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And Holy Ghost, whose equal rays
V. Thou hast given them bread from heaven. Alleluia.
R. Replenished with all sweetness and delight. Alleluia.
Let us pray.
O GOD, who hast left us in this wonderful sacrament a perpetual memorial of thy passion; grant us, we beseech thee, so to reverence the sacred mysteries of thy body and blood, that we may continually find in our souls the fruit of our redemption, who livest and reignest, &c.*
THE ADMINISTRATION OF BAPTISM. A short Exhortation may be read before the Administration of Baptism, to this effect. +
THE Sacrament of Baptism which you request for this child, is so singular a benefit granted to mankind, that it claims a share of your consideration. You ought to call to mind, that it was instituted by our Saviour Jesus Christ, and prescribed as a necessary means of salvation: Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, says our Saviour, he cannot enter into
The Church by this ceremony intends nothing more than to give the pious faithful an opportunity of paying a particular act of komage to the holy Sacrament of the Altar; and that by the faith and piety which they testify towards that sacred and august mystery, they may in return draw an abundant increase of grace from that living fountain of benediction, and hence the ceremony is called the Benediction of the blessed Sacrament.
+ These short exhortations accompanying the administration of the Sacraments are to be viewed as expositions of the mysteries, but form no part of the Liturgy of the Church.
the Kingdom of God, John iii. 5. This necessity of baptism is owing to the fault of our first parents, who transgressed the command of God, in eating of the forbidden fruit; and by that crime stamped upon us, their posterity, a stain which we all bring with us into the world.-Their disobedience rendered them objects of God's anger, and the inheritance of the same guilt makes us subject to the same misfortune. But as this
guilt or stain has not been contracted by our own immediate fault, it has pleased the all-bountiful God to establish an easy means, which is baptism, to wash it off.
From all these considerations it appears, first, how blamable those parents must be, who neglect to procure this blessing for their children as soon as possible. Nay, it cannot be deemed less than a cruelty, to delay a remedy so absolutely necessary for salvation. Let then all parents be sensible of this their obligation. It appears, secondly, that by this holy sacrament, the soul of the infant is cleansed from the stain of original sin: he is freed from the slavery of the devil, to whom he was before subject, and is adopted among the children of God:-he enters into the favour and affections of his heavenly Father, and he is intitled to the inheritance of eternal bliss. These spiritual blessings, as well as the obligations they bring with them, are very fully expressed by the different ceremonies used in the administration of this sacrament. For instance, viz.
1st, The child is presented in the church porch, or out at the door of the chapel, because, as it is not yet a member of the Church of Christ, it has not any right till then to enter it.
2dly, The Priest breathes upon the child, and pronounces several exorcisms, in order to expel from him the evil spirit, and to introduce the Holy Ghost.
3dly, He signs it with the sign of the cross, on the forehead and on the breast; on the forehead, to sig nify that he must never be ashamed of Christ; on the breast, to shew he must cordially adopt his doctrine.
4thly, A little blessed salt is put into its mouth, to express the relish it ought to have for wisdom, of which sult is the emblem; that is, that following the dictates of wisdom, it ought to relish only the things of heaven, and despise those of the world.
5thly, the Priest, with a little spittle, touches the child's ears and nostrils, in imitation of our Saviour, who thus cured a deaf and dumb man; and to put us in mind that our ears ought ever to be open to hear the word of God, and our nostrils disposed to receive the sweet odour of virtue, that is, that we ourselves ought to be ever ready to practice all christian virtues.
6thly, The child is anointed with the oil of the catechumens; first, upon the breast, to denote the grace of fortitude, which is given it to fight against its spiritual enemies; 2dly, Between the shoulders, to signify that strength is given to bear its cross; that is, all the troubles of this life, with christian patience.
ithly, After these previous ceremonies the infunt is baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy-Ghost. Then he is anointed upon the head with the holy Chrism, to shew that he is then conse crated to God, and made the temple of the Holy Ghost.
8thly, A white garment is put upon him, to represent the white garment of innocence and holiness, which he must carefully carry during the whole course of his life, and present it unspotted at the tribunal of Christ.
Lastly, A lighted candle is put into the child's hand, to signify the light of faith and good works, that must shine in its future conduct, and with which it is to meet its Saviour, when summoned to appear before him. These ceremonies received their institution, in the earliest times of the christian religion, and have since been constantly used in the Catholic Church.
The Council of Trent, Sess. 24. c. 2. ordains, That no one shall have more than one God-father, and
one God-mother; lest that spiritual kindred, which the child and its parents contract with them, and is an impediment to marriage, should be extended to many persons
The God father and God-mother, persons of good repute, present the person to be baptized by the Church, and bear witness of his baptism; they also answer in his name, and are sureties for him ; their duty is to take care, as far as it may be in their power, to see that the child is brought up in the true faith, fear, and love of God, and that he may be timely instructed to make good those engagements which they have made in his name. The Priest having asked of them, Whether the child has been baptized or no; if they answer no, he then tells them to name the child, and then he says as follows:
THE ORDER OF ADMINISTERING THE SACRA
MENT OF BAPTISM.
P. N. What dost thou ask of the Church of God? A. Faith. P. what does faith bring thee to? A. Life everlasting. P. If then thou wouldst enter into life keep the commandments. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbour as thyself.
¶ Then breathing thrice over the face of the child, ke says,
P. Depart out of him, O unclean spirit, and give place to the Holy Ghost the Comforter.
¶ He then makes the Sign of the Cross upon the Forehead and the Breast of the Child, saying,*
P. Receive the sign of the cross upon thy forehead, and in thy heart: receive the faith of
* The crossing the person baptized with the sign of the cross is still continued by Protestants. In their first Common Prayer-Book the rubric is as follows; Then shall (the priest) make a cross upon the child's
the heavenly commandments, and let thy manners be such, that thou mayest now be the tem◄ ple of God.
Let us pray.
GRACIOUSLY hear, O Lord, we beseech thee, our prayers; and by thy continual protection, guard this thy chosen servant N. now signed with the sign of the cross of our Lord, that observing these first instructions of the greatness of thy glory, and keeping thy commandments, he may be worthy of attaining to the glory of being born anew. Thro' Christ our Lord. Amen.
¶ Then laying his Hand upon the Child, he says,
Let us pray.
O ALMIGHTY and eternal God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, vouchsafe to look down upon this thy servant N. whom thou hast been pleased to call to the first rudiments of faith: take from him, all blindness of heart: break all the fetters of Satan wherewith he hath been bound: open to him, O Lord, the gate of thy mercy, that bearing the ensign of thy wisdom, he may be freed from the filth of all concupiscence; and walking in the sweet path of thy precepts, may joyfully serve thee in thy Church, and daily increase in all goodness. Thro' our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Then blessing some Salt, says,
I command✶ thee, O creature of salt, in the
forehead and breast, saying; Receive the sign of the holy cross, both in thy forehead and in thy breast, in token that thou shalt not be ashamed to confess thy faith in Christ crucified, and manfully fight under his banner against sin, the world, and the devil, and to continue his faithful soldier and servant unto thy life's end, Amen.
*The Latin word Exorcise is derived from the Greek, which signifies to conjure and command. Le Brun.