Imatges de pàgina
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tegrity or Essence of the Sacraments; there are three that imprint a Spiritual sign on the Soul, that can never be blotted out ; it is called a Character, which is the reason why those Sacraments are never to be repeated ; they are Baptism, Confirmation and Orders ; the other four, that is, Penitence, the Eucharist, Extream Un&ion, and Matrimony, imprint no Spiritual Sign in the Soul, and so may be repeated with due Order ; but tho' these seven Sacraments are all Divine, and do contain Grace, and dispense it to their worthy Receivers, deserving our most profound Reverence and Adoration, on the account of the Majesty of their Institutor, who was our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, as also for the altistance of the Holy Spirit, who operates in conjunction with them; and for the virtue that is in them for the curing of Souls, the Treasure of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, being deposited in them, and dispensed to us by their means ; Nevertheless this does not hinder, but that in some respects, some of them may be more worthy than others, and may deserve a greater reverence and veneration. These Sacraments were all instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ before his Ascention into Heaven, that so by their means he might communicate Grace, and other Spiritual Benefits, he had merited for us by his Death on the Cross, confirming them to the faithful by his Word and Promises, that so by using them lawfully, and with due dispositions, we might be ascertained of his commu

nicating nicating himself, and all the fruits of his Passion to us, in every one of them, in such a manner as he represents himself in them.

The Do&trine of the Holy Sacrament of

Baptifm.

TH

He first of all the Sacraments is that of Bap

tism, which is the Gate of the Spiritual Life, and that whereby we are made capable of the other Sacraments, of which without it we are no ways capable; for as a Man must first be born, before he can enjoy the good things of the Natural Life, so Men before they are born again in Baptism, are not capable of enjoying the heavenly advantages of a Spiritual Life, it being by Baptism that we are made Members of Christ, and are incorporated into the Christian Common-wealth, and the Mystical Body of the Church ; for as by the first man Death came upon all, tor the Şin of Disobedience committed by him and us, for which Sin we were excluded the Kingdom of Heaven, and were born Children of Wrath, and separated from God, so that without being born again of Water and the Spirit, we cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, as Christ himself has taught us ; so that as we were born Children of Wrath, by Baptism we return to be Children of Grace, and as we were born in sin the Sons of Men, in Baptism we are born the Sons of God; all that are bap

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tized in Christ, as St. Paul hath it, having put on Christ: The Matter of this Sacrament, is true, natural, and common Water, as of the Sea, Rivers, Fountains, Lakes, or Rain, and no other, tho never so pure and clean; all others being Liquors, and not natural Water: The Form is, I Baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The Minister of this Sacrament is a Priest, to whom it belongs by virtue of his Office; but in case of necessity, not only a Priest or Deacon, but a Lay-man, or Woman, nay an Infidel, a Mahometan, a Heretick, or Jew: In a word, any Person that can Baptize, using the Form of the Church, and intending to do what she does, may administer this Sacrament: For seeing none can be saved without being Baptized, therefore as our Lord ordained Water than which nothing is more ready at hand, to be the matter of this Sacrament, so he would exclude no Man from being the Minister thereof; the effects and virtue of this Sacrament, is, the pardon and remission of all sins Original and Adual, and of all punishments due to them; for which reason there is no Penance to be enjoyned those that are Baptized, for any sin they committed before Baptism, all that die after Baptism, before they have committed any sin, going directly to Heaven, where they enjoy the Divine Vision for ever.

Decree

2

Decree 1.

WHereas in the Examination of the Forms of

the administration of the Sacraments of the Church in this Diocess, made by the most Reverend Metropolitan in his last Visitation, he found that in divers Churches there were different Forms used, and written in the Baptisteries, some Curates using the Form following ; * N. is Baptized and perfected, in the name of the Father, Amen; in the name of the Son, Amen; in the name of the Holy Ghost, Amen : Others using the Greek Form, saying, Baptizetur servus Christi, in nomine Patris, Amen; in nomine Filii, Amen; in nomine Spiritûs Sancti, Amen. The Synod in virtue of Obedience, and upon pain of Excommunication to be ipfo fa&to incurred, doth command, that no Person shall presume hereafter to use either these, or any other Forms, but that which is used in the Holy Roman Church; I Baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and that all other Forms be blotted out of their Baptisteries, and Books, and this be put in their place.

* The Ancient Form of Baprizing was by Prayer.

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Decree II.

THis Synod being informed, That at divers

times they have used different Forms of Baptism in this Diocess, which were iniroduced

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by Schismatical and Ignorant Prelates, some of which were not Legitimate, neither was the Sacrament administred by them, as was declared by the most Illustrious Metropolitan, and others, after a strict Examination; and others were very doubtful, doth therefore in the name of the Holy Ghost, desire and command all the faithful Christians of this Diocess to declare to the said Metropolitan at the Visitation he intends to make of the Churches of this Diocess, or to Perfons deputed by him, the time when they were Baptized, that fo according to the Form that was then used, a saving remedy may be provided, in conformity to what shall be ordained therein, and that all submit themselves to whatsoever be shall be pleased to order.

Decree III.

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Orasmuch as the Synod is informed, that

there are many Persons in this Diocefs, and especially among those that live in the Heaths, and are far from any Church, who tho' they are not Baptized, yet being of a Christian race, do profess themselves Christians, and when they come where there is a Church, do go to it and receive the Holy Sacraments with others, and out of meer shame of letting it be known that they are not Christened, do die without Baptism; and others because they will not pay the Fees, which are Simoniacally demanded of them: It doth therefore command all Vicars of Chur

ches

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