And in the first place, as relates to the administration or performance of the sacraments, these are observed with Christian and fitting reverence in the churches of this land as they were instituted and ordained by Christ and were used by the apostles and the early church in its purity. But the idolatrous additions, and those which give motive and occasion to superstition, are wholly done away with and abolished in this county and dominion, as also to some extent in the neighboring Hessian churches.
For quite early under the Papacy there were ordinances of men at baptism, superfluous and quite puerile, and indeed vexatious and superstitious, such as consecration of the baptismal water, anointing the children with oil on their chest and shoulders, smearing the crown with chrism, placing spittle and clay in their nostrils and ears, blowing under their eyes, laying salt in their mouth, and the placing of burning candles in their hands. The result is that the sublime and comforting sacrament of baptism is much obscured and badly disordered by such embellishment.
Accordingly, these residual things are also being abolished in the Christian reformation presently undertaken: making the sign of the cross on the chest and forehead of children, questions addressed directly to the infant, the casting out of devils (called exorcism), and finally, the emergency baptism by women.
…But such things have in Scripture neither command nor commission, neither any promise nor consent by God. The Lord Christ directs us not to the outward sign of the cross, but rather to the fellowship of His sufferings where He calls His disciples to carry the cross after Him.
…Much rather is it to be done away with for the prevention of superstition and in order that one would be cordially attached to Christ rather than placing his confidence in outward things of his own choosing, or imagining to himself a power, efficacy or significance in spiritual affairs based on devotions which are of man.
…To this very end have the Papists brought in such a variety of mass vestments, surplices, and other special clothing for the priests, in order that thereby they would have so much the more splendor and magnificence, as in the Old Testament the priests and Levites wore their adornment and garb.
But by the light of the gospel, the night and darkness of the Papacy has been driven from the Protestant church and one is able to assemble with peace in the light of day. The Levitical pomp has been abolished by God Himself.
And at the original Supper, the Lord Christ (as well as the apostles afterwards whenever they observed the Supper) used their ordinary clothes and did not for the first time put on new and distinct surplices, albs, chasubles, or the like, which more disguise the administration of the Holy Supper and of themselves more closely resemble theatrical masks than serve as an adornment to the church’s worship.
Therefore, for the administration of the Lord’s Supper and for other occasions, there has been in the churches of this land (as was previously done in the neighboring churches and in many others) an entire abolition of all this vain pomp of illuminations, candles, surplices, and mass vestments as being the colors of Antichrist’s court.
And it has been prescribed that the ministers of the churches are to maintain their ordinary, albeit honorable, garb when they preach and distribute the sacrament.
By this, nothing is taken away from their office. So it is with those who attend the Lord’s Supper, for they also subtract nothing from the proper use of the sacraments when they do not put on distinctive and novel clothes, but maintain their commonplace clothes which they would otherwise ordinarily wear.
The Nassau (Dillenberger Synod) Confession (1578) inJames T. Dennison Jr., ed., Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation: 1523–1693, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2008–14), 478, 491–92.