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BAPTISMAI.


275


BAPTISMAL


the ceremony. These early fonts were lined and paved with marble or other decorative stone and were often higlJy ornamented, features more common in the West than in the East where simpler fonts, sometimes even of wood, were used. The "Liber PontificaHs" (cd. Duchesne, I. 174) describes in detail the Constan- tinian font in the Lateran baptistery as a porphyry basin hea\'ily ornamented with silver; on its rim were a golden lamb and seven silver stags from whose mouths gushed water from the Claudian aqueduct; the golden lamb was flanked by statues of the Sa\-iour and of St. John the Baptist. From the centre of the font arose a porphj-ry column bearing a golden lamp in which, during the ceremonies of baptism, was burned an oil of fragrant odour. This font was de- spoiled by the barbarian invaders, but its general design may be seen in the present day structure. The passing of the period of adult conversion to Christianity and the gro-n-ing prevalence of infant baptism with a consequent frequency of administra- tion determined a change in the structure of the fonts. Instead of a basin below the floor level, walls of masonry were built up to a height of three or four feet, to facilitate the ministers holding a cliild over its opening; or a font hewn from solid stone rested on the chapel floor. Immersion of children had come to be the rule, and as the practice was adopted too in the case of adults, the fonts were sometimes large enough to admit of their being immersed. With the tliirteenth centurj', however, simple infusion came by degrees to be adopted, and -n-ith its general use, the font became smaller and more shallow, and was raised from the floor on piers or columns. The older type of font continued to find favour in Italy, but in the Northern countries the \\-inter chill of the waters hastened the general use of infusion, and as this rite required for each person baptized but a small quantity of water, the font generally took the simple form and small dimensions it has to-day.

CvN'ON L.\w ASD Liturgy. — The Church's legis- lation kept pace with this development. Early enactments urged stone as the regular material, though metal was permitted. With the -jrection of fonts for the continual preservation of the water, reverence and cleanliness became the Church's chief concern; the font, if not of impermeable stone, must be lined with metal; it must be used exclusiyelj' for baptism, and to guard it against profanation, se- curely covered and locked. Frequency of thirteenth- century legislation on this point throughout Northern Europe reveal;; the prevalence of a passing super- stitious belief in the magical eflicacy of the font and its waters. The constitutions of Bishop Poore of Sarimi (Salisbury, c. 1217) and of St. Edmund of Canterbury (1236) combated the abuse in England as did the Councils of Tours (1236), Trier (1238), Fritzlar (1243), and Breslau (1248), on the Continent. The cover was enacted in the name of cleanliness and decoration as well, and, besides a close-fitting, cloth- lined lid, there was demanded in many dioceses an outer dome-like cover, sometimes highly ornamented and draped with a canopy or veil. The repugnance to continued repetition of baptism over a font whose water was to last for ten months, was overcome by

Ero\dding two compartments, one to contain the aptismal water, the other, always empty and clean to receive the drippings and drain them into the sacrarium. a provision embodied by Benedict XIII in his still authoritative "Memoriale Rituvun" (Tit. vi, cap. ii, 5 .5, 9). The Roman Ritual (Tit. ii, cap. i, 28-30) epitomizes the present law providing that the font should be in the church or in a nearby bapti.stery, within a railed enclosure and secured by lock and key; of a substantial material fit to hold water; of becom- ing shape and ornamentation and so covered as to exclude anything unclean (cf. Council II Bait., | 234- 237). As models of diocesan legislation concerning


fonts are cited the sjTiodal acts of St. Charles Bor- romeo (Acta Eccl. Mediolan., Paris, 1643, 58-63) and those of Benedict XIII when Archbishop of Benevento (CoUectio Lacensis, I, 69 sq.).

Two important hturgical functions centre at the font, the baptismal rite itself, and the blessing of the font. The earUest allusion to such a blessing is by TertuUian who refers to the sanctification of the water by the invocation of God (De bapt., iv). St. Cj'prian speaks of its being purified and sanctified by the priest (Ep. bcx. Ad Jan.); St. Basil considered the blessing, already of long-standing practice in his day, as of Apostolic institution (De Spiritu Sancto, xx\'ii); St. Ambrose first refers to an extended ritual including blessings, exorcism, and invocations (De myst., iii, 14-20). The oldest extant rite is that of the Apostolic Constitutions (\'II, xliii), an ex- tended prayer in Eueharistic form. The blessing of the font is henceforward an important feature of the sacraraentaries and orJines, which contain nearly all the features of the present rite. It served as the preliminary to baptism, which was solemnized on the vigUs of Easter and Pentecost; and notwithstanding the increasing frequency of solemn baptism, the blessing was reserved for those two days on which it should now be carried out in all churches having fonts (Decreta S. R. C, 3331-1005). This blessing is in the form of a long Eueharistic prayer the burden of which is an appeal that the Holy Spirit descend on the water and endow it with regenerative virtue, during which the celebrant performs a series of ex- pressive ceremonies of liigli antiquity. He divides the water in the form of a cross; signs it with the cross; di\ides the water and casts a portion of it toward the four cardinal points; breathes on it in exorcism, and dips in it the Paschal candle. After the prayer he pours into the water first the oil of catechumens, then the Holy chrism, a rite alluded to by St. Gregory of Tours (loc.cit.),andfinaUythe two oils simultaneously.

Rogers, Baptism and Christum Archeology (Oxford, 1903): Ide.m in Studia Biblica, V, 239-3G1; Cote, The Archeology of Baptism (London. 1876); Corblet, Histoire du Sacrement de Baptime (Paris, 1881); Venables in Diet. Christ. Antiq., s. v.; Chardox. Histoire des sacrements (Paris, 1745). I, 174—223; Heuser in Eccl. Rev., XX, 449-454; Enlart, Etude sur qutl- qties fonts baptismaux du nord de la France (Paris, 1890); Van DER Stappen, Sacra Liturgia (Mechlin, 1900), IV, 32-36; PiGHi, Liturgia Sacramentorum (Verona, 1902), 36-39; Fer- raris, Bibl. prompt. (Paris, 1852), 991-992; 1003-08.

John B. Peterson.

Baptismal Names. See N.vmes, Christian.

Baptismal Register. See Register, P.\rochi.\l.

Baptismal Robe. See Baptism.

Baptismal Vows, the name popularly given to the renunciations required of an adult candidate for baptism just before the sacrament is conferred. In the ca.se of infant baptism they are made in the name of the child by the sponsors. It is obvious that these promises have not the theological import of vows properly so called. According to the Roman Ritual, at present in use, three questions are to be addressed to the person to be baptized, as follows: "Dost thou renounce Satan? and all his works? and all his pomps? " To each of these interrogations the person, or the sponsor in his name, replies: "I do renounce". The practice of demanding and making this formal renunciation seems to go back to the very beginnings of organized Christian worship. Tertullian among the Latins and St. Basil among the Greeks are at one in reckon- ing it as a usage which, although not explicitly warranted in the Scriptures, is nevertheless con- secrated by a venerable tradition. St. Basil says this tradition descends from the Apostles. Ter- tullian, in his "De Corond", appears to hint at a twofold renunciation as common in his time, one which was made at the moment of baptism and another made sometime before, and publicly in the