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ADMINISTRATION OF THE HOLY SACRAMENT
Pure Water being provided, and put into the Fount, or into a Lavatory
of silver, or some other clean vessel, fit and decent for this sacred action, the Minister, being vested in an ecclesiastical habit, shall begin with this Exhortation,
DEARLY BELOVED BRETHREN, FORASMUCH as from our first parents we derive nothing but flesh and corruption, and that'flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven;' it is necessary that every man who is reckoned in Adam, should be also reckoned in Christ, that every one who is born of the flesh, be also born again, and born of the Spirit; that every son of man by nature may become the son of God by adoption, be incorporated into Christ, entitled to the promises, and become heir of heaven by grace and faith in Jesus Christ; and that this cannot be done but by being admitted to the covenant of grace
in baptism; our blessed Saviour saying, that'except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God;'- let us humbly and devoutly pray unto God, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he will be pleased to send down his Holy Spirit upon these waters of baptism; that they may become to this infant ["all that shall be washed in them] a laver of regeneration,
• If the place be populous, and baptisms frequent, and this water be kept (as is usual in most churches both of East aud West), then that clause within the crotchets may be used, else not.
and a well of water springing up to life eternal: and that this infant may be admitted to the covenant of grace and pardon, of mercy and holiness, receiving from grace what by nature he cannot have, that being baptized in water to the remission of sins, he may all his life walk in this covenant of grace and holiness, as a lively member of the holy church, which is the mystical body of Christ our head.
Let us pray.
I. O Almighty and Eternal God, Father of men and angels, Lord of heaven and earth, whose Spirit, moving upon the waters at the beginning of the world, produced every living and every moving creature; thou by the flood of waters didst wash away the iniquity of the old world, and by preserving to thyself a generation of holy persons, whom thou didst bring up from those waters, didst consign to us a type of regeneration : look, O Lord, graciously upon the face of thy church, and multiply in her thy regenerations, and the new births of thy Spirit. With the abundance of thy grace make thy holy city to rejoice, and still open this holy fountain of baptism, for the reformation and sanctification of all the nations of the world; that thy blessed Spirit sanctifying these waters, a new and heavenly offspring may hence arise, full of health and light; that human nature, which was made after thy own image, being reformed and restored to the honour of its first beginning, may be cleansed from all the impure adherencies of sin, preserved from the dominion of it, and rescued from all its sad effects, that what shall be so born in the womb of the church, may dwell in the house of God, and reign with thee for ever in the inheritance of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus. Amen.
Our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus, who was baptized of John in Jordan, who walked upon the waters, who converted water into wine, who out of his precious side shed forth blood and water, the two sacraments of life, unto his holy church, and commanded his disciples to teach all nations, baptizing them with water in the name of the Father,
of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:' he bless and sanetify by his Holy Spirit this water, that it may be instrumental and effective of grace, of pardon and sanctification : hear us, o most gracious God, that whosoever shall be baptized in this water, may be renewed by thy grace, justified by thy mercy, sanctified by thy Spirit, preserved by thy providence, and guided by thy word; that in this water, springing from the paradise of God, the soul (or souls) presented unto thee may be cleansed and purified, and that there may be added to thy church daily, such as shall be saved in the day of thy glorious appearing, o blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus. Amen.
Then, the Minister and People arising from their knees, the following
Gospel shall be read. Hear the words of the holy Gospel written by St. Matthew, in the third chapter, &c.
Verse 13 to 17, inclusively. " Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water, and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him. And lo, a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Hear likewise what St. Mark writeth in his tenth chapter.
Verse 13 and 16, inclusively. The Jews “ brought children” to Christ," that he should touch them, and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”
In these Gospels you see the actions and hear the words of our blessed Saviour: how he commanded little ehildren to be brought unto him, how he rebuked those that would have kept them away, how readily he blessed them, how kindly he embraced them, how he pronounced them capable of, and entitled to, the kingdom of God: how he commanded us to receive the kingdom as infants received it, and affirmed that we can no way receive it but by being like them: you know also, that although Christ commanded them to be brought unto him, there is no ordinary and appointed way for infants to come to Christ, and no way possible for them to be brought to Christ, but by this new birth and regeneration in the laver of baptism : you see also by the example and words of our blessed Lord himself, that even the most innocent persons ought to be baptized; for he himself, who knew no sin, was yet baptized in the baptism of repentance, and so to do was the fulfilling of righteousness; we may therefore easily perceive that the innocence of infants, and their freedom from actual sin, cannot excuse them from baptism. And if we remember, that although our blessed Saviour required faith of them who came to be healed of their diseases, yet by the faith of others “, who came in behalf of such as could not be brought, or could not come, the sick person was healed; we are sufficiently instructed, that although infants have no more actual faith than they have actual sin, yet the faith of others can be, and is, by the usual and revealed method of the divine mercy, as well imputed to them, to the purposes of grace and life, as the sin of Adam can be imputed to the purposes of death; that 'as in Adam all die, so in Christ all should be made alive:' we may therefore, from these certain evidences, conclude, that God alloweth in you this obedience and charity, in bringing this child to Christ, to receive all blessings of which he is capable, and a title to the promises and adoption to be the child of God, a sanctification by the Spirit, a designation to the service of Christ, and putting him into the order of eternal life. Therefore, [as circumcision was
a Matt. viii. 13, and Matt. ix. 28. John, iv. 50. Mark, ix. 23.
6 All this between the crotchets may be omitted, according to the discretion of him that ministers.
the seal of the righteousness of faith, and yet ministered to infants eight days old, and commanded so severely, that God said, The uncircumcised child, whose flesh is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people : so baptism, which is now the seal of the same faith and the same righteousness, and a figure like unto the former, is to be administered to infants, although they have no more actual faith than the children of the Israelites had; our blessed Saviour having made baptism as necessary in the New Testament, as circumcision in the Old. For because little children can receive the kingdom of God, and in infants there is no incapacity of receiving the mercies of God, the adoption to be children of God, a title to the promises, the covenant of repentance, and a right to pardon; whosoever shall deny to baptize infants when he is justly required, is sacrilegious and uncharitable. Since, therefore, the church of God hath so great, so clear, so indubitable a warrant to baptize infants, and, therefore, did always practise it,] let us humbly and charitably give thanks to God for his great mercies unto us all, and, with meekness and love, recommend this child to the
grace of God.”
Let us pray
I. O Almighty and Eternal God, who hast redeemed us from sin and shame, from the gates of hell and the sting of death, and from ignorance and darkness, by thy holy Son, who is that light which lighteneth every man that cometh into the world : we praise and glorify thy name, that thou hast called us to the knowledge of thy will, and the love of thy name, and the service of thy majesty, which is perfect freedom, the freedom of the sons of God.
As thou hast dealt graciously with us, so deal with this infant, whom we humbly bring and offer to our blessed Saviour Jesus, that he should receive him, and bless him with the blessings of an everlasting love. Receive him, O most gracious Lord, who is thy child by creation, make him thine
© Rom. iv, 11, 12, 13, 17, Gal. iii. 14, 29.