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A Suggested Order for the Ministration of Holy Baptism.

New York: Edwin S. Gorham, 1937.

THE following suggested revision of the Ministration of Holy Baptism, according to the Use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, has been prepared by a group of six presbyters. Some of them belonged to the Committee of Four who published a suggested revision of the Communion Office in 1934; others to the Four Presbyters who published a similar revision in 1935. Their common interest in the development of liturgical tradition to meet the needs of the present day has led them to undertake this further effort.


Pastoral as well as strictly liturgical considerations have influenced this revised Order. The endeavour has been made (1) to remove phrases which, however unobjectionable, needed constant explanation; (2) to reduce the great emphasis on sin, which was inherited from the conditions of the early Church and the thought of the sixteenth century; (3) to give a larger place to prayer for normal growth in Christ, which is both a modern and a truly Christian centre of thought at the Baptism of either children of adults; (4) to recognize frankly the place of the parents at the Baptism of children by including them with the godparents as sponsors, and adding a prayer for them at the end. No essential ideas or genuinely traditional elements of the Baptismal Office have been removed.


The great forward step taken in the Baptism Office of the American Prayer Book of 1928 has made this proposal possible. It is sent forth in the hope that it will lead to discussion which will help the Church to decide what kind of Baptismal Office it will finally want for the twentieth century. Criticisms and suggestions will be welcomed, and should be address to Six Presbyters, 251 West 80th Street, New York, N. Y.


Six Presbyters.


New York City,

Lent, A.D. 1937.


A Suggested Order for the Ministration of Holy Baptism


The Minister of every Parish shall admonish the People, that they defer not the Baptism of their Children, and that it is most convenient that Baptism should be administered upon Sundays and other Holy Days, immediately after the Second Lesson at Morning or Evening Prayer. Nevertheless, if necessity so require, Baptism may be administered at such other time as the Minister shall appoint. And also he shall warn them that, except for urgent cause, they seek not to have their Children baptized in their houses.


¶ There shall be Sponsors for every Child to be baptized. These shall ordinarily include the Parents: and for every Male-child, two Godfathers and one Godmother; and for every Female, one Godfather and two Godmothers.


When Persons of riper years are to be baptized, timely notice shall be given to the Minister; that so due care may be taken for their examination, whether they he 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 of this holy Sacrament. And Note, That at the time of the Baptism of an Adult, there shall be present with him at the Font at least two Witnesses.


¶ The Minister shall previously make certain that those who are to be baptized have not already received this Sacrament.


¶ At the time appointed, the Minister, having come to the Font (which shall be filled with pure Water), shall say as followeth, the People all standing.


DEARLY beloved, in accordance with the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are gathered together to baptize this Child (Person). The Sacrament of Baptism is a sign of new birth in Christ, whereby, renouncing the sin by which the race of man departs from God, we return to our heavenly Father; receive from him the gift of his Holy Spirit; and are made members of his Church.


¶ At the Baptism of Children.


In bringing children to Baptism we gratefully acknowledge that all life comes from God and belongs to God: for God is love, and we were made for the joyous life of his family. It is, therefore, God’s will that we should dedicate this Child to his service, and receive him into the fellowship of his holy Church.


At the Baptism of Adults.


And we doubt not, that those who come with repentance and faith to this holy Sacrament receive the remission of their sins, and are made strong by God’s grace to fulfill all righteousness.


Wherefore let us faithfully and devoutly give thanks unto him, and say,


Minister and People.


ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, heavenly Father, We give thee humble thanks, That thou hast vouchsafed to call us To the knowledge of thy love, and faith in thee. Increase this knowledge, And confirm this faith in us evermore. Give thy Holy Spirit, we beseech thee, to this Child (Person), That he may be born again; And, growing in thy truth, May be made like unto thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Then shall the Minister say as followeth.


At the Baptism of Children.


              Hear the words of the Gospel according to Saint Mark, in the tenth Chapter, at the thirteenth Verse.


THEY brought young children to Christ, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that 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.


At the Baptism of Adults.


Hear the words of the Gospel according to Saint John, in the third Chapter, at the first Verse.


There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him. Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him. How can a man be horn when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered. Verily, verily, I say unto thee. Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee. Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.


At the Baptism of Children.


Then shall the Minister say unto the Sponsors as followeth.


Ye, who now bring this Child to Christ, thereby assume the sacred duty to train him in the Christian life, and to teach him the Christian Faith; and are yourselves to be his sureties, that he shall faithfully perform the promises which ye make for him, until such time as he take them upon himself.


At the Baptism of Adults.


Then shall the Minister say unto those to be baptized as followeth.


WELL-BELOVED, who hast come hither desiring to receive holy Baptism, I demand of thee, in the Name of God,


¶ Then shall the Minister address the Sponsors as followeth. But Note, That at the Baptism of Adults he shall address the Questions to those to be baptized, omitting the words in parentheses.


Dost thou (therefore, in the name of this Child) renounce the service of self, and all that is sinful and evil?

Answer. I do.

Minister. Dost thou (in the name of this Child) profess the Christian Faith?

Answer. I do.


Then may be said the Apostles’ Creed, as 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.


Minister. Dost thou (in the name of this Child) desire to be baptized in this Faith?

Answer. I do.

Minister. Dost thou (in the name of this Child) promise obedience to God’s holy will and commandments?

Answer. I do, God being my helper.

(Minister. Having now, in the name of this Child, made these promises, wilt thou also on thy part take heed that this Child be instructed in the Christian Faith, and Surrounded with Christian example?

Answer. I will, by God’s help.)


Then shall the Minister say.


Let us pray.


O MERCIFUL God, grant that this Child (Person) may, through thy strength, vanquish all sinful affections, and evermore triumph over evil. Amen.


Grant that, being illumined by thy Holy Spirit, he may overcome all doubt and fear, and may always believe and trust in thee. Amen.


Grant that all things belonging to the Spirit may so live and grow in him, that he may ever give to thee the love of his heart, and the service of his life. Amen.


Grant that whosoever is here dedicated to thee by our office and ministry, may also be endued with heavenly virtues, and attain unto eternal life; through thy mercy, O blessed Lord God, who dost live, and govern all things, world without end. Amen.


Minister. The Lord be with you.

Answer. And with thy spirit.

Minister. Lift up your hearts.

Answer. We lift them up unto the Lord.

Minister. Let us give thanks unto our Lord God.

Answer. It is meet and right so to do.


Then the Minister shall say,


IT is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should give thanks unto thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God, for that thy dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ did give commandment to his disciples, that they should go teach all nations, and baptize them In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Regard, we beseech thee, the supplications of thy congregation; sanctify this Water to the mystical washing away of sin; and grant that this Child (Person), now to be baptized therewith, may receive the fulness of thy grace, and ever remain in the number of thy faithful children; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory, now and evermore. Amen.


Then the Minister shall take the Child into his arms, or by the hand, and shall say to the Sponsors.


Name this Child.


And then, naming the Child after them, he shall dip him in the Water, or shall pour Water upon him, saying.


N. I baptize thee In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.


But Note, That if the Person to be baptized be an Adult, the Minister shall take him by the hand, and shall ask the Witnesses the Name; and then shall dip him in the Water, or pour Water upon him, using the same form of words.


Then the Minister shall say,


WE receive N. into the congregation of Christ’s flock; and do * sign him with the sign of the Cross, in token that hereafter he shall not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully to fight under his banner against sin, the world, and the devil; and to continue Christ’s faithful soldier and servant unto his life’s end. Amen.


* Here the Minister shall make a Cross upon the forehead of the Child or Person.


Then the Minister shall say,


SEEING now, dearly beloved brethren, that this Child (Person) is born again in Christ, and received into the fellowship of his Church, let us give thanks unto Almighty God for these benefits; and with one accord make our prayers unto him, that this Child (Person) may lead the rest of his life according to this beginning.


¶ Then shall be said,


OUR Father, who art in heaven; Hallowed be thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, And the power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.


Then shall the Minister say,


WE yield thee hearty thanks, most merciful Father, that it hath pleased thee to grant to this Child (this thy Servant) thy Holy Spirit, to receive him for thine own Child, and to incorporate him into thy holy Church. And humbly we beseech thee, that he, following him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, may live in accordance with thy will, and so obtain eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Minister may use the following, or other Prayers, at his discretion.


WATCH over this thy Child, O Lord, as his days increase; bless and guide him wherever he may be, keeping him ever unspotted from the world. Strengthen him when he stands; comfort him when discouraged or sorrowful; raise him up if he fall; and in his heart may thy peace, which passeth understanding, abide all the days of his life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Almighty God, heavenly Father, who hast blessed these thy Servants with the joy and care of this Child; Give them light and strength so to train him, that he may love whatsoever things are true and pure and lovely and of good report, following the example of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.


Teach this thy Servant, good Lord, to serve thee as thou deservest: to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labour and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that he does thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Then the Minister shall add,


THE God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus; Make you perfect through the power of the Holy Spirit, that ye may abide in his love and joy and peace, from this time forth, and for evermore. Amen.


The Minister shall warn the Sponsors that it is their duty to see that the Children are brought to the Bishop to be confirmed by him, so soon as they are come to years of discretion, and are sufficiently instructed in the Christian Faith. And it is expedient that every Adult, thus baptized, should be confirmed by the Bishop, so soon after his Baptism as conveniently may be; that so he may be admitted to the Holy Communion.


¶ If there be occasion for the Baptism of Children and of Adults at the same time, the Minister shall use the whole of the opening Exhortation, the Prayer following, the Gospel taken from the third Chapter of St. John, and the Questions (first to the Adults, and then to the Sponsors; if the Creed be used, it shall be said only at the time of the Questions to the Adults); and afterwards the remainder of the Office. And Note, That where in the Office is printed, This Child (Person), the Minister shall say, This Person and this Child; and where, This Child (this thy Servant), he shall say, These thy Servants.


Private Baptism.


¶ When, in consideration of extreme sickness, necessity may require, then shall the Minister proceed at once to ask the Name of the Child or Person, and to pour Water upon him, saying,


N. I baptize thee In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.


After which shall be said the Lord’s Prayer, and the Thanksgiving from this Office, beginning, We yield thee hearty thanks.


But Note, That in the case of an Adult, the Minister shall first ask the Questions provided in this Office at the Baptism of Adults.


In cases of extreme sickness, or any imminent peril, if a Minister cannot be procured, then any baptized Person present may administer holy Baptism, using the foregoing form. Such Baptism shall be promptly reported to the Parish authorities.


The Receiving of One Privately Baptized.


It is expedient that a Child or Person so baptized be afterward brought to the Church, at which time these parts of the foregoing Service shall be used: The Gospel, the Questions (omitting the question Dost thou desire to be baptized in this Faith? and the answer thereto), the Declaration, beginning, We receive, and the remainder of the Office.


Conditional Baptism.


If there be reasonable doubt whether any Child or Person was baptized with Water, In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (which are essential parts of Baptism), such Child or Person may be baptized in the form before appointed in this Office; saving that, at the immersion or pouring of Water, the Minister shall use the following form of words.


IF thou art not already baptized, N., I baptize thee In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

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