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tized in Christ, as St. Paul bath it, having put on Christ: The Matter of this Sacrament, is true, natural, and common Water, as of the Sea, Rivers, Fountains, Lakes, or Rain, and no other, tho' never so pure and clean; all others being Liquors, and not natural Water: The Form is, I Baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The Minister of this Sacrament is a Priest, to whom it belongs by virtue of his Office; but in case of necessity, not only a Priest or Deacon, but a Lay-man, or Woman, nay an Infidel, a Mahometan, a Heretick, or Jew: In a word, any Person that can Baptize, using the Form of the Church, and intending to do what she does, may administer this Sacrament: For seeing none can be saved without being Baptized, therefore as our Lord ordained Water,ithan which nothing is more ready at hand, to be the matter of this Sacrament, so he would exclude no Man from being the Minister thereof; the effects and virtue of this Sacrament, is, the pardon and remission of all fins Original and Adual, and of all punishments due to them; for which reason there is no Penance to be enjoyned those that are Baptized, for any sin they committed before Baptism, all that die after Baptism, before they have committed any fin, going directly to Heaven, where they enjoy the Divine Vision for ever.
Decree I. W Hereas in the Examination of the Forms of
W the administration of the Sacraments of the Church in this Diocess, made by the most Reverend Metropolitan in his last Visitation, he found that in divers Churches there were different Forms used, and written in the Baptisteries, some Curates using the Form following ; * N. is Baptized and perfected, in the name of the Father, Amen; in the name of the Son, Amen; in the name of the Holy Ghost, Amen : Others using the Greek Form, saying, Baptizetur servus Christi, in nomine
Spiritûs San&ti, Amen. The Synod in virtue of Obedience, and upon pain of Excommunication to be ipso facto incurred, doth command, that no Person shall presume hereafter to use either these, or any other forms, but that which is used in the Holy Roman Church; I Baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and that all other Forms be blotted out of their Baptisteries, and Books, and this be put in their place.
* The Ancient Form of Baprizing was by Prayer.
Decree II. THis Synod being informed, That at divers
1 times they have used different Forms of Baptism in this Diocess, which were introduced
by Schismatical and Ignorant Prelates, some of which were not Legitimate, neither was the Sa
by the most Illustrious Metropolitan, and others, after a strict Examination; and others were very doubtful, doth therefore in the name of the Holy Ghost, desire and command all the faithful Christians of this Diocess to declare to the said Metropolitan at the Visitation he intends to make of the Churches of this Diocess, or to Perfons deputed by him, the time when they were Baptized, that so according to the Form that was then used, a saving remedy may be provided, in conformity to what shall be ordained therein, and that all submit themselves to whatsoever be shall be pleased to order.
Decree ' III.
Orasmuch as the Synod is informed, that F there are many Persons in this Diocefs, and especially among those that live in the Heaths, and are far from any Church, who tho' they are not Baptized, yet being of a Christian race, do profess themselves Christians, and when they come where there is a Church, do go to it and receive the Holy Sacraments with others, and out of meer shame of letting it be known that they are not Christened, do die without Bap. tism; and others because they will not pay the Fees, which are Simoniacally demanded of them: It doth therefore command all Vicars of Churger 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 whichi case also they ought to be presencly 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
Person, or by some other Priest, to hasten to go į the doing thereof with diligence being one of the highett Duties of their Function.
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.
D Y reason of the great negligence that is so
D 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 confiderable distance from any Church, whose Children are many times fome Months or Years old before they are Christend ; the Synod doth strictly command, That all Children be baptized on the 8thi day after they are born, according to the custom of the Univerfal Church, without there should be some dan