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live for ever ! Thou, o king, æternum vive. Tu rex pohast made a decree, that every suisti decretum : ut omnis man that shall hear the sound homo, qui audierit sonitum of the trumpet, the flute, and tubæ, fistulæ, et citharæ, the harp, of the sackbut, and sambucæ, et psalterii, et the psaltery, of the symphony, symphoniæ, et universi geand of all kind of music, shall neris musicorum, prosterprostrate himself, and adore nat se, et adoret statuam the golden statue: and that auream. Si quis autem non if any man shall not fall down procidens adoraverit, mitand adore, he should be cast tatur in fornacem ignis into a furnace of burning fire. ardentis. Sunt

ergo

viri Now there are certain Jews, Judæi, quos constituisti suwhom thou hast set over the per opera regionis Babyworks of the province of Ba- lonis, Sidrach, Misach, et bylon, Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago : viri isti conAbdenago : these men, O'king, tempserunt, rex, decretum have slighted thy decree: they tuum: deos tuos non colunt, worship not thy gods, nor do et statuam auream quam they adore the golden statue erexisti, non adorant. which thou hast set up.

Then Nabuchodonosor, in Tunc Nabuchodonosor in fury and in wrath, commanded furore et in ira, præcepit ut that Sidrach, Misach, and adducerentur Sidrach, MiAbdenago, should be brought : sach, et Abdenago. Qui who immediately were brought confestim adducti sunt in before the king. And Nabu- conspectu regis. Pronunchodonosor the king spoke to tiansque Nabuchodonosor them, and said : Is it true, O rex, ait eis : Verene SiSidrach, Misach, and Abde- drach, Misach, et Abdenanago, that you do not worship go, deos meos non colitis, et my gods, nor adore the golden statuam auream quam constatue that I have set up ? stitui, non adoratis? Nunc Now therefore if you be ready, ergo, si estis parati, quaat what hour soever you shall cumque hora audieritis sohear the sound of the trum- nitum tubæ, fistulæ, cithapet, flute, harp, sackbut, and ræ, sambucæ, et psalterii, psaltery, and symphony, and et symphoniæ, omnisque of all kind of music, prostrate generis musicorum, prosyourselves, and adore the ternite vos, et adorate stastatue which I have made : tuam quam feci. Quod si but if you do not adore, you non adoraveritis, eadem hora shall be cast in the same hour mittemini in fornacem ignis into the furnace of burning ardentis : et quis est Deus, fire : and who is the God that qui eripiet vos de manu shall deliver you out of my mea ? hand ?

rare.

Respondentes

Sidrach,

Sidrach, Misach, and AbdeMisach, et Abdenago, dixe- nago, answered and said to runt regi Nabuchodonosor: king' Nabuchodonosor: We Non oportet nos de hac re have no occasion to answer respondere tibi. Ecce enim thee concerning this matter. Deus noster quem colimus, For behold our God, whom potest eripere nos de ca- we worship, is able to save us mino ignis ardentis, et de from the furnace of burning manibus tuis, o rex, libe- fire, and to deliver us out of thy

Quod si noluerit, no- hands, O king. But if he will tum sit tibi rex : quia Deos not, be it known to thee, O tuos non colimus, et sta- king, that we will not worship tuam auream quam erex- thy gods, nor adore the golden isti, non adoramus. Tunc statue which thou hast set up. Nabuchodonosor repletus Then was Nabuchodonosor est furore; et aspectus fa- filled with fury: and the ciei illius immutatus est countenance of his face was super Sidrach, Misach, et changed against Sidrach, MiAbdenago. Et præcepit, ut sach, and Abdenago, and he succenderetur fornax sep- commanded that the furnace tuplum, quam succendi should be heated seven times consueverat. Et viris for more than it had been accustissimis de exercitu suo tomed to be heated. And he jussit, ut ligatis pedibus commanded the strongest men Sidrach, Misach, et Abde- that were in his army, to bind nago, mitterent eos in for- the feet of Sidrach, Misach, nacem ignis ardentis. Et and Abdenago, and to cast confestim viri illi vincti, them into the furnace of burncum braccis suis, et tiaris, ing fire. And immediately et calceamentis, et vesti- these men were bound, and bus, missi sunt in medium were cast into the furnace ef fornacis ignis ardentis; nam burning fire, with their coats jussio regis urgebat. 'For- and their caps, and their nax autem succensa erat shoes, and their garments. nimis. Porro viros illos, qui For the king's commandment miserant Sidrach, Misach, was urgent, and the furnace et Abdenago, interfecit was heated exceedingly. And flamma ignis. Viri autem the flame of the fire slew those hi tres, id est Sidrach, Mi- men that had cast in Sidrach, sach, et Abdenago, cecide- Misach, and Abdenago. But runt in medio camino ignis these three men, that is, Siardentis, colligati. Et am- drach, Misach, and Abdenago, bulabant in medio flammæ fell down bound in the midst laudantes Deum, et bene- of the furnace of burning fire. dicentes Domino,

And they walked in the midst of the flame, praising God, and blessing the Lord.

The Bishop says a Prayer after this, as well as after the other Prophecies; but the Deacon gives not his invitation to kneel. The Church omits the genuflexion, in order to inspire the Catechumens with a horror for the idolatry of the Babylonians, who bent their knee before the statue of Nabuchodonosor.

LET US PRAY.

OREMUS.

O Almighty and Eternal Omnipotens sempiterne God, the only hope of the Deus, spes unica mundi, world, who by the voice of qui Prophetarum tuorum the prophets, hast manifested præconio, præsentium temthe mysteries of this present porum declarasti mysteria : time : graciously increase the auge populi tui vota placadesires of thy people : since tus : quia in nullo fidelium, none of the faithful can ad- nisi ex tua inspiratione, provance in any virtue, without veniunt quarumlibet increthy inspiration. Through, &c. menta virtutum. Per Do

minum. R. Amen.

B. Amen.

THE BLESSING OF THE FONT.

These Lessons, and Prayers, and Chants, have taken up a considerable portion of time: the sun has long since set, and the night is far advanced. All the

preparatory exercises are over, and it is time to repair to the Baptistery. During the Prophecies, seven Subdeacons went thither, and there they have thrice recited the Litany; in the first recitation, they repeated each invocation seven times; in the second, five times; and in the third, three times. A Procession is formed towards this building, which is detached from the Church, and is either circular, or octagonal, in form. In the centre is a large Font, with several steps leading down to it. A stream of clear water flows into it from the mouth of a metal stag. Over the Font is suspended a canopy or cupola, in the

centre of which is a dove with extended wings, which represents the Holy Ghost giving virtue to the Water beneath. Round the Font is a railing, within which none may enter but they who are to be baptised, the Sponsors, the Bishop and the Priests. Two Pavilions, one for the men, the other for the women, have been put up; they are for the Baptised, wherein, after they come from the Font, they may change their garments.

The Procession moves from the Church to the Baptistery in the following order. The Paschal Candle, (which represents the pillar of fire that guided the Israelites, by night, to the Red Sea, in whose waters they found salvation,) goes first, leading on the Catechumens. These follow, having their Sponsors on their right hand, for each candidate for Baptism is to be presented by a Christian. Then come two Acolytes; one carries the holy Chrism, the other the Oil of Catechumens. Next, the Clergy; and lastly, the Bishop and his assistant Ministers. The Procession is by torch-light. The stars are brightly shining in the canopy of heaven, and the air resounds with the melodious chanting. They are singing those verses of the Psalm, in which David compares bis soul's pining after her God to the panting of a stag that thirsts for a fount of water. The Stag, an image of which is in the Font, is a figure of the Catechumen who longs for Baptism.

TRACT.

Sicut cervus desiderat ad As the Stag panteth after fontes aquarum : ita desi- the fountains of water : so my derat anima mea ad te soul panteth after thee, Deus,

God! V. Sitivit anima mea ad W. My soul hath thirsted Deum vivum : quando ve- after the living God : when niam, et apparebo ante fa- shall I come, and appear beciem Dei ?

fore the face of God?

7. My tears have been my

V. Fuerunt mihi lacryme bread day and night, whilst it meæ panes die ac nocte, is said to me daily : Where is dum dicitur mihi per sinthy God ?

gulos dies : Ubi est Deus tuus ?

They soon reach the Baptistery. The Bishop, having come within sight of the Font, prefaces his blessing by a Prayer, in which he again uses the comparison of a panting Stag, to express to God the longing of this people after the new life, of which Christ is the source.

Ť. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Ý. Dominus vobiscum.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.

OREMUS.

LET US PRAY. Almighty and Everlasting Omnipotens sempiterne God, look mercifully on the Deus, respice propitius ad devotion of the people desiring devotionem populi renaa new birth, that as the hart scentis, qui, sicut cervus, pants after the fountain of thy aquarum tuarum expetit waters : so mercifully grant fontem : et concede propithat the thirst of their faith tius ut fidei ipsius sitis, Bapmay, by the sacrament of Bap- tismatis mysterio animam tism, sanctify their souls and corpusque sanctificet. Per bodies. Through, &c.

Dominum. R. Amen.

R. Amen.

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The blessing of water for Baptism is of Apostolic institution, as we learn from many of the Holy Fathers, among whom we may mention St. Cyprian, St. Ambrose, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, and St. Basil. It is just, that the instrument of so divine a work should receive every mark of honour, that could secure to it the respect of mankind : and, after all, does not this honour and respect redound to that God, who chose this creature to be, as it were, the co-operator of his mercies to us? It was from water that we came forth Christians. The early Fathers allude to this, when they call Christians the Fish of Christ. We

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