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O ALMIGHTY Lord, and everlasting God, vouchsafe,
we beseech Thee, to direct, sanctify, and govern, both our hearts and bodies, in the ways of thy laws, and in the works of thy commandments ; that, through Thy most mighty protection both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; through our LORD and Saviour JESUS Christ. Amen.
THE Blessing of God Almighty, the FATHER, the Son,
and the Holy Ghost, be upon you, and remain with you for ever. Amen.
DAILY MORNING & EVENING PRAYERS.
At the beginning and end of every day kneel down upon
your knees (if not prevented by illness), and offer up humbly the following devotions :
+ IN the Name of the FATHER, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost. Amen.
OUR FATHER, Which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy
Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation ; But deliver us from evil; For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.
T BELIEVE in God the FATHER Almighty, Maker of
heaven and earth; And in JESUS CHRIST His only Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried, He descended into hell : The third day He rose again from the dead, He ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the FATHER Almighty; From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; The Holy Catholic Church ; The Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of Sins; The Resurrection of the body; And the Life everlasting. Amen.
GLORY be to the FATHER, and to the Son, and to the
Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.
GOD be merciful to me a sinner, and forgive me all my
sins of thought, word, or deed : Help me by Thy HOLY SPIRIT, and bring me unto everlasting Life, through the death of Thy Dear Son JESUS CHRIST. Amen.
THE Grace of our Lord JESUS CHRIST, and the Love of
God, and the Fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.
NOTE These prayers should be committed to memory, so that they may be said without the aid of a book. But they must not be said as a mere form. The heart should feel what the lips utter. God loves to see His people humbly kneeling upon their knees. But He asks us also to give Him our hearts. We must seek, then, through the help of the HOLY SPIRIT, to say our prayers with heartfelt devotion, heartfelt sorrow for sin, heartfelt faith, and heartfelt thankfulness. We may also pray, if we can, in our own words, as well as in those that our LORD and His Church have given us.
Note.—Every night, before saying the above prayer, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” etc., ask yourself these three questions :
1. What blessings or pleasures have I this day received
from God? 2. What sins have I committed, or what duties have I
neglected ? 3. Do I forgive everybody as I hope to be forgiven? .
NOTE AS TO LAY BAPTISM.
PERHAPS a few words should here be added with regard to the question of Lay Baptism. Have those who have been baptized by Ministers whom we do not recognise, (through their lack of an Apostolic commission) as “lawful ministers” of Christ's Holy Sacraments—have such persons been really baptized at all, according to our Lord's holy institution ?
Some Divines have answered this question in the affirmative—others in the negative. The former say that the essentials of Baptism are, water duly applied, * and the appointed form of words, and that if these requirements are complied with, any Baptism is equally valid, whether the administrator be a priest or a layman, a man or a woman, a Christian or a Heathen.
The contrary view is maintained by other Divines. These teach that Christ's commandment to baptize, like Christ's commandment to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, can only be efficaciously fulfilled by those who have received His Authority to act on His behalf, in virtue of an Apostolic commission.
Such Divines, (as for example Dr. Waterland, Bishop
* I will not here enter into the question as to whether the water is always “duly applied” by the Ministers of the various sects and denominations which have separated from the Church. I doubt it. At any rate, it is an undeniable fact, that even among those who profess to believe in the validity of Lay Baptism, the overwhelming majority hold that it is not so, „and on that ground require conditional Baptism in the case of converts.
Jeremy Taylor, and several leading Prelates of the Church of Scotland, especially in the last century), have held that though water and the appointed words are, as stated in the Book of Common Prayer, “essential parts” of Baptism, yet that they are not the essentials, so as to exclude the necessity of a lawful minister.
Where so much difference of opinion has been expressed, it would perhaps be somewhat rash to speak too dogmatically, one way or other, especially in a question like the present, with regard to which (as the Lower House of Convocation for Canterbury affirmed in the last century) the Church has not decided.* But it is clearly not inconsistent with Christian humility and charity, and it is evidently the path of Christian prudence, in a matter so vital as the effectual administration of one of the two Sacraments “generally necessary to salvation,” to make use of any means within our reach for removing all grounds for uncertainty. Such means we have, ready to hand, in the form of words provided for use in cases of doubt—"If thou art not already baptized, I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."
The employment of this conditional formula does not commit us to the dogmatic assertion that Lay Baptism is invalid. If we affirmed this dogmatically, we should, of course, be bound to baptize converts unconditionally. This we do not do. Conditional Baptism leaves the matter an open question. It does not condemn Lay Baptism,
* The exact words of Convocation were as follows :-“ The validity of such Baptism is a point which the Catholic Church, and the Church of England in particular, hath hitherto avoided to determine by any synodical declaration." This was after the memorable debate of 1712 on the question of Lay Baptisın.