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the first of the right side, the second of the
left, and the third of the face. They were
confirmed at the same time, often, in addition,
receiving the sacrament. Sprinkling was
only resorted to in cases of the sick and bed-
ridden, who were called clinics,* because they
received the rite in bed. Baptism was at that
early period accompanied by certain symbolical
ceremonies long since disused. For
example, milk and honey were given to the
new Christian to mark his entrance into
the land of promise, and as a sign of his
spiritual infancy in being ' born again; ' for
milk and honey were the food of children
when weaned. The three immersions were
made in honour of the three persons of the
Trinity; but the Arians having found in
that ceremony an argument favouring the
notion of distinction and plurality of natures
in the Deity, Pope Gregory by a letter
addressed to St. Leander of Seville, ordained that
in Spain, the then stronghold of Arianism,
only one immersion should be practised.
This prescription was preserved and applied
to the Church universal by the 6th canon of
the Council of Toledo in 633. The triple
immersion was, however, persisted in in
Ireland to the 12th century. Infants were
thus baptised by their fathers, or indeed by
any other person at hand, either in water or
in milk; but the custom was abolished in
1172 by the Council of Cashel.

* From a Greek word signifying a bed, whence we derive
the word clinical.

The African churches obliged those who
were to be baptised on Easter eve to bathe on
Good Friday, ' in order,' says P. Richard, in
his Analyse des Conciles, ' to rid themselves of
the impurities contracted during the observance
of Lent before presenting themselves at
the sacred font.' The bishops and priesthood
of some of the Western churches, as at Milan,
in Spain, and in Wales, washed the feet of
the newly baptised, in imitation of the
humiliation of the Redeemer. This was
forbidden in 303 by the 48th canon of the
Council of Elvira.

The Baptistery of the early church was one
of the exedrœ, or out-buildings, and consisted
of a porch or ante-room, where adult converts
made their confession of faith, and an inner
room, where the actual baptism took place.
Thus it continued till the sixth century, when
baptisteries began to be taken into the church
itself. The font was always of wood or
stone. Indeed, we find the provincial council
held in Scotland, in 1225, prescribing those
materials as the only ones to be used. The
Church in all ages discouraged private
baptism. By the 55th canon of the same
Council, the water which had been used to
baptise a child out of church was to be thrown
into the fire, or carried immediately to the
parish baptistery, that it might be employed
for no other purpose; in like manner, the
vessel which, had held it was to be either
burnt or consecrated for church use. For
many centuries superstitious virtues were
attributed to water which had been used for
baptism. The blind bathed their eyes in it in
the hope of obtaining their sight. It was
said to ' drown the devil,' and to purify those
who had recourse to it.

Baptism was by the early Church strictly
forbidden during Lent. The Council of
Toledo, held in 694, ordered by its 2nd canon,
that, from the commencement of the fast to
Good Friday, every baptistery should be
closed, and sealed up with the seal of the
bishop. The Council held at Reading,
Berkshire, in 1279, prescribed that infants born
the week previous to each Easter and
Pentecost, should be baptised only at those festivals.
There is no restriction of this kind
preserved by the Reformed Church; but we
are admonished in the rubric that the most
acceptable place and time for the ceremony is
in church, no later than the first or second
Sunday after birth. Sundays or holidays
are suggested, because ' the most number of
people come together,' to be edified thereby,
and be witnesses of the admission of the
child into the Church. Private baptism is
objected to, except when need shall compel.

The practice of administering the Eucharist
to the adult converts to Christianity after
baptism, was in many churches improperly,
during the fourth century, extended to infants.
The priest dipped his fore-finger into the wine,
and put it to the lips of the child to suck.
This abuse of the Holy Sacrament did not
survive the twelfth century. It was repeatedly
forbidden by various Councils of the Church,
and at length fell into desuetude.

Christening fees originated at a very early
date. At first, bishops and those who had
aided in the ceremony of baptism were
entertained at a feast. This was afterwards
commuted to an actual payment of money.
Both were afterwards forbidden. The 48th
canon of the Council of Elvira, held in
303, prohibits the leaving of money in the
fonts, ' that the ministers of the Church may
not appear to sell that which it is their duty
to give gratuitously.' This rule was,
however, as little observed in the Middle Ages as
it has been since. Strype says, that in 1560
it was enjoined by the heads of the Church
that ' to avoid contention, let the curate have
the value of the " Chrisome," not under 4d.,
and above as they can agree, and as the state
of the parents may require.' The Chrisome
was the white cloth placed by the minister
upon the head of a child, which had been
newly anointed with chrism, or hallowed
ointment composed of oil and balm, always
used after baptism. The gift of this cloth
was usually made by the mother at the time
of Churching. To show how enduring such
customs are, even after the occasion for them
has passed away, we need only quote a passage
from Morant's ' Essex.' ' In Denton Church
there has been a custom, time out of mind, at
the churching of a woman, for her to give a