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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 424 pages of information about Baltimore Catechism No. 4 (of 4).

Converts to the Church are generally baptized conditionally, because there is doubt about the validity of the Baptism they received.

The Sacraments may be given conditionally when we doubt if they were or can be validly given.

149 Q. Why can we not receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders more than once?  A. We cannot receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders more than once, because they imprint a character in the soul.

“A character.”  It is a spiritual character, and remains forever, so that whether the person is in Heaven or Hell this mark will be seen.  It will show that those having it were Christians, who received Baptism, Confirmation, or Holy Orders.  If they are in Heaven, these characters will shine out to their honor, and will show how well they used the grace God gave them.  If they are in Hell, these characters will be to their disgrace, and show how many gifts and graces God bestowed upon them, and how shamefully they abused all.

150 Q. What is the character which these Sacraments imprint in the soul?  A. The character which these Sacraments imprint in the soul is a spiritual mark which remains forever.

151 Q. Does this character remain in the soul even after death?  A. This character remains in the soul even after death:  for the honor and glory of those who are saved; for the shame and punishment of those who are lost.

Lesson 14 ON BAPTISM

152 Q. What is Baptism?  A. Baptism is a Sacrament which cleanses us from Original Sin, makes us Christians, children of God, and heirs of Heaven.

“Christians,” that is, members of the Church of Christ.  “Children of God,” that is, adopted children.  All men are children of God by their creation, but Christians are children of God, not merely by creation, but also by grace and union with Our Lord.  “Heirs of Heaven.”  An heir is one who inherits property, money, or goods at the death of another.  These things are left by a will or given by the laws of the State, when the person dies without making a will.  A will is a written statement in which a person declares what he wishes to have done, at his death, with whatever he possesses—­the charitable objects or the persons to whom he wishes to leave his goods.  This will is called also the last testament.  It is signed by witnesses, and after the death of the testator is committed to the care of a person—­called the executor—­whose business it is to see that all stated in the will or testament is carried out.  There is an officer in the State to take these things in hand and settle them according to law, when the amount left is large, and there is a dispute about it.  You can understand better now why we call the Bible the Old and the New Testament.  When Our Lord died we were left an inheritance and spiritual property.  The inheritance was Heaven, which we had lost through the sin of Adam and regained

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