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tioned by divine authority, inasmuch as we find that it was practised by the Apostles, who were divinely inspired. Agreeably to this, we read in the Acts of the Apostles, of Paul and Barnabas, who having "preached the gospel” elsewhere, returned again to those cities where people had been previously baptized, “confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith.” And in the following chapter, Judas and Silas, who had received their commission from the Apostles, and who were “prophets themselves,” are represented to have “exhorted the brethren,” at Antioch, “ with many words, and also to have confirmed them.” And afterwards, Paul passes through “the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples." By such acts as these the disciples, by reflecting anew on the promises and vows they had previously entered into at their baptism, had an opportunity offered them of ratifying and confirming these promises; and, as a natural consequence, their own faith, or they themselves, if

you

like the expression better, became strengthened and confirmed. And the close similarity which existed between these practices of the Apostles, the heads of the church in those days, and the present ceremony of confirmation which is performed by the heads of our own church, the bishops, will appear the more clear in the discourse which I purpose to deliver next, in explanation of the performance of the office of confirmation, and the thoughts with which all ought to be inspired who take part in it. Here, however, I would observe, that if confirmation, or the establishing and strengthening of men in the faith which they professed at their baptism, was necessary at the begining of Christianity, it must certainly be even more necessary at present; because a great number, perhaps the greater number, of those who were then baptized had arrived at years of discretion, whereas at the present day, those who are baptized are so young that they do not understand the promises that are made for them, and, consequently, it is the more necessary that they should make them themselves when they are sufficiently old to understand them.

I will now recapitulate, or bring together in few words, the substance of what I have brought forward in the present discourse. The meaning of the word baptism is washing. The nature of the ordinance is, that by it we are admitted into the Church of Christ by the outward sign, or emblem of water, which indicates that our souls—the spiritual part of our existence—are cleansed by the blood of Christ shed upon the cross. The rite of baptism was instituted or appointed by Christ himself. Thus much for baptism. But as this baptism was performed upon us when we were young and inexperienced, and as the promises were then made by others, it is necessary in all cases, according to the custom of the Apostles, but it is particularly necessary in the case of those who were baptized when young, that they should renew or ratify their engagement by some subsequent ceremony. This ceremony has been appointed by the church, and is termed confirmation, because we then confirm the promises in our own persons which have been previously made by others for us. This institution has been adopted by us in imitation of the Holy Apostles.

The foregoing observations have appeared to me sufficiently appropriate and well adapted to an explanation of the nature and intent of the rite of confirmation. It is, however, particularly necessary that

you should be acquainted with the form of service which is used in the celebration of it, that is, of the office as you will find it in the Prayer Book immediately after the Catechism. Upon this part of our subject, therefore, I shall deliver a second discourse, when I again request the attendance of all, but particularly of those who are desirous of procuring tickets of admission to its solemnity: and that you may be duly impressed with the importance of this rite, may God of his infinite mercy grant, by the aid of his Holy Spirit, for the sake of his Son Jesus Christ.

SERMON IX.

ON CONFIRMATION.

ACTS xv. 40, 41.

And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being re

commended by the brethren unto the grace of God.' And he went through Syria and Cilicia confirming the churches.

IN my

former discourse upon the ceremony of confirmation, I proposed to return to the subject, in order that we might obtain as full and complete a conception as possible of this apostolical institutionfor such we have already seen it to be. In

be. In my last discourse, I attempted to explain the nature of the ordinance in reference to its connection with baptism. Now I propose entering into an examination of the office, or as it is termed in our Prayer Book, “ The order of confirmation, or laying on of hands upon those that are baptized and come to years of discretion."

You see, by this title, that the form of laying hands or placing them upon the heads of those that are about to be confirmed, is a form observed by the

person who confirms; the reason, however, of this I will explain in its place.

Now, after the title which I have just recited, comes the Rubric.

This word “Rubric,” as I must inform you, signifies the red part; for, in our old Prayer Books, it was always printed in letters of red. In this Rubric we read the following directions: “Upon the day appointed, all that are to be then confirmed, being placed and standing in order before the bishop; he (or some other minister appointed by him) shall read this preface following.” Why the bishop in particular is thought the most proper person to officiate here, I will likewise explain hereafter. At present I will read the “ Preface" alluded to in the Rubric; having first of all explained that a preface, in any particular book or portion of a book, means something which is prefixed to, or goes before, the main contents of the book, allusive to, and explanatory of, the contents themselves. So the preface, which I am now about to recite from the Order of Confirmation in the Prayer Book, gives an account of the object of confirmation, and of the way in which we are to be benefited by it. It runs thus : “ To the end that confirmation may be ministered to the more edifying,” that is, to the greater benefit and instruction “ of such as shall receive it, the Church hath thought good to order, that none hereafter shall be confirmed but such as can say the creed,” or belief,

“ the Lord's Prayer, and the ten commandments; and can also answer to such other questions, as in the short catechism are

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