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tism: such a man receives the unction of God," viz., he then is to be confirmed.
St. Dionysius, commonly called the Areopagite, in his excellent book of Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, speaks most fully of the holy rite of confirmation or chrism. Having described at large the office and manner of baptizing the catechumens, the trine immersion, the vesting them in white garments, he adds, "Then they bring them again to the bishop, and he consigns him" (who had been so baptized) JɛougYINWTÁTY μύρῳ, "with the most divinely-operating unction," and then gives him the most holy eucharist. And afterward he saysy, "But even to him who is consecrated in the most holy mystery of regeneration, τοῦ μύρου τελειωτικὴ χρίσις, the perfective unction of chrism gives to him the advent of the Holy Spirit." And this right of confirmation, then called chrism, from the spiritual unction then effected, and consigned also and signified by the ceremony of anointing externally, which was then the ceremony of the church, he calls it rv iepàv rãs deογενεσίας τελείωσιν, “ the holy consummation of our baptismal regeneration;” meaning, that without this, there is something wanting to the baptized persons.
And this appears fully in that famous censure of Novatus z by Cornelius bishop of Rome, reported by Eusebius. Novatus had been baptized in his bed, being very sick and like to die "but when he recovered, he did not receive those other things, which by the rule of the church he ought to have received; neque Domini sigillo ab episcopo consignatus est,'' he was not consigned with the Lord's signature by the hands of the bishop,' he was not confirmed: 'quo non impetrato, quomodo Spiritum Sanctum obtinuisse putandus est?'' which having not obtained, how can he be supposed to have received the Holy Spirit?"" The same also is something more fully related by Nicephorus, but wholly to the same purpose.
Melchiades, in his epistle to the bishops of Spain, argues excellently about the necessity and usefulness of the holy rite of confirmation. "What does the mystery of confirmation profit me after the mystery of baptism? Certainly
x De Eccles. Hier. c. 2.
z A. D. 260.
b Lib. 6. cap. 3.
y Et cap. 4.
a Lib. 6. Hist. Eccles. c. 43.
we did not receive all in our baptism, if, after that lavatory, we want something of another kind. Let your charity attend. As the military order requires that when the general enters a soldier into his list, he does not only mark him, but furnishes him with arms for the battle: so in him that is baptized, this blessing is his ammunition. You have given (Christ) a soldier, give him also weapons. And what will it profit him, if a father gives a great estate to his son, if he does not take care to provide a tutor for him? Therefore the Holy Spirit is the guardian of our regeneration in Christ, he is the comforter, and he is the defender.
I have already alleged the plain testimonies of Optatus and St. Cyril in the first section. I add to them the words of St. Gregory Nazianzen speaking of confirmation or the Christian signature; "Hoc et viventi tibi maximum est tutamentum: ovis enim quæ sigillo insignita est, non facilè patet insidiis; quæ verò signata non est, facilè à furibus capitur:" "This signature is your greatest guard while you live; For a sheep, when it is marked with the master's sign, is not so soon stolen by thieves; but easily, if she be not.”—The same manner of speaking is also used by St. Basil, who was himself together with Eubulus confirmed by Bishop Maximinus: "Quomodo curam geret tanquam ad se pertinentis angelus? Quomodo eripiat ex hostibus, si non agnoverit signaculum ?" "How shall the angel know what sheep belong unto this charge? How shall he snatch them from the enemy, if he does not see their mark and signature ?"-Theodoret also and Theophylact speak the like words: and, so far as I can perceive, these and the like sayings are most made use of by the schoolmen to be their warranty for an indelible character imprinted in confirmation. I do not interest myself in the question, but only recite the doctrine of these fathers in behalf of the practice and usefulness of confirmation.
I shall not need to transcribe hither those clear testimonies, which are cited from the epistles of St. Clement, Urban the First, Fabianus, and Cornelius; the sum of them is in those plainest words of Urban the First: "Omnes fideles per manûs impositionem episcoporum, Spiritum Sanctum
d A. D. 370.
e Adhort. ad S. Lavacrum. In cap. 1. ad Ephes.
post baptismum accipere debent ;" "All faithful people ought to receive the Holy Spirit by imposition of the bishop's hands after baptism." Much more to the same purpose is to be read, collected by Gratian "de Consecrat. dist. 4. Presbyt. et de Consecrat. dist. 5. Omnes Fideles, et ibid. Spiritus Sanctus.'
St. Jerome brings in a Luciferian asking, why he that is baptized in the church, does not receive the Holy Ghost, but by imposition of the bishop's hands?' The answer is, "Hanc observationem ex Scripturæ auctoritate ad sacerdotii honorem descendere, "This observation for the honour of the priesthood did descend from the authority of the Scriptures;" adding withal, "it was for the prevention of schisms, and that the safety of the church did depend upon it. Exigis ubi scriptum est?' • If you ask where it is written,' it is answered, 'In Actis Apostolorum,'' It is written in the Acts of the Apostles.' But if there were no authority of Scripture for it, totius orbis in hanc partem consensus instar præcepti obtineret,' the consent of the whole Christian world in this article ought to prevail as a commandment."" But here is a twofold cord, Scripture and universal tradition; or rather Scripture expounded by a universal traditive interpretation. The same observation is made from Scripture by St. Chrysostom": the words are very like those now recited from St. Jerome's Dialogue, and therefore need not to be repeated.
St. Ambrose calls confirmation "spirituale signaculum quod post fontem superest, ut perfectio fiat," "a spiritual seal remaining after baptism, that perfection be had."-Ecumenius calls it TEλEÓTTα, perfection.'-" Lavacro peccata purgantur, chrismate Spiritus Sanctus superfunditur; utraque verò ista manu et ore antistitis impetramus," said Pacianus bishop of Barcinona: "In baptism our sins are cleansed, in confirmation the Holy Spirit is poured upon us; and both these we obtain by the hands and mouth of the bishop." And again: "Vestræ plebi unde Spiritus, quam non consignat unctus sacerdos ?" The same with that of Cornelius in the case of Novatus before cited.
n Homil. 18. in Act,
m Dial, adv. Lucifer.
I shall add no more, lest I overset the article, and make it suspicious by too laborious a defence: only after these numerous testimonies of the fathers, I think it may be useful to represent, that this holy rite of confirmation hath been decreed by many councils.
The council of Eliberis, celebrated in the time of Pope Sylvester the First, decreed, that whosoever is baptized in his sickness, if he recover," ad episcopum eum perducat, ut per manûs impositionem perfici possit;"" let him be brought to the bishop, that he may be perfected by the imposition of hands." To the same purpose is the seventy-seventh canon; "Episcopus eos per benedictionem perficere debebit," "The bishop must perfect those, whom the minister baptized by his benediction."
The council of Laodiceae decreed ὅτι δεῖ τοὺς φωτιζομένους κατὰ τὸ βάπτισμα χρίεθαι χρίσματι ἐπουρανίῳ, καὶ μετόχους εἶ ναι τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Χριστοῦ· “ all that are baptized, must be anointed with the celestial unction, and (so) be partakers of the kingdom of Christ." All that are so, that is, are confirmed; for this celestial unction is done by holy prayers and the invocation of the Holy Spirit: so Zonaras upon this canon: all such who have this unction shall reign with Christ, unless by their wickedness they preclude their own possessions. This canon was put into the code of the Catholic church, and makes the one hundred and fifty-second canon.
The council of Orleans affirms expressly, that he who is baptized, cannot be a Christian (meaning according to the usual style of the church, a full and perfect Christian)," nisi confirmatione episcopali fuerit chrismatus," " unless he have the unction of episcopal confirmation."
But when the church had long disputed concerning the rebaptizing of heretics, and made canons for and against it, according as the heresies were, and all agreed that if the first baptism had been once good, it could never be repeated; yet they thought it fit that such persons should be confirmed by the bishop, all supposing confirmation to be the perfection and consummation of the less perfect baptism. Thus the first council of Arles" decreed concerning the Arians, that if they had been baptized in the name of the Father,
t Habetur apud Gratian. de Consecrat. dist. 5. cap. Jejun.
u Cap. 8.
Son, and Holy Ghost, they should not be rebaptized. nus tantùm eis imponatur, ut accipiant Spiritum Sanctum;" that is, "Let them be confirmed, let there be imposition of hands, that they may receive the Holy Ghost." The same is decreed by the second council of Arles in the case of the Bonasiaci. But I also find it in a greater record, in the general council of Constantinople; where heretics are commanded upon their conversion to be received, "secundûm constitutum officium;" there was an office appointed' for it; and it is in the Greek Euchologion, sigillatos, primò scilicet unctos unguento chrismatis,' &c. "et signantes eos dicimus, sigillum doni Spiritus Sancti." It is the form of confirmation used to this day in the Greek church.
So many fathers testifying the practice of the church, and teaching this doctrine, and so many more fathers as were assembled in six councils, all giving witness to this holy rite, and that in pursuance also of Scripture, are too great a cloud of witnesses to be despised by any man that calls himself a Christian.
The Bishops were always and the only Ministers of
SAINT CHRYSOSTOM2 asking the reason why the Samaritans, who were baptized by Philip, could not from him and by his ministry receive the Holy Ghost, answers, Perhaps this was done for the honour of the apostles,' to distinguish the supereminent dignity which they bore in the church from all inferior ministrations: but this answer not satisfying, he adds, Hoc donum non habebat, erat enim ex septem illis, id quod magis videtur dicendum. Unde, meâ sententiâ, hic Philippus unus ex septem erat, secundus à Stephano; ideo et baptizans Spiritum Sanctum non dabat, neque enim facultatem habebat, hoc enim donum solorum apostolorum erat:" "This gift they had not, who baptized the Samaritans, which thing is rather to be said than the other: for Philip was one
* Can. 17.
y Can. 7.
z Homil. 18, in Acta.