« AnteriorContinuar »
the subject, and have no wish to identify their doctrine with this Patristic scheme. Anglicanism, however, as represented in the able work which has called forth the present article, affects to occupy a different position, and to be truly one still, not in substance merely, but in actual form, with the Church of antiquity, in its doctrine of the Sacraments as well as at other points. Is the pretension properly sustained? We think not. This construction of Archdeacon Wilberforce, however well it may be put together, is not in reality the doctrine or practice of the Episcopal Church either in England or in this country. It will not be so accepted on either side of the Atlantic; for the satisfaction which a certain class may find in it as a merely private entertainment, is something very different from the mind and meaning of the denomination as such. The points of a real bodily presence above nature in the elements, of this as something abiding and not restricted to the immediate service of the communion itself, and of the power of a real sacrifice in the transaction for the sins of men, however they may find some slender hold to hang upon in the confused beginnings of the English system, and the shelter of some slight authority from the views of a few of its bishops and divines since, (views generally in the wilderness,) are yet too alien from the reigning make and genius of the Church altogether, to allow the supposition that they can ever be practically ingrafted into its life. In this country, just now especially, the Episcopal communion is in such a state of general self-compromise with regard to all such points, that the grand Apostolic word, “We believe and therefore speak,” is about the last thing concerning them that one expects to hear fall from its lips. If there is to be a real lineal connection here between Protestantism and the faith of the ancient Church, this fond dream of Anglicanism will not answer. It must be shown to hold in some wider view and under some different form.
In these circumstances it is, that the theory of Calvin, if it can be maintained, would seem to be after all most truly conformed to the wants and conditions of the problem which requires to be solved, aiming as it does to mediate between the difficulties of the case as it actually stands on both sides. On the one hand it seeks to avoid Zuinglianism, which by stultifying all antiquity stultifies and kills itself; while on the other it pretends to no such identification with the past, as leaves no room for Protestantism to stand upon in its distinction from the Roman Catholic Church. It asserts, accordingly, a real participation of Christ's Body and Blood in the Eucharist as a transaction ; but denies their presence in the elements, and owns in the mystery no sacrifice. In these points it differs from the doctrine of the ancient Church. But must it not so differ, in order to be Protestant? The only question is, whether the difference be essential or simply accidental—the destruction of oneness and sameness absolutely, or such an outward diversity only as may resolve itself fairly into the laws of historical development and growth. And this is the question then for Protestantism as a whole interest; for as we have said before, there is no true middle position anywhere, as it seems to us, between the view of Calvin and the full dogma of the Catholic Church. If this Calvinistic doctrine, as we have it for instance in the Heidelberg Catechism, be not able to stand, it is not easy to see certainly how Protestantism itself can stand, as such, and keeping strictly to its own lines, unless as at open war with the whole faith that lives enshrined in the Liturgies of the Ancient Church. Mercersburg, Pa.
J. W. N.
[Baptism shall be performed in the church, before or after the regular service, except in cases of urgent necessity. The water being provided and put into the Font, or some other clean vessel, fit and decent for the sacred ordinance, the minister shall begin thus :]
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Grace be with you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
[Then, after the singing of a suitable hymn, the minister shall address the congregation :]
Dearly Beloved! Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, after His resurrection and shortly before His ascension to the right hand of God the Father Almighty, instituted the holy sacrament of Baptism for the remission of sins, saying to His disciples according to the gospel of St. Matthew, in the twentyeighth chapter: “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Hear also what is written by St. Mark in the tenth chapter of his gospel: The Jews “ brought children ” to Christ “that He should touch them," and His disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased and said unto them: “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you: Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And He took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them and blessed them.”
You see from these words and actions of our blessed Saviour, that He would have all men without distinction of sex or age to be baptized, and so to be introduced into the gracious covenant of the triune God, our Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier, that they may have part in its privileges, fulfil its duties and obtain finally its everlasting rewards. For He is a Saviour of all classes and conditions of man. He became a child to sanctify our childhood; a youth to sanctify our youth, and a man to sanctify our manhood. You see, moreover, how He commands especially little children to be brought unto Him, hów He rebukes those that would have kept them away, how readily He blesses them, how kindly He embraces them, how He pronounces them capable of, and entitled to the kingdom of God, how He exhorts us all to receive this kingdom as little children, and declares that no man can enter therein except by being like them in simplicity, humility, and trust. As it was required under the Old Testament that all infants eight days old should be circumcised, the promise being given to Abraham and his seed : so it is right and meet and in accordance with the divine will as well as with the practice of the holy catholic Church in all ages, that all children of Christian parents should receive the sign and the seal of the New Covenant which is far more comprehensive than the Old, and thus be dedicated from their earliest days to the service of the triune God and brought into a saving relation to Christ. And although infants have not committed any actual transgressions, yet are they born in sin and involved in the fall of Adam, our first parent, and must die in consequence of sin. Hence must they also be born again of water and of the Spirit, to enter into the kingdom of God. For “what is born of the flesh, is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit, is Spirit.”
Therefore, firmly believing the gracious promises of God which He on His part will most surely keep and perform, and relying on the power of His Holy Spirit, which like the wind bloweth where it listeth, so that we hear the sound thereof but cannot tell whence it cometh nor whither it goeth: let us commend this child (these children) to the grace of God, and humbly and devoutly pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He may receive (him, her, them) into His covenant of grace and holiness as a member (members) of Christ's mystical body of the Church, and to this effect send down His Holy Spirit upon the water of baptism that it may become to this child (these children) a laver of regeneration and a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Let us pray. (Kneeling.)
Almighty God our Heavenly Father, who hast created this child, (these children) for thy glory, be pleased graciously to make him (her, them) Thine also, by adoption that he (she, they) may grow up in Thy fear and serve Thee in true righteousness and holiness all the days of his (her, their) life. O Lord God Jesus Christ, who in the days of Thy flesh didst take little children into Thine arms and bless them, and who didst moreover shed Thy precious blood for them on the cross, mercifully receive also this child (these children) and engraft him (her, them) into Thy body, the Church, that he (she, they) may be Thine forever both in body and soul, in life and in death. 0 God the Holy Ghost, who camest down from heaven upon Jesus at His baptism on the banks of Jordan, descend also upon this child, (these children,) wash away his (her, their) sin, regenerate his (her, their) heart, that he (she, they) may become Thy temple and be filled with thy graces according to the promise given to us and to our children, even to as many as the Lord God shall call. O holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, Three persons and one God, bestow Thy rich favor upon this child, (these children,) grant unto him (her, them) true faith, ardent love and firm hope, send thy guardian angels to keep watch over him (her, them) day and night, fortify him (her, them) against the temptations of the flesh, the world and the devil, lead him (her, them) safe through the trials and tribulations of life, and after having served Thee faithfully on earth take him (her, them) up at last into the enjoyment of Thy glory in heaven to praise Thee with angels and saints forever and ever. Amen.
Our Father, etc.
Almighty and everlasting God, who of Thy great mercy didst save Noah and his family in the ark by water; and also didst safely lead the children of Israel, Thy people, through the Red Sea, figuring thereby Thy holy baptism; and by the baptism of Thy well beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in the river Jordan, didst sanctify water to the mystical washing away of sin: we beseech Thee for thine infinite mercies, graciously to look upon this child, (these children) to wash him, (her, them) and sanctify him (her, them) with the Holy Ghost, that he (she, they) being delivered from Thy wrath, may be received into the ark of Christ's Church, and being steadfast in faith, joyful through