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upon none of them: only they were Baptized in the Name of the Lord Jefus) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghoft. And Ch. 19: 5, 6. we are told that St. Paul (who receiv'd both his Apoftolick Commiffion, and his Inftruction in the Gofpel, not from the other Apoftles, but immediately from Christ himself. Gal. 1. 11, 12, 16, 17) laid his hands on fome Ephefians, whom he had before Baptized *; and that when he had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them. Of this, and of the like, he minds them, and the reft of the Ephefians, Eph. 1. 13; faying, In whom alfo after that ye believed, ye were fealed with that Holy Spirit of Promife.
So this was the Ordinary fettled way with all the Apoftles. The Twelve were Confirm'd by the Coming down of the Holy Ghoft upon them on the Day of Pentecoft. The first converts were Confirm'd by the Prayer of the Apoftles, without Laying on of hands, themselves alfo praying with the Apoftles. Acts 4. 31 t. And no doubt the perfons Confirm'd always pray'd with thofe that Confirm'd them.
The cafe of St. Paul, who feems to have receiv'd the Grace of Confirmation before he was Baptiz'd, only by Ananias his putting his hands on him, and telling him his meffage from Chrift; (Alts 9. 17) and the cafe of Cornelius and his company, who plainly receiv'd the fame Grace before Baptifm, (Ch. 10. 44) only by their Faith in the word spoken by St. Peter; (Ch. 15. 9) thofe were Extraordinary cafes, and cannot concern us.
Of both extraordinary cafes, and of the ordinary Confirmation of the Corinthians, the Apoftle fpeaks 1 Cor. 12, 13, (as fhall more plainly appear Part 3, Ch: 1.) in these words, By one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one fpirit. And of the fame he speaks 2 Cor. 1. 21, 22. O'♪i Bißaιv, Now be which confirmeth us with you in Chrift, and bath anointed us, is God: who bath alfo fealed us, and given the earneft of the Spirit in our hearts.
We are, to follow the Ordinary fettled way, by the Prayer, and Laying on of the hands of the Apostles, and thofe to whom the Apoftles gave their Power to Confirm. If it be objected against this being the ordinary fettled way, that it is not oftner fpoken of in the Scriptures; that is no reafon of doubt. For in three of the Gofpels there is no mention of Chrift's Baptizing any: and it is but once spoken of by St. John. Yet there is no
*With the fame Baptifm in the Name of the Lord Jefus, with Ch. 2. 38. Ch. 8. 16. Ch. 10. 48. See Part 2. ch. 3. ↑ Then was fulfill'd to them the Promife Ch. z. 38, 39..
doubt that he caufed his Difciples to Baptize all that came to him. So there is no doubt that the Laying on of hands now Spoken of, was the Ordinary fettled way of Confirmation.
And this was the Laying on of hands, Heb. 6. 2, which is one of the firft* principles of the doctrine of Christ, and a part of the foundation, next to the doctrine of Baptifms, and cannot but be meant of Confirmation. For this was the great General part of the Foundation, next to Baptifm. And if you read the fix first verses, you may find the exprefs Meaning of this Laying on of bands; that the Author of the Epiftle refufes to lay again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith towards God, of the doctrine of baptifms, and of laying on of hands, and of refurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment: because it. is impoffible for those who were once enlightned, (by receiving the Faith) and have tafted of the heavenly gift, (by Baptifm, John 4. 1, 10) and were made partakers of the Holy Ghoft, by laying on of hands) and have tafted the good Promifes of the word of God, and the powers of the world to come, (by the hope of the Refur rection of the dead, and of eternal Judgment. Matth 29. Eph. 1. 18, 19, 20. As 24, 15) if they shall fail away, to renew them again unto repentance.
No other Laying on of hands can reasonably be thought to be there meant. That of Ordination was no part of the first principles to be taught to babes, Ch. 5. 12, 13; and was built upon the Foundation of Confirmation. Acts 6. 3. As for Laying on of hands in Abfolution; altho' it was us'd in the Primitive Church; yet it is not certainly found (it is only by fome thought to be) in the New Testament. Lay bands fuddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other mens fins, 1 Tim. 5. 22. after directions in the verfes before, concerning elders that rule well, and an accufation against an elder, and them (particularly Elders) that fin notorioufly, ought in all reafon to be underftood of Ordination, well known by Laying on of hands, in both thofe Epiftles; (1 Ep. Ch. 4. 2 Ep. Ch. 1) and not of Abfolution, which is no where known in the Scripture to be given with this Ceremony. Only it is very agreeable with the context for Abfolution to be meant together with Ordination. So Heb. 6. 2, Laying on of hands, being one of the first Principles of the foundation, next to baptifm, and the being made partakers of the Holy Ghoft, being in the following verfes reckon'd among the fame Principles, next to the heavenly gift by Baptifm; this Laying on of hands ought in all reason to be under
ftood of Confirmation, well known Acts 8, and 19, to be adminiftred by Laying on of hands; and not of Abfolution, no where known in the Scripture to be given thereby. Befides in Baptism is the Abfolution of the Foundation. The Abfolution afterward is for healing Accidental breaches, or for the encou ragement and fuller comfort of Extraordinary faith; (Matth. 9. 2, 6, 8) as the Lord's Supper is for preferving and strengthning the building, and is not reckon'd among the Principles of the Foundation Other Laying on of hands need not here be mention'd.
Therefore the Laying on of hands, which is a part of the foundation, is without doubt Confirmation. And being a part of the foundation, it is certainly Ordain'd of God. And he alone gives the Graces of his Holy Spirit: He alone therefore ordain'd the Means whereby they are given; whereby alfo they were Vifibly and Miraculously given. His giving by that Means Vifible and Miraculous Graces, was an abundant Declaration of his Will to have that Means us'd.
The Apoftolick Confirmation more Diftinctly confider'd. The Form or Manner of it.
OR the more diftinct understanding what this Ordinance of God was in the time of the Apoftles, there is to be confider'd,
The Form or Manner of it:
2, The Grace given thereby :
3, The End for which the Grace was given; and
4, Who were to be Confirm'd.
The Form or Manner of it is in the forecited relation out of Acts 8. thus, The Apostles Peter and John prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghoft. Then laid they their hands on them.
The Apoftles, or thofe to whom the Apostles gave their power, (Tit. 1. 5) prayed for them that were to be Confirm'd, that they might receive the Holy Ghost. Then they laid their hands on them. This was done to the Samaritans by two Apostles. And the fame was done to the difciples at Ephefus by one Apostle. It is probable that Peter and John did not only Pray together
See the Lord's Supper, 22 Q
for the Congregation, but also jointly Laid their hands on every one, as molt agreeable to Chrift's Promife, where two or three are gathered together in his Name, and to their own Zeal.
They brought young
After they had prayed for the congregation, that they might
S to the Grace given by the Prayer and Bleffing of the Apostles, or of those to whom the Apoftles gave power to Confirm: It is faid of the Samaritans, And they received the Holy Ghost; and of the Ephefian difciples, The Holy Ghoft came on them, and they fpake with tongues, and prophesied. They did not all speak with tongues, on whom the Apoftles laid their hands. I Cor. 12. 10, 30. But that and divers other Gifts were featter'd among them. Ver. 8. &c, To one is given by the Spirit, the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the fame Spirit; to another the gifts of healing, &c. But to every one that was a true believer, was given a Bounteous measure of the Grace promis'd by Chrift to all. John 7. 37, 38, 39, Jefus food and cried, faying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture bath faid, out of his belly fall flow rivers of living wa her. But this fpake be of the Spirit, which they that believe on him, fhould receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, becaufe that Jefus was not yet glorified. This was the Gift which all receiv'd in Confirmation; and was a plentiful Increase of the
Grace before receiv'd in Baptifm. For Chap. 4 of the fame Gospel, when Jefus made and baptized more difciples than John, (v. 1) he fays v. 10, to a woman of Samaria, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that faith to thee, Give me to drink; thou would't have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. So in Baptifm he gave living water: In Confirmation, after he was Glorified, he gave more of the fame living water flowing into divers ftreams. And they were ftreams of water Springing up into everlasting life, v. 14.
This increafe of the Grace of Baptifm, of the water fpringing up into everlasting life, is intimated by the words of St. Paul Tit. 3. 5, 6, He faved us by the walking of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghoft; which be fbed on us abundantly through Jefus Chrift our Saviour. In these words is plainly meant the whole Grace of the Holy Ghoft, both in Baptism, (John 3. 5) and in Confirmation. Acts 2. 33. The renewing therefore in Confirmation was an Increase of that renewing in Baptifm, whereby they were faved. They were faved not only by the renewing in Baptifm, but by the renewing alfo in Confirmation.
That there might be Knowledge fufficient for this Grace of Confirmation; John 14. 26, Chrift fays to his Difciples, But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will fend in my name, be shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have faid unto you. Thus he promis'd that the Holy Ghoft to be given after his Afcenfion, hould teach them and all Chriftians to Understand, and help them to Remember all things of his Word.
That their Belief of the fame might be fully confirm'd; Acts 5. 30, 31, 32, St. Peter tells the Jews, that the Holy Ghoft, whom God hath given to them that obey him, is a witness that God rais'd up Jefus, and hath exalted him with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Ifrael, and forgiveness of fins. And St. John, 1 Ep. 2. 20, fays, Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. And v. 27, The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in and ye need not that any man teach you. But as the fame anointyou: ing teacheth you of all things and is truth, and is no lie; and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. The unction or anointing was the Grace of the Holy Ghoft given in Confirmation. 2 Cor. 1. 21, 22. It cannot be meant that he taught them all things without the teaching of the Apoftles, and other Ministers of Chrift; but that he gave them infallible Afsurance of the Truth of the whole Gofpel preach'd by the Apostles; fo that they needed not any further proof of it from man.