Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 48.

REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada


Q. What is baptism?

A. It is an exterior washing of the body, under a certain form of words; or thus, it is the first and most necessary sacrament, instituted by Christ, to free us from original sin, and all actual sin committed before baptism; it makes us children of God and his church; it is the first sacrament, because before it no other sacrament can be validly received; it is the most necessary, for unless a man be born again of water, and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Jo. iii. 5.

Q. How many sorts of baptism are there?

A. We commonly reckon three, viz.: 1, baptism of water; 2, of the spirit; 3, and of blood; but the first is only properly a sacrament.

Q. What is the baptism of the spirit, and what effects has it ?

A. It is a true contrition, with an ardent desire of baptism, if it cannot be otherwise obtained; it remits both original and actual sin, but not always the temporal pain due to sin.

Q. What is the baptism of blood and what are its effects?

A. It is a martyrdom, and remits original and actual sin, with all the temporal pain. Hence the holy innocents are esteemed martyrs, as being baptized in their own blood.

Q. When was the sacrament of baptism first instituted by Christ; and when were Christians first obliged to receive it?

A. It was instituted before Christ's passion; some holy fathers and divines say, it was instituted when Christ was baptized by St. John; others, when Christ said, unless a man be born again of water and of the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. St. John iii. 5 St. Augustine says, Christ baptized the apostles; but be this as it will, it is certain they baptized all persons, after the ascension of our Saviour, according to the commission they received from Jesus Christ, when he said, go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Matt, xxviii. 19. And that the obligation then began, as the gospel was promulgated.

Q. Which is the essential matter of baptism ?

A. Natural water, as it is defined in the council of Trent; so that artificial water, or other liquids, are not a proper matter. It must also be applied by ablution, so that ice, unless dissolved, is not sufficient: besides, the water ought to be consecrated, according to the Ritual; but this is not absolutely necessary, only upon account of the precept.

Q. After how many ways may this ablution be performed ?

A. Three, by immersion, that is, plunging and dipping the body. Secondly, by infusion, or effusion. Thirdly, by aspersion upon some particular part. It is probable the apostles baptized by aspersion, or effusion; because 3,000 were baptized in one day. Acts ii. 41. Yet in the primitive ages, the practice was to baptize by three immersions, which the church has altered for three infusions. One infusion is sufficient, as to the validity of the sacrament, as also without making the sign of the cross.

Q. Which is the form of baptism, and how is it to be explained?

A. The necessary form are these words: I baptize thee in .the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Some add the word, Amen, but it is not in the Roman Ritual. Again, we are to baptize in the name, as St. Augustine says, and not in the names. Neither is baptism valid, in the name of Christ, in the name of God, or in the name of the Trinity: because they do not express the mystery; and tradition requires a distinct signification. Again, it is to be observed, that the same person who applies the matter, must pronounce the form, otherwise the baptism is invalid.

Q. Why are the apostles in the Scripture said to have baptized in the name of Christ ? Acts viii. 12.

A. St. Cyprian and other Fathers say, that in the name of Christ signifies by the authority of Christ; but that they at the same time made use of the distinct form. St. Thomas, as also the Roman catechism say, if the name of Christ was only made use of, it was by a particular dispensation, to the end, the power of Christ might particularly be established at that time.

Q. Is it necessary to salvation, that all persons, even infants, should be baptized?

A. It is absolutely necessary for all adult persons to be actually baptized if they can: or in desire, where it cannot be actually obtained. As for infants, they are to be actually baptized; as is defined against the Pelagians; and since against the Calvinists, in the council of Trent. This doctrine is grounded upon the words of our Saviour Christ, where he says, unless a man be born again of water and the holy spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. St. John iii. 5.

Q. Is baptism to be deferred until infants are able to answer for themselves ?

A. No; the contrary is defined against the Anabaptists, by the council of Trent.

Q. Is a child half born to be baptized?

A. If life appear, it may: if life be doubtful, the ritual orders baptism under condition, f The same ritual orders the baptism of a monster under condition.

Q. Which are the effects of baptism ?

A. A total remission of original and actual sin, with the pains due to them. Hence, no satisfaction is appointed, when adult persons are baptized. Again, all spiritual and supernatural gifts are given at the same time. It is an entire regeneration, or new life; it gives a right to all the other sacraments; it opens the gates to heaven; it gives a character, and cannot be reiterated. All these points are defined by the council of Trent.

Q. What is to be said concerning the minister and place of baptism ?

A. Every man is a minister, in case of necessity, that is to say, when a priest cannot be had, using the true matter and form, with an intention of doing what the church does: but only the bishop or parish priest is the proper minister by office, or one deputed by the ordinary. Hence chaplains are not to baptize by office, nor superiors of religious orders. Hence there is a regulation to be observed, when there is urgent necessity, viz.: A man is to be preferred to a woman, and those in higher orders to those in lesser. As to place, the rituals order it to be in the church, unless in princes' children, and even then it is to be done in an oratory, and the water fetched from the parish church.