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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.