So also with the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Sacraments. This is Luther’s idea.
It is the true idea. It belongs to the Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church. It is the custom, still practiced in our older Lutheran churches. The pastor, as we shall see hereafter, is only to help the parents, and not to do it all for them. In teaching the Catechism at home, it will give parents an opportunity to speak of and explain what sin is, what faith is, what prayer is, and what the sacraments are.
We would impress also the importance of instructing the child concerning its own baptism. Let it understand not only the fact of its baptism, but the nature, benefits and obligations of the same. It certainly has a most salutary effect to impress the thought on the child frequently that it was given to Christ and belongs to Him—that He has received it as His own, and adopted it into the family of the redeemed.
Here also there is a sad neglect on the part of parents. Many never say a word to their children about their baptism. Many children even grow up and know not whether they are baptized or not. This is certainly un-Scriptural and un-Lutheran. “Know ye not,” says Paul, as if he said, have you forgotten it? “that as many of us as have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into His death?” Doubtless if we appreciated our own baptism as we should, it would be a constant source of comfort, a never-failing fountain of Grace to us, and to our children.
The Apostles frequently speak of the “Church that is in the house.” By this they mean such a household as we have tried to portray—a home where the religion of our blessed Saviour permeates the whole atmosphere; where the Word of God dwells richly; where there are altars of prayer and closets for prayer—a home where Jesus is a daily, a well-known Guest; where the children, baptized into Christ, are nourished with the milk of the Word, so that they grow thereby, increasing more and more, growing up unto Him who is the Head, even Christ. In such a home the Church is in the house, and the household in the Church. Blessed home! Blessed children, who have such parents! Blessed parents, who have thus learned God’s ways of Grace! No anxious, restless parents there, hoping and praying that their children may be converted. No confused, repelled children there, crying because Jesus will not love them till they “get religion.” On the contrary, parents and children, kneeling at one altar, children of one Father, with the same trust, the same hope, the same Lord—hand in hand they go from the church in the house to the house of God’s Church.
Says Dr. Cuyler, an eminent Presbyterian, “The children of Christian parents ought never to need conversion.”
IN ITS RELATION TO
THE BAPTIZED CHILDREN OF CHRISTIAN PARENTS.