“O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” Psalm 96:9
The baptism of adult persons is always preceded by the expression or, confession of a conscious faith. This confession marks the subject of baptism as a spiritually mature individual who consciously takes upon himself the obligations of baptism. This, of course, an infant is not able to do and it is therefore the parent that presents the child in baptism and assumes for it the responsibilities of the baptism vow.
To our liturgical study belongs all of those things that are included in our public worship. Some, we wrote in our previous article, want to exclude from this study the sermon or the preaching. The argument for this is twofold. First of all this objection points to the fact that the sermon and preaching belong to another theological science called Homiletics, and the second argument is that the sermon is non-prescriptive, that is, free according to its form. The preacher is not bound in his preaching by a liturgical form.
Barger, in his book entitled, “Ons Kerkboek,” makes the remark that in the event our Baptism Form may be considered the best known of our liturgical treasures, we do not hesitate to say that of the entire collection of liturgical works, the Lord’s Supper Form is the most beautiful. Although it is very difficult to judge comparatively the familiarity, beauty, depth and riches of one form with another, the point is well taken that in our Form for the Administration of the Lord’s Supper we have a treasure of limitless spiritual value. We fear that this is not always appreciated...
In the main the Form for the Administration of the Lord’s Supper which is used in our churches, may be divided into two sections or parts. The first of these may be labeled the “Doctrinal” or “Expository” part. It contains a section that deals with the matter of “Preparatory” and is followed by a brief exposition of the Lord’s Supper, its purpose and significance. The second main division deals with the “Liturgical” aspects of the celebration of the Lord’s Supper and under this heading various important matters may be mentioned.
The heading or title that appears in our English Psalters above the Baptism Form reads: “Form for the Administration of Baptism.” It is alleged that other tides appeared in various and older editions of this form. In the very oldest Holland edition the heading is supposed to have read: “Formuliei om den Heiligen Doop aan de kinderen te bedienen.” Translated this is: “Form for Holy Baptism to Be Administered to Children.” Then some time later, at the time of Rutgers, Bavinck and Kuyper, this heading is supposed to have been changed slightly.
Three parts there are to the doctrine of holy baptism. Though these three may be distinguished, they are not to be separated since baptism is one; and therefore the doctrinal facets are to be integrated. The three parts of the doctrine of holy baptism are like three links of a chain, welded together by God in such a way that they cannot be severed.
We were quoting the last time from Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. Although there is more in this work that is interesting and worthy of our attention, we will not quote it in its entirety now. Instead we will present a brief condensation of the history of liturgical practices in the early church. We noted that worship in the early church was largely patterned after the customs and traditions of the synagogue. Gradually changes were made.
Preparatory Self-Examination To the worship of the church belongs such important things as the preaching of the gospel, the singing of the psalms, the offering of prayers and the return of a portion of God’s bountiful gifts, contributed with cheerful hearts to support the cause of God in the midst of the world. Without any question, each and every one of these aspects of public worship has some necessary contribution to make toward the spiritual well-being of the worshipper.