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fancy that invocation of the Holy Spirit and imposition of hands is to cease when the extraordinary and temporary contingencies of it are gone, is too trifling a fancy to be put in balance against so sacred an institution relying upon so many scriptures.
6. With this objection some vain persons would have troubled the church in St. Austin's time; but he considered it with much indignation, writing against the Donátists. His words are these": "At the first times the Holy Spirit fell upon the believers, and they spake with tongues which they had not learned, according as the Spirit gave them utterance. They were signs fitted for the season; for so the Holy Ghost ought to have signified in all tongues, because the Gospel of God was to run through all the nations and languages of the world; so it was signified, and so it passed through. But is it therefore expected that they upon whom there is imposition of hands that they might receive the Holy Ghost, that they should speak with tongues? Or when we lay hands on infants, does every one of you attend to hear them speak with tongues? And when he sees that they do not speak with tongues, is any of you of so perverse a heart as to say, they have not received the Holy Ghost; for if they had received him, they would speak with tongues, as it was done at first? But if by these miracles there is not now given any testimony of the presence of the Holy Spirit, how doth any one know that he hath received the Holy Ghost? Interroget cor suum, Si diliget fratrem, manet Spiritus Dei in illo."" It is true, the gift of tongues doth not remain, but all the greater gifts of the Holy Spirit remain with the church for ever; sanctification and power, fortitude and hope, faith and love. Let every man search his heart, and see if he belongs to God; whether the love of God be not spread in his heart by the Spirit of God:' let him see if he be not patient in troubles, comforted in his afflictions, bold to confess the faith of Christ crucified, zealous of good works. These are the miracles of grace, and the mighty powers of the Spirit, according to that saying of Christ, "These signs shall follow them that believe: in my name shall they cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues, they shall tread on ser
f Tract. 6. in Canonicam Joan. circa med. et lib. 3. contr. Donatist. c. 6.
Mark, xvi. 17.
pents, they shall drink poison, and it shall not hurt them and they shall lay their hands on the sick, and they shall recover." That which we call the miraculous part, is the less power; but to cast out the devil of lust, to throw down the pride of Lucifer, to tread on the great dragon, and to triumph over our spiritual enemies, to cure a diseased soul, to be unharmed by the poison of temptation, of evil examples and evil company: these are the true signs that shall follow them, that truly and rightly believe on the name of the Lord Jesus; this is to live in the Spirit,' and to walk in the Spirit;' this is more than to receive the Spirit to a power of miracles and supernatural products in a natural matter: for this is from a supernatural principle to receive supernatural aids to a supernatural end in the diviner spirit of a man; and this being more miraculous than the other, it ought not to be pretended that the discontinuance of extraordinary miracles should cause the discontinuance of an ordinary ministration; and this is that which I was to prove.
7. To which it is not amiss to add this observation, that Simon Magus offered to buy this power of the apostles, that he also, by laying on of hands, might thus minister the Spirit. Now he began this sin in the Christian church, and it is too frequent at this day; but if all this power be gone, then nothing of that sin can remain; if the subject-matter be removed, then the appendant crime cannot abide, and there can be no simony, so much as by participation; and what ever is or can be done in this kind, is no more of this crime than drunkenness is of adultery; it relates to it, or may be introductive of it, or be something like it. But certainly. since the church is not so happy as to be entirely free from the crime of simony, it will be hard to say that the power (the buying of which was the principle of this sin, and therefore the rule of all the rest) should be moved, and the house stand without a foundation, the relative without the correspondent, the accessary without the principal, and the accident without the subject. This is impossible, and therefore it remains that still there abides in the church this power, that, by imposition of hands of fit persons, the Holy Ghost is ministered. But this will be further cleared in the next
The Holy Rite of Imposition of Hands for the giving the Holy Spirit, or Confirmation, was actually continued and practised by all the succeeding Ages of the purest and primitive Church,
NEXT to the plain words of Scripture, the traditive interpretation and practice of the church of God is the best argument in the world for rituals and mystical ministrations; for the tradition is universal, and all the way acknowledged to be derived from Scripture. And although in rituals, the tradition itself, if it be universal and primitive, as this is, were alone sufficient, and is so esteemed in the baptism of infants, in the priests' consecrating the holy eucharist, in public liturgies, in absolution of penitents, the Lord's day, communicating of women, and the like; yet this rite of confirmation being all that, and evidently derived from the practice apostolical, and so often recorded in the New Testament, both in the ritual and mysterious part, both in the ceremony and spiritual effect, is a point of as great certainty as it is of usefulness and holy designation.
Theophilus Antiochenus lived not long after the death of St. John, and he derives the name of Christian, which was first given to the disciples in his city, from this chrism or spiritual unction, this confirmation of baptized persons; Ἡμεῖς τούτου εἵνεκεν καλούμεθα Κριστιανοὶ, ὅτι χριόμεθα ἐλαίῳ OEOU, "We are therefore called Christians, because we are anointed with the unction of God." These words will be best understood by the subsequent testimonies, by which it will appear that confirmation (for reasons hereafter mentioned) was for many ages called chrism or unction. But he adds the usefulness of it: "For who is there that enters into the world, or that enters into contention or athletic combats, but is anointed with oil?" By which words he intimates the unction anciently used in baptism, and in confirmation both for in the first, we have our new birth; in the second, we are prepared for spiritual combat.
Tertullian' having spoken of the rites of baptism, proceeds; "Dehinc" (saith he)" manus imponitur, per bene
h A, D. 170.
i A. D. 200.
dictionem advocans et invitans Spiritum Sanctum. Tunc ille Sanctissimus Spiritus super emundata et benedicta corpora libens à Patre descendit:" "After baptism the hand is imposed, by blessing, calling, and inviting, the Holy Spirit. Then that most Holy Spirit willingly descends from the Father upon the bodies that are cleansed and blessed;" that is, first baptized, then confirmed. And again1; "Caro signatur, ut anima muniatur. Caro manûs impositione adumbratur, ut anima Spiritu illuminetur:" "The flesh is consigned, or sealed" (that also is one of the known primitive words for confirmation), “that the soul may be guarded or defended: and the body is overshadowed by the imposition of hands, that the soul may be enlightened by the Holy Ghost." Nay, further yet, if any man objects that baptism is sufficient, he answers", "It is true, it is sufficient to them that are to die presently; but it is not enough for them that are still to live and to fight against their spiritual enemies. For in baptism we do not receive the Holy Ghost" (for although the apostles had been baptized, yet the Holy Ghost was come upon none of them until Jesus was glorified); ❝sed in aqua emundati, sub angelo Spiritui Sancto præparamur;"" but being cleansed by baptismal water, we are disposed for the Holy Spirit, under the hand of the angel of the church," under the bishop's hand. And a little after he expostulates the article: "Non licebit Deo in suo organo per manus sanctas sublimitatem modulari spiritualem?" "Is it not lawful for God, by an instrument of his own, under holy hands to accord the heights and sublimity of the Spirit ?" for indeed this is the divine order and therefore Tertullian reckoning the happiness and excellency of the church of Rome at that time, says", "She believes in God, she signs with water, she clothes with the Spirit" (viz., in confirmation)," she feeds with the eucharist, she exhorts to martyrdom; and against this order or institution she receives no man,"
St. Cyprian, in his epistler to Jubaianus, having urged that of the apostles going to Samaria to impose hands on those whom St. Philip had baptized, adds, "quod nunc quoque apud nos geritur, ut qui in ecclesiam baptizantur, per
k De Baptismo, c. 6.
1 De Resur. Carn. cap. 8.
præpositos ecclesiæ offerantur, et per nostram orationem ac manûs impositionem Spiritum Sanctum consequantur, et signaculo Dominico consummentur:" "which custom is also descended to us, that they who are baptized might be brought by the rulers of the church, and by our prayer and the imposition of hands (said the martyr bishop) may obtain the Holy Ghost, and be consummated with the Lord's signature." And again: "Ungi necesse est eum qui baptizatus est," &c. "Et super eos qui in ecclesiam baptizati erant, et ecclesiasticum et legitimum baptismum consecuti fuerant, oratione pro iis habitâ, et manu impositâ, invocaretur et infunderetur Spiritus Sanctus:" "It is necessary that every one who is baptized, should receive the unction, that he may be Christ's anointed one, and may have in him the grace of Christ] They who have received lawful and ecclesiastical baptism, it is not necessary they should be baptized again; but that which is wanting must be supplied, viz., that prayer being made for them, and hands imposed, the Holy Ghost being invocated and poured upon them."
St. Clement of Alexandria, a man of venerable antiquity and admirable learning, tells that a certain young man was by St. John delivered to the care of a bishop, who having baptized him, "postea verò sigillo Domini, tanquam perfectâ tutâque ejus custodiâ, eum obsignavit;"" afterward sealed him with the Lord's signature" (the church-word for confirmation)" as with a safe and perfect guard."
Origen" in his seventh homily of Ezekiel, expounding certain mystical words of the prophet, saith, "Oleum est quo vir sanctus ungitur, oleum Christi, oleum sanctæ doctrinæ. Cùm ergò aliquis accepit hoc oleum quo ungitur sanctus, id est, Scripturam Sanctam instituentem quomodo oporteat baptizari, in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, et pauca commutans unxerit quempiam, et quodammodo dixerit, Jam non es catechumenus, consecutus es lavacrum secundæ generationis; talis homo accipit oleum Dei," &c. "The unction of Christ, of holy doctrine, is the oil by which the holy man is anointed, having been instructed in the Scriptures, and taught how to be baptized; then changing a few things he says to him, Now you are no longer a catechumen, now you are regenerated in bap9 Epist. 70. 73. s Apud Euseb. lib. 3. c. 17.
r A. D. 200.
Τὸ τέλειον φυλακτήριον,
u A. D. 210.