1902 Encyclopedia > Baptism

Baptism




BAPTISM. Christian baptism is the sacrament by which a person is initiated into the Christian Church. The word is derived from the Greek Sanritfa, the frequentative form of [iainm, to dip or wash, which, is the term used in the New Testament when the sacrament is described. In discussing what is meant by baptism, three things have to be inquired into—(1) the origin of the rite, (2) its meaning, or the doctrine of baptism, and (3) the form of the rite itself.

I. The Origin of Baptism.—Christian theologians do not require to go further back than to the New Testament, for there, in the record of our Lord's life, and in the writings of His apostles, they find all that is required to form a basis for their doctrines. The principal passages in the New Testament in which baptism is described are as follows :—Matt, xxviii. 18-20; Mark xvi 16 ; John iii. 26; Acts ii. 38, x. 44,,/. ,viii. 16, xix. 1, ff., xxii. 16; Rom. vi. 4; 1 Cor. L 14-16, vi. 11; Eph. v. 26 ; Col. ii. 12 ; Heb. x. 22, 23, &c. From these texts we learn that baptism is specially connected with the gift of the Holy Spirit, with the forgiveness of sins, with our being buried with Christ; and we are also taught by whom baptism is to be administered, and who are the proper partakers in the ordinance. It is from a due arrangement and comparison of the conceptions in these texts that a doctrine of baptism has been formed. But while theologians do not require to go beyond the New Testment for the origin and meaning of baptism, historical investigation cannot help trying to trace analogies to the rite in Old Testament and even in Pagan history. In the New Testament itself there are two distinct kinds of baptism spoken of—the baptism of John and Christian baptism. Treatises on Jewish antiquities speak of the baptism of proselytes; and St Paul applies the term baptism to describe certain Old Testament events, and we find in use among certain Pagan tribes rites strongly resembling Christian baptism, so far as external ceremonies go. Hence the question arises, What is the relation of Christian baptism to these %
Writers on the antiquities of the Christian church were accustomed to find the source of Christian baptism in the baptism of John, and to assert that John's baptism was simply a universal and symbolical use of the well known ceremony of the baptism of proselytes, and they connected this Jewish rite with Old Testament and even with Pagan lustrations. But this mode of explanation must now be abandoned. It is very difficult to show any real connection between the baptism of John and Christian baptism further than the general relation which all the actions of the forerunner must have had to those of the Messiah. We know very little about the baptism of John, and all attempts to describe it minutely are founded either upon conjecture or upon its identity with the baptism of prose-lytes. Was John's baptism an initiation, and if so, initiation into what ? Did Christ baptize in His lifetime, or did Christian baptism properly begin after Christ's death, and after the mission of the Holy Ghost ] What was the formula of John's baptism, and was there any change or growth in the formula of Christian baptism! (The Tubingen School, for example, think that the formula in Acts ii. is much earlier than the complete and more developed one in Matt, xxviii. 19.) All these questions require to be answered with much more precision than the present state of our information admits of, before we can define the precise relation subsisting between the baptism of John and the baptism of Christ.

The connection between the baptism of John and the Jewish baptism of proselytes, of which a great deal has been made, is also founded on assumptions which cannot be proved. This very plausible theory first assumes that proselytes were baptized from an early time in the Jewish Church, although the Old Testament tells us nothing about it, and then supposes that John simply made use of this ordinary Jewish rite for the purpose of declaring symbolically that the whole Jewish nation were disfranchised, and had to be re-admitted into the spiritual Israel by means of the same ceremony which gave entrance to members of heathen nations. But the subject of the baptism of proselytes is one of the most hopelessly obscure in the whole round of Jewish antiquities, and can never be safely assumed in any argument; and the general results of investigation seem to prove that the baptism of proselytes was not one of the Jewish ceremonies until long after the coming of Christ, while there is much to suggest that this Jewish rite owes its origin to Christian baptism. Others again, as Steitz, find the historical basis of baptism in the lustrations or sprinklings with water so often mentioned in the Old Testament, in such symbolical acts as Naaman's bathing in the Jordan, and in various prophecies where purification from sin is denoted by sprinkling, e.g., Ezek. xxxvi. 26-30, Zech. xiii. 1, ore.; but such anticipations can scarcely be called the historical origin of the rite. Many modern writers connect baptism with certain Pagan rites, and point to the lustrations in use in religious initiation among the Egyptians, Persians, and especially the Hindus, but very little can be made of such far-fetched analogies. Perhaps the most curious instance of this kind is to be found in the double baptism,—the one Pagan and civil, and the other religious and Christian,—which existed side by side with each other in Norway and Iceland. The Pagan rite was called " ansa vatri," while the name for Christian baptism was " skero." The Pagan rite was much older than the introduction of Christianity, and was connected with the savage custom of exposing infants who were not to be brought up. The newly-born infant was presented to the father, who was to decide whether the child was to be reared or not; if he decided to rear it, then water was poured over the child and the father gave it a name; if it was to be exposed, then the ceremony was not gone through. The point to be observed is that, if the child was exposed by any one after the ceremony had been gone through, it was a case of murder, whereas it was not thought a crime if the child was made away with before water had been poured over it and it had been named. The analogy lies in the use of water, the bestowal of the name, and the entrance into civil life through the rite.





II. The Doctrine of Baptism.—Among the Greek Fathers, for it is there we must look for the beginning of the doctrine, baptism was called by various names, all of which referred to the spiritual effects which were supposed to accompany the rite. For example, a common term for baptism was LTaAiyyevEo-ia, or regeneration—for every Christian was supposed to be born again by the waters of baptism. " We fishes," says Tertullian, " are born in water, conformable to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,—l\$ik." ('b/croSs Xpioros, ®tov Yids, 2<i>r>?p=-ix6'us.) It was also called 4><arurfjio~, or illumination; mysterium; signaculum, or * seal of the Lord; character Dominions; _____ or Itvcrraywyia, the initiation; ¤<j>obiov, or viaticum, from its being administered to departing persons; sacerdotium laid, or the lay priesthood, because allowed, in cases of necessity, to be conferred by laymen; the great drcumcision, because it was held to succeed in the room of circumcision ; Supov and _____/_ Kvplov, the gift of the Lord, because it had Christ for its author, and not man; sometimes by way of eminence simply Supov; TeXeiWis and _____-7, the consecration and consummation, because it gave men the perfection of Christians, and a right to partake of __ rtktiov, the Lord's Supper. In studying the statements made by the early Fathers upon baptism, we find not so much a distinct and definite doctrine as gropings toward a doctrine, and it is not until we come to St Augustine that we can find any strict and scientific theory of the nature and effects of the sacrament. The earlier theologians sometimes make state-ments which imply the most extreme view of the magical effects of the sacrament, and at other times explain its results in a purely ethical way. Thus, for example, Hennas says,—" Our life is sanctified by water;" while Tertullian expressly declares,—" Anima non lavatione sed responsione sancitur." It should never be forgotten that the abundant use of metaphorical language by the Greek Fathers, and the want of anything like a strictly theological terminology, prevent our finding anything like the precise doctrinal statements which became familiar in the Western Church; while the prevalence of curious Greek physical speculations, which taught the creative power of water, mingled with and distorted the ideas about the effects of the water in baptism. It was St Augustine, the great theologian of the Western Church, who first gave expression to exact dogmatic statements about the nature and meaning of baptism. The real difficulty to be explained was the connection between the outward rite and the inward spiritual change; or to put it more precisely, the relation between the water used and the Holy Spirit who can alone regenerate. The Greek theologians had shirked rather than faced the difficulty, and used terms at one time exaggerating the magical value of the element, at another insisting on the purely ethical and spiritual nature of the rite; but they never attempted to show in what precise relation the external rite stood to the inward change of heart. It is true that one or two theologians had almost anticipated Augustine's view, but the anticipation was more apparent than real, for the theology of the Greek Church in this, as in most other doctrines, is greatly hampered by the mystical tendency to represent regeneration and kindred doctrines much more as a species of chemical change of nature than as a change in the relations of the will. Augustine insisted strongly on the distinction between the sacrament itself and what he called the " res sacramenti," between the inward and spiritual and the outward and material, and by doing so Augustine became the founder of both the modern Boman Catholic and the modern orthodox Protestant views. Apart from certain modifying influences, it would not be difficult for the orthodox Protestant to subscribe to most of Augustine's views upon baptism, for he insists strongly on the uselessness of the external sign without the inward blessing of the Spirit. But in this doctrine, as in most others, Augustine's doctrine of the Church so inter-fered as to make practically inoperative his more spiritual views of baptism The Church, Augustine thought, was the body of Christ, and that in a peculiarly external and physical way, and just as the soul of man cannot, so far as we know, exert any influence save upon and through the body, so the Spirit of Christ dispenses His gracious and regenerating influences only through the body of Christ, i.e., the Church. But the Church, Augustine thought, was no invisible spiritual communion. It was the visible kingdom of God, the visible " civitas Dei in peregrinatione per terras," and so entrance into the Church, and the right and possibility of participating in the spiritual benefits which members of the Church can alone enjoy was only possible by means of a visible entrance into this visible kingdom Thus while Augustine in theory always laid greatest stress upon the work of the Holy Spirit and upon the spiritual side of baptism, he practically gave the impulse to that view of the sacrament which made the external rite of primary importance. It was the Holy Spirit who alone imparted spiritual gifts to the children of God. But the one way by which the benefits of this Spirit could be shared was in the first place through baptism. Baptism was thought to be necessary to salvation, and aB who were unbaptized were unsaved. In this way Augustine, while recognizing the spiritual nature of the sacrament, held views about the importance of the rite which were as strong as those of any Greek theologian who had mingled confusedly in his mind Christian doctrines and the maxims of Pagan philosophy about the creative power of the element of water. Of course such a doctrine of the im-portance of the baptism with water had to be modified to some extent. There were cases of Christian martyrs who had never been baptized, and yet had confessed Christ and died to confess Him: for their sakes the idea of a baptism of blood was brought forward; they were baptized not with water, but in their own blood. And the same desire to widen the circle of the baptized led the way to the recog-nition of the baptism of heretics, laymen, and nurses. It was the Augustinian doctrine of baptism which was developed by the Schoolmen, and which now is the substance of modern Eoman Catholic teaching. The Schoolmen, whose whole theology was dominated by the Augustinian conception of the Church, simply took over and made somewhat more mechanical and less spiritual Augustine's doctrine. They were enabled to give the doctrine a more precise and definite shape by accommodat-ing it to the terms of the Aristotelian philosophy. They began by distinguishing between the matter and the form of baptism; Had Augustine had this distinction before him he would probably have called the water the matter, and the action of the Holy Spirit the form which verified and gave shape to the matter; but the whole idea of the Schoolmen was much more mechanical, the magical idea of the sacra-ment came much more into prominence, and the spiritual and ethical fell much more into the background, and with them, while water was the materia sacramenti, the forma sacramenti was the words of the rite,—" I baptize thee," &c., <fec. Thus insensibly the distinction between the external rite and the work of the Holy Spirit, which Augustine had clearly before him in theory at least, was driven back into its original obscurity, and while it was always held theoretically that the grace conferred in baptism was conferred by the Holy Spirit, still the action of the Spirit was so inseparably connected with the mechanical performance of the rite, that the external ceremony was held to be full warrant for the inward spiritual presence and power, and it was held that in baptism grace was conferred ex opere operato. The actual benefits which were supposed to come in this way were, freedom from original sin and forgiveness of it and all actual sins committed up to the time of baptism, and the implanting of the new spiritual fife—a life which could only be slain by a deadly sin. The Scholastic doctrine of baptism is the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, and the restatements made by Möhler on the one hand, and Jesuit theologians on the other, do not do more than give a poetical colouring to the doctrine, or bring out more thoroughly the magical and mechanical nature of the rite.

The Protestant doctrine of baptism, like the Scholastic or Roman Catholic, is to be traced back to Augustine and his distinction between the sign and the thing signified, and may be looked at as a legitimate development of the Augustinian doctrine, just as that must be considered to be an advance on the doctrine of the early Church Fathers. The early Fathers had confused the sign with the thing signified,—the water with the action of the Holy Spirit,— and could only mark their half-conscious recognition of the distinction by an alternating series of strong statements made now on the one side and now on the other. Augustine distinguished the two with great clearness, but connected them in an external way by means of his conception of the visible Church and of baptism as the door leading into it, and this led his followers to pay exclusive attention to the external side, until the thing signified became lost in the sign. The Protestant theologians connected the two in an internal way by means of the spiritual conception of faith, and so were able always to keep the sign in due subordination to the thing signified. It is faith —not faith in the sense of imperfect knowledge, or assent to intellectual propositions, but faith in the sense of personal trust in a personal Saviour, or " fiducia," as the 17th century theologians called it—which so connects the water with the presence and power of the Spirit that the one is the means which the other uses to impart His spiritual grace. In this way baptism is looked upon as one of the means of grace, and grace is imparted through it as through the other means—the Lord's Supper, the Word of God, prayer, <fec. Just as the dead letters and sounds of the Word of God are but the signs of the presence and power of His Spirit, and become at His touch the living revelation of the Lord, so in baptism, the outward rite, worthless in itself, becomes the sign and pledge of the presence and power of the Spirit of God ; and as, in the case of the Word of God, it is faith or " fiducia " that on the human side connects the external signs with the inward power of the Spirit, so, in baptism, it is the same faith which unites the water and the Spirit. So far all orthodox Protestants are agreed, but in order to show the historical evolution of the doctrine, it is necessary to notice in a sentence the difference between the Lutheran and the Calvinist doctrines. Luther's own doctrine of baptism changed very much : in the second stage—the stage represented by the tract, De Babyl. Capt. Eccl.—it is not different, in germ at least, from the Calvinist view ; but he afterwards drew back and adopted views much nearer to the Scholastic theory. He was evidently afraid that, if he went too far from the Scholastic doctrine, and insisted too strongly on the importance of faith, he might be led on to reject the baptism of infants ; and his later theories are a recoil from that. The question which Luther had to face and answer here was, What is meant by faith, the faith which connects the symbol with the reality, and so appropriates the gifts of God's grace in the sacrament 1 Is it a faith which begins and ends in the individual act of faith at work in the person that is baptized 1 or is it a much wider thing with a more universal sig-nificance Ï Luther did not face this question thoroughly, but his recoil from the Reformed theory of baptism seems to show that he would have taken the former answer. Nor did Calvin face the question ; but his doctrine of baptism implies that he would have taken the latter answer. The faith which aman has in Christ, the faith which appropriates, is not the individual's only, but extends far beyond him and his small circle. It is awakened by the Holy Spirit, it comes into being within the sphere of God's saving purpose. Its very existence indicates a solidarité between the individual believer and the whole Church of God Hence on the Reformed doctrine, while faith is essential to the right appropriation of the blessing in the rite, there is no need for thoroughly developed faith in those who are baptized. If they are infants, then they are baptized because of the faith of their parents or near relations, or of the congregation before whom the baptism is performed; only those who are the sponsors for the child bind them-selves before God to train up the child to know that it has been baptized, and to appropriate in conscious individual faith the benefits of the ordinance. Such is the Reformed theory of baptism; and it rests upon the ideas of the solidarité of believers, of the prior existence of the Church to the individual believers, and of the ethical unity of the Church. On the other hand, those who hold that the Church is simply the sum of individual men and women, and that it is increased not by the silent widening of the influence of God's saving purpose within mankind, but by individual conversions and by individuals joining the Church, cannot help regarding infant baptism as a mere mockery. Hence the doctrines of the Anabaptists, Baptists, Mennonites, <fec. (see BAPTISTS), who reject infant baptism altogether, and maintain that there can be no valid baptism without the conscious appropriation by an act of faith of the benefits symbolized by the rite. It is to be noticed that the tendency of those who reject infant baptism is to regard the sacrament not so much as a means of grace, but simply as an act symbolical of entrance into the Church, and to approach in this way the views of the Socinians and Remonstrants. Quakers reject baptism altogether along with the sacrament of the Supper.





III. Baptismal Rites.—In the Apostolic and immediately post-Apostolic Church, there was no stated time or place for baptism Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch by the roadside, as soon as he had declared his faith. After-wards, however, Easter, Whitsuntide, and Epiphany were seasons supposed to be specially appropriate for baptism, and the sacrament was not performed at other times save in cases of necessity. Baptism, Tertullian said, had special reference to the death and rising again of our Lord, and also to the mission of the Holy Ghost; and festivals which were connected with these events were specially appropriate for baptism As soon, too, as churches were built, and congregations formed, baptism became a public act of worship, and was generally performed in baptisteries built adjoining the church. The early Church, like most of the Reformation Churches, condemned private baptism.

In the Apostolic Church the baptismal rite seems to have been a very simple one. "Repent and be baptized, every one of you," was all that Peter thought it necessary to say to those whom he invited to join the Christian Church; but soon after the Apostolic times baptism became a very elaborate ceremonial. No one could be baptized unless he had submitted to a long and elaborate course of instruc-tion as a catechumen; and in order to be made a catechumen a ceremony of some length had to be gone through. The candidate was received into the number of the catechumens by the laying on of hands and prayer; and, in the Western Church, salt was given to him, the salts datio being held to be the special sacramentum catechumenorum. Catechu-mens were permitted to attend public worship at first as hearers only; afterwards they were permitted to take part in the responses and genuflections of the audience. From these catechumens the candidates for baptism, called eom-petentes or electi, were from time to time selected. The baptismal ceremony was a lengthy one. The catechumens were first received, then got their Christian names, then, facing the west, the place of darkness, they renounced the devil and all his works. The priest then exorcised them, by laying his hands upon their heads and breathing into their faces. After the exorcism came the opening of the ears and nose, a ceremony which had special reference to the descent of the Holy Ghost upon Christ in the form of a dove. The catechumens were then anointed with the catechumen oil (This part of the ceremony was sometimes gone through after baptism, although it is possible that there were two anointings, one before and one after.) The officiating priest then repeated the Creed and the Lord's Prayer, and gave a short explanation of their meaning, and the lengthy ceremony was concluded by the catechumen repeating the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed. All these ceremonies preceded the special baptismal rite, and commonly occupied more than one day. In the baptismal ceremony the minister first consecrated the water by prayer, and the catechumen was then baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The usual mode of performing the ceremony was by immersion. In the case of sick persons (elinici) the minister was allowed to baptize by pouring water upon the head or by sprinkling. In the early Church " clinical" baptism, as it was called, was only permitted in cases of necessity, but the practice of baptism by sprinkling gradually came in in spite of the opposition of councils and hostile decrees. The Council of Ravenna, in 1311, was the first council of the Church which legalized baptism by sprinkling, by leaving it to the choice of the ofliciating minister. The custom was to immerse three times, once at the name of each of the persons in the Trinity, but latterly the threefold immersion was abolished, because it was thought to go against the unity of the Trinity. The words used in baptizing always embodied the formula in the last chapter of St Matthew. But the mode of uttering them varied. In the Western Church the priest uttered the simple formula, but in the Eastern Church the common formula was, /3aim£sTai 6 SovAos TOV 6tov o Sttva «s TO ovo/ua TOV iraTpos—'Ap.ijv—«al TOV VIOV—'A/MJV —KCU TOV ayiov TTTtvpxiTos—'Ap.i]v—vvv xai act «s TOVS auoras rSsv auLvtav. 'A^iijv. After immersion the neo-phyte partook of milk and honey to show that he was now the recipient of the gifts of God's grace; he was then anointed with oil to show that he was enrolled among the spiritual priesthood, and with the unction was joined the sign of the cross made on the forehead. Then followed the laying on of hands, which latterly, when the episcopate became separate from the presbytery, was done by the bishop, and was the germ of the sacrament of confirmation. In the course of time one or two other symbolical actions were added; the neophyte was clothed in a white garment— (hence Pentecost, which was the principal baptismal festival, was called Whitsunday)—and a band (chrismale) was put round his head. In the Eastern Church there followed the girding of the loins of the neophyte and the crowning of him with a consecrated corona, significant of his entrance into the royal priesthood; in the Western Church a burning cross was given him. In the various Eastern churches the rites differed somewhat from each other, nor was exact uniformity to be found in the Western Church. It could easily be shown that a great deal of this complex ceremonial took its origin from the introduction of Pagan ceremonies into the Christian worship.

The present form of administering baptism in the Church of Rome is as follows:—When a child is to be baptized, the persons who bring it wait at the door of the church for the priest, who comes thither in his surplice and his purple stole, surrounded by his clerks. He begins by questioning the godfathers, whether they promise in the child's name to five and die in the true Catholic and Apostolic faith; and what name they would give to the child. Then follows an exhortation to the sponsors, after which the priest, calling the child by its name, asks, "What dost thou demand of the Church?" The godfather answers, " Eternal life." The priest proceeds, " If thou art desirous of obtaining eternal life, keep God's commandments,—Thou shalt love the Lord thy God," dec.; after which he breathes three times in the child's face, saying, " Come out of this child, thou evil spirit, and make room for the Holy Ghost." Then he makes the sign of the cross on the child's forehead and breast, saying, " Receive the sign of the cross on thy forehead and in thy heart; " upon which, taking off his cap, he repeats a short prayer, and, laying his hand gently on the child's head, repeats a second prayer; then he blesses some salt, and putting a little of it into the child's mouth, he says, " Receive the salt of wisdom." All this is per-formed at the church door. Afterwards, the priest, with the godfathers and godmothers, come into the church, and advancing towards the font, repeat the Apostles' Creed and the Lord's Prayer. Arrived at the font, the priest again exorcises the evil spirit, and taking a little of his own spittle, with the thumb of his right hand rubs it on the child's ears and nostrils, repeating as he touches the right ear, the same word Ephphatha, " be thou opened," which our Saviour made use of to the man born deaf and dumb. Lastly, they pull off its swaddling-clothes, or strip it below the shoulders, during which the priest prepares the oiL The sponsors then hold the child directly over the font, observing to turn it due east and west; whereupon the priest asks the child whether he renounces the devil and all his works, and the godfather having answered in the affirmative, the priest anoints the child between the shoulders in the form of a cross; the a taking some of the consecrated water, he pours part of it thrice on the child's head, at each perfusion calling on one of the persons of the Holy Trinity. The priest concludes the ceremony of baptism with an exhortation. It may be added that the Roman Church allows midwives, in cases of danger, to baptize a child before the birth is completed. A still-born child thus baptized may be buried in consecrated ground.

With regard to the form of baptism used in the Church of England, we shall only mention one or two of the more material differences between the form as it stood in the first liturgy of King Edward, and that in the English Common Prayer Book at present. First, the form of consecrating the water did not make a part of the office in King Edward's liturgy, as it does in the present, because the water in the font was changed and consecrated but once a month. The form itself likewise was something different from that now used, and was introduced with a short prayer that Jesus Christ, upon whom (when He was baptized) the Holy Ghost came down in the likeness of a dove, would send down the same Holy Spirit, to sanctify the fountain of baptism, which prayer was afterwards left out at the second revision. By King Edward's first book the minister was required to dip the child in the water thrice; first the right side, secondly the left, and lastly the face toward the foot This triple immersion was a very ancient practice in the Christian Church, and was used in honour of the Holy Trinity,—though some later writers say it was done to represent the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, together with His three days' continuance in the grave. But afterwards, the Arians persuading the people that the custom denoted a distinct substantiality of the three persons in the Trinity, the orthodox party discontinued it and used only one single immersion.

By the first Common Prayer Book of King Edward, after the child was baptized the godfathers and godmothers were to lay their hands upon him, and the minister was to put on him the white vestment, commonly called the chrytome, and to say, " Take this white vesture as a token of the innocency which, by God's grace, in this holy sacrament of baptism, is given unto thee, and for a sign whereby thou art admonished, so long as thou livest, to give thyself to innocence of living, that after this transitory life thou mayest be partaker of the life everlasting." As soon as he had pronounced these words, he was to anoint the infant on the head, saying, " Almighty God, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath regenerated thee by water and the Holy Ghost, and hath given unto thee remission of all thy sins, may He vouchsafe to anoint thee with the unction of His Holy Spirit, and bring thee to the inherit-ance of everlasting life."

Baptism of the dead seems to have been founded on the opinion that when men had neglected to receive baptism in their lifetime, some compensation might be made for this default by their receiving it after death, or by another being baptized for them. This practice was chiefly in use among various heretical sects.

Hypothetical Baptism was that administered in certain doubtful cases, with the formula, " If thou art baptized, I do not rebaptize; if thou art not, I baptize thee In the name of the Father," dec.

Solemn Baptism was that conferred at stated seasons. Such in the ancient Church were the Paschal baptism and that at Whitsuntide. This is sometimes also called general baptism

Lay Baptism we find to have been permitted both by the Common Prayer Book of King Edward, and by that of Queen Elizabeth, when an infant is in immediate danger of death, and a lawful minister cannot be had; but afterwards, in a convocation held in the year 1575, it was unanimously resolved, that even private baptism, in a case of necessity, was only to be administered by a lawful minister. The Scotch Reformed Church also prohibited private baptism by lay persons, but ordained that when any had been thus baptized, the rite was not to be repeated.
The name baptism has been applied to certain ceremonies used in giving names to things inanimate. The ancients knew nothing of the custom of giving baptism to inanimate things, such as bells, ships, and the like. The first notice we have of this is in the capitulars of Charles the Great, where it is mentioned with censure; but afterwards it crept by degrees into the Roman offices. Baronius carries its antiquity no higher than the year 968, when the great bell of the church of Lateran was christened by Pope John ILL At last it grew to such a height as to form a ground of complaint in the Centum Gravamina of the German nation, drawn up at the diet of Nuremberg in 1581, where the ceremony of baptizing a bell, with godfathers, <fec, to make it capable of driving away tempests and devils, was declared to be a superstitious practice, contrary to the Christian religion, and a mere seduction of the simple people.

Authorities:— Bingham's Origvne* EccUsiasticce, bis. 10, 11 ; Grimm's Deutsche EechtsalUrtfiibmer; J. G. Walch, Sistoria Poedo- baptismi quatuor priorum sceeulorum; G. T. Voashis, Disput. Viginti dt Baptismo. (T. M. L.)




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