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Sermons & Study Guides

Directory For The Publick Worship Of God Pt. 8 - Of The Administration Of The Sacraments: And First, Of Baptism.

James Dodson

Directory For The Publick Worship Of God

Of The Administration Of The Sacraments: And First, Of Baptism.

Question 1.—Is baptism to be unnecessarily delayed? Answer.—No. Luke 7:30 with Ex. 4:24-26.  Whether children or adults, baptism is not to be unnecessarily delayed, Luke 18:16; Acts 8:36.  Christ’s command to his ministers was to baptize, and that, as long as there is a standing ministry, Matt. 28:19, 20.  Those who by deliberation reject the sign and seal of the covenant are counted as covenant breakers, Gen. 17:14. Question  2.—Ought  baptism  to  be  administered  by  any  private  person other  than  the minister? Answer.—No.  Matt.  28:19.    The  commission  to  administer  baptism, and  the commission to teach authoritatively are joined in the person of the minister by office, Acts 8:12. Question 3.—Should baptism be administered privately? Answer.—No.  1  Cor.  14:40.    We  judge  it  most  convenient  for  the  edifying  of  the Church, that baptism be regularly administered publicly.  The commission to teach was joined with that to baptize by Christ, Matt. 28:19.  In the case of John’s baptism, it was in the face of multitudes, Matt. 3:5, 6.  The same was the case with those who heard Peter on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:38. Question 4.—Should the child be presented by the father, professing earnest desire that the child be baptized? Answer.—Yes. Gen. 17:18; Acts 16:31-33.  It is the duty of the father to seek earnestly after the welfare of his family.  What is more conducive to the benefit and welfare of his family than having the sign and seal of God’s covenant upon them? Question  5.—Ought  the  minister,  before  the  baptism,  use  some  words of  instruction, touching the institution, nature, use, and ends of the sacrament? Answer.—Yes. Acts 2:38-41; 19:3, 4.  The minister has a duty to join teaching with the administration of the sacraments, Matt. 28:19. Question  6.—Is  the  minister  to  use  his  own  liberty  and  godly  wisdom,  to  instruct  the people concerning ignorance or errors in the doctrine of baptism? Answer.—Yes. Tit. 1:9, 13.  It is a great part of the ministerial duty to remove the ignorance amongst the people and refute their errors that they be sound in the faith. Question 7.—Is he to admonish those present to look back upon their baptism? Answer.—Yes. Rom. 6:3-5.  The apostles were often hard in pressing the people of God to reflect on their baptism as a means of encouraging them to improve it, 1 Cor. 1:11-13; 1 Pet. 3:21; Gal. 3:26, 27; Col. 2:12, 13. Question 8.—Should he exhort the parent to bring up the child in the Christian religion? Answer.—Yes.  Eph.  6:4;  Deut.  6:6,  7,  11.    When  parents  bring their  children  to baptism, they are to renew their own solemn and sincere acceptance of the Gospel offer, and their engagement to be the Lord’s.  God renewed the covenant with Abraham at the instituting of circumcision, Gen. 17:10, 11; and so should every Christian parent do with his God.  Christian parents are obligated to imitate the godly example of Abraham, Gen. 18:19. 
Question 9.—Is he to join prayer to the word of institution, for the sanctifying of the water to this spiritual use? Answer.—Yes. 1 Cor. 3:6, 7.  It is God alone who gives efficacy to His own institutions.  Just as Christ joined prayer with the words of institution in the supper, Luke 22:17, 19; and the apostle follows Him, 1 Cor. 11:24, 25; so too, in baptism it is requisite to crave the blessing and mercy of God upon the water of His appointing, Tit. 3:5. Question  10.—Should  the  minister,  demanding  the  name  of  the  child,  proceed  to  the actual baptizing of the child with these words, I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost? Answer.—Yes. Matt. 28:19.  The custom of demanding the name of the child extends back to that custom among the Jews of demanding the name at circumcision, Luke 1:59.  It was an ordinary practice of the Jews to name their children then, Luke 1:60-63.  In the case  of  baptism,  hereby  the  congregation  comes  to  know  who is  the  person  that  is baptized,  and  now  publicly  or  declaratively  received  into  the  society  of  Christian professors,  Acts  9:17,  18;  13:9.    Henceforth,  when  they  hear  the  name  of  the  one baptized, they ought to call to mind the mercies of God to him, and his obligations to God, Ps. 20:7.  The words used in the baptismal formula are taken from the institution of Christ, who commands that baptism be administered by the express naming of the Persons of the Trinity, Matt. 28:19.  Now there are some who argue that we should baptize in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ alone, based upon alleged apostolic example, Acts 8:16; 2:38; 19:5.  These words in the original εἰς  τὸ  ὄνομα, in the Name, correspond with that of Matthew’s Gospel.  When they are said to have baptized in the Name of Christ, it is nothing more than a confession of the authority whereby they administered baptism. Question 11.—Is it not only lawful but sufficient, and most expedient to baptize, by the pouring  or  sprinkling  of  the  water  on  the  face  of  the child,  without  adding  any  other ceremony? Answer.—Yes. Heb. 9:10, 19-22.  Baptism of the Holy Ghost, of which water baptism is the emblem, is never set forth in Scripture as an “immersion,” but always as a “pouring”and “sprinkling,” Acts 2:1–4, 32, 33; 10:44–48; 11:15, 16.  Of the gift of the Holy Ghost it is said, he “came from heaven,” was “poured out,” “shed forth,” “fell on them,” Isa. 44:3; Isa. 52:15; Ezek. 36:25–27; Joel 2:28, 29.  Thus, Paul was baptized by Ananias right at his bedside.  Ananias said, “Standing up, be baptized” (ἀναστὰς βάπτισαι); and “standing up he was baptized,” (ἀναστὰς ἐβαπτίσθη), Acts 9:18; 22:16. Question 12.—Should the minister then conclude by giving of thanks and prayer? Answer.—Yes. 1 Tim. 4:5.  The minister ought to conclude giving thanks to God for the great mercies tendered in the covenant and with prayer that the person baptized would, together with those in the congregation, seek to improve the sacrament of baptism all life long, Col. 2:11, 12.