, in part at least, of Imposition of Hands in Confirmation; which therefore in their apprehension, is warranted by it; as a Doctrine Fundamental that ought to be known by all, and a thing practised by, and taking its Rise from the Apostles. And,

2. By Te­stimony of Fath.II. That it was also as an Apostolical Practice received by the Church in after-Ages, Cassan­der (that Learned Papist, and so well vers'd in the Ancients, even to Miracle) tells us, Semper in Ecclesia religiosissimè observatum fuis­se, To have been always most religiously ob­served in the Church; and therefore have you an Account thereof from many of the Fathers, viz. Dionys. Areopag. Clem. Roman. Justin Martyr's Responses, Tertullian, Cyprian, Am­brose, [Page 27] Jerom, &c. Which being all before mentioned, we need not repeat. And,

III. The Decrees of Councils, 3. Dec. of Councils. confirming Confirmation to have been an Ancient and Ge­neral Practice in the Churches of Christ; of which two only are mentioned, viz. The Laod. before recited, about the year 300, and the Council of Eliberis in Spain, in 305. And,

IV.4. Wald. Practice. By the Judgment and Practise of the Waldenses; who received it as an Apostolical Institution, as appears by their Apology and Confession of Faith exhibited to Ʋladislaus K. of Hungary, Anno 1504. witnessing to Infants-Baptism, and their Confirmation after, upon their Personal Confession; which he mentions at large out of the same Apology, And,

V.5. Refor­med Ch.From the compliance of the succeeding Reformed Churches; amongst whom the Church of England is mentioned as one, who took much of the Order of Confirmation (as he saith) from that of the Waldenses; part whereof he repeats; especially the Conclusi­on, that debars any from the Holy Communion, that were not confirmed; and adds thereto the good wishes that Hommius, Calvin, the Leyd. Professors, &c. that this Business of Confirmation was drained from Antichristian Mixtures, both as to Name, Nature, Matter, Form, Admini­strator and Subject also; the Romish Church confirming Children in their Infancies.

In whose Hypothesis we have first,

1. The Name they give this Rite; namely, Confirmation. 2. The Subjects, Adult Per­sons, all baptized in Infancy. 3. The Ad­ministrators, viz. The Presbytery-Eldership. 4. The End, viz. To confirm Baptism, give the Spirit, and orderly to admit into the Church, 5. The Time when to be admini­stred, viz. Betwixt Baptism and the Lord's Supper, when they give an Account of their Faith, and desire Church-Communion. 6. The Grounds upon which they assert it; viz. 1. Scriptural; especially from Heb. 6.2. 2. The Sayings of the Ancients, and Decrees of Councils, confirming it to be an Apostolical Practice. 7. The Ʋsage and Practice of the Ancient and Modern Churches, especially that of the Famous Waldenses.

6. Bapti­zed Churches S. Fisher. Jo. Grif­fith. W. Rider T. Gran­tham.6. The Ʋsage of several Baptized Churches in the Nation.

Sixthly and lastly, We come to give you an Account how that this Rite of Laying on of Hands hath been asserted and practised by se­veral Baptized Congregations, who have by their Writings maintained and defended, That Laying on of Hands upon all Baptized Belie­vers, is an Ordinance of Jesus Christ, essenti­ally necessary to Church-Fellowship and Commu­nion, and that none are to be admitted to the Lord's Supper without it; and which they endeavour to make good, especially from Heb. 6.2. Which they conclude to be a Laying on of Hands upon all Baptized Believers.

[Page 29]1. Because it is reckoned amongst the Foun­dation-Principles, Doctrines and Oracles of God. And, 2. Because they find the Church of Samaria, Acts 8.17. and the Church of Ephesus did practise accordingly immediately after Baptism; which therefore they do con­clude was both Christ's Precept and the Pra­ctice of all the Churches in the New Testa­ment.

Amongst whom respecting this Practice, we observe,

1. The Name Name. they give this Rite, viz. Lay­ing on of Hands.

2. The Subjects, viz. All Baptized Believers, Subject. Men and Women.

3. The Administrators Admin. viz. The Elders or Presbyters.

4. The End, End. for the promised Spirit to con­firm the Baptized, and orderly to admit into the Church.

5. The Time Time. or Order in which this is ad­ministred; betwixt Baptism and the Supper, or presently after the Baptism.

6. The principal Ground Principal Ground upon which they assert it, viz. The Scripture; especially from Heb. 6.2. Acts 8.17, 19.

Thus have you an Account of this Rite, Wherein all Par­ties do agree. not only from Scriptures, but how it hath been owned and practised since the first times, by several sorts; and who notwithstanding the vast differences among them in the Ceremonial part, yet do all of them harmoniously agree in the following Substantials, viz.

That there is a warrantable ground to con­clude [Page 30] that the Hands of the Bishop, Elder, or Presbyter should be imposed upon every Bapti­zed Person for the receiving of the Spirit, or Confirmation, and that without it none ought to be admitted to the Lord's Supper.

It remains therefore in the next place, that we consider the said Grounds upon which so great an Ordinance is enjoined, and which we find to be either Tradition or the Scripture.

1. That of Tradition (which is principal­ly asserted by the first four) is made good ei­ther from the Sayings of the Ancients, and Decrees of Councils, or the Usage of the an­cient Churches.

2. And that of Scripture, which is princi­pally urged by the two latter, is especially from Heb. 6.2. compared Act. 8.17. & 19.6. Which we shall examine distinctly and apart.

Traditi­on.And first, As to the Sayings of the Anci­ents, that are avouched to make this good, we shall first consider what they say about this Rite; and 2. Of what Credit and Authority the said Authors are who be produced for the same.

And first, As to the Rite it self, which they would make us believe to be so great an Ordi­nance of Jesus Christ, we find it to be so blas­phemous and Ridiculous, that the very naming of the Particulars thereof, may be sufficient to detect the Folly and Impiety thereof to all discerning Christians. Whether respecting the Name, which they call Chrysm; Ʋnction, Perfection, Confirmation, of which the Scrip­ture is so much a stranger; or the Nature, [Page 31] which must be by putting the Sign of the Cross with a Bishop's greas'd Finger, in the Forehead of the Confirmed, with these words of Blasphemy, I sign thee with the Sign of the Cross, and with the Chrysm of Salvation, in the Name of the Father, Son and Spirit, the Party being in a white Garment, his Head bound with Linnen, his Hair cut, and atten­ded with Gossips or Sureties. And this is that which the several fore-cited Popes and Fathers have reported to be Apostolical; and the seve­ral Councils have by their Canons and Decrees determined and enjoyned as the great Sacra­ment of Confirmation, and so transcendent al­so to Baptism it self; and which without di­spute (we must believe) was so much the ap­pointment and practice of Christ and the Apo­stles, and as yet practised accordingly by the Church of Rome to this day.

Concerning which Hommius Hommius tells us, That it is not only unknown and contrary to the Scrip­tures, but blasphemous and Idolatrous, and the vain Invention of superstitious men.

And Tilenus, Tilenus upon their lifting it up above Baptism, and confining it only to a Bishop's hand, saith, That they make an Excrement of Anti­christ so much more excellent than the Sacrament of Christ, by how much they make a Bishop ex­cel a common Priest, or an ordinary person. Syn­tag. Part 2. c. 58. §. 15.

And Amesius saith,Ames. The Reasons given by the Papists for the same, are both empty, and impi­ous. Bel. Enervat. c. 4.

And notably Mr. Calvin, Calvin. In Pref. ante Cate­chis. inter Opuscul. That beyond measure they [Page 32] have d [...]ckt this Adulterous Confirmation like an Harlot, with great splendor of Ceremonies, and many pompous Gauderies; moreover, while they will adorn it, they do it with execrable Blasphe­mies, boasting that it is a Sacrament more wor­thy than Baptism, and calling them half-Chri­stians, whoever have not been besmear'd with their stinking Oyl; but in the mean while their whole action contains nothing else but Histrionical Gestures, or rather wanton Apish Plays without any Art or emulation, &c.

2. What their Authorities.Secondly, From the Authorities themselves urged in proof hereof; concerning whom, we may so well say, as is the Doctrine, so are the Doctors, viz. Those that are first cited to deli­ver the same, the very naming of whom, may be sufficient to detect the Cheat, we having already by substantial evidence proved, that all those first-recited Authorities, viz. Dionys. A­reopag. Clem. 4. Ep. Justin Martyr's Respons. Hyginus's Decree, and the Decretal Epistles of those first Popes, to have been Impious Lies and Forgeries, things that in after-Ages, by the Rise of the Mystery of Iniquity, were feigned and invented by some Monks and Friers, and put upon those men of Name of the first Ages, the better to countenance those Anti­christian Impieties that were to be imposed upon the World, for Apostolick; for by such Lies and Forgeries, did the man of sin ascend the Throne. And is there not good ground think you, to suspect the Justice and Truth of that Cause, that cannot otherwise be de­fended nor maintained, but by suborned Wit­nesses, [Page 33] and Knights of the Post; for upon no better Authority, have they imposed this which they call the Sacred Rite of Confirmati­on, Infants-Baptism, Exorcism, and a hundred ridiculous Ceremonies more, which they would perswade us to believe were Apostolical; though as to this of Confirmation, some of themselves are constrained to acknowledge,Rivet. nec ab Aposto­lis, nec à Christo fuisse Institutio, &c. That it was neither instituted by Christ or his Apostles, but by Pope Calixtus, Anno 218. Rivet's Con­trov. Tom. 2. Yet so intoxicated with the Whores Cup were all these Councils, upon no better grounds to decree it, and all these af­ter-Doctors, as Ambrose, Jerom, Austin, and others, to assert and plead it for an Ordinance of Christ; which was not only so contrary to the Scripture, but so blasphemous and ridicu­lous, as before.

And if it had been an Apostolical Tradition to practise this, as the first Councils decreed, and the Fathers and others practised, viz. for many hundred years, as a Baptismal Rite, to be performed at one and the same time with Baptism, whether upon Infants or Adult, and to whom also as perfect and compleat Christi­ans, they gave the Eucharist; how came the after-Councils to be so bold, to alter and change it from Infancy to the Adult state, put [...]ing it upon them only for so many Ages; and the Church of Rome afterwards to alter and change it again, returning it to its first practice, lean­ing upon the Validity of those first Authori­ties; concerning whom, though it is no won­der that they should hold fast such impious [Page 34] Forgeries, and have recourse to such lying Fa­bles, to maintain it; yet it is matter of admi­ration, to find our Protestant-Writers and Churches to fly to these Authorities, both Fa­thers and Councils, to create some colourable pretence for Confirmation?

Objection as to the Waldens. Church.But what do you say to the Practice of the Waldensian Church; to whom you have as­cribed so much Authentickness? Who, as you observe, were such early Witnesses for Truth; as well as eminent opposers of the Romish Church in all their Fopperies; who yet, as it appeareth, have asserted and practised Confir­mation, as you have at large in the forecited Apology to King Laodislaus, King of Hungary and Bohemia.

Answ.To which I say, That it is most manif st, as I have already demonstrated that that Apo­logy was not from the Waldenses, as the Pream­ble it self declares; but from some of those Pro­fessors distinguished by the name Hussites, who held much with those of the Reformed Way in Germany: and not the Taborites or Walden­sian Brethren, who also inhabited in Bohemia, and other parts of Germany, Poland, and Hun­gary. And that those true Waldenses were of a quite contrary Opinion, appears by their Ancient Confessions of Faith; an eminent Instance whereof you'l find in their Treatise of Sacraments, in Paul Perin, p. 329. and in Morland's History, p. 175. in these words; viz.

As for the Sacrament of Confirmation, which we find not instituted either by Christ or his A­postles; for Christ, the Pattern of all his Church, was not confirmed in his Person, and he doth not require that there should be any such thing in Baptism, but only pure Water; and that such a Sacrament is not found needful for Salvation; whereby God is blasphemed, and which was in­troduced by the Devil's instigation, to seduce the People, and to deprive them of the Faith of the Church, and that by such means they might be drawn the more to believe the Ceremonies, and the necessity of Bishops.

It is also to be taken notice of,Justin Martyr give no account in his A­pology, that Justin Martyr, in his Apology, giving an Account of the Faith and Practice of the Churches in those days to Antonius Pius, takes not the least notice hereof, though he recounts all their Services and Ceremonies in Worship with great Plainness.

It is also not unworthy our observation, that the Novatians, Novati­ans. that worthy famous Church and People, did, as Joseph Vicecomes tells us, oppose this Business of Confirmation in Cen­tury 3. Vicecomes, l. 28. p. 372.

And also it is manifest out of Breerwood, Nor in the Greek Churches the eminent Recorder of the Antiquities of the Greek Churches, that the Greeks did impugn and reject that of Confirmation. Br. p. 127. out of Pas. De Rep. Mosch. p. 40. And particu­larly tells us that the Nestorians Nestori­ans. did not pra­ctise it. p. 124. out of Bib. Pat. p 1054.

That the Abyssines Abyssines inhabiting Prester John's Countrey, did not practise it. Br. p. 167. Ex Alv. Hist. Aethiop. c. 5.

Muscov.And that the Muscovites omit it, Br. p. 136. Ex Jo. Metrop. Russ. in Epist. ad Episc. Rom. apud Sigism. De Reb. Musc. p. 31.

Cophti nor Ja­cobites.And that there is no mention either of the Cophti in Egyp. or Jacobites in Syria, that ever practised this Rite.

It is also manifest out of the Confessions of Faith of the Belgick Churches, esteeming them­selves the true and immediate Successors of the Waldenses; recorded at large in the Dutch Martyrol. or Bloody Theater, printed in 1660. That there is no mention of any such practice as Imposition of Hands upon all baptized per­sons amongst them either formerly or lat­terly.

3. The Scripture Ground.In the next place we shall consider the Scri­pture-ground that is urged and produced in proof hereof, especially by the two latter; which we find to be principally from Heb. 6.2. The Doctrine of Baptism, laying on of Hands, [...], which Mr. Hanmer Mr. Han­mer. acknowledgeth to be the chief; and (though as he modestly expresseth himself) but a proba­ble ground from the Scripture to found it upon, being there made one of the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ, and placed next after Bap­tism, and as it were an Appendix thereof, and which for the most part, immediately followed it in such Adult as were baptized, and the next priviledge of the Church (he saith) that such did enjoy as had been baptized in Infancy; and that many of the best Interpreters did usually un­derstand this place to mean, in part at least, of Imposition of Hands in Confirmation; though he [Page 37] doth confess others did also take it to mean Impo­sition of Hands in Ordination; and others, the whole Doctrine of laying on of hands, as exprest in the Scripture; but especially leans upon the Tradition, and the Ʋsage, and Practice of the Church in all Ages, p. 26, 27.

1. To whom, and to all of his Perswasion, I say, That if their Infants Baptism be a Nul­lity, which they pretend hereby especially to confirm, and is the main design of his and Mr. Baxter's Treatises; that their practice hereupon falls to the ground; for if their Hypothesis be naught and rotten, their Thesis cannot be sound that is built upon it: but that it is so, the foregoing Treatise of that Subject doth amply discover; proving with great clearness, that it was an Invention and Institu­tion of man, yea, of the man of Sin; calcula­ted on purpose to out Christ's Baptism, and to defile his Church; and this appearing to be of the same Piece, contrived and ordered by the same Heads and Hands, it is meet, that as they have lived, so they should die toge­ther.

And secondly, We may conclude rational­ly, If Infants were capable of Baptism, they were as capable at the same time, of laying on of hands (as first instituted and practised) and of the Supper also, as Austin and others tell us they had them all together, and not first baptize them, and then many years after (and no body knows how and when) confirm them; for if one be a Foundation or begin­ning Doctrine, as the other, they have done best and most according to Rule and Reason, [Page 38] that have practised it immediately, and not deferr'd it.

And thirdly, Since the Scripture is, as con­fess'd, but a probable ground, and that of Tradition, Antiquity, and constant Usage of the Church, the more certain; the latter ap­pearing so invalid upon all the foregoing Con­siderations, that faint insinuation from that Scripture, cannot be a ground sufficient to build that Practice upon.

And to which lastly, we will add Mr. Bax­ter's Sober Cautions, enough to shake the con­fidence of any that have no better Ground for the Practice; as we find them in p. 127, 128, 129. of his Confirmation: Where, after he had with all his might endeavoured to establish it both from Scripture and Antiquity, doth, according to his wonted manner, in a few Lines unsay more than he had said in all the rest, viz.

M. Baxt. Sober Cautions1. That we do not find that God instituted this Sign as a Matter of necessity, still without in­terruption to be used; but only that by holy men it was applied as a convenient Sign or Gesture to the works in which they used it; even as lifting up of hands in Prayer, was ordinarily used as a fit Gesture, not wilfully to be neglected without cause, and yet not of flat necessity; or as Kneel­ing in Prayer, is ordinarily meet, but not always necessary; we find no more Scripture for the one or for the other: which shews how little Rea­son there is to make it matter of Necessity. The Ancient Church also used it so variously, as that it is plain they fixed it to no one Case alone; of the divers Cases in which they imposed hands on [Page 39] the Catechumens, and four times on the Peni­tents and divers others, as; saith he, you may see in Albaspinaeus's Observat. p. 31, 32.

2. We find that Kneeling in Prayer, and lift­ing up of hands, were often omitted; so we find that sometimes the Holy Ghost is given before Baptism or Imposition of Hands, Acts 10. And we find not that the Apostles used it at all, viz. for Confirmation; though I confess the Ne­gative Arguing is infirm; yet it seems not probable that this was always done.

3. It was somewhat suspicious to find in Justin Martyr's Description of the Christian Churches practices, no mention of this, nor any Sacrament but Baptism and the Lord's Supper, nor any of the Roman Ceremonies; and Irenaeus and some others also are silent in it too.

4. God maketh no Ceremonies under the Go­spel so necessary, except the two Sacraments; nor layeth so great a stress on them as under the Law; and therefore we are not to interpret the Gospel as laying mens Salvation, or the Peace of the Church on any Ceremonies, unless we find it clearly express'd.

5. For all that I have said from Scripture for Imposition of Hands in Confirmation (though the Lawfulness of it is proved past Doubt) yet the proof of the Duty of using it, is li­able to so many Objections, as that I must needs confess that the Gospel-tenderness, and the sense of our mutual Infirmities, and our care of tender Consciences, and of the Churches Peace, should restrain all the Sons of Piety and Peace from ma­king it a matter of flat necessity, and forcing them that scruple to submit to it.

The Scrip­ture-Gr. upon wch the Bapt. have foun­ded it.We come in the next place to consider the Scripture-Grounds upon which the Baptists have asserted this Rite, and founded this Pra­ctice of imposing hands upon all Baptized Be­lievers; and so essentially necessary to Church-Communion, and which, as before, you find to be especially held forth from Heb. 6.12. Though affirmed not with that Sobriety and Modesty as the other from Probability, but ra­ther Infallibility; and therefore impose it ac­cordingly, denying Fellowship to any that do not so receive it; and as some have in Print asserted, as neither being Babes in Christ, nor having Communion with God; as Mr. Griffith in his Book hath it, call'd God's Oracle, p. 87. And the reason of this their great Confidence from this Text, is, as you have heard, two­fold; first, Because Laying on of hands is rec­koned amongst the beginning-Teachings. And secondly, Because they find it, as they say, practised accordingly, Acts 8.17. Acts 19.6.

To the Trial and Examination thereof, we shall therefore apply our selves, and see whe­ther these have discovered a better Basis to found this Practice upon, than those that have gone before.

And in order thereto, we shall in the first place lay down these two following Principles, so fully owned by themselves, as a Line to carry us through the Work, viz.

1. That to every Ordinance of Christ there must be some plain positive word of Institution to confirm it. And neither Humane Tradition, [Page 41] nor far-fetcht Consequence and Inference, such as the many Volumes that have been written from Circumcision and Federal 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.

2. That to practise any thing in the worship of God for an Ordinance of his, without an Institu­tion, is Will-Worship and Superstition. But how their Assertions will comport with these honest Protestant Principles, we shall presently see.

The great Text urged for the Institution of this Ordinance, 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 Bap­tism, and of laying on of hands, and of Resur­rection of the Dead, and of Eternal Judg­ment.

This is the Text which is affirmed to be the great Charter of the Church for this Point of Faith and Practice;Granth. but how to find the least Warranty for the same therein, 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 10.48. Or, Let all Baptized Believers eat the Lord's Supper, 1 Cor. 11.24. Acts 2.41, 42. It was something to the pur­pose.

Obj. 1 But is it not reckoned amongst the Princi­ples, Foundation, Doctrine and Oracles of God?

Answ. It is very true, the Doctrine of Laying on of hands is here reckoned amongst the Princi­ples of the Doctrine of Christ [or his begin­ning-teachings]; but then it must be supposed to be such a laying on of hands as was some­where taught and practised. But such a laying on of hands upon all Baptized Believers, we find no where taught or Practised. Jesus Christ our great Example (as the Waldenses so well observe) had no hands laid upon him by John Baptist after he baptized him; neither did he lay hands upon all his Disciples before they broke Bread; neither did he give one word of it in his Commission upon his Ascension; nor do we read that this Church of the Hebrews practised any such thing; for there is no men­tion that the 120 had hands so laid upon them; nor the 3000 in Chap. 2. or 5000 in Chap. 4. after their Baptism, before they broke Bread: Neither do we find the least of it in any other of the Churches in the New Testament; nei­ther in Samaria, by Philip, after he baptized them, nor Corinth, Philippi, Coloss, Thessalo­nica, Rome, the Churches of Galatia, Churches in Asia, Smirna, Thyatira, Pergamus, Sardis, Philadelphia; no, nor in Ephesus: It is true, Paul laid hands upon twelve of their number, upon another occasion, as Peter and John did in Samaria; whereof you have an Account hereafter; nor in the Churches in Syria, An­tioch, Lystra, Derbe, &c.

Obj. 2 But why should laying on of hands be rec­koned amongst the beginning-Principles, and called the Doctrine of Laying on of hands, if it was not to be practised by all? for none doubts but laying on of hands was a Practice, and this Practice was to be taught to all Bapti­zed Believers; yea, the Babes in Christ; and therefore must it needs be practised by all.

Answ. This, it is true, has gone for the Institution and great Ground upon which it hath been ur­ged and imposed; but how much of Fallacy and Falshood is in this Argument, you will ea­sily discern, as though no act done upon, or Practice done by others, might be matter of Doctrine or teaching to us, without being en­gaged in our own persons to do the same: were not all the Miracles that Christ and his Apo­stles did, matter of Doctrine, and much E­dification and Instruction from them, and yet not for our imitation and practice?

Obj. 3 But this in the Text respects some of Christ's beginning-teachings; his first words, that is, Milk for Babes, and can you tell us of any but such as is proper for all baptized Babes, or new-baptized Believers?

Answ. Yes no doubt; for what say you to those words of Christ in the Commission it self, which you cannot deny to be beginning-words? Mar. 16. Where it is expresly said, That the Bap­tized shall in his Name cast out Devils, speak with new Tongues, take up Serpents, drink poyson, and not hurt them; and also shall lay [Page 44] hands on the sick, and they shall recover. And so did the baptized Believers accordingly in those days, going out and preaching, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word with Signs following: But is this the standing Ordinance to all baptized Believers to the world's end? This was indeed that laying on of hands properly called Confirmation; whereas afterwards a laying on of hands of another nature, was so called, and introduced; so that here you have then a laying on of hands amongst Christ's first Teachings for Tongues, Healing and Miracles necessary and profitable to be taught to all, even the meanest Babes, for Confirmation; as Heb. 2.3, 4. 1 Cor. 14.22. Acts 8.8. Mark 16.20. Which yet I presume none will say that every Believer ought to pra­ctise.

Answ. 2 Secondly, If every one of these Principles in Heb 6. 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 Do­ctrine of Baptisms in the Text, one of the Principles and Foundations of the Gospel? it is not said the Doctrine of Baptism. Must all be baptized with the Baptism of the Spirit and of Suffering also, or not to be received into Communion?

Answ. 3 And Thirdly, As to Laying on of Hands mentioned amongst these Principles in the Text, as it may respect the Laying on of hands upon the Ministry, for their solemn Investi­ture into their Office, whether Deacons, Acts 6. [Page 45] Elders, 1 Tim. 1.14. or Messengers, Acts 14. (whereby they are set apart to transact in the whole Order, and in all the Ordinances of God's House; and wherein every particular Member comes to be concerned, not only re­specting the Administrations performed by them, but the reciprocal Duty incumbent upon each of them towards those their Overseers so set over them.) It becomes necessary therefore to be taught, known, and understood by all, and that in the beginning-Teachings, though all and every Member are not concerned in the Personal Practice thereof; for all are not Prophets, Apostles, Teachers. And it is most remarkable, that the Doctrine or Teaching of laying on of hands, is all that is mentioned in this Scripture; all baptized Believers must be taught it, that's plain; but that they are obliged therefore to practise it, is not here or elsewhere to be found.

Obj. 4 But what do you say to Acts 8.17. & 19.6. Are there not two express Presidents for such a laying on of Hands immediately after Bap­tism, as we infer from hence, concluding that these two Texts aforesaid, give sufficient warranty so to determine?

Answ. It is true, this hath been so received and urged by those that so practise; but how war­rantably, we shall farther examine. We read indeed of laying on of hands for the giving of the Spirit in three places; one whereof, Acts 9.17. was before Baptism; and these two men­tioned, after; so that there is no positive Con­clusion [Page 46] to be fetcht from the Presidents, whe­ther before or after; as it was in the matter of Healing, which was given sometimes by laying on of hands, sometimes by words of Faith spoken to the Sick, sometimes by Pray­er, sometimes by sending Handkerchiefs, some­times by their very Shadows; so also was the Spirit given sometimes by laying on of hands, sometimes by Prayer, sometimes by Preaching or Prophecying, sometimes before, sometimes after Baptism.

But concerning these two Scriptures so much insisted upon, and imposed to be the Pre­sident and Pattern for all Churches, and for every Member in the Church, let us put them to trial.

As to that of Samaria, it is said, that se­veral being converted in that City, and bapti­zed by Philip, who wrought many Miracles, and continued some time with them, as v. 13. yet did he not impose hands upon any of them that we read of. The Church of Jerusalem hearing that Samaria had received the Word of God, and that the Spirit was fallen upon none of them (viz. in a visible manner which was the proper phrase attributed to those extraordi­nary measures of the Spirit so frequently given to the Saints in those days; as, Act., 16, 17. Which sometimes did fall upon them be­fore Baptism, as Acts 10. and sometimes after, as Acts 2, 1.4.31. without laying on of hands) did therefore send Peter and John, who it seems, were extraordinarily gifted by God; so that [Page 47] on whomsoever they prayed and laid hands, the Spirit was visibly, extraordinarily and immedi­ately given; as ver. 18. As healing to the sick, by those that had that Gift also given by God, (from whom every good Gift came) and who accordingly, 'tis said, laid their hands upon them,; but how many of them 'tis not said; surely not upon all; for Simon by his pro­phane Offer, discovered he had neither received the Wisdom nor Grace thereof, and had neither Lot or part therein, though baptized; and so 'tis said they received the Spirit in such a man­ner that it was visible to the Spectators.

And as to that of Ephesus, Acts 19.6. Paul it seems, finding some of the Church there, that had not received the Spirit after they had believed and were baptized, viz. in that visible manner so usually given in those days, layes his hands upon twelve men of their number; (it is not said all the Church) who thereupon, did immediately receive the Spirit, in such a degree, that it was demonstrated by speak­ing with Tongues and Prophecying.

So that in neither of these two places (so much urged for the Explanation of Heb. 6.2. And to be a President and Rule for us, to the end of the world) can we find that there was a laying on of hands immediately after Bap­tism, nor with any certainty upon all and eve­ry Member of the Church, nor to such an end as can be attainable in after-times.

And as to that of 2 Tim. 1.6. Wherein Paul exhorts Timothy to stir up the Gift that was in him by putting on of his hands, assert­ed to be a laying on of hands of this kind, as urged, not Ordination; is,

First, a begging, not proving the Question.

Secondly, It is manifest that Timothy had the hands of the Presbytery laid on him, which none doubts to be Ordination; and that Paul and Barnabas were the Presbyters that did or­dain in those Churches of Asia, is very mani­fest, Acts 14.23. Wherein by God's Blessing upon his Ordinance, there was a Gift received, and to be stirred up; and therefore in saying, Stir up the Gift that was in him by putting on of his hands, and neglect not the Gift that was in him, which was given by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery, whereof Paul was one, seems to mean one and the same thing, and not two things, as urged; and to be no other than those ordinary Ministerial Attainments, which by giving attendance to Reading, Meditation, Prayer, Exhortation and Doctrine, was to be encreased and stir­red up.

Therefore since not the least Syllable of In­stitution, neither Precept nor President can be found out for such a Practice, may we not fuily conclude in the words of our Agreement, that for any to practise any thing in the Word of God without an Institution from the Word of God, is Will-worship and Superstition.

Obj. 6 But if this be not the laying on of hands intended in the Text, what is it? If we have miss'd the sence and scope of the Apostle, pray you give us a better, or let ours stand.

Answ. Suppose we are not able to tell you, nor to be positive or peremptory in the Case, ma­ny things being hard and difficult to be un­derstood, which some that are ignorant wrest, &c. would our Ignorance warrant you, to set up your Inferences and Conclusions, as O­racles and Ordinances, without any Evidence or Authority from the Word, and be thereby confirmed in your confident Assertions? It may be enough to have evinced to you, that yours is not, cannot be that Ordinance of Christ, that Principle and Foundation-Doctrine, so confidently asserted by you. Yet not to leave you in the Dark, take here my apprehension of this Text, and wherein I am perswaded I have the mind of Christ, viz.

The Apostle,Heb. 6.12. o­pened. the better to gain their Atten­tion to the great Doctrine of the High Priest­hood, tells them in the foregoing Chapter, by way of reproof, how dull of hearing they had been in times past, how little they had im­proved Time or Talent, what little progress they had made in Christianity, and what Babes they yet were therein, and who, instead of bearing strong meat in Doctrine he was deli­vering to them, they stood in more need of Milk, and to be taught again those beginning-words of God, wherein in their first planting they had been instructed; which notwithstand­ing [Page 50] for the present he would forbear to press upon them, but go forward in his Design.

Not laying again the Foundation of Repen­tance and Faith, the Doctrine of Baptismes, Laying on of Hands, Resurrection and Judg­ment, which are all the Principles that are here enumerated; which some call five, some six, and some seven; though as to the num­ber, if they must be taken for all the begin­ning Principles, I conceive we must either suppose them very comprehensive, or else many must be left out, as the Ten Commandments, and several of the Institutions, such as the Lord's Supper, which I presume will go for a beginning-teaching as well as Baptism.

Therefore we must suppose that Repentance and Faith must comprehend all, both the Ne­gative and Positive part of Holiness; those of Baptismes and Laying on of Hands, the Insti­tutions, Priviledges and Order in the Church of God; Resurrection and Judgment, the whole of our Hope and Happiness for the time to come; and particularly that Doctrine of lay­ing on of hands, to contain not only those laying on of hands by which the miraculous Healings and spiritual Gifts were attained for confirmation of the Gospel, but those laying on of hands for the investiture of the Church-Officers, who were to transact the whole order of God's House, for the edification of each Member, and therefore necessary to be taught to every one. And this is that, which amongst the rest they had need to be taught, and might [Page 51] have been teachers of themselves; viz. what was the end, use, blessing and benefit of such a Rite in the several Ministrations thereof; but no ground in the least to confirm it to one particular, much less to such an one of which no Syllable either here, or in the whole Book of God.

Obj. 6 But why would you infer, that we by the Doctrine of Laying on of hands, may take in all the Laying on of hands spoken of? when­as it is said laying on of hands in the Singu­lar, and not layings on of hands in the Plu­ral Number; therefore must respect only one sort of laying on of hands.

Answ. Which is a meer Criticism, and has nothing of Truth in it; the Doctrine of laying on of hands is as much Plural, and may respect the teaching of all sorts, of laying on of hands, as the Doctrine of Baptismes respects all sorts of Baptismes.

Obj. 7 But why should any be offended that we pray for a Blessing upon our Brethren or Si­sters after their Baptism, or upon their admis­sion into the Church, whereby the whole may also take the better notice for whom we pray?

Answ. To which I answer, that we are not of­fended at a practice of that kind, be it lifting up or laying on of hands, provided it be not urged as a thing of absolute necessity; while the Bishops of old used many Ceremonies, peo­ple were not so much concerned; but when they would impose them as necessary, and Insti­tutions [Page 52] of Christ, that broke the Peace, and occasioned much mischief; so to all such lay­ing on of hands, a beginning-Doctrine, or Oracle of God, a Foundation of Christian Re­ligion, to which every Member and Disciple of Christ ought to submit, upon penalty of Non-Communion for the neglecting or re­jecting a Foundation-Principle, though no one word of Institution, Command, Precept, or Example for the same; and that under pre­tence of receiving more of that Spirit of Christ thereby, which is a Spirit of Love, Meekness, Humility, Tenderness, Peace, Edification, there appears to be more of that other Spirit of uncharitable judging, rending, tearing, and dividing the Body of Christ; and for as­serting for Doctrine and Practice the Customs, Commandments and Traditions of men; it is for these things our Offence lies, as so well founded upon Deut. 4.2. & 12.32. Rev. 22.18. Prov. 30.6.

There are two Objections more that I have lately met with, that I think very necessary to give some Answer to; the one is this, viz.

Obj. 8. That as to the Point of Antiquity, though ('tis granted) the Ancients and their Followers ever since, have so much erred, not only in the Subject, but divers Circumstances about this Rite of Imposition of hands; yet inasmuch as there hath been all along such a Witness born to the thing it self, it makes much for its Apostolicalness, and confirms our Pra­ctice therein.

Answ. 1. To which, I say, That it doth not ap­pear that such a Witness hath been born all a­long thereto; for as Mr. Baxter so ingenuously acknowledgeth, that Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and others in those times are as silent about it, as the Scripture is that any of the Apostles did ever so practise it in the first times; those Authori­ties that are pretended to assert the same in the first Centuries, having been proved to be so spurious and supposititious.

Answ. 2. But Secondly, If the Practice of it should be granted to be as ancient as the keep­ing of Easter and Lent, Diocesan Bishops, and Patriarchs, and many other things that have been so generally received and practised, it no more proves it therefore to be Apostolical than each of them; For a pretence to Ancient Pre­scription, without a Word of God to war­rant it, can never justifie the Divine Authority of any Practice.

Obj. 9. The other is this, viz. That as to positive Scripture-Institution, so much called for to justifie our practice of laying on of hands upon all the Baptized, from Precept or Exam­ple, it is not only unreasonable, but dangerous, as to many Truths, to be demanded (as hath in express words been lately told me) for where is the plain word either for Women's receiving the Lord's Supper, or to lay on hands upon Officers?

In answer whereto, I must needs say I am much grieved and astonished at such prevari­cation; [Page 54] and than which, what can more be­tray the Truth and Justice of your Cause? for do not your own Answers to such like In­stances, so usually brought by the Paedobaptists, sufficiently confute you? And do you not know that if we had not plain and positive Scripture for both, that we would not practise either? For is not 1 Cor. 11.28. compared with 1 Tim. 2.4, 5. & Gal. 3.28. a sufficient Precept for Womens Receiving? And Acts 1.14. with Chap. 2.42, 44. substantial evidence for the Practice thereof? And as for laying on of hands upon Officers; is not 1 Tim. 5.22. a full Precept? And Acts 6.6. & 13.3. & 14.23. 1 Tim. 4.14. as clear Presidents for the same? And may we not warrantably say, Let there be but as good Scripture-Authority produced for laying on of Hands upon all Bap­tized Believers before they are permitted to partake of the Lords Supper, and it shall suf­fice? But to set up a Practice in God's Wor­ship, without a warranty from his Word by some plain positive Rule and Direction (the thing pleaded for by you) is no less (in my Judg­ment) than to give countenance to all the An­tichristian Innovations, to let go at once the strongest Hold of Protestantism, reproach the Wisdom of Christ, and slight the Authority of the Holy Scriptures, as though we had not a sufficient direction therein in all parts of God's Worship.

And therefore to all those worthy Sayings to this purpose, of those Eminent men menti­oned in the Treatise of Bapt. p. 93. I shall add that most remarkable Expression of Dr. Owen; [Page 55] which you'l find in his Communion with God, D. Owen. p. 171. viz. This then they who hold Communion with Christ, are careful of, they will admit of nothing, practise nothing in the Worship of God, private or publick, but what they have his war­rant for; for unless it comes in his Name, with Thus saith the Lord Jesus, they will not hear an Angel from Heaven; they know the Apostles themselves were to teach the Saints only what Christ commanded them, Mat. 28.20.

By which sound and wholesom Rule well observed, we are delivered from all Humane Inventions and Traditions; and by which Confirmation, Infants-Baptism, Lent, Easter, &c. and a hundred more of like import, are turned out of doors, as accusing Christ of un­faithfulness, and the Scripture of insufficien­cy.

And to which purpose, T. G. himself hath so very well urged lately to Dr. Stillingfleet, about Infant-Baptism, from Dr. Fulk out of Irenaeus; Irenaeus. viz. When the Hereticks are reproved out of Scripture, they fall to accusing the Scrip­tures, as if all is not well in them, and that the Truth cannot be found out of them that know not Tradition: And therefore that Tertullian saith, Take away these things from the Hereticks, (which they hold with the Ethnicks) that they may stay their Questions upon the Scripture only.

The Conclusion.

THus you have had a candid Account of the Rise, Growth and Progress of this Rite of Confirmation or Laying on of Hands, from the beginning to this day (amongst all Perswasions that have owned it) with the Au­thorities upon which it hath been founded and imposed; together with a genuine Examinati­on of the Grounds and Reasons each Party have given to justifie the same. And may we not upon the whole, fairly come to the following Conclusions? viz.

1. That there doth not appear to be the least Scripture-Precept or Practice for any such Ordinance of Confirmation, or an Imposing of Hands upon all the Baptized before they break Bread, or are admitted into Church-Commu­nion.

2. That the Instances produced to prove it an Apostolical Tradition, are impious Lies and Forgeries.

3. That the Authorities by which it hath been heretofore enjoyned, were nothing but Antichristian Canons and Decrees.

4. That the most eminent Witnesses and Con­fessors that opposed the Antichristian Ʋsurpa­tions and Innovations, have all along witnes­sed against and impugned this of Confirmation, viz. The Novatians, Donatists, Waldenses, Greek Churches, Wickliffians, &c.

All which are worthy the serious Conside­ration of all Sober and Judicious Christians, and are especially recommended to them, who ha­ving rejected Infants, and embraced Believers-Baptism, do yet cleave to this Practice, with these following Observations, viz.

1. That it is most manifest that those Popes, Councils and Fathers, that have enjoyned and imposed Infants sprinkling for a Sacrament, or an Ordinance of Christ, have enjoyned this also as such.

2. That the Principal Arguments that have been pretended for the one, have been urged and pleaded for the other also; viz. Apostolical Tradition, and pretended Inferences and Con­sequences from Scripture.

3. That the Famous Churches and Confes­sors that have opposed Infants-sprinkling, as Superstitious, Popish and Antichristian, have upon the same account, opposed this also.

4. That it doth not appear that any Bapti­zed Church or People did ever, in any Age or Countrey, own such a Principle or Practice to this day, except some in this Nation in these late Times.

But then it may well be enquired, if this be so Novel a thing amongst the Baptists, how came those in this Countrey so to receive and practise it, as before asserted?

To which I give the following Account, as I have received it under the Hand of one that affirms to have had the perfect knowledge thereof, as being an eye and ear-witness of the same, and who certifies to this purpose, viz.

How, when and why, laying on of hands was pra­ctised by the Bapt. in this Nation. ‘That about the year 1646, some 27 years since, one Mr. Cornwell, heretofore a pub­lick Preacher, then a Member and Mi­nister of a Baptized Congregation in Kent, was a great Asserter of this Principle and Practice; who coming about that time in­to that Baptized Congregation, then meeting in the Spittle Bishopsgate-Street, Lond. did from Heb. 5.12, 13. & 6.1, 2. preach the necessity of Laying on of Hands; inferring from thence, those that were not under laying on of hands, were not Babes in Christ, had not God, nor Com­munion with God. Whereupon, several of the said Congregation were perswaded to come under that Practice; and which notwithstand­ing, the Church in Tenderness indulged to them, upon their promise of a peaceable demeanour in the Church. Notwithstanding which their said Promise, they did afterwards not only press their said Perswasion uncharitably, as they had been taught by their aforesaid Teach­er; viz. That none were Babes in Christ, nor had Communion with God without it; there­fore not to be communicated with in Church-Ordinances (and as after was published in Print, by a Leading Brother amongst them, in a Book called God's Oracles, and Christ's Doctrine) but made a Rent and a Separation for the same; and from that very Schism propa­gated the same Principle and Practice amongst many others in the Nation ever since, who have kept that distance from their Brethren (not owning the same) as not esteeming or commu­nicating with them as the true Church of God, because defective in one of the beginning Prin­ciples [Page 59] or Foundations of the Christian Reli­gion.’

Now this being a true Narrative as to mat­ter of Fact; doth it not naturally follow?

First, That such a Principle so suck'd in, and received, is founded in gross Ignorance and Error? For what can more savour of Darkness and Error, than to make our Adoption and Com­munion with God to depend upon some Exter­nal Act done? As though Christ himself was utterly mistaken, when he tells us, That as many as receive him, have the priviledge to be­come the Children of God, even as many as do believe in his Name, John 1.12, 13. And the Apostle also in confirmation thereof, That we are all the Children of God by Faith in Christ Jesus, Gal. 3.26. And, that of his own Will we are begotten by the word of Truth, Jam. 1.16. But this Doctrine asserts our New-Birth in another way, by the Laying on of Hands af­ter Baptism (and as though persons might be baptized that were not Children of God; but afterwards to be made so by this new way;) thereby confirming the Superstition of the Pa­pists, in their Idolizing this Rite above all other Ordinances, as before.

And Secondly, The Principle (upon this account) appears not more erroneous, than the Practice upon it, corrupt and vicious; viz. to make a Separation from the Church upon it, so contrary not only to known Order, Dis­cipline and Duty, but their declared Promise; and therefore must not all those Churches of that Constitution, necessarily be supposed to be founded in Sin and Schism, as well as in [Page 60] great Error and Ignorance? and concerning which unnatural and undue Separation, I hear some of Eminency amongst them, have lately so had their Conviction, as to plead Reformation therein with their Brethren, and who I doubt not, from the true sense of the bitter fruit (e­ven the Gall and Wormwood that hath been brought forth thereupon) will naturally be led to consider the Root from whence it hath sprung, viz. the mistaken Principle, as here discovered; for as our Saviour tells us, Mat. 7.17, 18. That it is the corrupt Tree that brings forth the evil fruit; and that as the good Tree cannot bear evil fruit, so the corrupt Tree cannot bear good fruit. All which is recommended to the serious Consideration of the Impartial and Judicious; not doubting but the day is hastning, when not only all Antichristian Fogs and Darkness, but all Mists of Error and Ig­norance, shall be dispelled; and that the God of Truth will so send out his Light and Truth, and cause it so to spring up out of the Earth, that Knowledge shall fill the Earth as the waters cover the Sea; when Discord and Division shall so cease amongst his People, that they shall not with their Babylonish Language vex one another any more, but with one Lip and Shoul­der shall serve the Lord with one consent. And for the speedy accomplishing and fulfilling such amiable and acceptable Promises, let all the Up­right say Amen, Amen.


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