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be done by others, as in the case of baptism. The aida given in confirmation are in order to our contention and our danger, our temptation and spiritual warfare; and therefore it will not seem equally reasonable to confirm children as to baptize them.
To this I answer, that, in the primitive church, confirmation was usually administered at the same time with baptism; for we find many records, that when the office of baptism was finished, and the baptized person divested of the white robe, the person was carried again to the bishop to be confirmed, as I have already shewn out of Dionysius and divers others. The reasons why anciently they were ministered immediately after one another is, not only because the most of them that were baptized, were of years to choose their religion, and did so, and therefore were capable of all that could be consequent to baptism, or annexed to it, or ministered with it, and therefore were also at the same time communicated as well as confirmed;-but also because the solemn baptisms were at solemn times of the year, at Easter only and Whitsuntide, and only in the cathedral or bishops' church in the chief city; whither when the catechumens came, and had the opportunity of the bishop's presence, they took the advantage" ut sacramento utroque renascantur," as St. Cyprian's expression is, "that they might be regenerated by both the mysteries," and they also had the third added, viz. the holy eucharist.
This simultaneous ministration hath occasioned some few of late to mistake confirmation for a part of baptism, but no distinct rite, or of distinct effect, save only that it gave ornament and complement or perfection to the other. But this is infinitely confuted by the very first ministry of confirmation in the world: for there was a great interval between St. Philip's baptizing and the apostles confirming' the Samaritans; where also the difference is made wider by the distinction of the minister; and a deacon did one, none but an apostle and his successor a bishop could do the other and this being of so universal a practice and doctrine in the primitive church, it is a great wonder that any learned men could suffer an error in so apparent a case. It is also clear in
* Cap. 4. part. 3. de Eccles. Hier. Melchiad. Epist. ad Episc. Hispan. Orda Rom. cap. de Die Sabbati S. Pasch. Alcuin. de Divin. Offic. c. 19.
two other great remarks of the practice of the primitive church. The one is of them who were baptized in their sickness, the οἱ ἐν νόσῳ παραλαμβάνοντες, καὶ εἶτα ἀναστάντες, when they recovered they were commanded to address themselves to the bishop to be confirmed; which appears in the thirty-eighth canon of the council of Eliberis, and the fortysixth canon of the council of Laodicea, which I have before cited upon other occasions: the other is, that of heretics returning to the church, who were confirmed not only long after baptism, but after their apostasy and their conversion.
For although episcopal confirmation was the enlargement of baptismal grace, and commonly administered the same day, yet it was done by interposition of distinct ceremonies, and not immediately in time. Honorius Augustodunensis * tells that when the baptized on the eighth day had laid aside their mitres, or proper habit used in baptism, then they were usually confirmed, or consigned with chrism in the forehead by the bishop. And when children were baptized irregularly, or besides the ordinary way, in villages and places distant from the bishop, confirmation was deferred, said Durandus. And it is certain, that this affair did not last long without variety sometimes they ministered both together; sometimes at greater, sometimes at lesser distances; and it was left indifferent in the church to do the one or the other, or the third, according to the opportunity and the discretion of the bishop.
But afterward in the middle and descending ages it grew to be a question, not whether it were lawful or not, but which were better, to confirm infants, or to stay to their childhood or to their riper years. Aquinas, Bonaventure, and some others, say, it is best that they be confirmed in their infancy, quia dolus non est, nec obicem ponunt," "they are then without craft, and cannot hinder" the descent of the Holy Ghost upon them. And indeed it is most agreeable with the primitive practice, that if they were baptized in infancy, they should then also be confirmed; according to that of the famous epistle of Melchiades to the bishops of Spain, “ Ità conjuncta sunt hæc duo sacramenta, ut ab invicem, nisi morte præveniente, non possint separari, et unum sine altero ritè perfici non potest." Where although he expressly affirms the rites to be two, yet unless it be in cases of necesVide Cassandrum Schol. ad Hym. Eccl.
sity, they are not to be severed, and one without the other is not perfect; which, in the sense formerly mentioned, is true, and so to be understood,-that to him who is baptized and is not confirmed, something very considerable is wanting, and therefore they ought to be joined, though not immediately, yet expóvws, according to reasonable occasions and accidental causes. But in this there must needs be a liberty in the church, not only for the former reasons, but also because the apostles themselves were not confirmed till after they had received the sacrament of the Lord's supper.
Others therefore say, that to confirm them of riper years is with more edification. The confession of faith is more voluntary, the election is wiser, the submission to Christ's discipline is more acceptable, and they have more need, and can make better use of their strength then derived by the Holy Spirit of God upon them: and to this purpose it is commanded in the canon law, that they who are confirmed should be 'perfectæ ætatis," of full age;' upon which the gloss" says, "Perfectam vocat fortè duodecim annorum ;" "Twelve years old was a full age, because, at those years, they might then be admitted to the lower services in the church."-But the reason intimated and implied by the canon is, because of the preparation to it; "they must come fasting, and they must make public confession of their faith."-And indeed that they should do so is matter of great edification, as also are the advantages of choice, and other preparatory abilities and dispositions above mentioned. They are matter of edification, I say, when they are done; but then the delaying of them so long before they be done, and the wanting the aids of the Holy Ghost conveyed in that ministry, are very prejudicial, and are not matter of edification.
But therefore there is a third way, which the church of England and Ireland follows, and that is, that after infancy, but yet before they understand too much of sin, and when they can competently understand the fundamentals of religion, then it is good to bring them to be confirmed, that the Spirit of God may prevent their youthful sins, and Christ by his word and by his Spirit may enter and take possession at the same time. And thus it was in the church of England long since provided and commanded by the laws of King Ed
a De Consecrat. dist. 5. ut Jejuni.
gar, cap. 15. "ut nullus ab episcopo confirmari diu nimiùm detrectârit," "that none should too long put off his being confirmed by the bishop ;" that is, as is best expounded by the perpetual practice almost ever since, as soon as ever, by catechism and competent instruction, they were prepared, it should not be deferred. If it have been omitted (as of late years it hath been too much), as we do in baptism, so in this also, it may be taken at any age, even after they have received the Lord's supper; as I observed before in the practice and example of the apostles themselves, which in this is an abundant warrant: but still the sooner the better: I mean, after that reason begins to dawn: but ever it must be taken care of, that the parents and godfathers, the ministers and masters, see that the children be catechised and well instructed in the fundamentals of their religon.
For this is the necessary preparation to the most advantageous reception of this holy ministry. "In ecclesiis potissimùm Latinis non nisi adultiore ætate pueros admitti videmus, vel hanc certè ob causam, ut parentibus, susceptoribus et ecclesiarum præfectis occasio detur pueros de fide, quam in baptismo professi sunt, diligentiùs instituendi et admonendi," said the excellent Cassander". In the Latin churches they admit children in some ripeness of age, that they may be more diligently taught and instructed in the faith. And to this sense agree St. Austin, Walafridus Strabo, Ruardus Lovaniensis, and Mr. Calvin.
For this was ever the practice of the primitive church, to be infinitely careful of catechising those who came and desired to be admitted to this holy rite; they used exorcisms or catechisms to prepare them to baptism and confirmation. I said exorcisms or catechisms, for they were the same thing; if the notion be new, yet I the more willingly declare it, not only to free the primitive church from the suspicion of superstition in using charms or exorcisms (according to the modern sense of the word), or casting of the devil out of innocent children, but also to remonstrate the perpetual practice of catechising children in the eldest and best times of the church. Thus the Greek scholiast upon Harmenopulus renders the word popkiσràs by Karnxnràs, the primitive exorcist' was
* A. D. 967.
y Consultationis, cap. 9.
z Serm. 116. in Ramis Palmarum.-De lib. Ecclesiast. c. 26.
the catechist:' and Balsamon upon the twenty-sixth canon of the council of Laodicea says, that to exorcise is nothing but to catechise the unbelievers, Τινὲς ἐπεχείρουν ἐφορκίζειν, τουτέστι κατηχεῖν ἀπίστους, “Some undertook to exorcise, that is (says he), to catechise the unbelievers:" and St. Cyril, in his preface to his catechisms, speaking to the illuminati,' "Festinent (says he) pedes tui ad catecheses audiendas; exorcismos studiosè suscipe," &c. "Let your feet run hastily to hear the catechisms, studiously receive the exorcisms, although thou beest already inspired and exorcised; that is, although you have been already instructed in the mysteries, yet still proceed: for without exorcisms (or catechisms), the soul cannot go forward, since they are divine, and gathered out of the Scriptures." And the reason why these were called exorcisms he adds; "Because when the exorcists or catechists by the Spirit of God produce fear in your hearts, and do enkindle the spirit as in a furnace, the devil flees away, and salvation and hope of life eternal do succeed:" according to that of the evangelist concerning Christ; 'They were astonished at his doctrine, for his word was with power :' and that of St. Luke concerning Paul and Barnabas; 'The deputy, when he saw what was done, was astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.' It is the Lord's doctrine that hath the power to cast out devils and work miracles; catechisms are the best exorcisms. "Let us therefore, brethren, abide in hope, and persevere in catechisings (saith St. Cyril), although they be long, and produced with many words or discourses.”— The same also we find in St. Gregory Nazianzen, and d St. Austin.
The use that I make of this notion, is principally to be an exhortation to all of the clergy, that they take great care to catechise all their people, to bring up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, to prepare a holy seed for the service of God, to cultivate the young plants and to dress the old ones, to take care that those who are men in the world, be not mere babes and uninstructed in Christ, and that they who are children in age, may be wise unto salvation for by this means we shall rescue them from early temptations, when being so prepared they are so assisted by