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merciful God and Father, the eternal salvation of the
living, and the everlasting life of the dying; seeing that thou hast death and life in thy hand alone, and takest such care of us continually, that neither health nor sickness, nor any good or evil can befal us, nay not a hair can fall from our head without thy will: And since thou dost order all things for the good of thy people, we beseech thee grant us the grace of thy holy Spirit, to teach us rightly to acknowledge our misery, and patiently to bear thy chastisments, which we have deserved ten thousand times more severe. We know that they are not the evidences of thy wrath, but of thy fatherly love towards us, that we should not be condemned with the world. O Lord, increase our faith in thine infinite mercy, that we may be more and more united to Christ, as members to their spiritual head, to whom thou wilt make us conform in sufferings and in glory. Lighten the cross, so that our weakness may be able to bear it. We submit ourselves entirely to thy holy will, whether thou art pleased to continue our souls longer in these tabernacles, or take them into eternal life, since we belo to Christ, and therefore shall not perish. We would willingly leave this weak body in hopes of a blessed resurrection, when it shall be restored to us much more glorious. Grant us to experience the blessed comfort of the remission of sins, and of justification through Christ, that we by that shield may overcome all the assaults of satan. May his innocent blood wash away all the stain, and uncleanness of our sins, and his righteousness answer for our unrighteousness in thy last judgment. Arm us with faith and hope, that we may not be ashamed or confounded by the terror of death; but when our bodily eyes are closing in darkness, may the eyes of our souls be directed towards thee, and when thou shalt have deprived us of the use of our tongues, may our hearts never cease to call upon thee. O Lord, we commit our souls into thy hands, forsake us not in our last extremity, and that only for the sake of Christ Jesus, who hath taught us to pray: Our Father, &c.
FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF BAPTISM TO INFANTS
|HE principal parts of the doctrine of holy baptism are these three: First. That we with our children are conceived and born in sin, and therefore are children of wrath, in so much that we cannot enter into the kingdom of God, except we are born again. This the dipping in or sprinkling with water teaches us, whereby the impurity of our souls is signified, and we admonished to loath, and humble ourselves before God, and seek for our purification and salvation with
Secondly. Holy baptism witnesseth and sealeth unto us the washing away of sins through Jesus Christ.Therefore we are baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. For when we are baptised in the name of the Father, God the Father witnesseth and sealeth unto us, that he doth make an eternal covenant of grace with us, and adopts us for his children and heirs, and therefore will provide us with every good thing, and avert all evil, or turn it to our profit. And when we are baptised in the name of the Son, the Son sealeth unto us, that he doth wash us in his blood of all our sins, incorporating us into the fellowship of his death and resurrection, so that we are freed from all our sins, and accounted righteous before God. In like manner, when we are baptised in the name of the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost assures us, by this holy sacrament, that he will dwell in us, and sanctify us to be members of Christ, applying unto us, that which we have in Christ, namely, the
washing away of our sins, and the daily renewing of our lives, till we shall finally be presented without spot or wrinkle among the assembly of the elect in life eternal.
Thirdly. Whereas in all covenants, there are contained two parts; therefore are we by God through baptism, admonished of, and obliged unto new obedience, namely, that we cleave to this one God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; that we trust in him, and love him with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our mind, and with all our strength; that we forsake the world, crucify our old nature, and walk in a new and holy life.
And if we sometimes through weakness fall into sin, we must not therefore despair of God's mercy, nor continue in sin, since baptism is a seal and undoubted testimony, that we have an eternal covenant of grace with God.
And although our young children do not understand these things, we may not therefore exclude them from baptism, for as they are without their knowledge, partakers of the condemnation in Adam, so are they again received unto grace in Christ; as God speaketh unto Abraham the father of all the faithful, and therefore unto us and our children, Gen. xvii. 7, saying, I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee in their generations, for an everlasting covenant; to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. This also the apostle Peter testifieth, with these words, Acts ii. 39. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Therefore God formerly commanded them to be circumcised, which was a seal of the covenant, and the righteousness of faith and therefore Christ also embraced them, laid his hands upon them and blessed them: Mark chap. x.
Since then baptism is come in the place of circumcision, therefore infants are to be baptised as heirs of the kingdom of God, and his covenant. And parents are in duty hound, farther to instruct their children herein, when they shall arrive to years of discretion. That therefore this holy ordinance of God, may be administered to his glory, to our comfort, and the edification of his church, let us call upon his holy name.
ALMIGHTY and eternal God "(who in thy severe judgment, didst punish the unbelieving and impenitent world with the flood, and didst of thy great mercy save and preserve the faithful Noah and his family who didst drown the hard hearted Pharaoh and all his host in the Red Sea, and didst safely lead thy people Israel through the same, by which baptism was signified,)" We beseech thee that thou wilt be pleased of thine infinite mercy, graciously to look upon these children, and incorporate them by thy holy Spirit into thy Son Jesus Christ, that they may be buried with him into his death, and be raised with him in newness of life; that they may daily follow him, joyfully bearing their cross, and cleave unto him in true faith, firm hope, and ardent love; that they may with a comfortable sense of thy favour, leave this life, (which is nothing but a continual death) and at the last day, may appear without terror before the judgmentseat of Christ thy Son, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost, one only God, lives and reigns for ever. Amen.
An Exhortation to the Parents, and those who come with them to Baptism.
ELOVED in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have heard that baptism is an ordinance of God, to seal unto us and to our seed his covenant, therefore it must be used for that end, and not out of custom or su