Private baptism

BAPTISM, PRIVATE. To be used only for "great cause and necessity." This service was drawn up in 1661, chiefly from the "Consultation." It is very much to be deplored that so few of the children baptized at home, who live, are brought to be publicly received into the Church. The distinction which the poor draw between Baptism and Christening as meaning respectively Private and Public Baptism is, of course, unfounded. Baptism is also called "Christening," because in it the child is made a Christian, or member of Christ.

Under this head we may also treat of

Lay Baptism. Until 1604 this was allowed in the Church of England, but the rubrics were then brought into such a shape that Baptism by any but a "lawful minister" was distinctly disallowed. Still we find that by the present law, Lay Baptism, that is to say, Baptism by any man, or even woman, is valid so far as to qualify for burial with the usual service. Lay Baptism is allowed in the Roman Church, as it was in the Mediaeval Church, and in primitive times. Such having always been the custom of the Catholic Church, it is well that anybody should baptize a child in a case of great emergency, when a "lawful minister" cannot be procured. Should the child live and be brought to church, the clergyman can always, if doubtful of the validity of the Baptism, use the hypothetical form at the end of the Office for Private Baptism.