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other things are delivered to us, but we are delivered up
unto these. This is done in baptism and catechism ; and
what was the event of it? " Being then made free from sin,
ye became the servants of righteousness." 11 Your baptism
was for the remission of sins there, and then ye were made

f John, vii. 38. K Rom. vi. 17. h Verse 18.


free from that bondage : and what then ? why then in the
next place, when ye came to consummate this procedure,
when the baptized was confirmed, then he became a servant
of righteousness, that is, then the Holy Ghost descended upon
you, enabled you to walk in the Spirit ; then the seed of
God was thrown into your hearts by a celestial influence.
" Spiritus Sanctus in baptisterio plenitudinem tribuit ad in-
nocentiam, sed in confirmatione augmentum praestat ad gra-
tiam," said Eusebius Emissenus :' " In baptism we are made
innocent, in confirmation we receive the increase of the Spirit
of grace ; " in that we are regenerated unto life, in this we are
strengthened unto battle. " Dono sapientiae illuminamur,
sedificamur, erudirnur, instruimur, confirmamur, ut illam
Sancti Spiritus vocem audire possimus, Intellectum tibi dabo,
et instruam te in hac vita qua gradieris," said P. Melchiades ; k
"We are enlightened by the gift of wisdom, we are built
up, taught, instructed, and confirmed ; so that we may hear
that voice of the Holy Spirit, I will give unto thee an under-
standing heart, and teach thee in the way wherein thou
shaltwalk :" for so,

Signari populos effuso pignore sanoto,
Mirandas virtutis opus ; '

" It is a work of great and wonderful power, when the holy
pledge of God is poured forth upon the people." This is
that power from on high, which first descended in Pentecost,
and afterward was ministered by prayer and imposition of the
apostolical and episcopal hands, and comes after the other
gift of remission of sins. " Vides quod non simpliciter hoc
fit, sed rnulta opus est virtute, ut detur Spiritus Sanctus. Non
enim idem est assequi remissionem peccatorum, et accipere
virtutem illam," said St. Chrysostom : m " You see that this
is not easily done, but there is need of much power from on
high to give the Holy Spirit ; for it is not all one to obtain
remission of sins, and to have received this virtue or power
from above." " Quamvis enim continue* transituris sufficiant
regenerationis beneficia, victuris tamen necessaria sunt con-
firmationis auxilia," said Melchiades ; " Although to them
that die presently, the benefits of regeneration (baptismal)

1 Serm. de Pentecoste.

k Habetur apud Gratian. de Consecrat. dist. 5, c. Spiritus S.

1 Tertul. adrers. Marcion. Jib. i. Car. c. 3. m HomiL xviii. in Acta.


are sufficient, yet to them that live the auxiliaries of confirm-
ation are necessary." For, according to that saying of St.
Leo, in his epistle to Nicetas, the bishop of Aquileia, com-
manding that heretics returning to the Church should be
confirmed with invocation of the Holy Spirit and. imposition
of hands, "they have only received the form of baptism
' sine sanctificationis virtute, without the virtue of sanctifi-
cation :' " meaning, that this is the proper effect of confirma-
tion. For, in short, " although the newly listed soldiers in
human warfare are enrolled in the number of them that are
to fight, yet they are not brought to battle till they be more
trained and exercised. So although by baptism every one is
ascribed into the catalogue of believers, yet he receives more
strength and grace for the sustaining and overcoming the
temptations of the flesh, the world, and the devil, only by
imposition of the bishops' hands : " they are words which I
borrowed from a late synod at Rheims. That is the first
remark of blessing, in confirmation we receive strength to do
all that which was for us undertaken in baptism : for the
apostles themselves (as the holy fathers observe) were timorous
in the faith until they were confirmed in Pentecost ; but after
the reception of the Holy Ghost they waxed valiant in the
faith, and in all their spiritual combats.

2. In confirmation we receive the Holy Ghost as the
earnest of our inheritance, as the seal of our salvation :
KaXovfAtv fffpay'ida,, u; ewjTqpriffiv xal rqs dzavortiac aq/Aiiusiv,
saith Gregory Nazianzen ; "We therefore call it a seal or
signature, as being a guard and custody to us, and a sign
of the Lord's dominion over us." The confirmed person is
vooZarov egpgayiffpsvov, 'a sheep that is marked,' which
thieves do not so easily steal and carry away. To the same
purpose are those words of Theodoret : n ' A.vdf^vriffov
7-jjj hga; pvffTayu'yiac, sv f, 01 rtM-J/Aivoi, (tsra, rr t v

xmi rqv rou /Saff/Aiwj 6/ioXoy/ai/, o'tovii fffgayibot, rivet
ds%ovrai TOV nu,ttar/xou fiueou TO y^o'iapa, us *"
/tvsif) rr,v aogotTOv TO\J ayiw Ilvr^aaros %*'>' vvode-
f " Remember that holy mystagogy, in which they
who were initiated, after the renouncing that tyrant" (the
devil and all his works), "and the confession of the true
King" (Jesus Christ), " have received the chrism of spiritual

" Comment, in Cantic. c. i. ii.


unction like a royal signature, by that unction, as in a
shadow, perceiving the invisible grace of the most Holy
Spirit." That is, in confirmation we are sealed for the service
of God and unto the day of redemption ; then it is that the
seal of God is had by us, 'the Lord knoweth who are his.'
" Quomodo vero dices, Dei sum, si notas non produxeris?"
said St. Basil ; " How can any man say, I am God's sheep,
unless he produce the marks?" " Signati estis Spiritu pro-
missionis per sanctissimum Divinum Spiritual, Domini grex
effecti sumus," said Theophylact ; " When we are thus
sealed by the most holy and Divine Spirit of promise, then
we are truly of the Lord's flock, and marked with his seal :"
that is, when we are rightly confirmed, then he descends
into our souls ; and though he does not operate, it may be,
presently, but as the reasonable soul works in its due time,
and by the order of nature, by opportunities and new fer-
mentations and actualities ; so does the Spirit of God ; when
he is brought into use, when he is prayed for with love and
assiduity, when he is caressed tenderly, when he is used
lovingly, when we obey his motions readily, when we de-
light in his words greatly, then we find it true, that the
soul had a new life put into her, a principle of perpetual
actions : but the tree planted by the water-side does not pre-
sently bear fruit, but ' in its due season.' By this Spirit we
are then sealed ; that whereas God hath laid up an inherit-
ance for us in the kingdom of heaven, and in the faith of
that we must live and labour, to confirm this faith God hath
given us this pledge, the Spirit of God is a witness to us,
and tells us by his holy comforts, by the peace of God, and
the quietness and refreshments of a good conscience, that
God is our Father, that we are his sons and daughters, and

7 O "

shall be coheirs with Jesus in his eternal kingdom. In bap-
tism we are made the sons of God, but we receive the witness
and testimony of it in confirmation. This is 6 llagdxXr,:,
the Holy Ghost, 'the Comforter;' this is he whom Christ
promised and did send in Pentecost, and was afterward minis-
tered and conveyed by prayer and imposition of hands : and
by this Spirit he makes the confessors bold, and the martyrs
valiant, and the tempted strong, and the virgins to persevere,
and widows to sing his praises and his glories. And this is

In Adhort. ad Baptis.


that excellence which the Church of God called ' the Lord's
seal,' and teaches to be imprinted in confirmation : TO riXuov
fuXaxTqeiov, rqv tiipgaytda, TOU Kugiw, ' a perfect phylactery,'
or guard, even ' the Lord's seal ; ' so Eusebius calls it.

I will not be so curious as to enter into a discourse of
the philosophy of this: but I shall say, that they who are
curious in the secrets of nature, and observe external signa-
tures in stones, plants, fruits, and shells, of which naturalists
make many observations and observe strange effects, and
the more internal signatures in minerals and living bodies,
of which chemists discourse strange secrets, may easily, if
they please, consider that it is infinitely credible, that in
higher essences, even in spirits, there may be signatures
proportionable, wrought more immediately and to greater
purposes by a Divine hand. I only point at this, and so
pass it over, as, it may be, fit for every man's consideration.

And now if any man shall say, We see no such things as
you talk of, and find the confirmed people the same after as
before, no better and no wiser, not richer in gifts, not more
adorned with graces, nothing more zealous for Christ's
kingdom, not more comforted with hope, or established by
faith, or built up with charity ; they neither speak better,
nor live better ; what then ? Does it therefore follow that
the Holy Ghost is not given in confirmation? Nothing less.
For is not Christ given us in the sacrament of the Lord's
supper ? Do not we receive his body and his blood ? Are we
not made all one with Christ, and he with us ? And yet it is
too true, that when we arise from that holy feast, thousands
there are that find no change. But there are in this two
things to be considered.

One is, that the changes which are wrought" upon our
souls are not, after the manner^of nature, visible, and sensi-
ble, and with observation. " The kingdom of God cometh
not with observation : " for it is within you, and is only dis-
cerned spiritually, and produces its effects by the method of
heaven, and is first apprehended by faith, and is endeared
by charity, and at last is understood by holy and kind expe-
riences. And in this there is no more* objection against
confirmation than against baptism, or the LordV supper, or
any other ministry evangelical.

The other thing is this : if we do not find the effects of


the Spirit in confirmation, it is our faults. For he is received
by moral instruments, and is intended only as a help to our
endeavours, to our labours and our prayers, to our conten-
tions and our mortifications, to our faith and to our hope,
to our patience and to our charity. " Non adjuvari dicitur,
qui nihil facit ; He that does nothing, cannot be said to
be helped." Unless we in these instances do our part of the
work, it will be no wonder if we lose his part of the co-opera-
tion and supervening blessing. He that comes under the
bishop's hands to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, will come
with holy desires and longing soul, with an open hand and
a prepared heart ; he will purify the house of the Spirit for
the entertainment of so Divine a guest ; he will receive him
with humility, and follow him with obedience, and delight
him with purities : and he that does thus, let him make the
objection if he can, and tell me, does he ' say that Jesus is the
Lord?' He cannot say this ' but by the Holy Ghost.' Does
he love his brother ? If he does, then * the Spirit of God abides
in him.' Is Jesus Christ formed in him ? Does he live by the
laws of the Spirit? Does he obey his commands? Does he
attend his motions ? Hath he no earnest desires to serve God ?
If he have not, then in vain hath he received either baptism
or confirmation. But if he have, it is certain that of himself
he cannot do these things : he ' cannot of himself think a
good thought.' Does he therefore think well ? That is from
the Holy Spirit of God.

To conclude this inquiry ; " the Holy Ghost is promised
to all men to profit withal ;" p that is plain in Scripture.
Confirmation, or prayer, and imposition of the bishop's
hand, is the solemnity and rite used in Scripture for the
conveying of that promise, and the effect is felt in all the
sanctifications and changes of the soul ; and he that denies
these things hath not faith, nor the true notices of religion,
or the spirit of Christianity. Hear what the Scriptures yet
further say in this mystery : " Now he which confirmeth or
stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is
God ; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the
Spirit in our hearts. " q Here is a description of the whole
mysterious part of this rite. God is the author of the grace :
the apostles and all Christians are the suscipients, and receive

P 1 Cor. xii. 7. 1 2 Cor. i. 21, 22.


this grace : by this grace we are adopted and incorporated
into Christ : God hath anointed us ; that is, he hath given
us this unction from above, " he hath sealed us by his
Spirit," made us his own, bored our ears through, made us
free by his perpetual service, and hath done all these things
in token of a greater ; he hath given us his Spirit to testify to
us that he will give us of his glory. These words of St. Paul,
besides that they evidently contain in them the spiritual
part of this ritual, are also expounded of the rite and sacra-
mental itself by St. Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Theophy-
lact, that I may name no more. For in this mystery,
" Christos nos efficit, et misericordiatn Dei nobis annunciat
per Spiriturn Sanctum," said St. John Darnascen ; r " he
makes us his anointed ones, and by the Holy Spirit he
declares his eternal mercy towards us." " Nolite tangere
Christos meos ; Touch not mine anointed ones." For
when we have this signature of the Lord upon us, the devils
cannot come near to hurt us, unless we consent to their
temptations, and drive the Holy Spirit of the Lord from us.


Of Preparation to Confirmation, and the Circumstances
of receiving it.

IF confirmation have such gracious effects, why do we con-
firm little children, whom in all reason we cannot suppose to
be capable and receptive of such graces ? It will be no an-
swer to this, if we say that this very question is asked con-
cerning the baptism of infants, to which as great effects are
consequent, even pardon of all our sins, and the new birth
and regeneration of the soul unto Christ : for in these things
the soul is wholly passive, and nothing is required of the
suscipient but that he put in no bar against the grace ; which,
because infants cannot do, they are capable of baptism ; but
it follows not, that therefore they are capable of confirma-
tion, because this does suppose them such as to need new
assistances, and is a new profession, and a personal under-
taking, and therefore requires personal abilities, and cannot

r Lib. ir. de Fide, c. 10.


be done by others, as in the case of baptism. The aids given
in confirmation are in order to our contention and our
danger, our temptation and spiritual warfare ; and therefore
it will not seem equally reasonable to confirm children as to
baptize them.

To this I answer, that, in the Primitive Church, confirma-
ation was usually administered at the same time with bap-
tism ; for we find many records, that when the office of
baptism was finished, and the baptized person divested of
the white robe, the person was carried again to the bishop
to be confirmed, as I have already shewn out of Dionysius s
and divers others. The reasons why anciently they were
ministered immediately after one another is, not only because
the most of them that were baptized, were of years to choose
their religion, and did so, and therefore were capable of all
that could be consequent to baptism, or annexed to it, or
ministered with it, and therefore were also at the same time
communicated as well as confirmed ; but also because the
solemn baptisms were at solemn times of the year, at Easter
only and Whitsuntide, and only in the cathedral or bishops'
church in the chief city ; whither when the catechumens came,
and had the opportunity of the bishop's presence, they took
the advantage " ut sacramento utroque renascantur," as St.
Cyprian's expression is, " that they might be regenerated by
both the mysteries/' and they also had the third added, viz.
the holy eucharist.

This simultaneous ministration hath occasioned some few
of late to mistake confirmation for a part of baptism, but no
distinct rite, or of distinct effect, save only that it gave orna-
ment and complement or perfection to the other. But this
is infinitely confuted by the very first ministry of confirm-
ation in the world : for there was a great interval between
St. Philip's baptizing and the apostles confirming the Sama-
ritans; where also the difference is made wider by the dis-
tinction of the minister ; and a deacon did one, none but
an apostle and his successor, a bishop, could do the other :
and this being of so universal a practice and doctrine in the
Primitive Church, it is a great wonder that any learned men
could suffer an error in so apparent a case. It is also clear in

Cap. iv. part iii. de Eccles. Hier. Melchiad. Epist. ad Episc. Hispan. Ordo
Rom. cap. de Die Sabbati, S. Pasch. Alcuin. de Divin. Offic. c. 19.


two other great remarks of the practice of the Primitive
Church. The one is of them who were baptized in their sick-
ness, the oi sv voffui ffagalMfAJSdvovns, xai sJra avaaravrs:, when
they recovered they were commanded to address themselves
to the bishop to be confirmed ; which appears in the thirty-
eighth canon of the Council of Eliberis, and the forty-sixth
canon of the Council of Laodicea, which I have before cited
upon other occasions : the other is, that of heretics returning
to the Church, who were confirmed not only long after bap-
tism, but after their apostasy and their conversion.

For although episcopal confirmation was the enlargement
of baptismal grace, and commonly administered the same day,
yet it was done by interposition of distinct ceremonies, and
not immediately in time. Honorius Augustodunensis 1 tells
that when the baptized on the eighth day had laid aside their
mitres, or proper habit used in baptism, then they were
usually confirmed, or consigned with chrism in the forehead
by the bishop. And when children were baptized irregularly,
or besides the ordinary way, in villages and places distant
from the bishop, confirmation was deferred, said Durandus.
And it is certain, that this affair did not last long without
variety : sometimes they ministered both together ; sometimes
at greater, sometimes at lesser distances ; and it was left in-
different in the Church to do the one, or the other, or the third,
according to the opportunity and the discretion of the bishop.

But afterward in the middle and descending ages it grew
to be a question, not whether it were lawful or not, but which
Avere better, to confirm infants, or to stay to their childhood
or to their riper years. Aquinas, Bonaventure, and some
others, say, it is best that they be confirmed iti their infancy,
" quia dolus non est, nee obicern ponunt, they are then
without craft, and cannot hinder" the descent of the Holy
Ghost upon them. And indeed it is most agreeable with the
primitive practice, that if they were baptized in infancy, they
should then also be confirmed ; according to that of the famous
epistle of Melchiades to the bishops of Spain, " Ita conjuncta
sunt haec duo sacramenta, ut ab invicem, nisi inorte prae-
veniente, noil possint separari, et unurn sine altero rite per-
fici non potest." Where although he expressly affirms the
rites to be two, yet unless it be in cases of necessity, they

' Vide Cassandrum Scbol. ad Hym. Ecci.


are not to be severed, and one without the other is not per-
fect ; which, in the sense formerly mentioned, is true, and so
to be understood, that to him who is baptized and is not
confirmed, something very considerable is wanting, and there-
fore they ought to be joined, though not immediately, yet
fv^govug, according to reasonable occasions and accidental
causes. But in this there must needs be a liberty in the
Church, not only for the former reasons, but also because the
apostles themselves were not confirmed till after they had
received the sacrament of the Lord's supper.

Others therefore say, that to confirm them of riper years
is with more edification. The confession of faith is more
voluntary, the election is wiser, the submission to Christ's
discipline is more acceptable, and they have more need, and
can make better use of their strength then derived by the
Holy Spirit of God upon them; and to this purpose it is
commanded in the canon law, that they who are confirmed
should be ' perfectse setatis, of full age ;' upon which the gloss"
says, " Perfectam vocat forte duodecim annorum ; Twelve
years old was a full age, because, at those years, they might
then be admitted to the lower services in the Church." But
the reason intimated and implied by the canon is, because
of the preparation to it ; " they must come fasting, and they
must make public confession of their faith." And indeed
that they should do so is matter of great edification, as also
are the advantages of choice, and other preparatory abilities
and dispositions above mentioned. They are matter of edi-
fication, I say, when they are done ; but then the delaying of
them so long before they be done, and the wanting the aids
of the Holy Ghost conveyed in that ministry, are very preju-
dicial, and are not matter of edification.

But, therefore, there is a third way, which the Church of
England and Ireland follows, and that is, that after infancy,
but yet before they understand too much of sin, and when
they can competently understand the fundamentals of reli-
gion, then it is good to bring them to be confirmed, that the
Spirit of God may prevent their youthful sins, and Christ by
his word and by his Spirit may enter and take possession at
the same time. And thus it was in the Church of England
long since provided and commanded by the laws of King

De Consecrat. dist. 5. ut Jejuni.


Edgar, * cap. 15. " ut nullus ab episcopo confirmari diu nimi-
um detrectarit, 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 re-
ceived the Lord's supper ; as I observed before in the prac-
tice 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 catechized and well in-
structed in the fundamentals of their religion.

For this is the necessary preparation to the most advan-
tageous reception of this holy ministry. " In ecclesiis potis-
simum Latinis noil nisi adultiore aetate pueros admitti vide-
mus, vel hanc certe ob causam, ut parentibus, susceptoribus
et ecclesiarum praefectis occasio detur pueros de fide, quam
in baptismo professi sunt, diligentius instituendi et admo-
nendi," said the excellent Cassander. y 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, 2 Walafridus Strabo, Iluardus
Lovaniensis, and Mr. Calvin.

For this was ever the practice of the Primitive Church, to
be infinitely careful of catechizing those who came and de-
sired 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 inno-
cent children, but also to remonstrate the perpetual practice
of catechizing children in the eldest and best times of the
Church. Thus the Greek scholiast upon Harrnenopulus renders
the word Ifoox./ora; by.xar?;^?i7-a;, the primitive 'exorcist' was

* A.D. 967. 1 Consultationis, c. 9.

z Serm. cxvi. in Ramis Palmaruin. De lib. Ecclesiast. c. xxvi.


the 'catechist :' and Balsamon upon the twenty-sixth canon
of the Council of Laodicea says, that to exorcize is nothing

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