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In thy Preparation forget not the Command of the Apostle, Phil. 4. 6, In every thing by prayer and fupplication with thankf giving, let your requests be made known unto God. Therefore give most humble and hearty thanks for the blessed Ordinance of Confirmation, and the Promises of ineftimable Grace thereby. And most humbly and earnestly beg of God, to Prepare thee duly for his holy Ordinance, to Affift thee therein; and to give thee the Grace of the Holy Spirit promis'd thereby.
Be ready and willing to give thy Minifter all the Satisfaction he fhall defire, of thy being fit and prepar'd; that he may with a good Confcience prefent thee to the Bishop, and be likewife ready and willing to give the fame Satisfaction to the Bishop.
Refufe not Examination, altho' thou art paft the age of youth. In a business of fo great Importance, and wherein fo many deceive both their Spiritual Paltors and themselves, thou camt not give more Satisfaction than is needful. And to refufe to give any Satisfaction that is needful, to those that muft give Account to God of thy Soul, is to deprive thy self of receiving benefit by their Miniftry. Heb. 13. 17.
When Prince Charles (afterwards a truly moft Religious and Gracious King, and Martyr) was Confirm'd, he first answer'd to a long and ftrict Examination by the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, and the Bishop of Bath and Wells*. And if all were effectually bound to be fo Examin'd, by whomfoever fit perfon it be, and to be duly Prepar'd for fuch Examination; unfpeakable would the Benefit be, which the Church, and every member of it would receive thereby.
We are generally apt to think better of our felves, than truly we are. And the best of us are Imperfect, both in know. ledge, and in our duty. And there is no doubt that many come to be Confirm'd, who are far from being fit for it. Therefore it is for the good of all, but indifpenfibly neceffary for the far greater part, to be willing to be Examin'd: that they who are well prepar'd, may fee and amend their Imperfections; and that they who are not duly prepar'd, may be exhorted to do what is wanting, and not receive God's Órdinance unworthily to their hurt.
Therefore acquaint thy Minifter with thy defire to be Confirm'd, as foon as notice is given of the Day; that he may have time to confider in fo Weighty a Business, and give thee fuch Counfel as is beft for thee.
*Bishop Patrick's Work of the Miniftry.
Neglect not to have a Godfather, or a Godmother, for a Witness of thy Confirmation: because the Church requires, it. And choose fuch a one as is fit to put thee in mind of thy Duty, when there is occafion. For every body, as well of the old, as of the young, often wants to be put in mind. We are commanded to exhort one another daily, Heb. 3. 13..
In all things fhew they felf Obedient to the Church, and alfo to the Directions of the Bishop, and of thy Minister, and of thy Parents or Mafter. For Eph. 6. 2, 3, it is written, Honour thy father and mother (thofe are all thy Superiours) that it be well with thee. And 1 Pet. 5. 5, Ye younger fubmit may your felves to the elder: yea all of you be fubject one to another; and be clothed with bumility: for God refifteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Remember this, that God refifteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. And let not any thing of pride, or any want of Humility deprive thee of the great Benefit of this means of Grace. But it is to be remembred, that God is to be obey'd and honour'd above all. Therefore if any thing be requir'd of thee, that is contrary to thy Duty, either by thy Minifter, or by thy Parents or Mafter, who perhaps may defire thee to go to Confirmation, before thou art ready for it, thou mayft by no means yield to any fuch thing. But take care to exprefs thy refufal with meeknefs, and with the reverence that is due to thy Minister, or thy Parent or Master.
If Confirmation be done in the accuftomed rude manner where thou art to receive it: get thy Minifter, or some other fit perfon, to pray the Bifhop to Confirm thee, wherefoever he pleases, in that Decent Order, which God's Ordinance and the Church require. And choofe rather to go never so far to his place of refidence, than to be Confirm'd in the accuftomed rude way. It is impoffible for a good man to deny thy request. And affure thy felf that God will pay thee well for thy care, and for thy journey.
The Behaviour of Perfons Confirm'd in their Confirmation.
S to thy Devout Behaviour: to confider how to do this, is another neceffary part of thy Preparation. First, be fure to be in the prefence of the Bishop, before the Service begins, and to continue with him within hearing until it is ended. But if thou feeft crowding, and no care taken for Order, as the Church requires; then hope for more Grace by Departing, than by ftaying and do as thou art advis'd at the end of the foregoing chapter.
Two things are to be done by thee.
The one is to Satisfy the Bishop and the Congregation, that thou doft stand to, and ftedfaftly Refolve to Perform the Vow of thy Baptifm, to the end that he may give thee his Blessing. Thou didst take upon thee thy Vow, as foon as thou waft fenfible of thy Duty, and didit refolve to live a Christian life.
The other thing to be done now, is to Pray Humbly and Earneftly with the Bishop, for the Grace of the Holy Spirit promis'd in Confirmation, to enable thee to perform thy Vow, as fully as the Gofpel requires; and to Pray with a ftedfast Belief that God will, for the fake of his Son Jefus Chrift, perform to thee the fame Promise.
For thy doing these things with Understanding, read care fully the Explanation of the Order of Confirmation.
The Bishop demands three things of thee.
First, To Renew in the prefence of God, and of the Congregation, the folemn Promife and Vow, that was made in thy name at thy Baptifm:
Secondly, To Ratify and Confirm the fame in thy own person :
Thirdly, To acknowledge that thou art bound to believe and do all thofe things which thy Godfathers and Godmothers undertook for thee.
To these Demands thou art to answer ftanding, I do.
Whatever thou feeft others do, fail not to answer audibly and heartily, with such an audible, and hearty, and withal humble voice, as that the Bishop and the Congregation may fee thou art in Earneft.
Every one is requir'd with great reafon, to make this Anfwer; to fhew that he is Prepar'd for Confirmation. There fore none may prefume to receive Confirmation without it. And fhould not the Bishop fee it done by every one on whom he lays his hand? If they be plac'd and standing in Order before him, as the Rubrick requires, he, or one appointed by him, may see them answer in order one after another. And if there be a great number, it will be decent for them to be divided into Companies, and for the Bishop to make the Demand feverally to each Company.
When all have given their Anfwer, then Reverently kneel down to give Thanks* with the Bishop for the Grace of the Holy Ghoft to enable us to perform our Vow; and to Pray for the fame Grace.
Here again fail not to make the Answers Reverently and Heartily and by no means follow the evil example of others filence. May thy tongue be filent in the Service of him, who gave thee thy tongue and speech? And in all the Prayers (they are not long, but fo much the better. Ecclef. 5. 2) join with the Bishop with all the Humble Earneftness thou art able. It is a Great and Ineftimable Gift, which thou doft pray for: and thou mayft not hope that God will grant thee fuch a Gift, without fuch Humble Earneftnefs. Luke 11. 8, to 14.
Then as the Apoftles Peter and John, when they Confirm'd the Samaritans, (Acts 8) before they laid their hands on them, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost: So the Bishop Prays for those that are to be Confirm'd, with a Prayer, wherein he first thankfully acknowledges the Grace and Pardon receiv'd in Baptifm, in these words, Almighty and everlasting God, who baft vouchfafed to regenerate these thy fervants by water and the Holy Ghoft, and haft given unto them forgiveness of all their fins. Then he prays for the Grace of Confirmation, faying, Strengthen them, we beseech thee, O Lord, with the Holy Ghost the Comforter: &c.
To this, and all the other Prayers, be fure to hearken carefully And Devoutly fay Amen to God.
Ás the Apostles Peter and John, after they had pray'd for the Samaritans, that they might receive the Holy Ghoft, then laid their hands on them, that is with laying on of their hands, pray'd particularly for every one: (See Part 1. ch. 2) fo does the Bishop pray again for the fame Grace in fewer words, fay ing, Defend, O Lord, this thy Child [or this thy fervant] with thy heavenly Grace, &c.
*Phil. 4. 6.
Remember to pray with the Bishop with all the Humble Ear eftnefs thou art able, and fo to fay unto God, Amen.
If there be more than can kneel before the Bishop, none fhould ftrive to come before others. But all fhould be Reverently brought, one company after another, by their Minifters, or whom the Bishop appoints; and again brought by their Minifters to their places, which must be within hearing of the Bishop.
While the Bishop is giving the Bleffing to others, abide quietly in thy place, and there talk not with any Body. And if any one speaks to thee, anfwer him not, but imploy thy felf as thou oughtest to do. Either pray with the Bishop for thofe he lays his hand on. Or think of ftedfaft refolving to perform the Vow thou haft now renew'd, and of doing thy utmost endeavour to increase daily in all Chriftian Graces, according as thou haft pray'd. Or ftir up thy belief of the Promises of God's Holy Spirit. Read them, John 7. 37, 38, 39. Ch. 14. 15, 16, 26. Acts 2. 38, 39. Lay hold on them and ftedfaftly believe that God, for Chrift's fake, will perform them to thee; fo long as thou doft thy endeavour, and doft humbly and earnestly pray for his Grace, and dost also humbly and heartily give him thanks for it.
And think of and read the Prayers that remain to be faid; that thou mayst be more ready to join with the Bishop in
When the Bishop has done Laying on his hand, it would be a very good thing for the Congregation to fing a Pfalm fuitable to the Occafion. Pfalm 51. 9 to 13, is very proper to stir up an Humble Earnestness.
After the Bishop has done Laying on of his hand, he says, The Lord be with you, praying that God may help thee, and all the Congregation in praying now.
Remember to answer Devoutly, And with thy Spirit, praying that God may also help his fpirit in the Prayers for thy felf, and thy brethren Confirm'd with thee.
In thofe Prayers all are commanded to kneel down. Therefore kneel Decently and Reverently. And refufe not to kneel, as fome are apt to do, for a foolish reafon. What had our Bleffed Lord under him, when he kneeled down and prayed? (Luke 22. 41) or his Apostle St. Paul, and his congregation, when they kneeled down on the fore, and prayed? Acts 21. 5.
In obedience to our Saviour's Command, Luke 11. 2, When ye pray, fay, Our Father, &c, and his Command to pray earnestly with the fame Prayer for the Holy Spirit, the Bishop prays with that Prayer.