56. The Administration of the Sacraments—General Provisions

  1. In order that the sacraments may be observed with discernment and profit, it is imperative that adequate preparation be made prior to their administration. Before observing the sacraments, God’s people ought to meditate on the teaching of the Word of God concerning them, particularly as summarized in the Confession of Faith and Catechisms. It is also advisable that from time to time the preaching include suitable instruction on the sacraments. Moreover, when the sacraments are being celebrated, the minister shall always accompany them by the preaching of the Word, and he shall take especial care in that preaching to proclaim Christ and His benefits, so that God’s people can understand what the sacrament means. In connection with the administration of the sacraments, he shall set forth a summary of the teaching of the Word of God as to their institution, meaning, and nature.
  2. Concerning paedo-baptism, the baptism of infants is not to be unduly delayed, but is to be administered as soon as practicable.
  3. Concerning credo-baptism, baptism is to be administered as soon as practicable after public profession of faith in Christ.
  4. The Lord’s Supper is to be celebrated frequently, but the frequency may be determined by each session as it may judge most conducive to edification.
  5. In the administration of the sacraments, the minister shall follow the directions prescribed in this chapter, but, except in the case of the words of the baptismal formula, he is not required to use the exact language of the indented forms (below), which are suggested as appropriate. He may employ these or similar forms, using his own liberty and godly wisdom, as he deems best for the edification of the people.

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