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Private Baptism is not generally practised in our churches. We agree with the divines of Leyden, who condemn it as a disorder. The communion which we maintain with the universal church in this sacrament cannot be regularly expressed but in an assembly of some visible particular church. And since, as Chrysostom says, the keys of the Sacraments are delivered unto the Church, a pastor therefore should make his dispensation of baptism in some church ; and as the sacraments are not only symbols of grace exhibited unto us, but also professions of our faith before the world, Baptism should have an open and public celebration. The Ethiopian treasurer and the jailor were indeed more privately baptized; but it was by extraordinary officers, and before churches were yet gathered in the neighborhood. If, indeed, as churches, we owe special duties to the baptized, we think it reason that we should see the baptism. – Ratio Disciplina, p. 73.
Children are presented for baptism in this church on the Sabbath morning following each communion season. A paper, containing the name of the child and of the parents, and also the date of its birth, should be handed to the minister at some convenient time the week before.
The ordinance is administered immediately after the introductory morning services.
Precise uniformity has never prevailed in our churches, in the services accompanying this rite; it being an acknowledged principle that every particular church is a complete body in itself, and has authority to regulate its own services; and that some variety in forms and usages may exist without any just offence.
THE ADMINISTRATION OF BAPTISM.
SELECTIONS FOR BAPTISMAL OCCASIONS.
PSALM CXXVII. EXCEPT the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord : and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies
in the gate.
BLESSED is every one that feareth the Lord ; that walketh in his ways.
For thou shalt eat the labor of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house : thy children like olive-plants round about thy table.
Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.
The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life:
Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.
Gen. 17: 9–13. Rom. 4:11-16. GAL. 3: 9, 29.
AND God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou and thy seed after thee, in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you, and thy seed after thee: Every man-child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin ; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man-child in your generations; he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
And Abraham received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, yet being uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised, that righteousness might be imputed unto them also; and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect. Because the law worketh wrath : for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed: not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.
So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Acts 2: 38, 39. THEN Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
Romans 11: 13-29.
Thou wilt say
FOR I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive-tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olivetree; boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear. For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity ; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in : for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive-tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive-tree; how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive-tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this
mystery (lest ye should be wise in your own conceits), that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved : as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repent
John 3: 1-8.
THERE was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews : The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God : for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto bim, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old ? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born ? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Isaiah 44: 1-5.
EZEKIEL 36: 25—27.
YET now hear, O Jacob, my servant; and Israel whom I have chosen : Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and