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Altho' thou art not here order'd to repeat it after him: yet the first time it is order'd to be faid in the Common Prayer, the people are order'd to repeat it with the Minifter, wherefoever elfe it is us'd in Divine Service.
Therefore fay the Lord's Prayer Reverently after the Bishop, and remember to pray therewith with all the Humble Earneftnefs thou art able. And with the fame Devotion fay Amen at the end of it.
The Prayers that follow are to express our Earneftness and Importunity to obtain the Grace promis'd in this Ordinance. For Luke 11. 5 to 14, our Lord commands us to be Importu nate in praying for the Grace of the Holy Spirit. Therefore flack not thy Devotion in thofe Prayers.
In the Order of Confirmation Explain'd, it has been noted, That the words laid our hands, according to the Order of the Church, and the ufe of the Scripture, fignify, laid one of our hands, and that only the Right hand.
Therefore I cannot but pray, That for the Honour, and confequently the Benefit of God's Holy Ordinance, the laying the right hand upon one, and the left upon another (which has been lately done) may be done no more.
If the company to be Confirm'd be more than the Bishop's ftrength will bear, there is no neceflity for him to lay his hand on them all the fame day.
The Bishop concludes with Bleffing those that have truly and Devoutly done their Duty. For they are the fons of peace, on whom bis peace, that is, his Bleffing fball reft. Luke 10. 6. And that his Bleffing may reft on thee, do thou Humbly receive it, continuing upon thy knees: and Devoutly fay Amen to it.
Remember, whilft thou takeft care of thy own Duty, withal to take heed of thinking too highly of thy felf, and of cenfuring and judging those that do not as they fhould; left thy pride prove worse than their ignorant neglect. Luke 18. 9, &c. But be thankful for the undeferved Grace of God given to thee: and Pray for what thou feeft wanting in others.
Thou haft now read how to Prepare thy felf for thy Confirmation, and for thy Behaviour therein. If thou doft accordingly, there is no doubt, but thou shalt speedily find the Benefit of it, if not immediately; (Luke 11. 13) provided thou ar not wanting in thy Diligent Care after.
The Diligent Care after Confirmation.
HOU haft pray'd with the Bishop, that God will Strengthen thee with the Holy Ghoft the Comforter, and Defend thee with his heavenly Grace, that thou mayft continue his for ever.
Therefore Remember the Command and Promife, Jam. 4. 7, Refift the devil, and he will flee from you. But this must be done Manfully and Conftantly: and then thou art fure of God's Promife, Heb. 13. 5, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Thou haft alfo pray'd with the Bishop, that God will daily increase in thee his manifold Gifts of Grace; that thou mayst daily increase in bis Holy Spirit, more and more, until thou comeft unto bis everlasting Kingdom.
Therefore thou muft daily and diligently ufe the Means of Grace, carefully reading and hearing the Holy Scriptures, and fuch other books as are needful; and endeavouring to do all they teach; ftrictly watching over thy actions, and calling thy felf to account for thy fins, and amending thy life more and more: Praying always with all prayer and Supplication in the Spirit, (that is, by the Grace of the Spirit praying heartily and earnestly) and watching thereunto with all perfeverance. Eph. 6. 18.)
Have always in thy mind the First and Great Commandment, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy foul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy ftrength. If thou doft fo love God, then thou wilt do as thou art com. commanded, I Cor. 15. 58, Be ye ftedfaft, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord: and i Theff. 4. 1, We beSeech you brethren, and exhort you by the Lord fefus, that as ye bave received of us how you ought to walk, and to please God, fo ye would abound more and more. And this abounding more and more is to be done, altho' thou doft any duty never fo well; as the Apostle teaches in the fame Ch. v. 9, 10.
But in thy abounding more and more in all things that are pleafing to God, take heed that thou do not forget to increase more and more in Humility. For the better any man is, the more humble he is *. Who could be more humble than our
Luke 7. 6, 7, 9. Eph. 3. 8.
Bleffed Lord? And Matth. 11. 29, he fays, Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart. John 13. 14, If I your Lord and Mafter, have washed your feet, ye alfo ought to wash one anothers feet. Luke 9. 48, when his Difciples were disputing who fhould be greateft, he fays to them, He that is leaft among you all, the fame fhall be great. So he that is leaft in his own fight, and moft humble, he fhall be greateft in the esteem of our Saviour, and be most highly exalted by him. And Matth. 18. 3, he tells them, Except ye become as little children (that is, humble like little children, v. 4) ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The abounding more and more in our Duty, is not always increafing in the quantity, as in the length of our Prayers. For the wife man fays, God is in beaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a fool's voice is known by multitude of words, Ecclef. 5. 2, 3. Matth. 6. 7, 8, our Savi our fays, The heathen think that they shall be heard for the much Speaking. Be not ye like unto them. And Ch. 23. 14, Hypocrites for a pretence make long prayer.
Inftead therefore of long prayer, we are to do our best endeavour to pray better and better, in due Seafon, in all the times of Prayer, both in publick and in private, Conftantly, never fuffering our felves to be hindered by light excufes, o by any thing less than great and invincible neceffity.
To pray better and better, fuppofes that thou doft pray well, Understanding what thou fayeft, and praying Heartily, and with Humble Reverence. And it is to understand thy Prayers more fully, to confefs thy fins with more godly forrow, and hatred of them, to give thanks with more lively fenfe of God's Mercies, to pray for Grace with more hungring and thirsting after it, to pray for others with more charity, and to do an with more attention, and with more Humility and Reverence.
To do one of these, to Understand well what thou fayest in all the Prayers of the Church, and to keep up and improve the fame, may find thee work enough on Sundays and other Holy days, that thou shalt not need to feek for worldly bufinefs to imploy thy time.
Again, the abounding more and more in reading and medita tion, is not the beftowing more and more time on this duty. For exceffive ftudy does but weaken the understanding and memory, and make thee lefs fit for the fervice of God. But it is the more diligent and conftant imploying as much time as is agreeable to thy ftrength, and can be fpar'd from the duties of thy calling; and the reading the Holy Scriptures and other books fo as thou may'ft most profit, and grow more and more
in all Chriftian knowledge and practice. By diligent reading and learning according to thy ftrength, thou fhalt be able to do more and more of thy duty. But by exceffive study thou fhalt grow weaker, and do less.
If after thou haft received Confirmation thou doft thy Endeavour according to these directions; then fo long as thou continueft fo doing, God will turely without fail, give and continue to thee the Grace he has promis'd in this Ordinance. He will, as thou haft pray'd with the Bishop, Defend thee with his beavenly Grace, that thou mayft continue bis for ever*, and daily increase in his Holy Spirit more and more, until thou comest unto his everlasting Kingdom.
I have no more to add, but that for the preferving this Grace, and increafe of Grace, thou must truly endeavour to partake of the Lord's Supper as often as thou art invited to it, and to partake of it with due Preparation. A neceffary part of which Preparation, is the Understanding of the Service, so as that thou mayft join with the Minifter with Understanding and Devotion in all the Parts of it.
The Honour due to Confirmation from thofe that are to Prepare for it the Souls committed to their Charge. And first the Duty of Parents and Mafters in Inftruction. The Neceffity of the Strict Obfervation of the Lord's Day, and other Holy days for the fame Inftruction. The Duty of Schoolmafters.
Arents are bound by the Law of God and Nature to take Effectual care for the well-being of thofe they brought into the world. And what is the well-being of the body without the good of the Soul? How much care foever they take for their childrens bodies, they have no true love for them, but they are most unnaturally cruel, if they do not Diligently provide for their Souls.
Masters are also bound by the Law of God (Gen. 17. 13.
* John 4. 14. Ch. 14. 16,
John 15. 2.
Ch. 18. 19. Deut. 5. 14. Joh. 24. 15) to provide for the
Now for the Instruction of children and fervants, it is not fufficient to bring them to Church to be inftructed by the Minifter in the understanding of the Catechifm, how diligent foever he is in expounding it. All he can do on the Lord's Day, will be to little purpose with ordinary capacities, without Daily inftruction. So unapt are both young and old to learn things of Religion, altho' they are not fo in worldly matters.
They therefore who would have their children and fervants effectually taught, and in fome reasonable time, have need enough to feed their Souls as often as they feed their bodies. That their Souls may not be hungry and starving, while their bodies are full fed, there is need of feeding their Souls fo often. If that cannot be, no time, nor frequency of time may be loft, that can be gain'd. And Parents and Masters may fo often feed the Souls of their children and fervants, without lofs of time to other bufiness. They may make every one fay once or twice, as much as a fhort verse in the Bible, and if need be, do fo again the next time; and fo on till they have it perfectly. in their memories. Then they may teach them as much more after the fame manner. They may continue fo teaching, taking care that all they teach be remembred; either by making the learners repeat every time a little of what they have learnt, or by appointing every third time for repetition only, never holding them long; a quarter of an hour or lefs is enough for a company of little children; and about two minutes, if only one be taught. By fhort leffons they will learn most.
By this means, both the Catechifm, and a full expofition of it, may be perfectly in the memory of a child, when he is feven or eight years old. And by daily examining him, it will be both kept in his memory, and by degrees understood.
When they are capable, they may with a small addition of time to the aforefaid minutes be fhew'd, and taught to underftand the Scripture Proofs: as many of which as fhall be thought needful, they may read one after another, and the rest may mark in their books.
After the fame manner they may be taught fuch Prayers as they can understand, and are not too long for them.
And when they have learnt fo far, they may be taught to Understand the Prayers of the Church, which till they can Underftand, and alfo be Devout in them, they ought to be kept filent in the Church, to be more ready to hear, than to give the facrifice of fools. Ecclef. 5. 1. Chrift fays, God is a Spirits