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NEXT to the incarnation of the Son of God, and the whole economy of our redemption wrought by him in an admirable order and conjugation of glorious mercies, the greatest thing that ever God did to the world, is the giving to us the Holy Ghost and possibly this is the consummation and perfection of the other. For in the work of redemption Christ indeed made a new world; we are wholly a new creation, and we must be so and therefore when St. John began the narrative of the Gospel, he began in a manner and style very like to Moses in his history of the first creation; "In the beginning was the Word," &c. "All things were made by him; and without him, was not any thing made, that was made." But as in the creation the matter was first (there were indeed heavens, and earth, and waters; but all this was rude and 'without form,' till the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters),' so it is in the new creation. We are a new mass, redeemed with the blood of Christ, rescued from an evil portion, and made candidates of heaven and immortality; but we are but an embryo in the regeneration, until the Spirit of God enlivens us and moves again upon the waters: and then every subsequent motion and operation is from the Spirit of God. "We cannot say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." By him we live, in him we walk, by his aids we pray, by his emotions we desire: we breathe, and sigh, and groan, by him : he helps us in all our infirmities,' and he gives us all our strengths; he reveals mysteries to us, and teaches us all our duties;



stirs us up to holy desires, and he actuates those desires; he 'makes us to will and to do of his good pleasure.'

For the Spirit of God is that in our spiritual life, that a man's soul is in his natural: without it, we are but a dead and lifeless trunk. But then, as a man's soul, in proportion to the several operations of life, obtains several appellatives (it is vegetative and nutritive, sensitive and intellective, according as it operates); so is the Spirit of God. He is the the Spirit of regeneration in baptism, of renovation in repentance; the Spirit of love, and the Spirit of holy fear; the Searcher of the hearts, and the Spirit of wisdom, and the Spirit of prayer. In one mystery he illuminates, and in another he feeds us: he begins in one, and finishes and perfects in another. It is the same Spirit working divers operations. For he is all this now reckoned, and he is every thing else that is the principle of good unto us; he is the beginning and the progression, the consummation and perfection, of us all: and yet every work of his is perfect in its kind, and in order to his own designation; and from the beginning to the end is perfection all the way. Justifying and sanctifying grace is the proper entitative product in all; but it hath divers appellatives and connotations in the several rites: and yet even then also, because of the identity of the principle, the similitude and general consonancy in the effect, the same appellative is given, and the same effect imputed to more than one; and yet none of them can be omitted, when the great master of the family hath blessed it, and given it institution. Thus St. Dionysius calls baptism τὴν ἱερὰν τῆς θεογονίας τελείωσιν, * the perfection of the divine birth; and yet the baptized person must receive other mysteries, which are more signally perfective: rou μúpov xpiGIÇ TEXELWTIKŃ confirmation is yet more perfective, and is properly 'the perfection of baptism.'


By baptism we are heirs, and are adopted to the inheritance of sons, admitted to the covenant of repentance, and engaged to live a good life; yet this is but the solemnity of the covenant, which must pass into after-acts by other influences of the same divine principle. Until we receive the spirit of obsignation or confirmation, we are but babes in Christ, in the meanest sense, infants that can do nothing,

that cannot speak, that cannot resist any violence, exposed to every rudeness, and perishing by every temptation.

But therefore, as God at first appointed us a ministry of a new birth; so also hath he given to his church the consequent ministry of a new strength. The Spirit moved a little upon the waters of baptism, and gave us the principles of life; but in confirmation he makes us able to move ourselves. In the first he is the Spirit of life; but in this he is the Spirit of strength and motion. "Baptisma est nativitas, unguentum verò est nobis actionis instar et motus," said Cabasilas." In baptism we are entitled to the inheritance : but because we are in our infancy and minority, the father gives unto his sons a tutor, a guardian and a teacher in confirmation," said Rupertus: that as we are baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ; so in confirmation we may be renewed in the inner man, and strengthened in all our holy vows and purposes, by the Holy Ghost ministered according to God's ordinance.

The holy right of confirmation is a divine ordinance, and it produces divine effects, and is ministered by divine persons, that is, by those whom God hath sanctified and separated to this ministration. At first, all that were baptized, were also confirmed: and ever since, all good people that have understood it, have been very zealous for it; and time was in England, even since the first beginnings of the reformation, when confirmation had been less carefully ministered for about six years, when the people had their first opportunities of it restored, they ran to it in so great numbers, that churches and church-yards would not hold them; insomuch that I have read that the Bishop of Chester was forced to impose hands on the people in the fields, and was so oppressed with multitudes, that he had almost been trod to death by the people, and had died with the throng, if he had not been rescued by the civil power.

But men have too much neglected all the ministries of grace, and this most especially, and have not given themselves to a right understanding of it, and so neglected it yet But because the prejudice, which these parts of the Christian church have suffered for want of it, is very great


De Divin. Offic. lib. 5. c. 17.

d Vindic. Ecclesiast. Hierarch. per Franc. Hallier.

(as will appear by enumeration of the many and great blessings consequent to it), I am not without hope, that it may be a service acceptable to God, and a useful ministry to the souls of my charges, if by instructing them that know not, and exhorting them that know, I set forward the practice of this holy rite, and give reasons why the people ought to love it and to desire it, and how they are to understand and practise it, and consequently, with what duteous affections they are to relate to those persons, whom God hath in so special and signal manner made to be, for their good and eternal benefit, the ministers of the Spirit and salvation.

St. Bernard in the life of St. Malachias, my predecessor in the see of Down and Connor, reports that it was the care of that good prelate to renew the rite of confirmation in his diocess, where it had been long neglected and gone into desuetude. It being too much our case in Ireland, I find the same necessity, and am obliged to the same procedure, for the same reason, and in pursuance of so excellent an example: "Hoc enim est evangelizare Christum (said St. Austin), non tantùm docere quæ sunt dicenda de Christo, sed etiam quæ observanda ei, qui accedit ad compagem corporis Christi;" "For this is to preach the Gospel, not only to teach those things which are to be said of Christ, but those also which are to be observed by every one who desires to be confederated into the society of the body of Christ," which is his church: that is, not only the doctrines of good life, but the mysteries of godliness, and the rituals of religion, which issue from a divine fountain, are to be declared by him who would fully preach the Gospel.

In order to which performance I shall declare,

1. The divine original, warranty, and institution, of the holy rite of confirmation.

2. That this rite was to be a perpetual and never-ceasing ministration,

3. That it was actually continued and practised by all the succeeding ages of the purest and primitive churches.

4. That this rite was appropriate to the ministry of bishops.

5. That prayer and imposition of the bishops' hands did make the whole ritual; and though other things were added, • Cap. 9. de Fide et Operibus,

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