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The Absolution. Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who of his great mercy hath promised forgiveness of sins to all them that with hearty repentance and true faith turn unto him, have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm, and strengthen you in all goodness, and bring you to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then the bishop, taking each of the penitents by the right hand, said to him,
I Charles James, bishop of London, do, upon this thy solemn profession and earnest request, receive thee into the holy communion of the church of England, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
People - Amen.
Then the bishop said the Lord's Prayer, with that which follows, all kneeling.
Let us pray.
Our Father, &c.
O God of truth and love, we bless and magnify thy holy name, for thy great mercy and goodness in bringing these thy servants into the communion of this church. Give them, we beseech thee, stability and perseverance in that faith, of which they have, in the presence of God and of this congregation, witnessed a good confession ; and suffer them not to be moved from it by any temptations of Satan, enticements of the world, the scoffs of irreligious men, or the revilings of those who are still in error ; but guard them by thy grace against all these snares, and make them instrumental in turning others from the errors of their ways, to the saving of their souls from death, and the covering a multitude of sins. And in thy good time, O Lord, bring, we pray thee, into the way of truth all such as have erred and are deceived : and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy flock, that there may be one fold under one Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
Then the bishop dismissed the people, and administered the sacrament of the Lord's Supper to the penitents, and to the clergy and others who remained to receive the communion with them.
Form used in the French Protestant Church in London.
The minister addresses the convert as follows:
“My brethren,-Truth cannot be found in two communions whose doctrine and practises are opposite to each other : and the sacred Scriptures teach us, that there is but one bride of Jesus Christ : but one road which leads to heaven : but one church. Therefore they who are concerned in earnest about their salvation, are in conscience bound to abandon a religion in which they perceive errors, and to embrace that which is conformed to the word of God, and consequently true. But as this step is one of infinite importance, it should not be taken without good reasons, after having well considered the matter, and without any temporal inducement. You then, N. N., who wish to leave the communion of Rome, to unite yourself to our church,–
“Do you renounce the traditions which the Romish church believes should be added to the sacred Scriptures, in order to render our faith more perfect; and do you believe, on the contrary, that every thing which is essential to religion, either as respects doctrine, or worship, or morality, is contained in the pure word of God, which is contained in the writings of the Old and New Testaments ? “Do you renounce the supremacy
pope; that is, his rank as head and universal oracle of the church, and also the infallibility of any assembly or of any council whatever ? "Do you
renounce indulgences, the merit of good works, auricular confession, and purgatory; so as to depend for the remission of your sins, and the hope of your salvation, only upon the free mercy of God, and upon the merit (mérite] which Jesus Christ has procured for us by his precious blood ?
“Do you renounce the belief of the real presence of Jesus Christ in the sacrament, and also transubstantiation, and the sacrifice of the mass ?
“Do you renounce the idolatrous worship which the Romish church pays to the host; the invocation of saints, and the religious worship of images and relics ?
“Do you leave the Romish church, to unite yourself to the communion of the Protestant churches, without any secular interest, any carnal view, but simply with a view to promote the glory of God and the salvation of your soul ?
“Do you promise to continue immovable in these sentiments, and to continue till death in the profession which you this day make ?”
Prayer. “Great God, we thank Thee, with the warmest feelings of our hearts, that in these times of apostacy and scandal Thou consolest us, and repairest from time to time the breeches in thy church, by ever adding to it some one to be saved. It is to Thee alone that we owe this. It is Thou who enlightenest the mind of him who now presents himself here. It is Thou who hast awakened his conscience, who hast inclined his will, and who hast opened a way for him to escape from idolatry and superstition. We praise Thee, we bless Thee for this : but, O Lord, deign to complete thy mercies ; grant him perseverance, preserve him invulnerable from all the attacks of Satan, the world, the flesh, and the errors of the age, that, being faithful unto death in the profession of a pure faith, and
an irreproachable life, he may receive from Thee the crown of everlasting life. Amen."
This formulary is very appropriate ; but reasonable doubts, I think, may be alleged against the use of any public recantation whatever, at least on a large scale. Many persons would conform silently and practically, who would feel alarmed at a formidable public act of abjuration. In the case of the Catholic priesthood no ceremonial of conformity is now required, except the test of receiving the sacrament of the Lord's Supper at the hands of a Protestant clergyman; and the consequence has been, that the number of these practical recantations has greatly increased, though with little notoriety or public excitement. *
* Christian Observer, 1827, p. 141.
OCCASIONAL DUTY usually comprises baptisms, marriages, and burials. It would be well, when practicable, to have fixed times for each service, and as much as possible to avoid any occasional duty on Sundays,BAPTISMS alone excepted. Marriages and funerals on this day usually create much Sabbath-breaking. It is true the parties concerned can fix the day, but the minister determines the time of the day; and it has been found that fixing an early hour on Sunday morning has prevented many persons from burying on that day. Whenever a time is fixed, let it be strictly attended to. A clergyman should never keep parties waiting, and if he expects punctuality from others, it is of the highest importance that he be punctual himself. If half past eleven o'clock be appointed for marriages, the parties must be punctual, or the ceremony cannot be performed that day.
Baptism. Baptisms in the vestry are irregular. No baptism in a church is regular without there being godfathers and godmothers present, according to the rubric. Parents are not allowed to stand as sponsors for their children ; nor are persons not communicants qualified for this office. (Canon xxix.)
The distinction usually made between baptizing and christening is a vulgar error, not sanctioned by the services of the church. It is but one and the same office. What is called “ naming the child” is a horrible profanation of this sacrament.
Baptism with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is Christian baptism, by whomsoever performed.
In reading the baptismal service, take special care that the make the answers required by the rubrics, in an audible manner.
The ministers shall take care not to permit wanton names to be given to children baptized. (Peccham 9, Ed. 1, 1281.) As to adults, it is enjoined by the rubric that when any
such as are of riper years are to be baptized, timely notice shall be given to the bishop, or whom he shall appoint for that purpose, a week before at the least, by the parents, or some other discreet persons : that so due care may be taken for their examination, whether they be sufficiently instructed in the principles of the Christian religion; and that they may be exhorted to prepare themselves with prayers and fasting for the receiving this holy sacrament.
PRIVATE BAPTISM. By Canon 69, if any minister being duly, without collusion, informed of the weakness and danger of death of any infant unbaptized in his parish, and thereupon being desired to go to the place where the said infant remaineth, to baptize the same, shall either wilfully refuse so to do, or of purpose, or of gross negligence, shall so
defer the time, as when he might conveniently have resorted to the place, and baptized the said infant; it dieth, through such his default, unbaptized: the said minister shall be suspended for three months, and before his restitution shall acknowledge his fault, and promise before his ordinary, that he will not willingly incur the like again ; provided, that where there is a curate, or a substitute, this constitution shall not extend to the parson or vicar himself, but to the curate or substitute present.
The distinction between public and private baptism does not consist in the one being administered in the church, and the other in a private house ; but in the one taking place in the great congregation, where the child is publicly received amidst the prayers of multitudes, into the congregation of Christ's flock; while the other is performed privately, before three or four witnesses, sometimes at the font, sometimes in the vestry, occasionally at the communion table ; nor have I ever been able to discover any reason for making use of the service for the public baptism of infants in an empty church, which would not apply to the adoption of it before a large party in a drawing-room. (Rev. T. Webster.)
BAPTISM can only be administered once to the same person or child. Papists or dissenters, on conforming to the church, need not to be re-baptized.
LAY BAPTISM. By the law of the English church, as well deduced from the general Canon law, as from its own particular constitutions, down to the time of the Reformation, lay baptism was allowed and practised. It was regular, and even prescribed in cases of necessity ; it was so complete and valid that it was by no means to be repeated. (Peccham 7, Ed. 1, 1279; 3 Phill. 276, 279.) It also appears that in order to ascertain its validity, no inquiry was necessary to be made into the existing urgency under which it was administered, but only into what was declared to be the essence, whether it had been administered by water, and in the form of the invocation : for if those forms were used, baptism by a layman was complete and valid. According to the Canon law it is also clear, that though regular baptism was by a bishop or priest, yet that if it were administered by a laic, a heretic, a schismatic, or even by a pagan, it was a valid baptism, and so valid that it was not to be repeated. (Kemp v. Wickes, 3 Phill. 286.) The validity of dissenters' baptisms seems to have been recognised by 25 Geo. III. c. 75, which extended the duty imposed by 23 Geo. III. c. 67, upon registers of baptisms by ministers of the established church, to the registers of baptisms of Protestant dissenters; both are now repealed, but the second clearly recognises the validity of baptism by Protestant dissenters.
BAPTISMAL NAME added to register of birth. By 6 & 7 Will. IV. c. 86, s. 24, it is enacted, that the name given in baptism may be added to the registration. “If any child born in England, whose birth shall have been registered, shall within six calendar months, next after it shall have been so registered, have any name given to it in baptism, the parent or guardian of such child, or other person procuring such name to be given, may within seven days after such baptism, procure or deliver to the registrar, or superintendent registrar, in whose custody the register of the birth of such child may then happen to be, a certificate according to the form of schedule G., to this Act annexed, signed
by the minister who shall have performed the rite of baptism, which certificate such minister is hereby required to deliver immediately after the baptism, wherever the same shall be then demanded, on payment of the fee of one shilling, which he shall be therefore entitled to receive, and the said registrar or superintendent registrar, upon the receipt of such certificate, and on payment of the fee of one shilling, which he shall be therefore entitled to receive, shall, without any erasure of the original entry, forthwith register therein that the child was baptized by such a name ; and the registrar (or by the amending Act 1 Vict. c. 22, s. 2, the registrar or superintendent registrar, as the case may be') shall thereupon certify upon the said certificate, the additional entry so made, and shall forthwith send the said certificate through the post office to the registrar general.”.
The form given in the schedule G. is as follows : “I, G. E., Vicar of B., in the county of K., do hereby certify that I have this day baptized by the name of Thomas, a male child, produced to me by W. G., as the son of W. G. and R. G. (the names of the father and mother), and declared by the said W. G. to have been born at M., in the county of M., on the 7th day of April, 1837." Witness my hand, this Ist day of August, 1837.
G. E., Vicar, &c. For this certificate the minister is entitled to a fee of one shilling. The parochial clergy are, generally, supplied with books containing various forms for this certificate given in schedule G., directing them also, that having filled up the blank form of the certificate, they are to cut it out of the book, and deliver it according to the direction at the foot of that certificate, leaving on the left-hand side of the book a margin, wherein they may, if they think proper, insert the name and date to be kept for their own future reference.
It has been properly suggested that dissenters who do not use infant baptism, as well as the society of Quakers, and Jews, should observe, that if the name be not given when the birth is registered, (or within the time limited by the Act for the registration of the birth) it can only be added to the register upon certificate of baptism, which must be administered within six months from the registration of birth ; consequently, all those denominations who do not use infant baptism, and those who delay baptism for more than six months from the birth, have no means whatever of adding the name of the child to the original entry in the register. (Burn on the Registration Acts, p. 1.)
FEES. When there is any right to fees, it is not affected by the 6 & 7 Will. IV. c. 86, for by s. 49 it is provided, “ that nothing therein contained shall affect the registration of baptisms or burials as now by law established, or the right of any officiating minister to receive the fees now usually paid for the performance or registration of any baptism, burial, or marriage.”
As to baptisms in NEW CHURCHES, under the church building Acts, vide 58 Geo. 3, c. 45, ss. 27, 28, 29; 59 Geo. 3, c. 134, s. 6; 1 & 2 Will. 4, c. 38, s. 14.