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the Laying on of hands Acts 8, and Heb. 6: And that as that one place, Heb. 6. 2, abundantly teftifies, that this Ceremony came from the Apoftles, "as a part of the Foundation of the Doctrine of Chrift; fo As 8 and 19 Ch. do abundantly testify, that it was ordain'd as well for those that were Baptiz'd in their Riper Years, as thofe that were Baptiz'd in their Infancy; that they may have the Gift promised to all, John 7. 37, 38, 39. Acts 2. 38, 39. The fame was the Doctrine and Practice of the Primitive Church, as appears by the Teftimonies before written ch. 5. Accordingly our Church rightly orders thofe that are Baptiz'd in Riper years, to be Confirm'd before they are admitted to the Holy Communion.
It is alfo to be remembred, that there are Ordain'd of God other Neceffary means of Grace befides the two Sacraments; namely, His Holy Word, Catechifing, Exhortation, Prayer, Government. And Confirmation is a principal Prayer for Grace; to which is annexed the Promife of the peculiar Grace of Chriftianity, John 7. 37, 38, 39; as is before fhew'd ch. 3 of this Part. I do not mean hereby to derogate from the share which each of the Sacraments have in the fame Promife. For by Baptifm we are made Capable of it: (A&s 2. 38 *) and by the Lord's Supper it is fecur'd to us, when we have receiv'd it. But it is by the Prayer of Confirmation, that we enter into the Poffeffion of it: as by Baptifm we enter into the Grace of the New Birth.
And reafon it felf may tell us, that fuch a Grace as the Grace of Confirmation, does both deserve and require the most Solemn Prayer that can be offer'd for it.
Y the words, certify them (by this Sign) of thy favour and gracious goodness towards them, in the Order of Confirmation, our Church does not contradict it self, and teach another Sacrament.
Because a Special Grace of the Holy Ghoft is promis'd to be given by the Laying on of the hands t, that is the Bleffing,
+ See Part 2, ch.
See ch. 3 of this Part.
of the Bishop; Therefore he certifies them by this Sign, that is by this Bleffing, of the Favour and gracious Goodness of God promis'd to be given by this Bleffing, or Praying over them.
So in the Ordination of a Bishop, because a Special Grace of the Holy Ghoft is promis'd John 14. 16, as to all Chriftians for their Duty, fo to the Succeffors of the Apoftles for the Duty of their Ministry; and to be given, as to all Christians in Confirmation *; fo to Minilters in their Ordination; (1 Tim. 4. 14. 2 Tim. 1. 6, 7.) Therefore after Prayer with Laying on of Hands for the Bishop's Receiving the Holy Ghoft for the Officecommitted to him by the fame Laying on of Hands; it is faid, And remember that thou ftir up the Grace of God which is given thee by this Impofition of our hands, that is, by this our praying over thee, and ordaining thee.
Now the Articles of our Church do equally affirm both Confirmation and Orders to be not Sacraments: because the Laying on of hands is not a Sacramental Ceremony, or Sign of the Grace given, but only an accuftomed natural Ceremony in Bleffing or Praying for particular perfons t. and in Ordaining or appointing men to holy Offices ; as Lifting up the hands is in Bleffing many together; and as both Lifting up the hands and Kneeling are in other Prayer.
* See Part 2, ch. 3. Acts 6. 6. Ch. 13. 3.
+ Gen. 48. 14. Matth. 19. 13, 15. Levit. 9. 22. Luke 24. 50.
The Third PART.
The Honour due to Confirmation.
Confiderations to move us to give a due Honour to Confirmation.
Y what is written in the other Parts, it fully appears beyond all reasonable doubt, That Confirmation is an Ordinance of God, by which Rightly and Decently done, they who are duly Prepar'd for it, do receive their part of the Holy Ghoft, which was given to the Apoftles on the Day of Pentecoft. That is, they receive a plenteous Increase of the Saving Grace before receiv'd in Baptifm, to enable them fo much the more to Understand, and Remember, and Believe, and Obey Chrift's Word, as that they may live as becomes the Honour of his Kingdom; that as he requires higher Degrees of Holinefs than were before requir'd, fo they may live accordingly.
The Diftinction between this Grace and the Grace of Baptifm, is declar'd in the words of John the Baptift, Matth. 3. 11. I indeed baptize you with water unto Repentance: but he that cometh after me, fhall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. For it has been fhew'd Part 2, ch. 3, that Chrift when he was in the world, and his Apoftles after his Afcenfion, Baptiz'd with the fame Baptifm of Repentance, that John Baptiz'd with; and promis'd again the fame Baptifm of the Holy Ghost, to be afterwards receiv'd. It is true, our Church does not improperly call the Grace of Baptifm, Baptizing with the Holy Ghoft. But it is the Grace of Confirmation, not of Baptifm, which the Holy Scripture fo calls, both in the Gospels, and in the Acts of the Apostles; and which, 1 Cor. 12. 13, is meant by thefe words, By one Spirit we are all baptiz'd into one body,
whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink * into one Spirit. For there are recounted the feveral Gifts of the Holy Spirit, which were then in Confirmation diftributed unto Chriftians, as unto the several Members of one Body, and for the feveral Operations of one Spirit or Soul. Acts 4. 32. Eph.4.3.
And this Grace is that which our Bleffed Lord, John 16.7, declares to be more expedient for us, than if he himself had ftay'd with us on earth. He fays, I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away for if I go not away, the Conforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will fend him unto you.
This bleffed Grace, as is fhew'd Part 1, ch. 3, is the Seal of those who were made true Chriftians in Baptifm, and the Earnest of their Inheritance; whereby the Spirit bears witnefs with their Spirits, that they are the Children and Heirs of God.
Surely then for thefe Confiderations, the Means of this Grace most worthily deferves the highest Honour that can be given to it. Therefore the Administration of it is rightly intrufted only to the High Priests of the Church, to none below the Dignity of Bishops. And a fuitable Honour it ought to have in all things concerning it, certainly a great deal more than is now paid by any order of men in the Church. I fhall therefore endeavour, as God fhall enable me, to write the Truth of that Honour which is due to it; and His Will be done in the Succefs.
The Honour due to this Holy Ordinance, is to be paid,
By thofe that Prepare for it the Souls committed to their
By those that Administer it.
The Honour to be paid to Confirmation by those that receive it; and firft in their Preparation of Knowledge and Practice.
T has been fhew'd Part 1, ch. 5, That they who are to be Confirm'd, are those that Repent, and Believe the Gofpel, and are Baptiz'd; and that truly Love God, and keep his Commandments, with Thirfting after more Grace to keep them; and confequently are Inftructed in what they are to believe and do.
Therefore in the Order of Confirmation in the Common Prayer Book it is order'd, That none shall be Confirm'd, but fuch as can fay the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments; and can also answer to fuch other questions as in the short Catechism are contained.
Now this muft fuppose that they have a competent Underftanding of the Catechism, and that they Believe and Do according to it. For faying without Understanding fignifies nothing; and understanding without Practice does no good.
And this Understanding of the Catechism, and Believing and Doing according to it, is very plainly fuppos'd in the 61 Canon: which fays, Every Minifter that bath Cure and Charge of Souls, for the better accomplishing of the Orders, preferibed in the book of Common Prayer, concerning Confirmation, fhall take efpecial care as that none may be prefented to the Bishop for him to lay bis hands upon, but fuch as can render an account of their Faith according to the Catechifm in the faid book contained.
Now bare repeating of words cannot be an account of Faith. For Faith is certainly Believing and Doing according to the Catechism, Jam. 2. 14, &c. And the Believing and Doing according to the Catechism cannot be without Understanding it.
But for a competent Understanding of the Catechifm, they are to Understand not only the Immediate fenfe of the words, but the Reasonable meaning of them. For Inftance, They mut know what God is, fo far as is needful for them; what Chrift was Crucified, Dead and Buried for; for what he Sitteth at the Right Hand of God; how to worship God, and