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this part of our discourse; suffice it to say, that the custom is very ancient, and that we possess the authority of the primitive Church for the use of them.
We will now proceed to the office of baptism, as it is contained in the book of Common Prayer. But we have three offices of baptism in our Liturgy, viz., one for Public Baptism of Infants in the Church, which is that on which we are desirous of dwelling-another for Private Baptism of Children in houses, and a third for such as are of riper years, and able to answer for themselves. The second is only used when children are too weakly to be brought to the Church; and the third, when adults are converted to Christianity, or when the service has been omitted through negligence in infancy.
But as to the first form :
When the party is at the font, the minister asks, "Whether the child has been already baptized or no?" simply because there is no occasion to repeat baptism; for as there is but one Lord, and one faith, so
there is but one baptism. The minister then exhorts the people to call upon God the Father on behalf of the child about to be baptized, and then offers up to the Almighty two prayers,—the one, beseeching him mercifully to look upon the child-to wash him and sanctify him with the Holy Ghost, that he being delivered from the wrath to come, may be received into the ark of Christ's Church-the other prayer beseeches the Father to regenerate the child, that he may enjoy the everlasting benediction of the heavenly washing, and at last come to Christ's eternal kingdom. Then follows an appropriate portion of Scripture, and a brief exhortation upon it. Then a thanksgiving for our own call to the knowledge of grace and faith in God, and a prayer that the Holy Spirit may rest upon the infant, that he may be born again, and be made an heir of everlasting salvation. The minister then addresses himself to the Godfathers and Godmothers, assuring them that God is willing to keep his part of the covenant, and take security that the infant shall perform its conditions. In the name
of the infant they assure the priest, that they stedfastly believe all the Articles of the Christian faith, and then express their desire that the infant be baptized in that faith. Then four short petitions are offered up for the child's sanctification. After which the priest sanctifies the water to the mystical washing away of sin, not that the water receives any fresh nature or essence, but becomes fit for a holy and sacred purpose. The priest then takes the child in his arms and receives the name from the sureties. This name is called the Christian name, because it is given when infants are made. Christians. The Scriptures tell us also, that the Jews named their children at the time of circumcision. Thus Isaac was named at the time he was circumcised'. So was John the Baptist'; so also was our Saviour. And though the rite of circumcision was changed into the Sacrament of Baptism, no alteration took place respecting the time of giving the name *. The priest names the child and sprinkles it, in
1 Gen. xxi. 3, 4.
3 Luke ii. 2.
2 Luke i. 59, 60.
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Originally at Baptism infants were immersed or dipped in water, but it must be remembered, that it was in warm climates; but at the same time, it may be proved by critical arguments unsuited to a sermon, that the term equally applies to the sprinkling, which is adopted by our Church. A strong argument is derivable from the other sacrament, where a portion is accepted to be equally as valid as the whole would have been. And as the divine grace is not measured by the quantity of water used, surely we are authorized in our practice, especially when we consider that water is only the outward sign of baptism. Besides the word baptism implies both dipping and affusion, as can be proved from several parts of Scripture'; and as it was often administered where there was a great scarcity of water, it is not to be supposed, at the moment, as in the case of the jailor and
1 Vid. Mark vii. 4; Luke xi. 38; Heb. ix. 10. in the Greek, compared with Numb. viii. 7. xix. 18, 19.
his family at Philippi, that sufficient water was at hand for total immersion. If, indeed, any objection to sprinkling in the place of immersion could be made against our Church, it instantly vanishes when we tell you that the priest is always ready to immerse or dip the infant at the desire of the parties, which must bring this point to a satisfactory conclusion.
The priest baptizes the infant in the name of the three Persons,-the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for two reasons; first, because it was our Saviour's command, "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;" secondly, because it is necessary to baptize the infant in the faith of the holy Trinity. The minister then receives him into the congregation of Christ's flock, and signs him with the sign of the cross, in token that hereafter he shall not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully to fight under his banner, against sin, the world, and the Devil; and to continue Christ's faithful