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A. In that case he ought to consider what it is that puts him in doubt of it; and having so done, let him take the advice of some person whom he can rely upon, but especially of his minister, about it: that so being freed froin his scruples, he may go with a quiet mind, and a full persuasion of conscience to this spiritual feast, and with comfort receive the benefits of it.
15. Q. What if upon the examination it shall ap. pear that he is not in a state of going to this sacrament?
A. He must then, for the present, refrain from it, and make all the haste he can to remove the impediment, and reconcile himself to God, that so he may be in a condition both to come worthily to it; and to be made partaker of those graces which are thereby communicated to every faithful receiver of it.
Proofs SUBJOINED. Matt. v. 23, 24. Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. xxii. II. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having on a wedding garment ? and he was speechless.
How it is performed in our Church. Of the rea
sonableness and benefits of it; and the obligation which lies upon all who are baptized to be confirmed, before they come to the holy Communion.
1. Q. Is there any thing farther required of those who come to the Lords Supper?
A. Yes, there is; namely, that they be first confirmed by the bishop. It being ordained by our church, “ that none shall be admitted to the holy communion until such time as he be confirmed, or be ready and desirous to be confirmed.
2. Q. What do you mean by confirmation ?
A. I mean the solemn laying on of the hands of the bishop, upon such as have been baptized, and are come to years of discretion.
3. Q. How is this perforined among us?
A. It is directed to be done after a very wise and solemn manner. For, first, the bishop baving given notice to the minister of his intention to confirm, and appointed a time for the doing of it; the minister is to call together such of his parish as are come to years of discretion, and have not yet been confirmed ; and to examine them in their church catechism ; and
+ Rubric at the end of the Confirmation Office.
to prepare as many as he can for the bishop to confirm. Secondly, having done this, he is either to bring or send in writing, with his hand subscribed thereunto, the names of all such persons within his parish as he shall think fit to be presented to the bishop to be confirmed.
These being approved of by the bishop, are brought openly into the church, and required by him, “ in the presence of God, and the congregation there assembled, to renew the solemn vow and promise which was made in their names at their baptism ; and in their own persons to ratify and confirm the same, acknowledging themselves bound to believe, and do, all those things which their Godfathers and Godmothers then undertook for them.” Which having done, the bishop heartily prays to God for his grace to enable them to fulfil this their vow; and laying his hand severally on every one's head, “ beseeches God to defend this his servant with his heavenly grace, that he may continue his for ever; and daily increase in his Holy Spirit more and more, until he comes to his everlasting kingdom. To all which are finally added the joint prayers both of the bishop and the church to the effect; and so the ceremony is ended.
4. Q. What are the reasons that chiefly moved the Church of England to retain such a ceremony as this?
A. There may several be assigned, but especially these four : *apostolical practice; * the reasonableness of the thing itself; * the benefits of it to the person who is confirmed; and the * satisfaction that arises from bence to the church of Christ.
5. Q. Did the apostles practise such an imposition of hands?
A. The apostles did lay their hands on those who had been baptized; and by their imposition of hands, such persons did receive the Holy Ghost.
Acts, viii. 17, 18. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw, that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money. xix. 6. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Iloly Ghost came on them; and they spake with longues, and prophesied.
6. Q. Does the bishop give the Holy Ghost by the imposition of his hands in confirmation?
A. That we do not say, nor did the apostles themselves do it. They laid on their hands, and God gave the Holy Spirit to those on whom they laid them. And we piously presunie, that by the fervent prayers of the bishop and the church, those on whom he now lays his hands shall also receive the Holy Ghost, if they do but worthily prepare themselves for it.
7. Q. Is there any promise of God on which to build such a hope?
A. A general one there is, and such as may, in this case, above any, be depended upon by us. For, first, we are directed to pray not only for ourselves, but for one another also.
To encourage us hereunto, Christ has promised us to grant whatsoever is piously asked by the joint suffrages of his church of him. Matt. xviii. 19. Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. And particularly has declared, that God will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him, Luke, xi.
9. * Add to this, that it has always been accounted a part of the ministerial office not only to instruct, but to pray for, and bless the people. When therefore the bishop, and his congregation, solemnly joiu together to beg of God the grace of bis Holy Spirit in behalf of such persons as these; (wbo have just now been dedicating themselves anew to bis service, and ratifying the covenant made between God and them at their baptism,) how can we chuse but believe that God will certainly grant their request, and give his Holy Spirit to those for whom he is thus earnestly and solemnly asked of him?
Proofs SUBJOINED.—James, v. 16. Pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Eph. vi. 18. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2, 3. 1 exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority, that they may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.
* Lev. ix. 22, 23. And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin-offering, and the burnt-offering, and peace-offerings. And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people. Numb. vi. 23, 24, 27. Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto