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cration of Churches) notifieth, in a solemn manner, the holy and religious use whereunto it is intended such Houses should be put. These things the wisdom of Solomon did not account superfluous. He knew how easily that which was meant should be holy and sacred, might be drawn from the use whereunto it was first provided. He knew how bold men are to take even from God himself, and how hardly that house would be kept from impious profan. ation; he knew, and right wisely therefore endeavoured, by such solemnities to leave in the minds that impression, which might somewhat restrain their boldness, and pourish a reverend affection towards the House of God. For which cause when the first House was destroyed, and a new one in the stead thereof erected, by the Children of Israel, after their return from captivity, they kept the Dedication of this House also with joy.
“ The arguments which our Saviour useth against profaners of the Temple, he taketh from the use whereunto it was with solemnity consecrated. And as the Prophet Jeremy forbiddeth the carrying of burdens on the sabbath, because that was a sanctified day: So because the Temple was a place sanctified, our Lord would not suffer, no not the carriage of a vessel through the Temple. These two commandments therefore are in the Law conjoined, Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary. Out of those the Apostle's words, Have ye not Houses to eat and drink in albeit Temples, such as now, were not then erected for the exercise of the Christian Religion, it hath been nevertheless not absurdly conceived, that he reacheth what difference should be made between house and house; that what is fit for the Dwelling place of God, and what for man's habitation, he showeth ; requireth that Christian men at their own homes
take common food, and in the House of the Lord, none but that food which is heavenly; he instructeth them, that as in the one place they use to refresh their bodies, so they may in the other learn to seek the nourishment of their souls; and as there they sustain temporal life, so here they would learn to make provision for Eternal. Christ could not suffer that the Temple should serve for a place of mart, nor the Apostle of Christ, that the Church should be made an inn. When therefore we sanctify or hallow Churches, that which we do is only to testify that we make them places of public resort, that we in vest God himself with them, and that we sever them from common uses.”*
“ When Churches are built, they ought to have a greater value and esteem derived upon them by some peculiar Consecration: For it is not enough barely to devote them to the public services of religion, unless they are also set apart with the solemn rites of a formal Dedication. For, by these solemnities, the Founders surrender all the right they have in them to God, and make God himself the sole owner of them. And formerly, whoever gave any lands or endowments to the service of God, gave it in a' formal writing, sealed and witnessed, (as is now usual between man and man) the tender of the gift being made upon the altar by the donor on his knees. The antiquity of such dedications is evident from its being an universal custom amongst Jews and Gentiles : and it is observable that, amongst the former, at the consecration of both the Tabernacle and Temple, it pleased the Almighty to give a manifest sign that he then took posses
• Hooker's Ecclesiastical Pulity, Book v, Sect. 12.
sion of them. When it was first taken up by Christians is not easy to determine: though there are no footsteps of any such thing to be met with, in any approved writer, till the reign of Constantine; in whose time, Christianity being become more prosperous and flourishing, Churches were every where erected and repaired; and no sooner were so, but, as Eusebius tells us, they were solemnly consecrated, and the Dedications celebrated with great festivity and rejoicing.
The rites and ceremonies used upon these occasions (as we find in the same author) were a great confluence of Bishops, and strangers from all parts, the performance of divine Offices, singing of Hymns and Psalms, reading and expounding the Scriptures, Sermons and Orations, receiving the Holy Sacrament, Prayers and Thanksgivings, liberal Alms bestowed upon the poor, and great gifts even to the Church; and, in short, mighty expressions of mutual love and kindness, and universal rejoicing with one another.”*
THE RITE OF CONFIRMATION.
Thougb Calvin admitted this Rite to be of Apostolical authority, its obligation is denied by the Church of Scotland, and by almost all the English Dissenters, and it is practised by none of them. They do not dispute that it was the practice of the Apostles, by the imposition of hands, to confer on those who had been baptized, miraculous gifts, and these powers they say, were demonstrated to have been communicated by the astonishing effects they produced. “Simon saw, that through laying on of
• Mr. Wheatly, Chap. I, Scct. 2d.
the Apostles' hands, the Holy Ghost was given."-Acts, viii. 18. Sanctifying grace, they observe, is not the subject of bodily vision, nor was it an object, which so wicked a man as Simon wouid desire to possess, much less would be have parted with his money to purchase it. As the intention of this rite was to communicate miraculous gifts, which were peculiar to the first ages of Christianity, all of which are allowed to be no longer blessings that can be communicated, they argue, that the obligation of the rite has ceased, with the powers which it had been in use to communicate. They also argue that the vows which are ta. ken for infants, on the sacrament of Baptism, the infants when come to the years of discernment, are bound to ratify in the other sacrament of the New Testament, by the participation of which they professedly seal their baptismal engagements, personally devoting themselves to the Saviour. And further, they argue that every young person, who is capable with judgment, and pious dispositions of taking his baptismal vows upon himself, is equally capable of doing it in that commemorative ordinance, in which the dying love of his Saviour, the most powerful and constraining obligation to obedience, is celebrated.
The advocates for the Liturgy observe, “ That the Apostles, having received the Spirit, immediately knew to what use it was given them ; viz. not to be confined to their own persons or College ; but to be imparted by them to the whole Church of God. For the Spirit itself was to teach them all things, and to bring all things to their remembrance. And therefore, to be sure, it taught and reminded them, that the gifts and graces which they received by it, were equally necessary to all Christians what
Accordingly, as soon as they heard that the Sama. ritans had been converted and baptized by Philip, they
sent two of their number, Peter and John, to lay their hands on them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: a plain argument, that neither Baptism alone, nor the person that administered it, was able to convey the Holy Ghost: since if either the Holy Ghost were a consequence of Baptism, or if Philip had power to communicate the Divine Spirit by any other ministration, the Apostles would not have come from Jerusalem on purpose to have confirmed them. The same may be argued from a like occurrence to the Disciples at Ephesus : upon whom, after they had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, the Apostle Paul laid his hands, and then the Holy Ghost came on them : Which shows, that the receiving of the Holy Ghost was not the consequence of their being baptized, but of the Apostle's laying on his hands: and that laying on of hands was necessary to perfect and complete the Ephesians, even after they had received the sacrament of Baptism.
66 What has been esteemed the clearest evidence, that the Rite of Confirmation was a perpetual Institution of equal use and service in all ages of the Church, is, that passage of St. Paul in his epistle to the Hebrews, where he mentions the Doctrine of laying on of hands, as well as the Doctrine of Baptism, among the fundamentals of religion. Which words have been constantly interpreted by writers of all ages, of that Imposition, or laying on of hands, which was used by the Apostles in confirming the Baptized. Insomuch that this single text of St. Paul is, even in Calvin's opinion, abundantly sufficient to prove Confirmation to be of Apostolical Institution. And indeed from these very words of the Apostle, it not only appears to be a lasting Ministry (because no part of the Christian Doctrine can be changed or abolished); but hence also