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V. WHAT ARE THE BLESSINGS WHICH THEY WHO ARE CONFIRMED MAY EXPECT TO RECEIVE.

VI. WHAT ARE THE ESPECIAL DUTIES TO WHICH THEY WILL BE BOUND.

VII. WHAT ARE THE MOTIVES BY WHICH THEY

SHOULD BE INFLUENCED.

Concluding with suitable prayers.

CHAPTER I.

WHAT CONFIRMATION IS.

The word Confirmation means strengthening or establishing. It is applied to the religious rite of laying on of hands, because the young person then confirms and ratifies, in his own person, the vows which had been made for him at his baptism; and the Bishop confirms and strengthens him in his pious resolutions, by prayer, and imposition of his hands. The simple design of it is, that those, who have been devoted to God in infancy in the sacrament of Baptism, may, when they come to years of discretion, take upon themselves the solemn engagements which were made for them by their godfathers and godmothers, by a public and direct acknowledgment and confirmation of their baptismal covenant with God, before the Bishop, and the whole Church; and that they may receive the benefit of public prayer and episcopal benediction, with the ancient and scriptural rite of laying on of hands, in order that they may be so confirmed and strengthened by God's Holy Spirit, as to be enabled to perform their vows, and adorn their Christian profession, and may be afterwards admitted to the Lord's Table, as complete members of the visible Church of Christ.

This rite is derived from the practice of the Apostles. We are informed, that when the inhabitants of Samaria had been converted and baptized, and had received the word of God, the Apostles, St. Peter and St. John, were sent to lay their hands on these new converts, that they might receive the Holy Ghost'. And the disciples at Ephesus, after they had been baptized in the name of Jesus, were confirmed by St. Paul, who laid his hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost”. And though the extraordinary gifts of the blessed Spirit have ceased, yet the ordinary influences of his grace are still granted, and are as necessary now to the great purposes of sanctification as in the first ages of the Church; and indeed it seems evident that the Apostle Paul alludes to the continuance of this rite, as an ordinary means of strengthening the faith of Christians, by joining it with Baptism, and describing both as among the first principles of the oracles of God. It is a point beyond all doubt, that such has been the opinion of the Church from the very times of the Apostles. Tertullian, who flourished only eighty years after St. John, and is very careful in relating the practice of the primitive Church, has these words : “ After Baptism succeeds laying on of hands, by prayer calling for and inviting the Holy Spirit“.” St. Cyprian, who flourished about sixty years after Tertullian, remarks, on the History of the Şamaritan Converts, “ the same thing is practised among us, that they who are baptized in the Church are presented to the governors of it, that by their prayers and imposition of hands, they may obtain the Holy Ghost, and be perfected with the seal of Christ 5.” “ And though,” saith St. Augustine",“ the speaking with tongues and working of miracles do not now attend the laying on of hands, as in the days of the Apostle, yet any one may know whether he has received the Holy Ghost, by the love he bears to his brother, and his desire of the peace and unity of the Church of Christ.” And St. Jerome speaks of it distinctly, as recommended by the custom of the whole Christian world; and then adds, “When persons are baptized in the inferior towns by priests and deacons, the Bishop travels out to them, to lay his hand upon them and invoke the Holy Spirit”.” Indeed, the ceremony of imploring the divine grace, by the laying on of hands, seems to have been derived from the pious and simple practice of the Patriarchs, to have been preserved among the usages of the Jews, adopted and authorized by our blessed Saviour, employed by the Apostles, and continued in the church to the present time. In fact, the observance is so natural, so pleasing, so important, and so free from superstition, that, if there were less argument for it to be derived from Scripture, it might be safely allowed to rest on the obyious ground of its eminent simplicity and usefulness.

| Acts, viii. 14--17.

* Acts, xix. 1-7.

3 Heb. v. 12. vi, 1, 2.
4 De Bapt. c. 8.

s Epist. 73.
• Tract 6, in 1 Ep. John.

A more affecting sight is scarcely to be seen than that of a number of young persons coming forward, in the presence of the Church, to join themselves publicly to their Saviour, in the bonds of his covenant, and to seek the paternal prayers and blessings of their Bishops on their tender and newly-formed resolutions. Every visible Church of Christ has accordingly retained either this rite of Confirmation, or some other analogous to it, by which those, who were devoted to God in their infancy, might be confirmed in their pious designs of personally following the Saviour, and might be admitted into the full communion of the body of Christ. The corrupt Church of Rome has indeed debased this primitive ordinance, as it has almost every doctrine and practice of the Scripture, and has loaded it with many unscriptural and superstitious ceremonies; but this may only serve the more to recommend to us the native and lovely character of the rite itself, as it is retained in our Protestant Church.

9 Tom. ii. p. 56.

CHAPTER II.

WHO ARE THE PERSONS INVITED TO BE CONFIRMED.

They are the younger members of Christian families, who have enjoyed the blessing of being dedicated to God in their infancy, who have had prayers offered and vows undertaken in their behalf, who have been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and been made partakers of all the privileges of a covenant relation to God. These persons having attained the age of reason, and being disposed and assisted by the grace of the Holy Spirit, to take upon themselves the profession of their Christian faith, and ratify, in

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