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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 psTavoiav, ' by repentance,' and
by a resuscitation of the Spirit, if he have not wholly
quenched him; but if he renounce the whole covenant, dis-
own and cancel these foundations, he is desperate, he can
never be renewed ti$ fjurdvoiav, to the title and economy of
repentance." This is the full explication of this excellent
place, and any otherways it cannot reasonably be explicated :
but therefore into this place any notice of ordination cannot



OF THE HOLY RITE OF CONFIRMATION. 251

come, no sense, no mystery, can be made of it or drawn from
it ; but by the interposition of confirmation the whole con-
text is clear, rational, and intelligible.

This, then, is that imposition of hands, of which the
apostle speaks. " Unus hie locus abunde testatur," &c., saith
Calvin : " This one place doth abundantly witness that the
original of this rite or ceremony was from the apostles :"
o'Jrw yao TO Hvtvfj,a >.a//,/3avo!/, saith St. Chrysostom ; * "for
by this rite of imposition of hands they received the Holy
Ghost." For though the Spirit of God was given extra-
regularly, and at all times, as God was pleased to do great
things ; yet this imposition of hands was diaxovia TLvtvparog,
this was " the ministry of the Spirit." For so we receive
Christ, when we hear and obey his word : we eat Christ by
faith, and we live by his Spirit ; and yet the blessed
eucharist is 5/axowa o^aro; xa/ a/'/xaros, " the ministry of the
body and blood of Christ." Now, as the Lord's supper is
appointed ritually to convey Christ's body and blood to us ;
so is confirmation ordained ritually to give unto us the Spirit
of God. And though, by accident and by the overflowings
of the Spirit, it may come to pass that a man does receive
perfective graces alone, and without ministries external ; yet
such a man without a miracle is not a perfect Christian * ex
statuum vitse dispositione ;' but in the ordinary ways and
appointment of God, and until he receive this imposition of
hands, and be confirmed, is to be accounted an imperfect
Christian. But of this afterward.

I shall observe one thing more out of this testimony of
St. Paul. He calls it " the doctrine of baptisms and laying
on of hands :" by which it does not only appear to be a last-
ing ministry, because no part of the Christian doctrine could
change or be abolished ; but hence also it appears to be of
Divine institution . For if it were not, St. Paul had been guilty
of that which our blessed Saviour reproves in the scribes and
pharisees, and should have " taught for doctrines the com-
mandments of men." Which, because it cannot be supposed,
it must follow, that this doctrine of confirmation or imposi-
tion of hands is apostolical and Divine. The argument is
clear, and not easy to be reproved.

1 In bunc locum.



252 THE RITE OF CONFIRMATION



SECTION II.

The Rite of Confirmation is a perpetual and never-ceasing
Ministry.

YEA, but what is this to us? It belonged to the days of
wonder and extraordinary : the Holy Ghost breathed upon
the apostles and apostolical men : but then he breathed his
last : " recedente gratia, recessit disciplina ;" when the grace
departed, we had no further use of the ceremony. In
answer to this I shall, -4//Xa/fc g-r/vo/a/s, by divers particulars,
evince plainly, that this ministry of confirmation was not
temporary and relative only to the acts of the apostles, but
was to descend to the Church for ever. This, indeed, is done
already in the preceding section ; in which it is clearly mani-
fested that Christ himself" made the baptism of the Spirit
to be necessary to the Church. He declared the fruits of
this baptism, and did particularly relate it to the descent of
the Holy Spirit upon the Church at and after that glorious
Pentecost. He sanctified it, and commended it by his example ;
just as in order to baptism he sanctified the flood Jordan,
and all other waters, to the mystical washing away of sin,
viz. by his great example, and fulfilling this righteousness
also. This doctrine the apostles first found in their own
persons and experience, and practised to all their converts
after baptism by a solemn and external rite ; and all this
passed into an evangelical doctrine, the whole mystery being
signified by the external rite in the words of the apostle, as
before it was by Christ expressing only the internal ; so that
there needs no more strength to this argument. But that
there may be wanting no moments to this truth, which the
Holy Scripture affords, I shall add more weight to it : and,
1. The perpetuity of this holy rite appears, because this
great gift of the Holy Ghost was promised "to abide with
the Church for ever." And when the Jews heard the apo-
stles speak with tongues at the first and miraculous descent
of the Spirit in Pentecost, to take off the strangeness of the
wonder and the envy of the power, St. Peter" at that very
time tells them plainly, " Repent and be baptized every one

* John, iii. 5. * Acts, ii. 38, 39.



IS A PERPETUAL MINISTRY. 253

of you, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost :"
sxaffro; Ipuv' not the meanest person amongst you all but
shall receive this great thing which ye observe us to have
received; and not only you, but your children too; not your
children of this generation only, " sed nati natorum, et qui
nascentur ab illis," but your children for ever : " for the
promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are
afar off, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call."
Now, then, let it be considered,

1. This gift is by promise ; by a promise not made to the
apostles alone, but to all ; to all for ever.

2. Consider here at the very first as there is a ' verbum,
a word' of promise, so there is ' sacramentum' too (I use
the word, as I have already premonished, in a large sense
only, and according to the style of the Primitive Church) : it
is a rite partly moral, partly ceremonial ; the first is prayer,
and the other is laying on of the hands : and to an effect
that is but transient and extraordinary, and of a little abode,
it is not easy to be supposed that such a solemnity should
be appointed. I say, ' such a solemnity ;' that is, it is not
imaginable that a solemn rite annexed to a perpetual promise
should be transient and temporary, for by the nature of
relatives they must be of equal abode. The promise is of a
thing for ever ; the ceremony or rite was annexed to the
promise, and therefore this also must be for ever.

3. This is attested by St. Paul, who reduces this argument
to this mystery, saying, " In whom after that ye believed,
' signati estis Spiritu Sancto promissionis, ye were sealed
by that Holy Spirit of promise.' " He spake it to the Ephe-
sians, y who well understood his meaning by remembering
what was done to themselves by the apostles but awhile be-
fore, 2 who, after they had baptized them, did lay their hands
upon them, and so they were sealed, and so they received the
Holy Spirit of promise ; for here the very matter of fact is the
clearest commentary on St. Paul's words : the Spirit which
was promised to all Christians they then received, when
they were consigned, or had the ritual seal of confirmation
by imposition of hands. One thing I shall remark here, and
that is, that this and some other words of Scripture relating
to the sacraments or other rituals of religion, do principally

J Ephes. i. 13. * Acts, xii. 6.



254 THE RITE OF CONFIRMATION

mean the internal grace, and our consignation is by a secret
power, and the work is within ; but it does not therefore fol-
low, that the external rite is not also intended : for the rite is
so wholly for the mystery, and the outward for the inward,
and yet by the outward God so usually and regularly gives
the inward, that as no man is to rely upon the external
ministry, as if the ' opus operatum' would do the whole duty ;
so no man is to neglect the external, because the internal is the
more principal. The mistake in this particular hath caused
great contempt of the sacraments and rituals of the Church,
and is the ground of the Socinian errors in these questions.

But, 4. What hinders any man from a quick consent at
the first representation of these plain reasonings and author-
ities ? Is it because there were extraordinary effects accom-
panying this ministration, and because now there are not,
that we will suppose the whole economy must cease? If
this be it, and indeed this is all that can be supposed in
opposition to it, it is infinitely vain.

1. Because these extraordinary effects did continue even
after the death of all the apostles. St. Irenreus 3 says they
did continue even to his time, even the greatest instance of
miraculous power : " Et in fraternitate, saepissime propter
aliquid necessarium, ea quas est in quoquo loco, universa
ecclesia postulante per jejunium et supplicationem multam,
reversus est spiritus," &c. When God saw it necessary, and
the Church prayed and fasted much, they did miraculous
things, even of reducing the spirit to a dead man.

2. In the days of the apostles the Holy Spirit did produce
miraculous effects, but neither always, nor at all, in all men :
" Are all workers of miracles? do all speak with tongues?
do all interpret? can all heal?" b No, " the Spirit bloweth
where he listeth," and as he listeth ; he gives gifts to all, but
to some after this manner, and to some after that.

These gifts were not necessary at all times any more
than to all persons ; but the promise did belong to all, and
was made to all, and was performed to all. In the days of
the apostles there was an effusion of the Spirit of God, it
ran over, it was for themselves and others, it wet the very
ground they trod upon, and made it fruitful ; but it was
not to all in like manner, but there was also then, and since

Lib. ii. c. 57. k 1 Cor. xii. 29.



IS A PERPETUAL MINISTRY. 255

then, a diffusion of the Spirit, ' tanquam in pleno.' St. Ste-
phen was full of the Holy Ghost, "he was full of faith and
power:" the Holy Ghost was given to him to fulfil his faith
principally ; the working miracles was but collateral and inci-
dent. But there is also an infusion of the Holy Ghost, and
that is to all, and that is for ever : " the manifestation of the
Spirit is given to every man to profit withal," saith the apo-
stle. 11 And, therefore, if the grace be given to all, there is no
reason that the ritual ministration of that grace should cease,
upon pretence that the Spirit is not given extraordinarily.

4. These extraordinary gifts were, indeed, at first neces-
sary : " In the beginnings always appear the sensible visions
of spiritual things for their sake?, who cannot receive the
understanding of an incorporeal nature ; that if afterward
they be not so done, they may be believed by those things
which were already done," said St. Chrysostom e in the place
before quoted ; that is, these visible appearances were given
at first by reason of the imperfection of the state of the
Church, but the greater gifts were to abide for ever: and,
therefore, it is observable that St. Paul says that the gift of
tongues is one of the least and most useless things ; a mere
sign, and not so much as a sign to believers, but to infidels
and unbelievers ; and before this he greatly prefers the gift
of prophesying or preaching, which yet, all Christians know,
does abide with the Church for ever.

To every ordinary and perpetual ministry at first there
were extraordinary effects and miraculous consignations.
We find great parts of nations converted at one sermon.
Three thousand converts came in at one preaching of St.
Peter, and five thousand at another sermon : and persons
were miraculously cured by the prayer of the bishop in his
visitation of a sick Christian ; and devils cast out in the con-
version of a sinner; and blindness cured at the baptism of
St. Paul ; and ./Eneas was healed of a palsy at the same time
he was cured of his infidelity ; and Eutychus was restored to
life at the preaching of St. Paul. And yet that now we see
no such extraordinaries, it follows not that the visitation of
the sick, and preaching sermons, and absolving penitents, are
not ordinary and perpetual ministrations : and, therefore, to

c Acts, vi. 8. d 1 Cor. lii. 7. e In Matthseum.



256 THE RITE OF CONFIRMATION

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 he 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 t^me ; but he considered
it with much indignation, writing against the Donatists.
His words are these : f "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 ? ' Inter-
roget 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, accord-
ing to that saying of Christ, 5 " 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

f Tract, vi. in Canonicam Joan, circa med. ; et lib. iii. cont. Donatist. c. 6.
8 Mark, xvi. 17.



IS A PERPETUAL MINISTRY. 257

serpents, 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 there-
fore the rule of all the rest) should be removed, 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 there-
fore 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
section.

VOL. XI. 8



258 IMPOSITION OF HANDS FOR CONFIRMATION



SECTION III.

The Holy Rite of Imposition of Hands for the giving the Holy
Spirit, or Confirmation, was actually continued and prac-
tised by all the succeeding Ages of the purest and Primitive
Church.

NEXT to the plain words of Scripture, the traditive inter-
pretation and practice of the Church of God is the best argu-
ment 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 tra-
dition 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 litur-
gies, in absolution of penitents, the Lord's day, communi-
cating of women, and the like ; yet this rite of confirmation
being all that, and evidently derived from the practice apo-
stolical, 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 use-
fulness and holy designation.

Theophilus Antiochenus lived not long after the death of
St. John, 11 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 ;
'H/i/ rourou tivixiv xaXovfAtda, Xg/ffr/avo/, on ^giofAsda, eXa/w &so\j,
" 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 men-
tioned) 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 com-
bats, 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 1 having spoken of the rites of baptism, pro-
ceeds ; " Dehinc (saith he) manus imponitur, per benedic-

h A.D. 170. A.D. 200.



PRACTISED IN THE PUREST AGES. 259

tionem advocans et invitans Spiritum Sanctum. Tune ille
Sanctissimus Spiritus super eruundata et benedicta corpora
libens a Patre descendit ; k After baptism the hand is im-
posed, 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 again; 1 " Caro signatur, ut
anima muniatur. Caro mantis 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 apo-
stles had been baptized, yet the Holy Ghost was come upon
none of them until Jesus was glorified) ; " sed in aqua emun-
dati, sub angelo Spiritui Sancto prseparamur ; 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 arti-
cle : " Non licebit Deo in suo organo per manus sanctas sub-
limitatem modular! 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 happi-
ness and excellence of the Church of Rome at that time,
says, n " 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 epistle? 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. vi, ' De Resur. Cam. c. viii.

m Ubi supra de I3apt. n De Prescript, c. xxxvi.

A.D. 250. P Epist. Ixxiii.



260 IMPOSITION OF HANDS FOR CONFIRMATION

prsepositos ecclesise offerantur, et per nostram orationem ac
manus impositionem Spiritum Sanctum consequantur, et sig-
naculo 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 im-
position of hands (said the martyr bishop) may obtain the
Holy Ghost, and be consummated with the Lord's signa-
ture." And again : q " Ungi necesse est eum qui bapti/atus
est," &c. " Et super eos qui in ecclesiam baptizati erant, et
ecclesiasticum et legitimum baptismum consecuti fuerant, ora-
tione pro iis habita, et manu imposita, invocaretur et infun-
deretur Spiritus Sanctns ; 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 r of Alexandria, a man of venerable antiquity
and admirable learning, tells 8 that a certain young man was
by St. John delivered to the care of a bishop, who having bap-
tized him, "postea verb sigillo Domini, tanquam 1 perfecta
tutaque ejus custodia, eum obsignavit; afterward sealed
him with the Lord's signature" (the church-word for confirm-
ation) '* as with a safe and perfect guard."

Origen," in his seventh homily of Ezekiel, expounding cer-
tain mystical words of the prophet, saith, " Oleum est quo vir
sanctus ungitur, oleum Christi, oleum sanctse doctrinae. Cum
ergo aliquis accepit hoc oleum quo ungitur sanctus, id est,
ScripturamSanctam instituentemquomodo oporteat baptizari,
in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, et pauca commu-
tans unxerit quempiam, et quodammodo dixerit, Jam non es
catechumenus, consecutuseslavacrum secundae generationis ;
talis homo accipit oleum Dei," &c. "The unction of Christ, of
holy doctrine, is the oil by which the holy man is anointed, hav-
ing been instructed in the Scriptures, and taught how to be bap-
tized ; then changing a few things he says to him, Now you
are no longer a catechumen, now you are regenerated in.

i Epist Ixz.budii. r A.D. 200. Apud Euseb. lib. iii. c. 17.

* T TAi;ax ^t/Xr>j{/a. n A.D. 210.



PRACTISED IN THE PUREST AGES. 261

baptism : such a man receives the unction of God," viz. he



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