Trinity Sunday The Gospel Mat. 28 v.18.Friday Meditation
GOSPEL Matt. 28:18-20
At that time, Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: "All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world."
Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
When those that are to be baptized, be of years of discretion, they are to be instructed,and catechized before they be baptized,concerning baptism and other necessary doctrine pertaining to Christian Religion, and such till they be baptized are called Catechumens, that is to say, learners of the Christian faith.
Those that are baptized little ones, are to be instructed when they come to years of discretion because sayth, which as St Paul sayth, commeth by hearing instruction, is as necessary to salvation, as baptism, and therefore the holy Scripture putteth them both together,& telleth us, that unless we believe and be baptized, we cannot be saved, not that they must go so together, that children ought not be baptized till they be of years of discretion, and instructed in the faith (as the Anabaptists hold) contrary to the practice of the church which must be our director, as hath been said in the former meditation, unless we will err and be deceive: for though in the order and position of these words of Christ to his disciples here; Go teach all Nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, & of the holy Ghost, teaching or instructing is set before baptizing, & so is Faith in these words of St. Mark (he that believeth, & is baptized shall be saved:) yet the Scripture doth not here nor anywhere else, determine which of them must be first,but leaveth it to the interpretation of the Church, who in them that are of years of discretion premiseth instruction, and their own actual belief that are to be baptized: but in children, baptism first,in the general faith of the Church,and afterwards instruction when they come to years of discretion, with this condition notwithstanding, that they have some when they are baptized, to make profession of the faith for them and in their name, and to instruct them in their faith afterwards, when they come to years of discretion,if their parents do it not, or if it be needful.
This Godly institution hath the Church ordained as a thing of that importance, that the salvation of children dependeth greatly thereof. For as a vessel will ever retain the savor of that liquor wherewith it is first seasoned: so will a child,of those documents & instructions wherewith he was first seasoned: A young man, sayth Solomon,according to his way will not go from it, when he is old.
And that those that undertake for the child may the better remember their charge and duty in that behalf,the church hath made a spiritual kindred or affinity between them, and the child they undertake for, that they, nor their children, cannot marry together within certain degrees, and are called God-Fathers & God-Mothers to the child, to signify, that as they have spiritually in baptism begotten him to God, so they have a care to instruct him in his Faith, and duty to God as they have undertaken to do.
It was a wonder to see, when Absolom rebelled against his Father King David, that he was fain for his own safety to send forth a strong army to subdue him, which Absolom was not able to withstand, what a charge he gave his Captains and men of war, not to kill Absolom, but to preserve him alive; and when notwithstanding he was slain by a mischance against there will, how the King lamented his death, covered his head, and burst forth into these sorrowful words: O my son Absolom, O Absolom my son, Oh that I might have found the favor to die for thee!
And all this he did, as is most credible, not so much for the natural love he bare unto him, but because he died in mortal sin of rebellion against his Father.
This is the care that spiritual parents ought to have of their spiritual children, and much more carnal parents unto their own, unto whom it doth properly pertain to reason their children in their youth with good instruction,&education,& to make it their greatest care that they die not out of the Catholic faith, or in mortal sin.
A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634