- One of the two great Sacraments ordained by Christ as generally (universally) necessary to salvation. Holy Baptism is the initiatory rite by which we are admitted into the fellowship of Christ's Religion, admitted into His Church. Baptism is a covenant made between God and man; of this covenant the Christian name, which was then given us, is the reminder; reminding us of our new relationship with God. The grace conferred in Holy Baptism is threefold, (1) Regeneration, or the New Birth (See REGENERATION); (2) Admission into the Spiritual Kingdom, or the Holy Catholic Church, and (3) The forgiveness of all our sins, for in the Nicene Creed we confess, "I acknowledge one Baptism for the Remissions of sins." The vows of Holy Baptism are three in number, (1) To Renounce, (2) to Believe and (3) to Obey. These cover "the Whole Duty of Man," and it is by the use of the Means of Grace with diligent Prayer that he is enabled to keep them and to grow into the likeness of Christ, whose member he is because incorporated into Him by Holy Baptism. The outward, visible sign or form in Baptism is water, with the unfailing use of the words, "In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." This effects a valid Baptism.
American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. — New York, Thomas Whittaker. William James Miller, M.A., B.D.. 1901.
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