Form for the Administration of Holy Baptism to Infants:
First, that we with our children are conceived and born in sin, and therefore are children of wrath, in so much that we cannot enter into the kingdom of God, unless we are born again. This is what sprinkling with water teaches us, by which the impurity of our souls is signified, so that we are admonished to loathe ourselves, to humble ourselves before God, and to seek our cleansing and salvation outside ourselves.
Second, holy baptism witnesses and seals to us the washing away of sins through Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are baptised in the name of God, of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. For when we are baptised in the name of the Father, God the Father witnesses and seals that he establishes an eternal covenant of grace with us, and that he adopts us for his children and heirs, and therefore will provide us with all good, and avert all evil from us, or turn it to our profit. And when we are baptised in the name of the Son, the Son accordingly seals to us that he washes us in his blood from all our sins, incorporating us into the fellowship of his death and resurrection, so that we are freed from our sins and accounted righteous before God.
In like manner, when we are baptised in the name of the Holy Spirit, God the Holy Spirit assures us by this holy sacrament that he will dwell in us and that he will sanctify us to be members of Christ, applying to us that which we have in Christ, namely, the washing away of our sins, and the daily renewal of our lives, until we shall finally be presented without blemish among the assembly of the elect in life eternal.
Third, since all covenant contain two parties, accordingly God admonishes and obliges us again through baptism unto a new obedience, namely, that we cleave to this one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to trust in him, and love him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength, and to forsake the world, crucify our old nature, and walk in a godly life.
And if we sometimes through weakness fall into sins, we must not despair of God’s mercy, nor remain in sin, since baptism is a seal and indubitable testimony that we have an eternal covenant with God.
To Infants of Believers:
Although our children do not understand these things, we may not, therefore, exclude them from baptism, since they are also without their knowledge partakers in the condemnation of Adam, so they are also again without their knowledge received into grace in Christ; as God spoke to Abraham, the father of all believers, and thus also to us and our children, saying, “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and unto thy seed after thee” (Genesis 17:7).
Peter also testifies to this in Acts 2:39 with these words, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
Therefore, God formerly commanded them to be circumcised, which was a seal of the covenant and of the righteousness of faith; and therefore Christ also embraced them, laid his hands on them, and blessed them (Mark 10:16).
Since then baptism is come in the place of circumcision, accordingly, infants are to be baptised as heirs of the kingdom of God, and of his covenant. And parents are in duty bound to instruct their children further herein while they grow up.
In order that we may now administer this holy ordinance of God to his glory, for our comfort, and to the edification of the congregation, let us call upon his holy name.
Oh almighty and eternal God, thou, who hast according to thy severe judgment punished the unbelieving and unrepentant world with a flood, and hast according to thy great mercy saved and protected eight souls of believing Noah and his family; thou, who hast drowned the obstinate Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea and hast led thy people Israel through the midst of the sea upon dry ground, by which baptism was signified, we pray that thou wilt be pleased by thine infinite mercy, graciously to look upon this your child, and incorporate it by thy Holy Spirit, into thy Son Jesus Christ, so that it may be buried with him into his death, and be raised with him in newness of life; so that it may also daily follow him, joyfully bearing its cross, and cleave unto him in true faith, firm hope, and ardent love,; so that it may, with a comfortable sense of they favour, leave this life (which is nothing but a continual death) and at the last day may appear without terror before the judgment seat of Christ thy Son, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit, one only God, lives and reigns in eternity. Amen.
Admonition to the Parents and Those Attending this Baptism:
Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have heard that baptism is an ordinance of God, to seal unto us and to our seed his covenant; therefore, it must be used for that end, and not out of custom, or superstition. That it may then be manifest that you are thus minded, you are to answer sincerely to these questions:
First, whether you confess that although our children are conceived and born in sin, and therefore are subject to all miseries, indeed to condemnation itself; yet that they are sanctified in Christ, and therefore as members of his church ought to be baptised?
Furthermore, whether you confess the doctrine that is contained in the Old and New Testament and in the articles of the Christian faith, and that is taught here in this Christian church, to be true and perfect doctrine of salvation?
Third, whether you promise and intend to instruct this child, when it shall have come to years of discretion, of whom you are the father or witness (or, these children, when they shall have come to years of discretion, each one his own child, of whom he is the father or witness) in the aforesaid doctrine, according to your ability, or help or cause it to be instructed therein?
Then the Minister of the church, in baptising, shall say, N., I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Almighty and merciful God and Father, we thank and praise thee that thou hast forgiven us, and our children, all our sins, through the blood of thy beloved Son Jesus Christ, and received us through thy Holy Spirit as members of thine only begotten Son, and adopted us to be thy children, and sealed and confirmed the same unto us by holy baptism. We beseech thee also, through the same Son of thy love, that thou wilt be pleased always to govern this child by thy Holy Spirit, that it may be instructed in a Christian and godly way, increase and grow up in the Lord Jesus Christ, so that it may acknowledge thy fatherly goodness and mercy, which thou hast shown to it and us, and live in all righteousness, under our only Teacher, King, and High Priest, Jesus Christ; and devoutly fight against and overcome sin, the devil, and his whole dominion, to the end that it may eternally glorify and praise thee, and thy Son Jesus Christ, together with the Holy Ghost, the one only true God. Amen.
By B. Wielenga
(James R Hamilton, June 2018)