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Rome, with the exception of its grosser superfluities, such as the oil, the salt, and the spittle, as was stated before; but in essence they left it the same. They left it a standing article in the Protestant Church, that it was absolutely necessary to salvation,* without which none can be buried in consecrated ground. The great inconsistency of which will appear by supposing the following case: Should the husband lose an affectionate wife in the hour of nature's sorrow, and commit her remains to the place appointed for the burial of the dead, and in a few weeks afterwards the child also should die; but being absorbed in grief at the loss of bis faithful partner, and his attention being engaged with his numerous family of motherless children, be bad neglected to call in the priest, to baptize and regenerate the last-born infant,-would the priest permit it to be buried in the same grave with its mother? Certainly not: for, according to the 68th canou, he would subject himself to the pain of suspension for so doing.*
Perhaps this would be best explained by simply stating how this piece of religious buffoonery is practised in our Protestant Church in the present day; and as I once had the honour to be baptized by a drunken curate, and was the hero of a Christmas scene, I will just state how they performed this ceremony upon me, when I was an infant.
Vide Book of Common Prayer-Baptism of Infants.
✦ There are but three cases, you know, Sir, in which your church refuses this solemn office of burial; viz, to those who die unbaptized, to self-murderers, and to those who are under sentence of the greater excommunication. As for all other persons, who are brought to the church-yard, it very strictly commands you, even under pain of suspension, by Canon LXVIII. that you use over them the form prescribed by the Common Prayer. Now, hence it comes to pass, that over some of the most abandoned and profligate of mankind, over men who have been cut down in a course of open impiety, by a sudden and untimely death, or who even fell by the hand of justice for some black and atrocious crime;-over these, I say, your church, and I say it WITH ASTONISHMENT, directs has and commands you most solemnly to declare, That Almighty God, of his great mercy, taken to himself the soul of this your dear brother. You give God hearty thanks that it hath pleased him to deliver him out of the miseries of this sinful world; and you pray God, that when you yourselves shall depart out of this life, you may rest in Christ as your hope, as this your brother doth.
Towgood's Dissent from the Church of England.
I was born in the autumn of the year, nearly half a century ago, in a country village, between the Malvern Hills and the Black Mountains in Wales; and at the Christmas following my parents deemed it a good opportunity to make me a Christian, (as the register books of a certain church can testify). Accordingly four safe and respectable persons were expressly elected to become my sureties or sponsors, commonly called godfathers and godmothers. The day arrived, and all the parties willingly obeyed the summous; the church-bell, like a military drum, giving the signal to march. Soon after we arrived at the parish church, we were conducted to the place called the font; i e. a block of stone, carved in the ancient Gothic style, the top concave, in which stood a small pewter porringer, with about half a pint of water. When we were all arranged in single file around this christening block, the priest came, and in an audible voice asked, Has this child been already baptized, or not?" This was answered, by one of my bondswomen, in the negative.
On the first blush of the case, this would appear a very unnecessary question; for, if I had been baptized before, what need was
⚫ It has been observed before, that in the earliest time of Christianity, baptisms were performed in ponds and rivers, and other convenient places; that afterwards the baptisms were celebrated in the places where the congregations were held; but after the empire became christian, and the faithful had a free exercise of their religion they had public places for the celebrating their baptisms erected. These edifices were called baptisteries, which at first were only one public one in each city, adjoining to the great church thereof, (Cyril Catech. Myst.) some of which are yet to be seen in the cities of Italy, at Pisa, Florence, Bononia, Parma, &c. wherein formerly adults and infants, rich and poor, were promiscuously baptized together. (Greg. Naz. Orat. XL.) Some of the Latin and Greek writers speak of a stupendous baptistery, built by Constantine the Great, of por phyry stone; the basin in the middle being of silver; from the middle of which, a porphyry pillar rising up supported a golden cup of 50 lbs. weight, filled always with fragrant perfume; over this stood a holy Lamb of pure gold, out of whose mouth the water was spouted; on the right hand stood the statue of our Saviour; on the left another of Saint John the Baptist; both of silver. (Dam. in Vita Sylv. Theophanis Hist. ab Orb, Cond. in Constant.) Afterwards, as this part of the world became generally christian, the baptism of adults became less frequent; and therefore the building baptisteries as distinct rooms from the church, with large cisterns to receive the bodies of full-grown persons, began to be left off, and smaller fonts of the present fashion grew into use. Dr. Nicholls.
there for them to baptize me again? But with this the curate had nothing to do; he had only to read what he found in his book.*
He then proceeded with the ceremony; i. e. he commenced transforming me from a lump of flesh and blood and matter, to a Christian, by regenerating me, by giving me another birth, and engrafting me into the Church of Christ; according to the following form:
"Dearly beloved, forasmuch as all men are conceived and born in sin, and that our Saviour Christ saith, none can enter into the kingdom of God, except he be regenerate, and born anew of water and of the Holy Ghost; I beseech you to call upon God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that of his bounteous mercy he will grant to this child, that thing which by nature he cannot have, that he may be baptized with water and the Holy Ghost, and received into Christ's holy church, and be made a lively member of the same."
We are here taught to believe, that some strange and unac countable secret change took place in me, that something, "which by nature I could not have," was charmed into me; and we find, by reading a little more of this ceremony, that this was not considered as a form of words only, or a prayer offered up, and the result left to the will of God; but that the change actually did take place, while the priest was performing the ceremony upon me, by sprinkling water in my face, and signing me with the sign of the cross; for the whole party kneeled down, and the priest said
This might have been a wise precaution on the part of our reformers, for country people make mistakes sometimes; as may be seen by the following note, taken from the Morning Post:
"A CHRISTENING.-On Sunday last, the rector of a Parish in Somersetshire was duly apprised by the clerk that there was to be a christening after the service; and at the ap pointed hour the clergyman repaired to the font, where he found two men and two women, all of whom had long ago reached their “years of discretion,” but who, on this occasion, proved their deficiency in another faculty of the mind; for when the clergyman inquired upon which of the party he was to perform the ceremony, one of the men turned round, and with a most sagacious look, exclaimed, "Dang it, Dame, if we ha'n't a left the child at whoam!" The dame's response was, "Zo we av, zure enough!" and the clergyman was obliged to wait till one of the party brought the child from a neighbouring farm house.
to be yield thee hearty thanks, most merciful Father, that it be had a pleased thee to regenerate this infant with thy Holy Spirit, to redede him for thine own child by adoption, and to incorporate him frothy holy church. And humbly we beseech thee to grant, that rating dead unto sin, and living unto righteousness, and being ed with Christ in his death, may crucify the old man, and rly abolish the whole body of sin, and that as he is made parr of the death of thy Son, he may also be partaker of his resurion; so that finally with the residue of thy holy church, he may Serine Oriss in inheritor of thine everlasting kingdom, through Christ our d."
pt he be regar
water and Des
Now, let me ask my much-respected protestant friends, if this uld not appear extremely ridiculous to a native of the eastern rt of the world, or a deist, who perchance might be standing by, see a grave divine regenerate me, and engraft me into the church Christ, when I was only a few weeks old, and to ask me, “Dost ou believe? Wilt thou be baptized? Dost thou forsake the evil?" Forsake the devil, forsooth: at that time I had not the onour of his acquaintance; how then, in common sense, was I to Orsake him?
But I know our protestant friends will say, All this is done by roxy; your sureties, your sponsors, your bondsmen and bondswomen, did all this for you. What, were they regenerated for me? Were they born again for me? Were they engrafted into the church of Christ for me? Were they baptized for me? Did they believe for me? Did they forsake the devil for me? If they did, they were exceedingly kind: and having done nineteen things for me, I hope they will do the twentieth; i. e. just be damned for me; I should then feel myself quite at liberty.*
To say that my godfathers and godmothers did all this for me,
The late Bishop Burnett, in his charge to the clergy of the diocese of Salisbury, mentioned an expression made use of by one of the ancient fathers, when a young man came to be ordained, and who wanted to hold two livings; the good bishop asked him, How he was to discharge the duty of both? He answered, He would do the duty of one himself, and the other could be done by a substitute. Yes, answered the bishop, you may get the duty done by substitute; but you will be damned in person.
would be a contradiction in terms; for it was in me that the change took place; which may be proved, to the satisfaction of any person, by supposing the following case: In going to the church, we had to pass over some very rough country gates and stiles: now, suppose the old nurse's foot had slipped, and she had tumbled down, and broke my neck, (and had it been after dinner, instead of before, the chances would have been ten to one against me,) would the priest have allowed me to be put under the turf within the churchyard walls, where the sheep and pigs had the honour to graze? No, certainly not; that is consecrated ground: and I was then a Jump of flesh and blood and matter-a little heathen. I must have been thrown into the ditch, or buried in the garden like a dog or
Again, on the other hand, suppose the accident to have happened on our return, after I had been regenerated and born again, and made a Christian: what would have been the consequence then? Why, forsooth, I should have had the honour of a coffin; I should have had the honour of a grave in consecrated ground, and the very priest himself would have done me the honour to call me his dear brother.
“We thank thee, O God, for taking unto thyself the soul of our dear bro ber here departed." Now, if the change did not, or does not, take place in the infant, but in the sponsors, let me ask, in the name of common sense, can this be? The child, prior to baptism, is refused admittance into consecrated ground, to lie by the side of its mother, as stated at page 520, but must be buried like a brute; yet the moment it has been baptized, should it die, it will be received, and acknowledged by the priest as his dear brother, and have all the honours and paraphernalia of a Christian funeral; yet it is not the child, but the sponsors! Reason his stagnant here; argument is dumb; that can be said of it, is, what Latimer told Edward VI-a mingle-mangle, hotch-potch, that few ever did or ever will un
Every body knows Bishop Latimer's homely manner of speaking of the Reformation. At the close of a sermon preached before Edward VI. It was yet, he said, but a mingle