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washed with the blood of the Holy Lamb, “ who was slain for all from the beginning of the world."
31. After all this, it is not inconsiderable, that we say the church hath great power and authority about the sacraments; which is observable in many instances. She appointed what persons she pleased, and in equal power made an unequal dispensation and ministry. The apostles first dispensed all things, and then they left off exterior ministries to attend to " the word of God and prayer:” and St. Paul accounted it no part of his office to baptize, when he had been separated by imposition of hands at Antioch to the work of preaching and greater ministries; and accounted that act of the church the act of Christ, saying, “ Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel.” They used various forms in the ministration of baptism: sometimes baptizing “in the name of Christ,” sometimes expressly invocating the holy and everblessed Trinity; one while, “ I baptize thee,” as in the Latin church, but in the Greek, “ Let the servant of Christ be baptized." And, in all ecclesiastical ministries, the church invented the forms, and in most things hath often changed them, as in absolution, excommunication. And sometimes they baptized people under their profession of repentance, and then taught them; as it happened to the gaoler and all his family; in whose case there was no explicit faith aforehand in the mysteries of religion, so far as appears; and yet he, and not only he, but all his house, were baptized at that hour of the night when the earthquake was terrible, and the fear was pregnant upon them; and this upon their master's account, as it is likely: but others were baptized in the conditions of a previous faith, and a new-begun repentanceh. They baptized in rivers or in lavatories, by dipping or by sprinkling : for so we find that St. Laurence did, as he went to martyrdom ; and so the church did sometimes to clinics; and so it is highly convenient to be done in northern countries; according to the prophecy of Isaiah', “ So shall he sprinkle many nations,” according as the typical expiations among the Jews were usually by sprinkling. And it is fairly relative to the mystery, to the "sprinkling with the blood of Christ,"
"Non ut delinquere desinant, sed quia desierunt, as Tertul. phraseth it. Isaiah, lii. 15.
* i l'eter, i. 2.
and the watering of the furrows of our souls with the dew of heaven, to make them to bring forth fruit unto the Spirit and unto holiness'. The church sometimes dipt the catechumen three times, sometimes but once. Some churches use fire in their baptisms; so do the Ethiopians; and the custom was ancient in some places. And so in the other sacrament: sometimes they stood, and sometimes kneeled; and sometimes received it in the mouth, and sometimes in the hand; one while in leavened, another while in unleavened bread: sometimes the wine and water were mingled, sometimes they were pure; and they admitted some persons to it sometimes, which at other times they rejected: sometimes the consecration was made by one form, sometimes by another: and, to conclude, sometimes it was given to infants, sometimes not. And she had power so to do; for in all things, where there was not a commandment of Christ, expressed or implied in the nature and in the end of the institution, the church had power to alter the particulars as was most expedient, or conducing to edification. And although the after-ages of the church, which refused to communicate infants, have found some little things against the lawfulness, and those ages that used it, found out some pretences for its necessity; yet both the one and the other had liberty to follow their own necessities, so in all things they followed Christ. Certainly there is infinitely more reason, why infants may be communicated, than why they may not be baptized. And, that this discourse may revert to its first intention, although there is no record extant of any church in the world, which, from the apostles' days inclusiyely to this very day, ever refused to baptize their children; yet if they had upon any present reason, they might also change their practice, when the reason should be changed: and therefore, if there were nothing else in it, yet the universal practice of all churches, in all ages, is abundantly sufficient to determine us, and to legitimate the practice, since Christ hath not forbidden it. It is a sufficient confutation to disagreeing people, to use the words of St. Paul, “ We have no such
" Aqua refectionis, et baptismi lavacrum, quo anima sterilis ariditate peccati ad bonos fructus inferendos divinis muneribus irrigatur. - Cassiodor. m. xxiii. ps. 2.
τη "Ένιοι τα ώτα των σφραγισαμένων κατεσημήναντο, dixit Ηeracleon apud Clem. Alex.
custom, nor the churches of God," to suffer children to be strangers from the covenant of promise, till they shall enter into it as Jews or Turks may enter; that is, by choice and disputation. But although this alone, to modest and obedient, that is, to Christian spirits, be sufficient; yet this is more than the question did need : it can stand upon its proper foundation.
Quicunque parvulos recentes ab uteris matrum baptizandos negat, anathema esto". He that refuseth to baptize his infants, shall be in danger of the council.”
O holy and eternal Jesus, who, in thine own person, wert
pleased to sanctify the waters of baptism, and, by thy institution and commandment, didst make them effectual to excellent purposes of grace and remedy; be pleased to verify the holy effects of baptism to me and all thy servants, whose names are dedicated to thee in an early and timely presentation, and enable us with thy grace to verify all our promises, by which we were bound then, when thou didst first make us thy own portion and relatives in the consummation of a holy covenant. O be pleased to pardon all those indecencies and unhandsome interruptions of that state of favour, in which thou didst plant us by thy grace, and admit us by the gates of baptism: and let that Spirit, which moved upon those holy waters, never be absent from us, but call upon us, and invite us, by a perpetual argument and daily solicitations and inducements to holiness; that we may never return to the filthiness of sin, but, by the answer of a good conscience, may please thee, and glorify thy name, and do honour to thy religion and institution in this world, and may receive the blessings and the rewards of it in the world to come, being presented to thee pure and spotless in the day of thy power, when thou shalt lead thy church to a kingdom and endless glories. Amen.
n Conc. Milevit, can. 2.
APPENDIX AD SECT. IX. No. 3. OF JESUS BEING
Christ's Prayer at his Baptism.
ܐܵܢܵܐ ܡܢ ܐܘܿ ܐܒܐ ܐܝܟ ܨܒܝܢܟ ܗܘܝܬ ܟܪܚܐ ܘܡܢ ܟܕ ܐܬܝܠܕܬ ܡܢ ܒܬܘܠܬܐ ܘܥܕܡܐ ܠܗܫܐ. ܡܠܝܬ ܗܠܝܢ ܕܟܝܢܐ ܐܢܐ. ܘܢܛܪܬ ܐܦ ܫܡܠܝܬ ܦܘܩ̈ܨܢܐ ܘܪ̈ܐܙܐ ܘܛܘܦܤܐ ܕܢܡܘܤܐ ܘܗܫܐ ܒܡܕܬ ܘܛܝܒܬܗ̇ ܠܡܠܡܘܕܗܝ ܕܬܗܘܐ ܟܕܣܐ ܪܘܚܢܝܬܐ ܕܡܠܘܥܕܐ ܠܟܚܚܐ ܚܕܬ ܐܝܬ ܘܐ ܒܫܐ ܕܝܘܚܢܢ ܗܘܐ ܐܚܪܝܐ ܕܟܗ̈ܢܐ ܢܡܠܘ̈ܣܝܐ: ܗܘܢܐ ܐܬܚܙܐ ܐܢܐ ܩܕܡܐ ܕܒܗ̈ܢܐ ܐܘܢܓ̈ܝܠܐ. ܐܢܬ ܕܝܢ ܐܘܿ ܐܒܐ ܒܕ ܨܠܘܬܐ ܕܝܠܝ ܦܬܚ ܫܡܝܐ ܘܫܕܪ ܪܘܚܟ ܩܕܚܐ ܥܠ ܟܪܤܐ ܗܕܐ ܕܡܥܡܘܕܝܬܐ. ܘܐܝܟ ܕܫܪܐ ܟܟܪܣܐ ܕܟܬܘܠܬܐ ܘܓܫܡܚ ܡܢܗ̇. ܗܒܢܐ ܚܪܐ ܟܟܪܤܐ ܗܕܐ ܕܡܥܡܘܕܗܝ ܘܢܩܕܫܝܗ̇ ܘܢܨܘܪ ܠܟܢܝ̈ܚܐ. ܘܢܗܠܕ ܐܢܘܢ ܡܢܗܿ ܒܢܵܐ ܚܵܕܬܐ ܘܢܥܿܒܕ ܐܢܗ ܒܢ̈ܝܐ ܕܝܠܟ ܘܐܚܐ ܕܝܠܝ ܘܢܪ̈ܘܬܐ ܕܡܠܒܘܬܐ ܘܐܝܕܐ ܕܠܐ ܐܬܡܨܝܘ ܠܡܥܒܕ ܒܗ̈ܢܐ ܕܢܟܠܘܤܐ ܕܡܢ ܐܗܕܘܢ ܠܕܡܐ ܠܝܘܚܢܢ ܢܫܒܚܘܢ ܠܡܥܒܕ ܟܗ̈ܢܐ ܕܪܝܐܬܝܟܫ ܚܕܬܐ : ܗܠܝܢ ܕܗܿܘܐ ܐܢܐ ܠܗܘܢ ܪܝܫܝܬܐ ܘܩܕܡܝܐܒܗܕܐ ܨܠܘܬܐ ܘܟܠ ܐܡܬܝ ܕܡܥܡܕܝܢ ܘܡܨܠܝܢ ܠܘܬܟ ܘܫܶܐܠܝܢ ܫܕܪ ܪܘܚܐ ܩܕܝܫܐ ܥܠ ܟܠܩܠܘܕܝܬܐ ܕܒܗ ܠܟܕܝܢ ܟܕ ܗܫܐ ܠܘܬܝ ܡܠܬܚܙܐ ܓܠܝܐܝܬ ܗܘ ܪܘܚܐ ܬܬܝܕܠ ܕܠܘܬܗܘܢ ܒܣܝܐܢܬ ܢܚܬ ܘܩܩܠܠܐ ܒܐܢ̈ܕܝܗܘܐ ܬܦܩܥܫܬܐ ܕܕܝܐܬܝܩܝ ܚܿܕܬܐ܇ ܕܡܛܠܬܗ ܗ̇ܘܝܬ ܒܪܢܫܐ. ܘܐܝܟ ܪܝܫ ܟܗ̈ܢܐ ܡܨܠܐ ܐܢܐ ܩܕܡܝܟ܀
Christ's Prayer at his Baptism. O Father, according to the good pleasure of thy will, I am
made a man; and from the time, in which I was born of a virgin, unto this day, I have finished those things, which are agreeing to the nature of man; and, with due observance, have performed all thy commandments, the mysteries and types of the law : and now truly I am baptized ; and so have I ordained baptism, that from thence, as from the place of spiritual birth, the regeneration of men may be accomplished : and as John was the last of the legal priests, so am I the first of the evangelical. Thou therefore, O Father, by the mediation of my prayer, open the heavens, and from thence send thy Holy Spirit upon this womb of baptism; that as he did untie the womb of the virgin, and thence form me, so also he would loose this baptismal womb, and so sanctify it unto men, that from thence new men may be begotten, who may become thy sons, and my brethren, and heirs of thy kingdom. And what the priests under the law, until John, could not do, grant unto the priests of the New Testament, (whose chief I am in the oblation of this prayer,) that whensoever they shall celebrate baptism, or pour forth prayers unto thee, as the Holy Spirit is seen with me in open vision, so also it may be made manifest, that the same Spirit will adjoin himself in their society a more secret way, and will by them perform the ministries of the New Testament, for which I am made a man; and as the high priest, I do offer these prayers in thy sight.
* Hanc orationem transcripsit et transmisit eruditissimus vir, et linguarum Orientalium apprimè gnarus, Dud. Loftus, J. U. D. et Juris Civilis Professor publicus in Academia Dubliniensi apud Hibernos, professor linguarum Orientalium apud eosdem.
This prayer was transcribed out of the Syriac Catena, upon the third chapter of St. Luke's Gospel, and is, by the author of that Catena, reported to have been made by our blessed Saviour immediately before the opening of the heavens at his baptism : and that the Holy Spirit did descend upon him, while he was thus praying: and for it he cites the authority of S. Philoxenus. · I cannot but foresee, that there is one clause in it, which will be used as an objection against the authority of this prayer; viz. “ as John was the last of the legal priests :” for he was no priest at all, nor ever officiated in the temple, or at the Mosaic rites. But this is nothing : because, that the Baptist was of the family of the priests, his father Zachary is a demonstration ; that he did not officiate, bis being employed in another ministry is a sufficient answer; that he was the last of the priests is to be understood in this sense, that he was the period of the law, the common term between the law and the