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THE ORDER OF BAPTISM.
First note, that forasmuch as it is not permitted by God's word that women should preach or minister the sacraments, and it is evident that the sacraments are not ordained of God to be used in private corners, as charms or sorceries, but left to the congregation, and necessarily annexed to God's word as seals of the same; therefore the infant that is to be baptized shall be brought to the church on the day appointed to common prayer and preaching, accompanied with the father and godfather, so that after the sermon, the child being presented to the minister, he demandeth this question,
Do ye here present this child to be baptized, earnestly desiring that it may be engrafted in the mystical body of Jesus Christ?
The answer. Yea, we require the same.
The minister proceedeth. Then let us consider, dearly beloved, how almighty God hath not only made us his children by adoption, and received us into the fellowship of his church, but also hath promised that he will be our God, and the God of our children, unto the thousandth generation : which thing, as he confirmed to his people in the Old Testament by the sacrament of circumcision, so hath he also renewed the same to us in his New Testament by the sacrament of baptism, doing us thereby to wit that our infants appertain to him by covenant, and therefore ought not to be defrauded of those holy signs and badges whereby his children are known from infidels and pagans.
Neither is it requisite that all those that receive this sacrament have the use of understanding and faith, but chiefly that they be contained under the name of God's people, so that remission of sins in the blood of Christ Jesus doth appertain unto them by God's promise: which thing is most evident by St. Paul, who pronounceth the children begotten and born (either of the parents being faithful) to be clean and holy. Also our Saviour Christ admitteth children to his presence, embracing and blessing them. Which testimonies of the Holy Ghost assure us that infants be of the number of God's people, and that remission of sins doth also appertain to them in Christ: therefore without injury they cannot be debarred from the common sign of God's children. And yet is not this outward action of such necessity, that the lack thereof should be hurtful to their salvation, if that, prevented by death, they may not conveniently be presented to the Church. But we (having respect to that obedience which Christians owe to the voice and ordinance of Christ Jesus, who commanded to preach and baptize all, without exception) do judge them only unworthy of any fellowship with him, who contemptuously refuse such ordinary means as his wisdom hath appointed to the instruction of our dull senses.
Furthermore, it is evident that baptism was ordained to be ministered in the element of water, to teach us that, like as water outwardly doth wash away the filth of the body, so inwardly doth the virtue of Christ's blood purge our souls from that corruption and deadly poison wherewith by nature we were infected, whose venomous dregs, although they continue in this our flesh, yet by the merits of his death are not imputed unto us, because the righteousness of Jesus Christ is made ours by baptism : not that we think any such virtue or power to be included in the visible water, or outward action; for many have been baptized, and yet never inwardly purged; but that our Saviour Christ, who commanded baptism to be ministered, will, by the power of his Holy Spirit, effectually work in the hearts of his elect, in time convenient, all that is meant and signified by the same. And this the Scripture calleth our regeneration; which standeth chiefly in these two points: in mortification, that is to say, a resisting of the rebellious lusts of the flesh; and in newness of life, whereby we continually strive to walk in that pureness and perfection wherewith we are clad in baptism.
And although we, in the journey of this life, be encumbered with many enemies, who in the way assail us, yet fight we not without fruit; for this continual battle, which we fight against sin, death, and hell, is a most infallible argument that God the Father, mindful of his promise made unto us in Christ Jesus, doth not only give us motions and courage to resist them, but also assurance to overcome and obtain victory. Wherefore, dearly beloyed, it is not only of necessity that we be once baptized, but also it much profiteth oft to be present at the ministration thereof, that we being put in mind of the league and covenant made between God and us, that he will be our God, and we his people, he our Father, and we his children, may have occasion as well to try our lives past as our present conversation, and to prove ourselves, whether we stand fast in the faith of God's elect, or contrariwise have strayed from him through incredulity and ungodly living, whereof if our conscience do accuse us, yet, by hearing the loving promises of our heavenly Father, who calleth all men to mercy by repentance, we may from henceforth walk more warily in our vocation. Moreover, ye that be fathers and mothers, may take hereby most singular comfort to see your children thus received into the bosom of Christ's congregation; whereby ye are daily admonished, that ye nourish and bring up the children of God's favour and mercy, over whom his fatherly providence watcheth continually.
Which thing, as it ought greatly to rejoice you, knowing that nothing can come unto them without his good pleasure, so ought it to make you diligent and careful to nurture and instruct them in the true knowledge and fear of God, wherein if ye be negligent, ye do not only injury to your own children, hiding from them the good will and pleasure of Almighty God their Father, but also heap judgment upon yourselves, in suffering his children, bought with the blood of his dear Son, so traitorously, for lack of knowledge, to turn back from him. Therefore it is your duty, with all diligence, to provide that your children, in time convenient, be instructed in all doctrine necessary for a true Christian; chiefly that they be taught to rest upon the righteousness of Christ Jesus alone, and to abhor and flee all superstition, popery, and idolatry. Finally, to the intent that we may be assured that you, the father and the surety, consent to the performance hereof, declare here, before the face of God's congregation, the sum of that faith wherein ye believe, and will instruct this child.
Then the father, or, in his absence, the godfather, shall rehearse the
articles of his faith; which done, the minister expoundeth the same, as after followeth.
I BELIEVE in God the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy Catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
The Christian faith, whereof now ye have briefly heard the sum, is commonly divided in twelve articles : but that we may the better understand what is contained in the same, we shall divide it into four principal parts. The first shall concern God the Father; the second, Jesus Christ our Lord; the third shall express to us our faith in the Holy Ghost; and the fourth, and last, shall declare what is our faith concerning the Church, and of the graces of God freely given to the same. First, of God we confess three things, to wit, that he is our Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. Our Father we call him, and so by faith believe him to be, not so much because he hath created us, (for that we have common with the rest of creatures, who yet are not called to that honour to have God to them a favourable Father,) but we call him Father by reason of his free adoption, by