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Then may be offered this Prayer : Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we give thee humble and hearty thanks, that thou hast vouchsafed to call us to the knowledge of thy grace and to faith in thee. Increase this knowledge and confirm this faith in us evermore, that we may be enabled to mortify all our evil and corrupt affections, and daily to proceed in all virtue and godliness of living, till we come to that eternal kingdom which thou hast promised through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then shall the Minister address the person to be
baptized, in these words : By offering yourself to be baptized according to the holy institution of the Christian church, you solemnly profess your faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and acknowledge him as your Lord and Savior. You promise that, by the grace of God assisting you, you will give earnest heed to his commandments, and that you will steadfastly endeavor to adorn your Christian profession by the practice of every Christian virtue.
When assent has been given to this Covenant, the
Minister shall baptize the person, either by immersion or sprinkling, saying,
I BAPTIZE thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Then may be offered the following Prayer :
ALMIGHTY God, who hast taught us through thy Son, Jesus Christ, that without true regeneration of heart, and purity of life, no man can enter into thy heavenly kingdom; grant, we beseech thee, that we, who have received this baptism of water, may also obtain that sanctification, both of our bodies and our souls, by which we may become heirs of eternal life. Send down upon this thy servant, who has now declared his faith in the name of Jesus Christ, the saring influences of thy good spirit; that he may have strength to perform the word which he has spoken before thee, and faithfully to keep the promises which he has made. Strengthen him in the hour of temptation ; encourage him in all times of trial and difficulty ; establish him in every good word and work; and so conduct him through life, that whenever thou callest him out of this world, he may be prepared to enter into thy kingdom of peace and love, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
ADMISSION OF MEMBERS
INTO THE CHURCH.
When any persons wish to become members of the Church, and partakers of the Communion, they are expected to signify the same, at a convenient time, to the Minister, who may consult thereupon with the Elders, or such members of the Church as may have been appointed for that purpose ; and if no sufficient objection be known, the applicants shall sign their names to the following
ARTICLES OF A GRE E MENT.
We, who have here subscribed our names, do unite ourselves together as the Body of Communicants in the First Congregational Society of St. Louis. By so doing, we profess our faith in Jesus Christ, as the Son of God and the Savior of men; and acknowledge the Bible as the Divinely-authorized Rule, both of Faith and of Practice, to which
it is our duty, as Christians, to submit. By thus uniting ourselves together, we claim no right to exclude any one from this Communion, on account of difference in doctrinal opinions, nor for any other reason, except undoubted immorality of conduct.
Upon the next following administration of the Communion,
at some convenient time before the distribution of the Bread and Wine, the minister shall read the names of the applicants for admission ; and if any of them have never been baptized, he shall proceed to baptize them. He shall then address them as follows:
You do, in this solemn presence, give up yourself to the true God in Jesus Christ, and to his people also, according to the will of God, promising to walk with God and with this Church of his, in all his holy ordinances, and to yield obedience to every truth of his, which has been or shall be made known to you as your duty, the Lord assisting you by his spirit and grace.
We then, the Church of Christ in this place, do receive you into the fellowship, and promise to walk towards you, and to watch over you, as a member of this Church, endeavoring your spiritual edification in Christ Jesus our Lord.*
* This Covenant has been in use by the Second Church in Boston more than two hundred years. It is here adopted because of its great simplicity and comprehensiveness.
The members of this Church, at a meeting held in the month of November, 1841, unanimously resolved themselves into an Association for Charitable Purposes, of which it is proper that the Constitution should be here given.
ARTICLE I. This Church shall hereafter be considered, by virtue of its organization, an Association for Charitable Purposes.
Article II. The objects of its charity shall be to visit and relieve the poor, and to provide work for them.
Article III. The officers shall be a President, (who shall be the Pastor of the Church ;) a Minister, or Visitor of the Poor; and a Committee of five Ladies; who shall respectively perform the duties which from time to time shall be assigned to them.