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stores, because no man can perish without his own fault; and God can permit to himself what he pleases, as being Lord of the grace and of the sacrament: yet to us he hath given a law and a rule; and that is the way of his church, in which all Christians ought to walk. In short, the use of it is greatly profitable; the neglect is inexcusable; but the contempt is damnable. "Tenentur non negligere, si pateat opportunitas," said the bishops in a synod at Paris: "If there be an opportunity, it must not be neglected.”—“ Obligantur suscipere, aut saltem non contemnere," said the synod at Sens: "They are bound to receive it, or at least not to despise it."-Now he despises it, that refuses it when he is invited to it, or when it is offered, or that neglects it without cause. For causelessly' and 'contemptuously' are all one. But these answers were made by gentle casuists: he only values the grace that desires it, that longs for it, that makes use of all the means of grace, that seeks out for the means, that refuses no labour, that goes after them as the merchant goes after gain: and therefore the old ordo Romanus admonishes more strictly; "Omnino præcavendum esse, ut hoc sacramentum confirmationis non negligatur, quia tunc omne baptisma legitimum Christianitatis nomine confirmatur:" "We must by all means take heed, that the rite of confirmation be not neglected, because, in that, every true baptism is ratified and confirmed."-Which words are also to the same purpose made use of by Albinus Flaccus. No man can tell to what degrees of diligence and labour, to what sufferings or journeyings, he is obliged for the procuring of this ministry: there must be debita sollicitudo,' a real, providential, zealous care to be where it is to be had, is the duty of every Christian according to his own circumstances; but they who will not receive it unless it be brought to their doors, may live in such places and in such times, where they shall be sure to miss it, and pay the price of their neglect of so great a ministry of salvation. "Turpissima est jactura, quæ per negligentiam fit," "He is a fool that loses his good by carelessness1:" but no man is zealous for his soul, but he who not only omits no opportunity of doing it advantage when it is ready for him, but makes and seeks and contrives
i In Offic. Sab. Pasch. post orat. quæ dicitur data confirm.
opportunities. "Si non necessitate, sed incuriâ et voluntate remanserit," as St. Clement's expression is; If a man wants it by necessity, it may, by the overflowings of the divine grace, be supplied; but not so if negligence or choice cause the omission.
3. Our way being made plain, we may proceed to other places of Scripture to prove the divine original of confirmation. It was a plant of our heavenly Father's planting, it was a branch of the vine, and how it springs from the root Christ Jesus we have seen; it is yet more visible as it was dressed and cultivated by the apostles. Now as soon as the apostles had received the Holy Spirit, they preached and baptized, and the inferior ministers did the same, and St. Philip particularly did so at Samaria, the converts of which place received all the fruits of baptism; but Christians though they were, they wanted a rexelwois, 'something to make them perfect. The other part of the narrative I shall set down in the words of St. Luke: "Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem, heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John; who, when they were come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost: for as yet he was fallen upon none of them, only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost." If it had not been necessary to have added a new solemnity and ministration, it is not to be supposed the apostles Peter and John would have gone from Jerusalem to impose hands on the baptized at Samaria. "Id quod decrat à Petro et Joanne factum est, ut, oratione pro eis habitâ et manu impositâ, invocaretur et infunderetur super eos Spiritus Sanctus," said St Cyprian": "It was not necessary that they should be baptized again, only that which was wanting was performed by Peter and John, that by prayer and imposition of hands the Holy Ghost should be invocated and poured upon them."-The same also is, from this place, affirmed by Pope Innocentius the First, St. Jerome, and many others: and in the Acts of the Apostles we find another instance of the celebration of this ritual and mystery, for it is signally expressed of the baptized Christians at Ephesus,
that St. Paul first baptized them, and then laid his hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And these testimonies are the great warrantry for this holy rite. “Quod nunc in confirmandis neophytis manûs impositio tribuit singulis, hoc tunc Spiritûs Sancti descensio in credentium populo donavit universis,” said Eucherius Lugdunensis, in his homily of Pentecost: "The same thing that is done now in imposition of hands on single persons, is no other than that which was done upon all believers in the descent of the Holy Ghost;" it is the same ministry, and all deriving from the same authority.
Confirmation or imposition of hands for the collation of the Holy Spirit, we see, was actually practised by the apostles, and that even before and after they preached the Gospel to the Gentiles; and therefore Amalarius, who entered not much into the secret of it, reckons this ritual as derived from the apostles 'per consuetudinem,' by catholic custom;' which although it is not perfectly spoken as to the whole avlevria or authority' of it, yet he places it in the apostles, and is a witness of the catholic succeeding.custom and practice of the church of God. Which thing also Zanchius observing, though he followed the sentiment of Amalarius, and seemed to understand no more of it, yet says well; "Interim" (says he)" exempla apostolorum et veteris ecclesiæ vellem pluris æstimari:" "I wish that the example of the apostles and the primitive church were of more value amongst Christians."-It were very well indeed they were so; but there is more in it than mere example. These examples of such solemnities productive of such spiritual effects. are, as St. Cyprian calls them," apostolica magisteria," "the apostles are our masters" in them, and have given rules and precedents for the church to follow. This is a Christian law, and written, as all Scriptures are, for our instruction.' But this I shall expressly prove in the next paragraph.
4. We have seen the original from Christ, the practice and exercise of it in the apostles and the first converts in Christianity that which I shall now remark is, that this is established and passed into a Christian doctrine. The warranty for what I say, are the words of St. Paul, where the holy rite of confirmation, so called from the effect of this minis4 Heb. vi. 1, 2.
tration, and expressed by the ritual part of it, "imposition of hands," is reckoned a fundamental point, Jeuéos éléσEws Xelgav "Not laying again the foundation of repentance. from dead works, and of faith towards God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, of resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment." Here are six fundamental points of St. Paul's catechism, which he laid as the foundation or the beginning of the institution of the Christian church; and amongst these, imposition of hands is reckoned as a part of the foundation, and therefore they who deny it, dig up foundations. Now that this "imposition of hands" is that, which the apostles used in confirming the baptized, and invocating the Holy Ghost upon them, remains to be proved.
For it is true that imposition of hands signifies all Christian rites except baptism and the Lord's supper; not the sacraments, but all the sacramentals of the church: it signifies confirmation, ordination, absolution, visitation of the sick, blessing single persons (as Christ did the children brought to him), and blessing marriages; all these were usually ministered by imposition of hands. Now the three last are not pretended to be any part of this foundation; neither reason, authority, nor the nature of the thing, suffers any such pretension: the question then is between the first three.
First, Absolution of penitents' cannot be meant here, not only because we never read that the apostles did use that ceremony in their absolutions; but because the Apostle, speaking of the foundation in which baptism is, and is reckoned one of the principal parts in the foundation, there needed no absolution but baptismal, for they and we believing "one baptism for the remission of sins," this is all the absolution that can be at first and in the foundation. The other was "secunda post naufragium tabula," it came in after, when men had made a shipwreck of their good conscience, and were, as St. Peter says, λήθην λαβόντες τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ τῶν πάλαι αὐτῶν ἁμαρτιῶν, “ forgetful of the former cleansing and purification and washing of their old sins."
Secondly, It cannot be meant of 'ordination;' and this is also evident. 1. Because the Apostle says he would thenceforth leave to speak of the foundation, and go on to Symbol. Nicæn. et Constantinop. § 2. Pet. i. 9.
perfection,' that is, to higher mysteries. Now in rituals, of which he speaks, there is none higher than ordination. 2. The Apostle saying he would speak no more of imposition of hands, goes presently to discourse of the mysteriousness of the evangelical priesthood, and the honour of that vocation; by which it is evident he spake nothing of ordination in the catechism or narrative of fundamentals. 3. This also appears from the context, not only because laying on of hands' is immediately set after baptism,' but also because in the very next words of his discourse he does enumerate and appor tion to baptism and confirmation their proper and proportioned effects: to baptism, illumination, according to the perpetual style of the church of God, calling baptism wrioMov, an enlightening;' and to confirmation he reckons 'tasting the heavenly gift,' and 'being made partakers of the Holy Ghost,' by the thing signified declaring the sign, and by the mystery the rite. Upon these words St. Chrysostom discoursing, says, "that all these are fundamental articles; that is, that we ought to repent from dead works, to be baptized into the faith of Christ, and be made worthy of the gift of the Spirit, who is given by imposition of hands, and we are to be taught the mysteries of the resurrection and eternal judgment. This catechism (says he) is perfect: so that if any man have faith in God, and being baptized is also confirmed, and so tastes the heavenly gift, and partakes of the Holy Ghost, and by hope of the resurrection tastes of the good things of the world to come, if he falls away from this state, and turns apostate from this whole dispensation, digging down and turning up these foundations, he shall never be built again, he can never be baptized again, and never be confirmed any more; God will not begin again, and go over with him again, he cannot be made a Christian twice: if he remains upon these foundations, though he sins, he may be renewed dia kerάvolav, by repentance,' and by a resuscitation of the Spirit, if he have not wholly quenched him; but if he renounce the whole covenant, disown and cancel these foundations, he is desperate, he can never be renewed eis μɛrávolav, to the title and economy of repentance." This is the full explication of this excellent place, and any other ways it cannot reasonably be explicated: but therefore into this place any notice of