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ches to make diligent inquiry through their whole Parishes and the Heaths, to see if there are any that are not Christened, besides the search that the most Illustrious Metropolitan does intend at his next Visitation, as he did at his former; and that the said Vicars on the high Festivals, upon which those that live in the Heaths do usually come to Church, shall admonish them all in general, that in case there are any among them that have never been baptized, or that have some reason to doubt whether they have or not, that they go to them and acquaint them therewith in private, that so they may be secretly Christened, and without paying any Fee, letting them know that they are not Christians, nor capableof inheriting Eternal Life, nor of receiving the Holy Sacraments without being baptized; and all Preachers shall frequently give the same admonition, and all Confeflors must be careful to ask all rude Christians that live in the Heaths, whether they have been baptized, and in case it appear doubt. ful, they shall then baptize them privately. The Synod grants the fame License to all Priests within or without this Diocess, to baptize all such fecretly, in what place foever they shall think fit.
THE Synod being informed that there are
some small Villages in this Diocess, which, by reason of the great distance they are at from any Church, and through the negligence of their
Prelates and Priests, tho they call themselves Christians of St. Thomas, because descended of such, yet are not Baptized, having nothing of Christians but the bare name, doth command a diligent enquiry to be made into this matter, recommending the same to the most Reverend Metropolitan, and commanding all Vicars of Churches to search all places bordering upon their Parishes, and to oblige all such to be Baptized : The Synod doth likewise command Chappels to be built in or near to all such Villages, and to be provided with such Curates as may instruct them in all matters of Faith, that so there may be none in all these parts that call themselves Christians of St. Thomas, but what are Baptized ; and of some Parish where they may receive the Sacraments.
Y reason of the great negligence that is so
visible in the Christians of this Bishoprick, in bringing their Children to be baptized within eight days after they are born, according to the Custom of the Church, but chiefly among thofe that live at a considerable distance from any Church, whose Children are many times some Months or Years old before they are Christen'd ; the Synod doth strictly command, That all Children be baptized on the 8th day after they are born, according to the custom of the Univerfal Church, without there should be some dan
ger of their dying before, in which case they ought to be Christened immediately, or that it should so happen, that if they are not baptized sooner, they cannot be in a long time, in which case also they ought to be presently Christened ; and for those that live in Heaths, and far from any Church, if they should not be able to bring their Children to be baptized on the eighth day, they must not fail to bring them betwixt the fifteenth and the twentieth ; and all that are found to be negligent herein, let them be punish'd severely; and whosoever shall neglect to bring their own Children, or others that they have the charge of, tho their Slaves, to Baptism for above a Month, let them be thrown out of the Church, neither shall it be lawful for any Priest to go to their Houses, or to give them the Casturi, or a Visit, no not in order to perswade them to bring their Children to Baptism : But if it should be probable that the length of the Way might endanger the Child's Life, then let the Father or Guardian signifie so much to the Vicar of the Church to which they belong, that a fit remedy may be taken therein, that the Baptism of the Infant be no longer deferred; and in such Cases the Synod doth command all Vicars either in Person, or by some other Priest, to hasten to go; the doing thereof with diligence being one of the highelt Duties of their Function.
Deeree Decree Vi.
"He present Synod doth condemn the Custom
in this Diocess, of not Baptizing the Infants of Pa. rents that are Excommunicated, for fear of having some Communion with them, by which means it often happens, that Children continue unbaptized for many Years, thereby running a great hazard of dying without Baptism; and ordaining the contrary, commands the Children of Excommunicated Parents to be Christend as well as others, and to that intent declares, That they that go into such Families to fetch such Children, or shall carry or accompany them to Church, shall incurr no censure or punishment whatsoever for so doing ; nevertheless, the Perfons that are Excommunicated shall not be suffer'd to go along with them, nor shall 0thers go to any Feast or Banquet at their Houses which they may have made on that occasion.
He Synod doth exhort and admonish all Fa
thers and Mothers, and all other Perfons that are present at Womens Labour, to be careful not to suffer any Infant to die without Baptism: Wherefore if they shall perceive the Child when it is born, to be weak, or in danger of dying presently, they shall then, if it can be
done, done, call the Vicar, or in his absence any other Priest, to come immediately to Baptize the Infant ; but if the danger shall be such as nor to admit of any delay, in that case any Person that is present shall Baptize it in the Church ; throwing Water upon its Face, and saying, I Baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen : which shall be done by Ecclesiasticks, if any are present, rather than Laicks, and by Men, rather than Women, if they know the Form; but if they do not, then any one that knows it may perform it; and when Infants are in danger of dying in the birth, in case the Head or any other principal Meniber doth appear, tho' the whole Body should not, they shall sprinkle the Member that appears with Water, using the Form. And as for those that have been Baptized in this manner, if they shall happen to live, and it shall be proved that they were Baptized' on the Head, or the greater part of the Body, they shall not then be Christen'd again, but shall only be carried to the Church to be anointed with the Holy Oils; but if the Baptism was performed on any other part, they shall then be Baptized again, but with a Condition, saying, If thou art not Baptized, 1 Buptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen: And after the same manner Priests, and others shall behave themselves, as to such Persons of whofe Baptism they have any reason to doubt; provided, if there are any other present, it shail not be lawful for the Parents of 02