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Edgar, 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 religion.

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 Cassandery. 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 ἐφορκιστὰς by κατηχητὰς, the primitive 6 exorcist' was

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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 St. Austin.

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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

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a divine ministry; we shall weaken the devil's power, by which he too often and too much prevails upon uninstructed and unconfirmed youth. For μύρον βεβαίωσις τῆς ὁμολογίας, "confirmation is the firmament of our profession;" but we profess nothing till we be catechised. Catechisings are our best preachings, and by them we shall give the best accounts of our charges, while in the behalf of Christ we make disciples, and take prepossession of infant understandings, and by this holy rite, by prayer and imposition of hands, we minister the Holy Spirit to them, and so prevent and disable the artifices of the devil; " for we are not ignorant of his devices," how he enters as soon as he can, and taking advantage of their ignorance and their passion, seats himself so strongly in their hearts and heads.

Turpiùs ejicitur quam non admittitur hostis;

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'It is harder to cast the devil out than to keep him out.' Hence it is that the youth are so corrupted in their manners, so devilish in their natures, so cursed in their conversation, so disobedient to parents, so wholly given to vanity and idleness; they learn to swear before they can pray, and to lie as soon as they can speak. It is not my sense alone, but was long since observed by Gerson and Gulielmus Parisiensis, "Propter cessationem confirmationis tepiditas grandior est fidelibus, et fidei defensione;" there is a coldness and deadness in religion, and it proceeds from the neglect of confirmation rightly ministered, and after due preparations and dispositions. A little thing will fill a child's head: teach them to say their prayers, tell them the stories of the life and death of Christ, cause them to love the holy Jesus with their first love, make them afraid of a sin; let the principles which God hath planted in their very creation, the natural principles of justice and truth, of honesty and thankfulness, of simplicity and obedience, be brought into act, and habit, and confirmation, by the holy sermons of the Gospel. If the guides of souls would have their people holy, let them teach holiness to their children, and then they will (at least) have a new generation unto God, better than this wherein we now live, They who are most zealous in this particular, will with most comfort reap the fruit of their labours, and the blessings of

e De Exterminat. Schism.

their ministry; and by the numbers which every curate presents to his bishop fitted for confirmation, he will in propor tion render an account of his stewardship with some visible felicity. And let it be remembered, that in the last rubric of the office of confirmation in our liturgy it is made into a law, that "none should be admitted to the holy communion, until such time as he could say the catechism, and be confirmed:" which was also a law and custom in the primitive church, as appears in St. Dionysius's Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, and the matter of fact is notorious. Among the Helvetians, they are forbidden to contract marriages, before they are well instructed in the catechism: and in a late synod at Bourges, the curates are commanded to threaten all that are not confirmed, that they shall never receive the Lord's supper, nor be married. And in effect the same is of force in our church: for the married persons being to receive the sacrament at their marriage, and none are to receive but those that are confirmed, the same law obtains with us as with the Helvetians or the synodus Bituricensis.'

There is another little inquiry which I am not willing to omit; but the answer will not be long, because there is not much to be said on either side. Some inquire whether the holy rite of confirmation can be ministered any more than once. St. Austin seems to be of opinion that it may be repeated: "Quid enim aliud est impositio manuum nisi oratio super hominem ?" Confirmation is a solemn prayer over a man ;'—and if so, why it may not be reiterated can have nothing in the nature of the thing; and the Greeks do it frequently, but they have no warranty from the Scripture, nor from any of their own ancient doctors. Indeed when any did return from heresy, they confirmed them, as I have proved out of the first and second council of Arles, the council of Laodicea, and the second council of Seville: but upon a closer intuition of the thing, I find they did so only to such, who did not allow of confirmation in their sects, such as the Novatians and the Donatists. "Novatiani pœnitentiam à suo conventu arcent penitus, et iis qui ab ipsis tinguntur, sacrum chrisma non præbent, Quocirca qui ex hac hæresi corpori ecclesiæ conjunguntur, benedicti patres ungi jusserunt:" so Theodorets. For that reason only the Novatians were to be f Lib. 3. de Bapt. c. 16.

Lib. 3. Hæret, Fabul,

confirmed upon their conversion, because they had it not before. I find also they did confirm the converted Arians; but the reason is given in the first council of Arles, “quia propriâ lege utuntur," "they had a way of their own:" that is, as the gloss saith upon the canon de Arianis Consecrat. dist. 4.'"their baptism was not in the name of the holy Trinity;" and so their baptism being null, or at least suspected, to make all as sure as they could, they confirmed them. The same also is the case of the Bonasiaci in the second council of Arles, though they were (as some of the Arians also were) baptized in the name of the most holy Trinity; but it was a suspected matter, and therefore they confirmed them but to such persons who had been rightly baptized and confirmed, they never did repeat it. Πνεύματος ἁγίου σφραγίδα δῴῃ ἀνεξάλειπτον, “ The gift of the Spirit is an indelible seal," saith St. Cyril";dvezixeipnτov St. Basil calls it, it is “inviolable." They who did rebaptize, did also reconfirm. But as it was an error in St. Cyprian and the Africans to do the first, so was the second also, in case they had done it; for I find no mention expressly that they did the latter but upon the forementioned accounts, and either upon supposition of the invalidity of their first pretended baptism, or their not using at all of confirmation in their heretical conventicles. But the repetition of confirmation is expressly forbidden by the council of Tarracon', cap. 6. and by Pope Gregory the Second: and "sanctum chrisma collatum et altaris honor propter consecrationem (quæ per episcopos tantùm exercenda et conferenda, sunt) evelli non queunt," said the fathers in a council at Toledo; 'confirmation and holy orders, which are to be given by bishops alone, can never be annulled, and therefore they can never be repeated. And this relies upon those severe words of St. Paul: having spoken of "the foundation of the doctrine of baptisms and laying on of hands," he says, " if they fall away, they can never be renewed';" that is, the ministry of baptism and confirmation can never be repeated. To Christians that sin after these ministrations, there is only left a vare, expergiscimini,' that they arise from slumber,' and stir up the graces

h Cyril. Hieros. in Procatech.

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Apud Gratian. de Consecrat. dist. 5. cap, Dictum est, et cap. de Homine. k Concil. Toletan. 8. can. 7. 1 Heb. vi. 6.

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