ΧΡΙΣΙΣ ΤΕΛΕΙ [...]ΤΙΚΗ. A DISCOURSE OF Confirmation. For the use of the Clergy and Instruction of the People of Ireland. By Jeremy Lord Bishop of Down.

Publish'd by Order of Convocation. AND Dedicated to His Grace James Duke, Marquess and Earl of Ormonde, &c. Lord Lieutenant General, and General Governour of His Majesties Kingdom of Ireland,

DUBLIN, Printed by John Crooke, Printer to the Kings Most Ex­cellent Majesty, and are to be sold by Samuel Dancer next door to the Beare and Ragged-staffe in Castle-street, 1663.

To His Grace, James Duke, Marquess and Earl of Ormonde, Earl of Ossory and Brecknock, Viscount Thurles, Lord Baron of Arclo and Lan­thony, Lord of the Regalities and Li­berties of the County of Tipperary, Chancellor of the University of Dub­lin, Lord Lieutenant General, and Ge­neral Governour of His Majesties Kingdom of Ireland, Lord Lieutenant of the County of Sommerset, one of the Lords of His Majesties most Honoura­ble Privy-Councils of His Majesties Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, Lord Steward of His Maje­sties Houshold, Gentleman of His Ma­jesties Bed-Chamber, and Knight of the most Noble Order of the Garter.

May it please Your Grace,

IT is not any Confidence that I have Dexterously per­formed this charge, that gives me the boldness to present it to Your Grace. I have done it, as well as [Page] [...] For I took not this task upon my self, but was entreated to it by them, who have power to Command me. But yet it is very necessary that it should be addressed to Your Grace, who are, as Sozomen said of Theodosius, Certaminum Magister, & orationum Judex constitutus, You are appointed the great Master of our arguings, and are most fit to be the Judge of our Discourses, especially when they do relate and pretend to publick Influence and Advantages to the Church. We all are Witnesses of Your Zeal to promote true Religion; and every day find You to be a Great Patron to this very poor Church, which groans un­der the Calamities and permanent effects of a War acted by Intervals for above 400. years; such which the Interme­dial Sun-shines of Peace could but very weakly repair: our Churches are still demolished, much of the Revenues irre­coverably swallowed by Sacriledge, and digested by an una­voidable impunity; Religion infinitely divided, and parted into formidable Sects, the People extreamly ignorant, and wilful by inheritance; superstitiously irreligious, and unca­pable of reproof, and amidst these, and very many more inconveniences, it was greatly necessary that God should send us such a KING, and he send us such a Viceroy, who wedds the Interests of Religion, and joynes them to his heart.

For we do not look upon your Grace, only as a favourer of the Churches Temporal interest, though even for that, the Souls of the relieved Clergy do daily bless you; neither are You our Patron only as the Cretans were to Homer, or the Alenadae to Simonides, Philip to Theopompus, or Seve­rus to Oppianus; but as Constantine and Theodosius were to Christians; that is, desirous that true Religion should be promoted, that the interest of Souls should be ad­vanced; that Truth should flourish, and wise Principles [Page] [...] In order to which excellent purposes it is hoped, that the reduction of the Holy Rite of Confirmation into use and Holy practice may contribute some very great moments. For besides that the great usefulness of this Ministry will greatly endear the Episcopal order, to which (that I may use S. Hierom's words) if there be not attributed a more than common Power and Authority, there will be as many Schisms as Priests; it will also be a means of endearing the Persons of the Prelates to their Flocks, when the People shall be convinced, that there is, or may be, if they please, a perpetual entercourse of Blessings and Love between them, when God by their Holy hands refuses not to give to the People, the earnest of an eternal inhe­ritance; when by them, he blesses, and that the grace of our Lord Jesus, and the Love of God, and the Commu­nication of his Spirit, is conveyed to all Persons capable of the grace, by the Conduct, and on the hands and prayers of their Bishops.

And indeed not only very many single Persons, but even the whole Church of Ireland hath need of Confirmation. We have most of us contended for false Religions and un-Christian propositions; and now that by Gods mercy, and the prosperity and piety of his Sacred Majesty the Church is broken from her cloud, and many are reduc'd to the true Religion, and righteous worship of God; we cannot but call to mind, how the Holy Fathers of the Primitive Church, often have declar'd themselves in Councils, and by a perpetual Discipline, that such Persons, who are re­turn'd from Sects and Heresies into the Bosom of the Church, should not be rebaptiz'd; but that the Bishops should impose hands on them in Confirmation. It is true, [Page] that this was design'd to supply the defect of those Schis­matical Conventicles, who did not use this Holy rite; For this Rite of Confirmation hath had the fate to be oppos'd only by the Schismatical and Puritan Parties of old; the Novatians or Cathari, and the Donatists; and of late by the Jesuits, and new Cathari, the Puritans, and Presbyterians; the same evil spirit of contradictions keep­ing its course in the same channel, and descending regu­larly amongst Men of the same principles. But therefore in the restitution of a Man or company of Men, or a Church, the Holy Primitives, in the Council of C. P. La­odicea, and Orange, thought that to confirm such persons was the most agreeable Discipline; not only because such persons did not in their little and dark assemblies use this rite, but because they alwayes greatly wanted it: For it is a sure Rule in our Religion, and is of an eternal truth, that they, who keep not the Unity of the Church, have not the Spirit of God; and therefore it is most fit should receive the ministery of the spirit, when they return to the bosom of the Church, that so indeed they may keep the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace. And therefore Asterius Bishop of Amasia compares Confirmati­on to the ring, with which the Father of the Prodigal adorn'd his returning Son; Datur nempe prodigo post stolam, & annulus, nempe Symbolum intelligibilis sig­naculi spiritus, And as the Spirit of God, the Holy Dove extended his mighty wings over the Creation, and hatch'd the new-born World, from its seminal powers, to Light and Operation, and Life, and Motion, so in the Regenera­tion of the souls of Men, he gives a new being, and heat and life, Procedure and Perfection, Wisdom and Strength, and because, that this was ministred by the Bishops hands in Confirmation, was so firmly believ'd by all the Primi­tive [Page] Church, therefore it became a Law, and an Vniversal practice in all those ages, in which Men desir'd to be sav'd by all means. The Latin Church, and the Greek alwayes did use it, and the Blessings of it, which they believ'd con­sequent to it, they expressed in a holy prayer, which in the Greek Euchologion they have very anciently and constantly used. [...]. Thou O Lord, the most compassionate and Great King of all, graci­ously impart to this Person the seal of the gift of thy Holy, Almighty, and adorable spirit. For as an Ancient Greek said truly and wisely. [...]. The Father is reconcil'd, and the Son is the Reconciler; but to them who are by Ba­ptism and Repentance made friends of God, the Holy Spirit is collated as a gift. They well knew what they received in this ministration, and therefore wisely laid hold of it and would not let it go.

This was anciently ministred by Apostles, and ever after by the Bishops, and Religiously receiv'd by Kings, and greatest Princes; and I have read that St. Sylvester confirm'd Con­stantine the Emperour, and when they made their chil­dren servants of the Holy Jesus, and Souldiers under his banner, and bonds-men of his Institution, then they sent them to the Bishop to be confirm'd, who did it sometimes by such Ceremonies, that the solemnity of the ministry might with greatest Religion addict them to the service of their Great Lord. We read in Adrovaldus, that Charles Martel, De miraculis. St. Benedict. l 1. c. 1. 14. entring into a League with Bishop Luitprandus, sent his Son Pipin to him, ut more Christianorum fide­lium, capillum ejus primus attonderet, ac Pater illi Spiritualis existeret, that he might after the manner of Christians, first cut his hair (in token of service to Christ) and [in confirming him] he should be his spiritual Father. [Page] And something like this we find concerning William Earl of Warren and Surrey, who when he had Dedicated the Church of St. Pancratius, and the Priorie of Lewes; receiv'd Confirmation, and gave seizure per capillos capi­tis mei (sayes he in the Charter) & fratris mei Radulphi de Warrena, quas abscidit cum cultello de capitibus no­stris Henricus Episcopus Wintoniensis; by the hairs of my head and of my Brothers, which Henry Bishop of Win­chester cut off before the Altar; meaning (according to the Ancient custome) in confirmation; when they by that solemnity addicted themselves to the free servitude of the Lord Jesus. The ceremony is obsolete and chang'd, but the mystery can never; and indeed that is one of the ad­vantages in which we can rejoyce concerning the ministra­tion of this Rite in the Church of England and Ireland; that whereas it was sometimes clouded, sometimes hindred, and sometimes hurt, by the appendage of needless, and use­less ceremonies; it is now reduc'd to the Primitive and first simplicity amongst us; and the excrescencies us'd in the Church of Rome are wholly par'd away; and by holy Prayers and the Apostolical Ceremonie of imposition of the Bishops hands it is worthily and zealously administred. The Latins us'd to send Chrism to the Greeks, when they had usurped some jurisdiction over them, and the Popes Chap­lains went with a quantity of it to C. P. where the Russi­ans usually met them for it; for that was then the ceremo­ny of this ministration; But when the Latins demanded fourscore pounds of Gold besides other gifts, they went a­way, and chang'd their custom rather than pay an unlawful and ungodly Tribute. Non quaerimus vestra sed vos; we require nothing but leave to impart Gods blessings with pure Intentions, and a spiritual ministery. And as the Bishops of our Churches receive nothing from the People, [Page] for the Ministration of this Rite, so they desire nothing but Love, and just Obedience in spiritual, and Ecclesiasti­cal duties; and we offer our Flocks spiritual things with­out mixture of Temporal advantages from them; we mi­nister the rituals of the Gospel, without the inventions of Men, Riligion without superstition, and only desire to be believ'd in such things which we prove from Scripture ex­pounded by the Catholick practice of the Church of God.

Concerning the Subject of this Discourse, the Rite of Confirmation; It were easie to recount many great and glorious expressions which we find in the Sermons of the Holy Fathers of the Primitive Ages; so certain it is, that in this thing we ought to be zealous, as being desirous to perswade our People to give us leave to do them great good: But the following Pages will do it, I hope, competently: only we shall remark; that when they had gotten a custom ancient­ly, that in cases of necessity, they did permit Deacons and Lay-men sometimes to baptize, yet they never did confide in it much; but with much caution and curiosity commanded that such Persons should, when that necessity was over, be carried to the Bishop to be confirm'd, so to supply all prece­dent defects relating to the past imperfect ministry, and fu­ture necessity and danger, as appears in the Council of Eli­beris. And the Ancients had so great estimate and vene­ration to this Holy rite, that as in Heraldry, they distinguish the same thing by several names, when they relate to Persons of greater Eminency, and they blazon the Armes of the Gentry by Metals, of the Nobtlity by pretious stones, but of Kings and Princes by Planets, so when they would signi­fie the Vnction which was us'd in confirmation, they gave it a special word, and of more distinction & remark, and there­fore the oyl us'd in baptism, they call'd [...]. but that of con­firmation was [...], and they who spake properly kept [Page] this difference of words, untill by incaution, and ignorant carelessness the names fell into confusion, and the thing into disuse and dis-respect. But it is no small addition to the Honour of this ministration, that some wise and good men, have piously believed, that when baptiz'd Christians are con­firm'd, and solemnly bless'd by the Bishop, that then it is that a special Angel Guardian is appointed to keep their souls from the assaults of the spirits of darkness. Concern­ing which, though I shall not interpose mine own opinion, yet this I say, that the Prety of that supposition is not disagreea­ble to the intention of this Rite; for since by this, the Holy Spirit of God (the Father of Spirits) is given, it is not unreasonably thought by them, that the other good Spirits of God, the Angels who are ministring spirits, sent forth to minister to the good of them that shall be Heirs of Salvation, should pay their kind offices in subordination to their Prince and fountain; that the first in every kind, might be the measure of all the rest; But there are greater and stranger things than this that God does for the souls of his Servants, and for the honour of the ministeries which himself hath appointed.

We shall only add that this was ancient, and long before Popery entred into the World, and that this rite hath been more abus'd by Popery, than by any thing: and to this Day the Bigots of the Roman Church are the greatest Enemies to it; and from them the Presbyterians; but besides that the Church of England and Ireland does religiously retain it, and hath appointed a solemn officer, for the Ministery, the Lutheran and Bohemian Churches do observe it carefully, and it is recommended and establish'd in the harmony of the Protestant Confessions.

And now, may it please Your Grace to give me leave to im­plore Your Aid and Countenance for the propagating this so [Page] religious, and useful a Ministery, which, as it is a peculiar of the Bishops office, is also a great enlarger of Gods gifts to the People; it is a great instrument of Vnion of hearts, and will prove an effective deletory to Schism; and an endearment to the other parts of Religion: it is the con­summation of Baptism, and a preparation to the Lords Supper; it is the vertue from on high, and the solemnity of our spiritual adoption. But there will be no need to use many arguments to enflame Your zeal in this affair, when Your Grace shall find, that to promote it will be a great service to God; that this alone will conclude Your Grace, who are so ready, by Laws, and Executions, by word, and by example, to promote the Religion of Christ, as it is taught in these Churches. I am not confident enough to desire Your Grace, for the reading this Discourse, to lay aside any one hour of Your greater Employments, which consume so much of Your Dayes and Nights. But I say, that the Subject is greatly Worthy of Consideration. Nihil enim inter manus habui, cui majorem sollicitudinem praesta­re deberem; and for the book it self, I can only say what Secundus did, to the wise Lupercus, Quoties ad fastidium legentium, deliciasque respicio, intelligo no­bis commendationem ex ipsâ mediocritate libri pe­tendam, I can Commend it because it is little, and so, not very troublesome; and if it could have been writen according to the worthiness of the thing Treated in it, it would deserve so great a Patronage; but be­cause it is not, it will therefore greatly need it, but it can hope for it on no other account, but because it is laid at the feet of a Princely Person, who is Great and Good; and one who not only is bound by Duty, but by choice hath Obliged Himself to do advantages to any Worthy instrument of Religion. But I have de­tain'd [Page] Your Grace so long in my address, that Your Pardon will be all the Favour, which ought to be hop'd for by

Your Grace's most Humble and Obliged Servant. Jer. Dunensis.


The Introduction.

NExt to the Incarnation of the Son of God and the whole Oeconomy of our Redem­ption wrought by him in an admirable or­der and Conjugation of glorious mercies, the greatest thing that ever God did to the World, is the giving to us the Holy Ghost: and possi­bly, this is the consummation and perfection of the o­ther. For in the work of Redemption Christ indeed made a new World; we are wholly a new Creation, and we must be so: and therefore when S. John began the Narrative of the Gospel, he began in a manner and stile very like to Moses in his History of the first Crea­tion. In the beginning was the word, &c. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. But as in the Creation the matter [Page 2] was first: there were indeed Heavens, and Earth and Waters; but all this was rude and without form, till the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters: So it is in the new Creation. We are a new Mass, redeem'd with the blood of Christ, rescued from an evil porti­on; and made Candidates of Heaven and Immortality; but we are but an Embryo in the regeneration, until the Spirit of God enlivens us and moves again upon the waters: and then every subsequent motion and opera­tion is from the Spirit of God. We cannot say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost. By him we live, in him we walke, by his aids we pray, by his emotions we desire: we breath and sigh, and groan by him: he helps us in all our infirmities, and he gives us all our strengths; he reveals mysteries to us, and teaches us all our duties: he stirs us up to holy desires, and he actuates those desires; he makes us to will and to do of his good pleasure.

For the Spirit of God is that in our spiritual life, that a Mans soul is in his Natural: without it, we are but a dead and liveless trunke. But then, as a Mans soul in proportion to the several operations of life ob­tains several appellatives; it is Vegetative, and Nutritive, Sensitive, and Intellective, according as it operates: So is the Spirit of God. He is the spirit of Regeneration in Baptism, of renovation in Repentance: the spirit of love, and the spirit of holy fear, the searcher of the hearts, and the spirit of discerning: the spirit of wisdom, and the spirit of prayer. In one mystery he illuminates; and in another he feeds us: he begins in one and finishes and perfects in another. It is the same spirit working divers operations. For he is all this now reckoned, and he is every thing else that is the principle of good unto [Page 3] us; he is the beginning, and the progression, the con­summation and perfection of us all; and yet every work of his is perfect in it's kind, and in order to his own designation; and from the beginning to the end is perfection all the way. Justifying and sanctifying grace is the proper Entitative product in all; but it hath divers appellatives and connotations in the several rites: and yet even then also, because of the identity of the principle, the similitude and general consonancy in the effect, the same appellative is given, and the same effect imputed to more that one; and yet none of them can be omitted, when the great Master of the family hath blessed it, and given it institution. Thus S. Dionys calls Baptism. [...] the perfection of the Divine birth; and yet the baptized person must receive other mysteries which are more signally perfective: [...]; Confirmati­on is yet more perfective, and is properly the perfecti­on of Baptism.

By Baptism we are Heirs, and are adopted to the in­heritance of sons, admitted to the Covenant of repen­tance, and engag'd to live a good life; yet this is but the solemnity of the Covenant which must pass into after-acts by other influences of the same Divine prin­ciple. Until we receive the spirit of obsignation or Confirmation, we are but babes in Christ in the meanest sense, Infants that can do nothing, that cannot speak, that cannot resist any violence, expos'd to every rude­ness, and perishing by every temptation.

But therefore as God at first appointed us a ministery of a new birth; so also hath he given to his Church the consequent Ministry of a new strength. The spirit moov'd a little upon the waters of Baptism, and gave [Page 4] us the principles of life, but in Confirmation he makes us able to move our selves. In the first, he is the spirit of life; but in this he is the spirit of strength and moti­on. Baptisma est nativitas, unguentum vero est nobis actionis instar & motus said Cabasilas. In Baptism we are intitled to the inheritance; but because we are in our infancy and minority, the Father gives unto his Sons a Tu­tor, a Guardian and a Teacher in Confirmation, said Rupertus: De divin. offic. l. 5. c. 17. that as we are baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ: So in Confirmation we may be renewed in the inner man, and strengthned in all our Holy vows and purposes by the Holy Ghost ministred according to Gods ordinance.

The Holy Rite of Confirmation is a Divine ordinance, and it produces Divine effects, and is ministred by Di­vine persons, that is, by those whom God hath sancti­fied and separated to this ministration. At first, all that were baptiz'd were also confirm'd: and ever since, all good people that have understood it, have been very zealous for it; and time was in England, even since the first beginnings of the reformation, when Confirmati­on had been less carefully ministred for about six years, when the people had their first opportunities of it re­stor'd; they ran to it in so great numbers; that Churches and Church-yards would not hold them; insomuch that I have readVindic. Ec­clesiast. hie­rarch. per Franc. Halli­er. that the Bishop of Chester was forc'd to impose hands on the people in the Fields, and was so oppressed with multitudes, that he had almost been trod to death by the people, and had dyed with the throng, if he had not been rescued by the Civil power.

But Men have too much neglected all the ministeries of grace; and this most especially, and have not given themselves to a right understanding of it, and so neg­lected [Page 5] it yet more: But because the prejudice which these parts of the Christian Church have suffered for want of it, is very great (as will appear by enumera­tion of the many and great blessings consequent to it) I am not without hope that it may be a service accepta­ble to God, and an useful ministery to the souls of my charges, if by instructing them that know not, and ex­horting them that know, I set forward the practise of this Holy rite, and give reasons why the people ought to love it, and to desire it, and how they are to under­stand and practise it, and consequently, with what du­teous affections they are to relate to those persons, whom God hath in so special and signal manner made to be for their good and eternal benefit, the Ministers of the Spirit and salvation.

S. Bernard in the life S. Malachias my Predecessor in the See of Downe and Connor, reports that it was the care of that good Prelate to renew the rite of Confir­mation in his Diocess, where it had been long neglected and gone into desuetude. It being too much our case in Ireland, I find the same necessity, and am oblig'd to the same procedure, for the same reason, and in pur­suance of so excellent an example, Hoc enim est Evan­gelizare Christum (said S. Austin) non tantùm docere quae suut dicenda de Christo, Cap. 9. de fide & operib. sed etiam quae observanda ei qui accedit ad compagem corporis Christi. For this is to preach the Gospel, not only to teach those things which are to be said of Christ; but those also which are to be ob­served by every one who desires to be confederated into the Society of the body of Christ, which is his Church: that is, not only the doctrines of good life, but the mysteries of godliness; and the Rituals of Re­ligion, which issue from a Divine fountain, are to be de­clar'd [Page 6] by him who would fully preach the Gospel.

In order to which performance I shall declare

1. The Divine Original, Warranty and Institu­tion of the Holy Rite of Confirmation.

2. That this Rite was to be perpetual, and never ceasing ministration.

3. That it was actually continued, and practis'd by all the succeeding Ages of the purest and Primitive Churches.

4. That this Rite was appropriate to the Mi­nistry of Bishops.

5. That prayer and imposition of the Bishops hands did make the whole Ritual; and though o­ther things were added, yet they were not neces­sary, or any thing of the institution.

6. That many great Graces and blessings were consequent to the worthy reception and due mi­nistration of it.

7. I shall add something of the manner of prae­paration to it, and reception of it.

Of the Divine Original, warranty and in­stitution of the Holy Rite of Confirmation.

IN the Church of Rome they have determin'd Con­firmation to be a Sacrament proprii nominis, proper­ly and really, and yet their Doctors have, some of them at least, been paulò iniquiores a little unequal and [Page 7] unjust to their proposition, in so much that from them­selves we have had the greatest opposition in this article, Bonacina and Henriquez allow the proposition,De sacram. disp. 3. qu. V­nic. punct. 3. but make the Sacrament to be so unnecessary, that a little excuse may justifie the omission and almost neglect of it.2. Lib. 3. de sacram. And Loemelius, and Daniel à Jesu, and generally the English Jesuits have, to serve some ends of their own family and order, disputed it almost into contempt, that by representing it as unnecessary, they might do all the ministeries Ecclesiastical in England without the assist­ance of Bishops their Superiours, whom they therefore love not, because they are so. But the Theological faculty of Paris have condemn'd their doctrine as temerarious and savouring of Heresie: and in the later Schools, have approov'd rather the Doctrine of Gamachaeus, Estius, Kellison, and Bellarmine; who indeed doe follow the Doctrine of the most eminent persons in the Ancient School; Richard of Armagh, Scotus, Hugo, Cavalli, and Gerson the Learned Chancellor of Paris, who follow­ing the Old Roman order, Amalarius and Albinus, doe all teach Confirmation to be of great and pious use, of Divine original, and to many purposes necessary accord­ing to the Doctrine of the Scriptures, and the primi­tive Church.

Whether Confirmation be a Sacrament or no, is of no use to dispute; and if it be disputed, it can never be proov'd to be so as Baptism and the Lords Supper, that is, as generally necessary to Salvation: but though it be no Sacrament, it cannot follow that it is not of very great use and holiness; and as a Man is never the less tyed to Repentance, though it be no Sacrament; so neither is he ever the less oblig'd to receive Confirma­tion, though it be (as it ought) acknowledg'd to be [Page 8] of an use and Nature inferiour to the two Sacraments of Divine, direct and immediate institution. It is certain that the Fathers in a large Symbolical and general sense call it a Sacrament; but mean not the same thing by that word, when they apply it to Confirmation, as they doe, when they apply it to Baptism and the Lords Sup­per. That it is an Excellent and Divine ordinance to purposes spiritual; that it comes from God, and mi­nisters in our way to God, that is all we are concern'd to inquire after: and this I shall endeavour to prove not only against the Jesuits, but against all opponents of what side soever.

My first argument from Scripture is what I learn from Optatus, and S. Cyril. Optatus writing against the Donatists hath these words. Christ descended into the water, not that in him, who is God, was any thing that could be made cleaner, but that the water was to precede the fu­ture Vnction, for the initiating and ordaining, and ful­filling the mysteries of Baptism. He was wash'd, when he was in the hands of John, then followed the order of the mystery, and the Father finish'd what the Son did ask, and what the Holy Ghost declar'd, The Heavens were o­pen'd, God the Father anointed him, the spiritual Vncti­on presently descended in the likeness of a Dove, and sate upon his head, and was spread all over him, and he was called the Christ, when he was the anointed of the Father. To whom also, least imposition of hands should seem to be wanting, the voice of God was heard from the could, saying. This is my Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him. That which Optatus sayes is this; that up­on and in Christs person, Baptism, Confirmation, and Ordination were consecrated and first appointed. He was baptized by S. John; he was confirm'd by the Holy [Page 9] Spirit and anointed with spiritual Unction in order to that great work of obedience to his Fathers will; and he was Consecrated by the voice of God from Heaven. In all things Christ is the head, and the first fruits: and in these things was the Fountain of the Sacra­ments and spiritual grace, and the great exemplar of the Oeconomy of the Church. For Christ was nulli­us poenitentiae debitor; Baptism of Repentance was not necessary to him who never sinn'd, but so it became him to fulfil all righteousness, and to be a pattern to us all. But we have need of these things, though he had not; and in the same way in which Salvation was wrought by him for himself and for us all, in the same way he intended we should walk.Joh. 2. 6. He was baptized because his Father appointed it so: we must be bapti­zed because Christ hath appointed it, and we have need of it too. He was Consecrated to be the great Pro­phet, and the great Priest, because no man takes on him this honour, but he that was called of God, as was Aaron: and all they, who are to minister in his prophe­tical office under him, must be consecrated and solemnly set apart for that ministration, and after his glorious example. He was anointed with a spiritual Unction from above after his baptisme; for after Jesus was bapti­zed, he ascended up from the waters, and then the Holy Ghost descended upon him; it is true, he receiv'd the fulness of the spirit; but we receive him by mea­sure; but of his fulness we all receive, grace for grace; that is, all that he receiv'd in order to his great work, all that in kind, one for another, grace for grace, we are to receive according to our measures, and our ne­cessities. And as all these he receiv'd by external mi­nistrations; so must we; God the Father appointed his [Page 10] way, and he, by his example first, hath appointed the same to us; that we also may follow him in the regenera­tion; and work out our salvation by the same graces in the like solemnities. For if he needed them for himself, then we need them much more. If he did not need them for himself, he needed them for us, and for our ex­ample, that we might follow his steps, who by receiving these exteriour solemnities and inward graces, became the Author and finisher of our Salvation, and the great ex­ample of his Church. I shall not need to make use of the fancy of the Murcosians and Colabarsians, who turn­ing all mysteries into numbers, reckoned the numeral letters of [...] and made them co-incident to the [...] and [...] but they intended to say, that Christ, receiving the Holy Dove after his Baptism, became all in all to us; the be­ginning and the perfection of our Salvation; here he was confirm'd, and receiv'd the [...] to his [...] the consummation to his initiation, the completion of his baptism, and of his headship in the Gospel. But that which I shall rather and is what S. Cyril from hence argues.Cateches. 3. [...]. When he truly was baptized in the River of Jordan, he ascended out of the waters, and the Holy Ghost substantially descended upon him, like resting upon like. And to you also in like manner, after ye have ascended from the waters of baptisme, the Vnction is given, which bears the image or similitude of him by whom Christ was anointed—that as Christ after baptism, and the coming of the Holy Spirit upon him, went forth to battle (in the Wilderness) and overcame the adversary: so ye also after holy baptism, and the mystical Vnction (or confirmation) being vested with the Armour of the holy Spirit are enabled to stand against the opposite powers. Here then is the first great ground of our solemne receiving the Holy spirit, or the Unction [Page 11] from above after Baptism, which we understand and re­present by the word Confirmation, denoting the principle effect of this Unction, spiritual strength: Christ, who is the head of the Church, entred this way upon his duty and work; and he who was the first of all the Church, the head and great example, is the measure of all the rest, for we can go to Heaven no way, but in that way in which he went before us.

There are some who from this story would infer the descent of the Holy Ghost after Christs Baptism, not to signifie that Confirmation was to be a distinct rite from baptism, but a part of it, yet such a part as gives ful­ness and consummation to it. S. Hierom, Chrysostom, Euthymius and Theophylact go not so far; but would have us by this to understand that the Holy Ghost is given to them that are baptized. But reason and the context are both against it. 1. Because the Holy Ghost was not given by Johns baptism; that was reserv'd to be one of Christ's glories; who also, when by his Disciples he baptiz'd many, did not give them the Holy Ghost; and when he commanded his Apostles to baptize all Nations, did not at that time so much as promise the Holy Ghost: he was promis'd distinctly, and given by another mini­stration. 2. The descent of the Holy Spirit was a di­stinct ministery from the baptism; it was not only after Jesus ascended from the waters of baptism; but there was something intervening, and by a new office or mini­stration. For there was prayer joyn'd in the ministery. So S. Iuke observes; while Jesus was praying, the Heavens were open'd, and the Holy spirit descended, for so Jesus was pleas'd to consign the whole office and ritual of Confir­mation, prayer for invocating the Holy Spirit, and giving him by personal application, which as the Father did im­mediately, [Page 12] so the Bishops doe by imposition of hands 3. S. Austin observes that the apparition of the Holy Spirit like a Dove was the visible or ritual part; and the voice of God was the word to make it to be Sacramen­tal,Tract. 80. in Johan. accedit verbum ad elementum, & fit Sacramentum: for so the ministration was not only perform'd on Christ, but consign'd to the Church by similitude, and exem­plar institution. I shall only add, that the force of this argument is established to us by more of the Fathers. S. Hilary upon this place hath these words.S. Hilar. can. 4. in [...]ine. The Fathers voice was heard, that from those things, which were con­summated in Christ, we might know that after the baptism of water the Holy Spirit from the gates of Heaven flies un­to us and that we are to be anointed with the Vnction of a coelestial glory, and be made the Sons of God by the adopti­on of the voice of God, the Truth by the very effects of things prefigur'd unto us the similitude of a Sacrament. So S. Chrysostom.In Matthaeum. In the beginnings alwayes appears the sen­sible visions of spiritual things for their sakes, who cannot receive the understanding of an incorporeal nature; that if afterwards they be not so done (that is, after the same visible manner) they may be believ'd by those things which were already done. Ibid. But more plain is that of Theophy­lact. The Lord had not need of the descent of the Holy Spirit, but he did all things for our sakes, and himself is become the first fruits of all things which we afterwards were to receive, that he might become the first fruits among many Brethren. The consequent is this, which I express in the words of S. Austin, affirming, Christi in baptismucolom­bam unctionem nostram praefigurâsse. The Dove in Christ's Baptism did represent and prefigure our Unction from above, that is, the descent of the Holy Ghost upon us in the rite of Confirmation. Christ was baptized, and so [Page 13] must we. But after Baptism; he had a new ministra­tion for the reception of the Holy Ghost; and be­cause this was done for our sakes, we also must follow that example: and this being done immediately before his entrance into the Wilderness to be tempted of the Devil, it plainly describes to us the order of this mi­nistry, and the blessing design'd to us; after we are baptiz'd, we need to be strengthned and confirm'd propter pugnam spiritualem; we are to fight against the flesh, the World and the Devil, and therefore must re­ceive the ministration of the Holy spirit of God; which is the design and proper work of Confirmation. For (they are the words of the Excellent Author of the imperfect work upon S. Matthew imputed to S. Chry­sostom) The Baptism of Water profits us, Homil. 4. because it washes away the sins we have formerly committed; if we repent of them. But it does not sanctifie the soul; nor precedes the concupiscences of the heart and our evil thoughts, nor drives them back, nor represses our carnal desires. But he therefore, who is (only) so baptized, that he does not also receive the Holy Spirit, is baptized in his body, and his sins are pardon'd, but in his mind he is yet but a Catechumen; for so it is written; he that hath not the Spirit of Christ is none of his: and therefore afterward out of his flesh will germinate worse sins, because he hath not receiv'd the Holy Spirit conserving him (in his ba­ptismal grace) but the house of his body is empty; where­fore that wicked spirit finding it swept with the Doctrines of Faith, as with besomes, enters in, and in a seaven fold manner dwells there. Which words, besides that they will explicate this mystery, do also declare the necessity of Confirmation, or receiving the Holy Ghost after ba­ptism in imitation of the Divine precedent of our Bles­sed Saviour.

[Page 14] 2. After the example of Christ, my next Argument is from his words, spoken to Nicodemus in explication of the prime mysteries Evangelical;John 3. 5. Vnless a man be born of Water and of the Holy Spirit, he shall not enter in­to the Kingdom of God. These words are the great Ar­gument which the Church uses for the indispensable ne­cessity of Baptism, and having in them so great effort, and not being rightly understood, have suffered many Convulsions (shall I call them) or Interpretations: Some serve their own Hypothesis by saying that Water is the Symbol, and the Spirit is the Baptismal Grace: O­thers, that it is a [...] one is onely meant, though here be two Signatures. But others conclude, that wa­ter is onely necessary, but the Spirit is super-added as being afterwards to supervene and move upon these Waters: And others yet affirm, that by Water is one­ly meant a Spiritual ablution, or the effect produced by the Spirit; and still they have intangled the words, so that they have been made useless to the Christian Church, and the meaning too many things, makes no­thing to be understood. But truth is easie, intelligible and clear, and without objection, and is plainly this.

Unless a man be Baptized into Christ, and confirmed by the Spirit of Christ, he cannot enter into the King­dom of Christ; that is, he is not perfectly adopted in­to the Christian Religion, or fitted for the Christian Warfare; and if this plain and natural sense be admit­ted the place is not onely easie and intelligible, but consonant to the whole Design of Christ and Analogy of the New Testament.

For first, Our blessed Saviour was Catechising of Ni­codemus, and teaching him the first Rudiments of the Gospel, and like a wise Master-builder first layes the [Page 15] foundation, The Doctrine of Baptism, and laying on of Hands, which afterwards St. Paul put into the Christian Catechism, as I shall shew in the sequel. Now these al­so are the first principles of the Christian Religion taught by Christ himself, and things which at least to the Doctors might have been so well known, that our blessed Saviour upbraids the not knowing them, as a shame to Nicodemus. St. Chrysostom and Theophylact, Euthymius and Rupertus affirm that this Generation by Water and the Holy Spirit might have been understood by the Old Testament, in which Nicodemus was so well skilled. Certain it is, the Doctrine of Baptismes was well enough known to the Jews, and the [...], the illumination and irradiations of the Spirit of God was not new to them, who believed the Visions and Dreams, the Daughter of a Voice, and the influences from Heaven upon the Sons of the Prophets, and therefore although Christ intended to teach him more than what he had distinct notice of, yet the things themselves had foundation in the Law and the Prophets, but although they were high mysteries and scarce discer­ned by them, who either were ignorant or incurious of such things, yet to the Christians they were the very Rudiments of their Religion, and are best expounded by observation of what St. Paul placed in the very foundation. But,

2. Baptism is the first mystery, that is certain; but that this of being born of the Spirit is also the next, is plain in the very order of the words, and that it does mean a mystery distinct from Baptism will be easily as­sented to by them, who consider, that although Christ Baptized and made many Disciples by the Ministry of his Apostles, yet they who were so Baptized into [Page 16] Christs Religion did not receive this Baptism of the Spirit till after Christs Ascension.

3. The Baptism of Water was not peculiar to John the Baptist, for it was also of Christ, and ministred by his command; it was common to both, and therefore the Baptism of Water is the less principal here. Some­thing distinct from it is here intended. Now if we add to these words, That St. John tells of another Baptism, which was Christs peculiar; He shall Baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with Fire; That these words were literally verified upon the Apostles in Pentecost, and af­terwards upon all the Baptized in Spiritual effect (who besides the Baptism of Water, distinctly had the Bap­tism of the Spirit in Confirmation) it will follow that of necessity this must be the meaning and the verificati­on of these words of our B. Saviour to Nicodemus, which must mean a double Baptism: Transivimus per aquam & ignem, antequam veniemus in refrigerium, we must pass through Water and Fire before we enter into rest, that is, We must first be Baptized with Water, and then with the Holy Ghost, who first descended in Fire; that is, the onely way to enter into Christs Kingdom is by these two Doors of the Tabernacle, which God hath pitched, and not Man, first by Baptism, and then by Confirmation; First by Water, and then by the Spirit.

The Primitive Church had this notion so fully amongst them, that the Author of the Apostolical constitutions attributed to St. Clement, who was St. Pauls Schollar, af­firms, That a man is made a perfect Christian (meaning Ritually and Sacramentally,S. Clem. Ep. 4. and by all exterior solem­nity) by the Water of Baptism and Confirmation of the Bishop,Constit. Apost. and from these words of Christ now al­ledged, derives the use and institution of the Rite of [Page 17] Confirmation. The same sense of these words is given to us by St. Cyprian, Ad Stepha­num. who intending to prove the in­sufficiency of one without the other, sayes, tunc enim ple­nè Sanctificari & esse Dei filii possunt, si Sacramento utro­que nascantur, cum Scriptum sit, nisi quis natus fuerit ex aquâ & Spiritu, non potest intrare regnum Dei. ‘Then they may be fully Sanctified and become the Sons of God, if they be born with both the Sacraments, or Rites; for it is written, Vnless a Man be born of Wa­ter and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. The same also is the Commentary of Eusebius E­missenus Homil. in Do­minic. prim. post. ascens.; and St. Austin Epist. 108. ad Seleucianum. tells, That although some understand these words onely of Baptism, and others of the Spirit onely, viz. in Confirmation, yet others (and certainly much better) understand utrunque Sa­cramentum, both the mysteries of Confirmation as well as Baptism: Amalarius Fortunatus C l. c. 2 [...]. brings this very Text to reprove them that neglect the Episcopal imposition of Hands ‘[Concerning them who by negligence lose the Bishops presence, and receive not the imposi­tion of his Hands, it is to be considered, least in justice they be condemned, in which they exercize Justice neg­ligently, because they ought to make haste to the impo­sition of Hands; because Christ said, Vnless a Man be born again of Water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God: And as he said this, so also he said, Vnless your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.]

To this I fore-see two Objections may be made: First, That Christ did not institute Confirmation in this place, because Confirmation being for the gift of the Holy Ghost, who was to come upon none of the A­postles [Page 18] till Jesus was glorified: These words seem too early for the consigning an effect that was to be so long after, and a Rite that could not be practised till many intermedial events should happen. So said the Evange­list, The Holy Ghost was come upon none of them, John. 7. 39. because Jesus was not yet glorified, intimating that this great effect was to be in after-time, and it is not likely that the Ceremony should be ordained before the Effect it self was ordered and provided for; that the solemnity should be appointed before provisions were made for the mystery, and that the outward, which was wholy for the inward, should be instituted before the inward and principal had its abode amongst us.

1 To this I answer. First, That it is no unusual thing; for Christ gave the Sacrament of his Body before his Body was given, the memorial of his death was institu­ted 2 before his death. 2. Confirmation might here as well be instituted as Baptism, and by the same reason that the Church from these words concludes the necessi­ty of one, she may also infer the designation of the o­ther; for the effect of Baptism was at that time no more produced than that of Confirmation. Christ had not yet purchased to himself a Church, he had not wrought remission of sins to all that believe on him; the death of Christ was not yet passed, into which death 3 the Christian Church was to be Baptized. 3. These words are so an institution of Confirmation, as the sixth chap. of St. John is of the blessed Eucharist: It was de­signativa, not ordinativa, it was in design, not in pre­sent command; here it was preached, but not reduci­ble to practice till its proper season. 4. It was like the 4 words of Christ to St. Peter: When thou art converted confirm thy Brethren. Here the command was given, [Page 19] but that Confirmation of his Brethren was to be perfor­med in a time relative to a succeeding accident. 5. It is certain that long before the event and grace was gi­ven, Christ did speak of the Spirit of Confirmation, that Spirit which was to descend in Pentecost, which all they were to receive who should believe on him, which whosoever did receive,Cap. 7. v. 39. out of his Belly should flow Rivers of Living Waters, as is to be read in that place of St. John now quoted. 6. This praedesignation of the Holy 6 Spirit of Confirmation was presently followed by some little ante-past and donariola, or little givings of the Spirit; for our blessed Saviour gave the Holy Ghost three several times. First, [...] obscurely, and by intimation and secret virtue, then, when he sent them to heal the sick, and anoint them with Oyl in the Name of the Lord. Second, [...] more expresly and sig­nally after the Resurrection, when he took his leave of them, and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: And this was to give them a power of ministring remission of sins, and therefore related to Baptism and the ministe­ries of Repentance. But, 3. He gave it [...] more perfectly, and this was the Spirit of Confirmation; for he was not at all until now [...], sayes the Text; The Holy Ghost was not yet: So almost all the Greek Copies Printed and Manuscript; and so St. Chrysostom, Athanasius, Cyril, Ammonius in the Catena of the Greeks, Leontius, Theophylact, Euthymius, and all the Greek Fathers read it: So St. Hierom Qu. 9. ad He­ditiam. and St.In Joan. tract. 22. Austin among the Latines, and some Latine Translations read it: Our Translations read it, The Holy Ghost was not yet given, was not [...] in them, as some few Greek co­pies read it; but the meaning is alike, Confirmation was not yet actual, the Holy spirit, viz. of Confirma­tion [Page 20] was not yet come upon the Church, but it follows not but he was long before promised, designed and ap­pointed, spoken of and declared.* The first of these collations had the Ceremony of Chrisme or Anointing joyned with it, which the Church in process of time transferred into her use and ministry, yet it is the last onely that Christ passed into an Ordinance for ever; It is this onely which is the Sacramental consummation of our Regeneration in Christ; for in this the Holy spirit is not onely [...] present by his power, but present [...] as St. Gregory Nazianzen expresses it, to dwell with us, to converse with us, and to abide for ever, [...]. So St. Paul describes this Spirit of Confirmation, the Spirit which he hath poured forth upon us, richly or plentifully, that is, in great measures, and to the full consummation of the first mysteries of our Regenerati­on. Now because Christ is the great Fountain of this blessing to us, and he it was who sent his Fathers spirit upon the Church, himself best knew his own intenti­ons, and the great blessings he intended to communi­cate to his Church, and therefore it was most agreeable that from his Sermons we should learn his purposes and his blessing, and our duty: Here Christ declared re [...] Sacramenti, the spiritual Grace which he would after­wards impart to his Church by exterior ministry, in this as in all other Graces, Mysteries, and Rituals Evange­lical: Nisi quis, Vnless a Man be born both of Water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.

But the next objection is yet more material. 2. For if this be the meaning of our Blessed Saviour, then Confirma­tion is as necessary as Baptism, and without it ordinarily no man can be saved. The solution of this will answer [Page 21] a case of conscience, concerning the necessity of confir­mation; and in what degree of duty and diligence we are bound to take care that we receive this Holy rite. I answer therefore, that, entring into the Kingdom of God, is, being admitted into the Christian Church and ware­fare, to become Sons of God, and Souldiers of Jesus Christ; and though this be the outward door, and the first entrance into life, and consequently the Kings high way, and the ordinary means of Salvation, yet we are to distinguish the external ceremony from the internal mystery, The Nisi quis is for this, not for that; and yet that also is the ordinary way. Vnless a Man be baptized; that is, unless he be indeed regenerate, he can­not be sav'd; and yet baptism, or the outward washing is the solemnity, and Ceremony of its ordinary ministra­tion; and he that neglects this, when it may be had, is not indeed regenerate; he is not renewed in the spirit of his mind, because he neglects Gods way, and there­fore can as little be sav'd, as he, who having receiv'd the external Sacrament, puts a bar to the intromission of the inward grace. Both cannot alwayes be had; but when they can, although they are not equally valuable in the Nature of the thing, yet they are made equally necessary by the Divine Commandment. And in this there is a great but general mistake in the doctrine of the Schools disputing concerning what Sacraments are necessary necessitate medii, that is, as necessary means, and what are necessary by the necessity of praecept, or Divine Commandment. For although a less reason will excuse from the actual susception of some than of others, and a less diligence for the obtaining of one will serve than in obtaining of another, and a supply in one is easier obtain'd than in another, yet no Sacrament [Page 22] hath in it any other necessity than what is made meerly by the Divine Commandment. But the grace of every sacrament, or rite or mystery which is of Divine ordi­nance is necessary indispensably, so as without it no man can be sav'd: And this difference is highly remark­able in the words of Christ recorded by S. Mark. Mark 16. 16. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that be­lieveth not shall be damned. Baptism it self, as to the ex­ternal part, is not necessary necessitate medii, or indispen­sably; but baptismal Faith for the remission of sins in person capable, that indeed is necessary; for Christ does not say that the want of baptism damns as the want of Faith does: and yet both Baptisme and Faith are the ordinary way of Salvation; and both necessary; ba­ptism, because it is so by the Divine Commandment, and faith as a necessary means of salvation, in the very Oeco­nomy and dispensation of the Gospel. Thus it is also in the other Sacrament.John 6. Vnless we eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood we have no life in us; and yet God forbid that every Man that is not commu­nicated, should dye eternally. But it means plainly, that without receiving Christ, as he is by Gods intention in­tended we should receive him in the Communion, we have no life in us. Plainly thus, without the internal grace we cannot live; and the external ministery is the usual and appointed means of conveying to us the internal; and therefore although without the external it is pos­sible to be sav'd, when it is impossible to be had; yet with the wilful neglect of it, we cannot. Thus there­fore we are to understand the words of Christ decla­ring the necessity of both these Ceremonies: they are both necessary, because they are the means of spiritual advantages and graces, and both minister to the proper ends of their appointment, and both [Page 23] derive from a Divine Original: But the ritual or ce­remonial part in rare emergencies is dispensable; but the Grace is indispensable. Without the grace of Baptism we shall dye in our sins; and without the grace or internal part of Confirmation we shall never be able to resist the Divel, but shall be taken captive by him at his will: Now the external or ritual part is the means, the season and opportunity of this grace; and there­fore is at no hand to be neglected, least we be account­ed despisers of the grace, and tempters of God to wayes and provisions extraordinary. For although when without our fault we receive not the sacramental part, God can and will supply it to us out of his own stores; because no man can perish without his own fault; and God can permit to himself what he please, as being Lord of the Grace and of the Sacrament; yet to us he hath given a law and a rule; and that is the way of his Church in which all Christians ought to walk. In short: The use of it is greatly profitable; the neglect is inexcu­sable; but the contempt is damnable. Tenentur non negli­gere si pateat opportunitas, said the Bishops in a Synod at Paris: If there be an opportunity, it must not be neg­lected. Obligantur suscipere, aut saltem non contemnere, said the Synod at Sens. They are bound to receive it, or at least not to despise it. Now he despises it that refuses it when he is invited to it, or when it is offered; or that neglects it without cause. For, causelesly and contemptu­ously are all one. But these answers were made by gentle Casuists; he onely values the Grace that desires it, that longs for it, that makes use of all the means of Grace, that seeks out for the means, that refuses no labour, that goes after them as the Merchant goes after Gain; and therefore the Old Ordo Romanus admonishes more strict­ly; [Page 24]Omnino praecavendum esse ut hoc Sacramentum con­firmationis non negligatur,In offic. Sab. Pasch. post o­rat. quae dicitur Data confirm. quia tunc omne Baptisma legi­timum Christianitatis nomine confirmatur.’ ‘We must by all means take heed that the Rite of Confirmation be not neglected, because in that every true Baptism is ratified and confirmed,’ De offic. divin. in Sabb. S. Pasche. which words are also to the same purpose made use of by Albinus Flaccus. No man can tell to what degrees of diligence and labour, to what sufferings or journeyings he is oblig'd for the procuring of this ministry; there must be debita sollici­tudo; a real providential zealou scare, to be where it is to be had, is the duty of every Christian according to his own circumstances, but they who will not receive it unless it be brought to their doors, may live in such places and in such times where they shall be sure to miss it, and pay the price of their neglect of so great a mi­nistry of salvation,Seneca. Turpissima est jactura quae per negli­gentiam, sit, He is a Fool that loses his good by careles­ness: But no man is zealous for his Soul, but he who not onely omits no opportunity of doing it advantage when it is ready for him, but makes and seeks and contrives opportunities. Si non necessitate, sed incuriâ & volun­tate remanserit, as St. Clements expression is, If a man wants it by necessity, it may by the overflowings of the Divine Grace be supplied, but not so if negligence or choice causes the omission.

3. Our way being made plain, we may proceed to other places of Scripture to prove the Divine Original of Confirmation. It was a Plant of our Heavenly Fa­thers planting, it was a Branch of the Vine, and how it springs from the Root Christ Jesus we have seen; it is yet more visible as it was dressed and cultivated by the Apostles. Now as soon as the Apostles had received [Page 25] the Holy spirit, they preached and baptized, and the inferiour Ministers did the same, and St. Philip particu­larly did so at Samaria, the Converts of which place received all the Fruits of Baptism, but Christians though they were, they wanted a [...] something to make them perfect. The other part of the Narrative I shall set down in the words of St. Luke: Acts 8. v. 14, 15, 16, 17. Now when the Apo­stles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had re­ceived the Word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John, who, when they were come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost, for as yet he was fallen upon none of them, onely they were Baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus; Then laid they their hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost. If it had not been neces­sary to have added a new solemnity and ministration, it is not to be supposed the Apostles Peter and John would have gone from Jerusalem to impose hands on the Bap­tized at Samaria. Id quod deerat à Petro & Johanne fa­ctum est, ut Oratione pro eis habitâ & manu impositâ in­vocaretur & infunderetur super eos spiritus sanctus, said St. Cyprian: Ad Jubaian. It was not necessary that they should be Baptized again, onely that which was wanting was per­formed by Peter and John, that by prayer and impositi­on of hands the Holy Ghost should be invocated and poured upon them. The same also is from this place affirmed by P. Innocentius the First,Epist. 1. c. 3. Adv. Lucife­rian. St. Hierom, and many others; and in the Acts of the Apostles we find another instance of the celebration of this Ritual and Mystery, for it is signally expressed of the Baptized Christians at Ephesus, that St. Paul first Baptized them, and then laid his hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost; and these Testimonies are the great warranty for this Holy Rite. Quod nunc in confirmandis Neophytis manus [Page 26] impositio tribuit singulis, hoc tunc Spiritus sancti descensio in credentium populo donavit universis, said Eucherius Lug­dunensis, in his Homily of Pentecost. The same thing that is done now in imposition of hands or single persons, is no other than that which was done upon all Believers in the descent of the Holy Ghost; it is the same Mini­stry, and all deriving from the same Authority.

Confirmation or imposition of hands for the collation of the Holy spirit we see was actually practised by the Apostles, and that even before and after they preached the Gospel to the Gentiles, and therefore Amalarius, who entred not much into the secret of it, reckons this Ritual as derived from the Apostles per consuetudinem, by Catholick custom, which although it is not per­fectly spoken as to the whole [...] or Authority of it, yet he places it in the Apostles, and is a witness of the Catholick succeeding custom and practise of the Church of God; which thing also Zanchius observing, though he followed the sentiment of Amalarius, and seemed to un­derstand no more of it, yet sayes well: Interim (sayes he) exempla Apostolorum & veteris Ecclesiae vellem plu­ris aestimari. I wish that the example of the Apostles and the primitive Church were of more value amongst Christians, it were very well indeed they were so, but there is more in it than mere example. These examples of such solemnities productive of such spiritual effects are, as St. Cyprian calls them, Apostolica Magisteria, the Apostles are our Masters in them, and have given Rules and Precedents for the Church to follow. This is a Chri­stian Law, and written as all Scriptures are, for our in­struction: But this I shall expresly prove in the next Paragraph.

4. We have seen the Original from Christ, the pra­ctise [Page 27] and exercise of it in the Apostles, and the first Converts in Christianity; that which I shall now re­mark is, that this is established and passed into a Chri­stian Doctrine. The warranty for what I say is the words of St. Paul, Hebr. 6. 1. 2. where the Holy Rite of Confirmation, so called from the effect of this ministration, and ex­pressed by the Ritual part of it, Imposition of Hands, is reckoned a Fundamental point [...], Not laying again the foundation of Repentance from dead works, and of Faith towards God, of the Doctrine of Baptismes and of laying on of Hands, of Resurrection from the Dead and Eternal judgement. Here are six Fundamen­tal points of St. Pauls Catechism, which he laid as the foundation or the beginning of the institution of the Christian church, and amongst these imposition of hands is reckoned as a part of the foundation, and therefore they who deny it, dig up foundations: Now that this imposition of hands is that which the Apostles used in confirming the Baptized, and invocating the Holy Ghost upon them, remains to be proved.

For it is true that imposition of hands signifies all Christian Rites except Baptism and the Lords Supper; not the Sacraments, but all the Sacramentals of the Church: It signifies Confirmation, Ordination, Abso­lution, Visitation of the Sick, blessing single persons, (as Christ did the Children brought to him) and bles­sing Marriages, all these were usually ministred by im­position of hands. Now the three last are not preten­ded to be any part of this foundation, neither Reason, Authority, nor the Nature of the thing, suffer any such pretension: The Question then is between the first three. First, Absolution of Penitents cannot be meant here, not onely because we never read that the Apo­stles [Page 28] did use that ceremony in their Absolutions; but be­cause the Apostle speaking of the foundation in which Baptism is, and is reckoned one of the principal parts in the foundation, there needed no Absolution but Bap­tismal, for they and we believing one Baptism for the Remission of Sins, this is all the absolution that can be at first and in the foundation. The other was secunda post naufragium tabula, Symbol. Ni­caen. & C. P. it came in after, when men had made a shipwrack of their good conscience, and were as St. Peter says [...] for­getful of the former cleansing and purification and wash­ing of their old sins.2 Pet. 1. 9.

2. It cannot be meant of Ordination, and this is also evident. 1. Because the Apostle sayes he would thenceforth leave to speak of the foundation, and go on to perfection, that is, to higher mysteries. Now in Rituals, of which he speaks, there is none higher than Ordination. 2. The Apostle saying he would speak no more of Imposition of Hands, goes presently to dis­course of the mysteriousness of the Evangelical Priest­hood, and the honour of that vocation, by which it is evident he spake nothing of Ordination in the Cate­chism or Narrative of Fundamentals. 3. This also ap­pears from the context, not onely because laying on of hands is immediately set after Baptism, but also because in the very next words of his Discourse he does enume­rate and apportion to Baptism and Confirmation their pro­per and proportioned effects: To Baptism, illumination, according to the perpetual stile of the Church of God, calling Baptism [...] an enlightning, and to confirma­tion he reckons, tasting the Heavenly gift, and being made partakers of the Holy Ghost; by the thing signified de­claring the Sign, and by the mystery the Rite. Upon [Page 29] these words St. Chysostom discoursing, sayes, ‘That all these are Fundamental Articles; that is, that we ought to repent from dead works, to be Baptized in­to the Faith of Christ, and be made worthy of the gift of the Spirit, who is given by Imposition of Hands, and we are to be taught the mysteries of the Resurrection and Eternal Judgement.’ This Catechism (sayes he) is perfect; so that if any man have Faith in God, and being baptized is also confirmed, and so tastes the Heavenly gift and partakes of the Holy Ghost, and by hope of the Resurrection tastes of the good things of the World to come, if he falls away from this state, and turn 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 [...] by Repen­tance and by a Resuscitation of the Spirit, if he have not wholly quenched him: But if he renounces the whole Covenant, disown and cancel these Foundations, he is desperate, he can never be renewed [...] to the Title and Oeconomy of Repentance. This is the full ex­plication of this excellent place, and any other wayes it cannot reasonably be explicated, but therefore into this place any notice of Ordination cannot come; no Sense, no Mystery can be made of it or drawn from it, but by the interposition of Confirmation the whole context is clear, rational, and intelligible.

This then is that imposition of hands of which the Apostles speaks. Vnus hic locus abundè testatur, &c. saith Calvin: This one place doth abundantly witness [Page 30] that the Original of this Rite or Ceremony was from the Apostles,In hunc locu [...]. [...], saith S. Chrysostom; for by this rite of imposition of hands they receiv'd the Holy Ghost. For though the spirit of God was given extra-regularly, and at all times, as God was pleas'd to do great things; yet this imposition of hands was [...], this was the Minstery 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 [...], the ministery of the body and blood of Christ. Now as the Lords Supper is appointed ritually to convey Christ's body and blood to us: So is Confirmation ordain'd 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 Ministeries external: yet such a Man without a miracle is not a perfect Christian ex statuum vitae dis­positione; but, in the ordinary wayes 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 afterwards.

I shall observe one thing more out of this testimony of S. Paul. He calls it, the Doctrine of Baptismes and laying on of hands; by which it does not only appear to be a lasting ministery, 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; S. Paul had been guilty of that which our Blessed Saviour reproves in the Scribes and Pharisees, and should have taught for Doctrines the Commandments of Men. Which because it cannot be suppos'd; it must follow, that this Doctrine of Confirmation, or impositi­on [Page 31] of hands is Apostolical and Divine. The argument is clear, and not easie to be reproov'd.

The Rite of Confirmation is a perpetual and never ceasing Ministery.

YEa, but what is this to us? It belong'd to the dayes of wonder and extraordinary: The holy Ghost breath'd upon the Apostles and Apostolical men; but then he breath'd his last: recedente gratiâ, recessit disci­plina: when the Grace departed we had no further use of the Ceremony. In answer to this I shall [...], by divers particulars evince plainly, that this ministery 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 Sect. In which it is clearly manifested; that Christ himself made the Baptism of the Spirit,John 3. 5. to be necessary to the Church; he declar'd 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 sanctifyed 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 [Page 32] by Christ, expressing onely 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 Apostles 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 of you,—and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost [...] Not the meanest person amongst you all but shall receive this great thing,Acts 2. 38, 39. which ye observe us to have received; and not onely you, but your Children too; not your Children of this Generation onely, sed Nati natorum, & 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 onely, and according to the stile 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 aboad, it is not easie to be supposed that such a solemnity should be appointed. I [Page 33] 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 Ephesians, Ephes. 1. 13. who well understood his meaning by re­membring what was done to themselves by the Apo­stlesActs 19. 6. but a while before, 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. Pauls 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 mean the Internal Grace, and our consignation is by a secret power, and the work is within, but it does not therefore follow 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 Ministery, 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 [Page 34] 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 authorities? Is it because there were extraordina­ry effects accompanying this ministration, and because now there are not, that we will suppose the whole Oe­conomy must cease; if this be it, and indeed this is all that can be supposed in opposition to it, it is infinitely vain.

1 1. Because these extraordinary effects did continue even after the death of all the Apostles. St. Irenaeus sayes they did continue even to his time; even the greatest instance of miraculous power,Lib. 2. cap 57. & in fraterni­tate, saepissimè propter aliquid necessarium ea quae est in quoquo loco Vniversa Ecclesia postulante per jejunium & 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 2. In the dayes of the Apostles the holy spirit did produce miraculous effects, but neither alwayes, nor at all, in all men: Are all workers of Miracles? Do all speak with Tongues? 1 Cor. 12. 29. Do all interpret? Can all heal? 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.

3 3. 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 dayes of the Apostles there was an effusion of the Spirit of God, it run over, it was for themselves and others, it wet the very ground they trode upon, and [Page 35] made it fruitful; but it was not to all in like manner, but there was also then, and since then, a diffusion of the Spirit, tanquam in pleno. St. Stephen was full of the Holy Ghost,Acts 6. 8▪ 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 inci­dent: But there is also an infusion of the Holy Ghost, and that is to all,1 Cor. 12. 7. and that is for ever, The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withall, saith the Apostle; 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 ne­cessary:4 In the beginnings alwayes appears the sensible vi­sions of spiritual things for their sakes, 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, In Matthaeum. said St. Chysostom 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 sayes, That the gift of Tongues is one of the least and most useless things; a meer sign, and not so much as a sign to Believers, but to Infidels and Unbelievers; and before this he greatly prefers the gift of Prophe­cying or Preaching, which, yet all Christians know, does abide with the Church for ever.

5. To every ordinary and perpetual ministery at first,5 there were extraordinary effects and miraculous consig­nations. We find great parts of Nations converted at one Sermon. Three thousand converts came in at once [Page 36] Preaching of S. 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 Divels cast out in the conversion of a sinner; and blindness cur'd at the Baptism of S. Paul, and Aeneas was healed of a Palsie at the same time, he was cur'd of his infidelity; and Eutychus was restor'd to life at the Preaching of S. Paul: and yet that now we see no such extraordinaries, it followes not, that the visitation of the sick, and Preaching Sermons, and absolving penitents are not ordinary and perpetual ministrations: and there­fore to 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 be put in ballance against so sacred an institu­tion relying upon so many Scriptures.

6 6. With this Objection some vain persons would have troubled the Church in S. Austins time; but he consi­dered it with much indignation, writing against the Do­natists. His words are these. Tract. 6. in Ca­nonicam. Jo­han. circa med. & lib. 3. contr. Donatist. 16. 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 thorough all the Nati­ons and Languages of the World: so it was signified, and so it pass'd thorough. 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 [Page 37] 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? Interroget cor suum, si diligit 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, accor­ding to that saying of Christ; These signs shall follow them that believe:Marc. 16. 17. In my Name shall they cast out Devils, they shall speak with new Tongues, they shall tread on Ser­pents, they shall drink poyson, 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 poyson 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 super-natural products in a natural matter: For this is from a super-natural principle to receive super-na­tural [Page 38] aids to a super-natural end in the Diviner spirit of a man; and this being more miraclous 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 proove.

6 6. 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 whatever 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 in­tirely 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 therefore 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 therefore it remains that still there abides in the Church this power, that by Imposition of the Hands of sit persons, the Holy Ghost is ministred: But this will be further cleared in the next Section.

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

NExt to the plain words of Scripture, the traditive interpretation and practise of the Church of God is the best Argument 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 tradition it self, 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 publick Liturgies, in Absolution of Penitents, the Lords Day, Communi­cating of Women, and the like; yet this Rite of Con­firmation being all that, and evidently derived from the practise Apostolical, 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 usefulness and holy de­signation.

Theophilus Antiochenus lived not long after the deathA. D. 170. [Page 40] of S. John, and he derives the name of Christian, which was first given to the Disciples in his City from this Chrisme or spiritual Unction, this Confirmation of ba­ptized persons [...], We are therefore called Christians because we are anointed with the Vnction of God. These words will be best un­derstood by the subsequent testimonies, by which it will appear that confirmation (for reasons hereafter menti­on'd) was for many Ages called Chrisme or Unction. But he adds the usefulness of it. For who is there that enters into the World, or that enters into contention, or Athletick combats, but is anointed with oyl? By which words he intimates both the Unction anciently us'd in Baptisme, and in confirmation both: for in the first we have our new birth; in the second, we are prepar'd for spiritual combate.

Tertullian having spoken of the Rites of Baptism,A. D. 200. proceeds. Dehinc (saith he) manus imponitur, per Bene­dictionem advocans & invitans Spiritum Sanctum: De baptismo. c. 6. Tunc ille sanctissimus Spiritus super emundata & benedicta cor­pora libens à patre descendit. After baptism, the hand is impos'd, by blessing, calling and inviting the Holy Spi­rit. Then that most holy spirit willingly descends from the Father upon the Bodies that are cleans'd and bles­sed; that is, first baptis'd, then confirm'd; and again. Caro signatur, De resur. carn. cap. 8. ut anima muniatur. Caro manus impositi­one adumbratur, ut anima spiritu illuminetur. The flesh is consign'd, or seal'd (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 enlightned by the Holy Ghost.Vbi supra de bapt. Nay, further yet. If any Man ob­jects that Baptisme is sufficient; he answers; It is true, [Page 41] it is sufficient to them that are to dye 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 Apostles had been ba­ptiz'd, yet the Holy Ghost was come upon none of them untill Jesus was glorified) sed in aquâ emundati, sub An­gelo Spiritui Sancto praeparamur; but being cleans'd by Baptismal water, we are dispos'd for the Holy Spirit under the hand of the Angel of the Church, under the Bishops hand. And a little after he expostulates the ar­ticle. Non licebit Deo in suo Organo per manus sanctas sublimitatem modulari spiritalem? 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 happiness and excellency of the Church of Rome at that time, sayes, she believes in God, she signes with water, she cloths with the spirit (viz. in Confirma­tion) she feeds with the Eucharist, De Praescript. cap. 36. she exhorts to Martyr­dom; and against this order or institution she receives no Man.

S. Cyprian, A. D. 250. Epist. 73. in his Epistle to Jubajanus, having urg'd that of the Apostles going to Samaria to impose hands on those whom S. Philip had baptized, adds: ‘Quod nunc quoque apud nos geritur, ut qui in Ecclesiâ baptizantur, per praeposi­tos Ecclesiae offerantur, & per nostram orationem ac manus impositionem, spiritum sanctum consequantur, & signaculo do­minico consummentur.’ ‘Which custom is also descended to us, that they, who are baptiz'd might be brought by the Rulers of the Church, and by our prayer and the imposi­tion of hands (said the Martyr Bishop) may obtain the Holy Ghost,Epist. 70. & 73. and be consummated with the Lords signature.’ And again, Vngi necesse est eum qui baptiza­tus [Page 42] est, &c. Et super eos qui in Ecclesiâ baptizati erant, & Ecclesiasticum & legitimum baptismum consecuti fuerant, oratione pro iis habitâ, manu impositâ invocaretur & infunderetur Spiritus Sanctus. It is necessary that every one who is baptiz'd should receive the Unction that he may be Christ's anointed one, and may have in him the grace of Christ. They who have receiv'd lawful and Ecclesiastical Baptism, it is not necessary they should be baptiz'd again; but that which is wanting must be sup­plyed, viz. that prayer being made for them, and hands impos'd, the Holy Ghost be invocated and pour'd upon them.

S. Clement of Alexandria, A. D. 200. a Man of Venerable Antiqui­ty and admirable Learning, tells that a certain young Man was by S. John delivered to the care of a Bishop,Apud Euseb. l. 3. c. 17. who having baptiz'd him: posteà verò sigillo Domini tan­quam perfectâ tutâque ejus custodiâ [...]. eum obsignavit. Af­terwards he sealed him with the Lords signature (the Church word for Confirmation) as with a safe and perfect guard.

Origen in his seventh Homily upon Ezekiel expounding certain mystical words of the Prophet; A. D. 210. saith, Oleum est quo vir sanctus Vngitur, oleum Christi, oleum Sanctae Do­ctrinae. Cum ergo aliquis accepit hoc oleum quo Vngitur Sanctus, id est, Scripturam sanctam instituentem quomodo oporteat baptizari, in nomine Patris, & filii, & Spiritus sancti, & pauca commutans unxerit quempiam, & quo­dammodo dixerit, jam non es Catechumenus, consecutus es la­vacrum secundae generationis; talis homo accipit oleum Dei, &c. The Unction of Christ, of holy Doctrine is the Oyl by which the Holy Man is anointed; having been instructed in the Scriptures, and taught how to be baptized; then changing a few things he sayes to him, now you are no longer a Catechu­men, [Page 43] now you are regenerated in baptism; such a Man re­ceives the Vnction of God. viz. He then is to be confirmed.

S. Dionys commonly called the Areopagite in his excel­lent book of Ecclesiastical Hierarchy speaks most fully of the Holy rite of Confirmation or Chrism.De Eccles. Hier. c. 2. Having de­scrib'd at large the office and manner of baptizing the Catechumens, the trine immersion, the vesting them in white Garments; adds; Then they bring them again to the Bishop, and he consignes him (who had been so baptiz'd) [...], with the most Divinely operating Unction, and then gives him the most Holy Eucharist. And after­wards he sayes.Et cap. 4. But even to him, who is consecrated in the most holy mystery of regeneration, [...], the perfective Unction of Chrism gives to him the advent of the Holy Spirit. And this rite of Confirmation, then called Chrism, from the spiritual Unction then effected and consign'd also and signified by the Ceremony of a­nointing externally, which was then the ceremony of the Church; he calls it [...] the holy con­summation of our baptismal regeneration; meaning that without this, there is something wanting to the bapti­zed persons.

And this appears fully in that famous censure of No­vatus by Cornelius Bishop of Rome reported byLib. 6. Hist. Eccles. c. 43. Euse­bius. A. D. 260. Novatus had been baptized in his bed being very sick and like to dye: but when he recover'd he did not receive those other things which by the rule of the Church he ought to have receiv'd: neque Domini sigillo ab Epi­scopo consignatus est; he was not consign'd with the Lords signature by the hands of the Bishop; he was not con­firmed: Quo non impetrato, quomodo spiritum sanctum obtinuisse putandus est? Which having not obtain'd, how can he be suppos'd to have receiv'd the Holy Spirit? [Page 44] The same also is something more fully related by Nicephorus, Lib. 6. cap. 3. but wholly to the same purpose.

Melchiades in his Epistle to the Bishops of Spain ar­gues excellently about the necessity and usefulness of the Holy Rite of Confirmation. A. D. 320. [What does the myste­ry of Confirmation profit me after the mystery of Baptism? Certainly we did not receive all in our Baptism, if after that lavatory we want something of another kind. Let your charity attend. As the Military order requires, that when the General enters a Souldier into his list, he does not only mark him, but furnishes him with armes for the Battle. So in him that is baptiz'd, this blessing is his Am­munition. You have given (Christ) a Souldier, give him also Weapons. And what will it profit him if a Father gives a great Estate to his Son, if he does not take care to provide a Tutor for him. Therefore the Holy Spirit is the Guardian of our regeneration in Christ, he is the Comforter, and he is the Defender.]

I have already alleaged the plain Testimonies of Optatus and S. Cyril in the first Section.A. D. 370. I adde to them the words of S. Gregory Nazianzen speaking of Confirmation or the Christian signature;Adhort. ad S. lavacrum. Hoc & viventi tibi maximum est tu­tamentum. Ovis enim quae sigillo insignita est non facilè patet insidiis; quae verò signata non est, facilè à furibus capitur. This signature is your greatest guard while you live. For a sheep, when it is mark'd with the Ma­sters sign, is not so soon stollen by Thieves; but easily if she be not. The same manner of speaking is also us'd by S. Basil, who was himself together with Eubulus con­firm'd by Bishop Maximinus. Quomodo curam geret tanquam ad se pertinentis Angelus? Quomodo eripiat ex hostibus si non agnoverit signaculum? How shall the Angel know what sheep belong unto his charge? How shall he [Page 45] snatch them from the Enemy; if he does not see their mark and signature?In cap. 1. ad Ephes. Theodoret also and Theophylact speak the like words: and so far as I can perceive; these and the like sayings are most made use of by the Schoolmen to be their warranty for an indelible Character imprint­ed in Confirmation. I do not interest my self in the question; but only recite the Doctrine of these Fathers in behalf of the practice and usefulness of Confirmati­on.

I shall not need to transcribe hither those clear testi­monies which are cited from the Epistles of S. Clement, Vrban the first, Fabianus and Cornelius; the summe of them is in those plainest words of Vrban the First. Om­nes fideles per manus impositionem Episcopórum Spiritum Sanctum post baptismum accipere debent. All faithfull People ought to receive the Holy spirit by imposition of the Bishops hands after Baptism. Much more to the same purpose is to be read, collected by Gratian de consecrat. dist 4. Presbyt. & de consecrat dist. 5. Omnes fideles & ibid. Spiritus Sanctus.

S. Hierom brings in a Luciferian asking: Dial. adv. Lu­cifer. why he that is baptiz'd in the Church does not receive the Holy Ghost, but by imposition of the Bishops hands? The answer is, hanc observationem ex Scripturae authoritate ad Sacordotii honorem descendere. This observation for the honour of the Priesthood did descend from the authority of the Scriptures; adding withal, it was for the prevention of Schismes, and that the safety of the Church did depend upon it. Exigis ubi scriptum est? If you ask where it is written; it is answered, in Actibus Apostolorum. It is written in the Acts of the Apostles. But if there were no authority of Scripture for it, totius orbis in hanc partem consensus instar praecepti obtineret; the consent of the [Page 46] whole Christian World in this article ought to prevail as a commandment. But here is a twofold Chord, Scri­pture and Universal Tradition: or rather Scripture ex­pounded by an Universal traditive interpretation. Homil 18. in Act. The same observation is made from Scripture by S. Chrysostom: The words are very like those now recited from S. Hie­rom's Dialogue, and therefore need not be repeated.

S. Ambrose calls Confirmation, Spiritale signaculum, Lib. 3. de sa­cram. c. 2. quod post fontem superest, ut perfectio fiat. A spiritual seal remaining after Baptism, that perfection be had. Oecumenius calls it [...],In Hebr. 6. perfection, Lavacro peccata pur­gantur, Chrismate Spiritus sanctus superfunditur,; Vtra (que) verò ista manu & ore Antistitis impetramus, said Pacianus Bishop of Barcinona. In Baptism our sins are cleans'd; in Confirmation the holy Spirit is pour'd upon us; and both these we obtain by the hands and mouth of the Bishop]: and again; vestrae plebi unde spiritus; quam non consignat unctus Sacerdos? The same with that of Cor­nelius in the case of Novatus before cited.

I shall add no more least,Lib. 3. contr. Novat. I overset the article, and make it suspicious by too laborious a defence: only after these numerous testimonies of the Fathers, I think it may be useful to represent that this Holy rite of Confirmati­on hath been decreed by many Councils.

The Council of Eliberis, Can. 38. celebrated in the time of P. Sylvester the first, decreed, that whosoever is baptiz'd in his sickness, if he recover, ad Episcopum eum perducat, ut per manus impositionem perfici possit; let him be brought to the Bishop, that he may be perfected by the impositi­on of hands. To the same purpose is the 77th. Can. E­piscopus eos per bendictionem perficere debebit. The Bi­shop must perfect those, whom the Minister baptiz'd, by his benediction.

[Page 47] The Council of Laodicea decreed [...]. Can. 38. All that are baptized, must be anointed with the coelestial Unction, and [so] be partakers of the Kingdom of Christ. All that are so, that is, are confirm'd; for this coelestial Unction, is done by holy prayers, and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, so Zonarus upon this Canon: all such who have this Unction shall reign with Christ, unless by their wickedness they praeclude their own possessions. This Canon was put into the Code of the Catholick Church; and makes the 152. Canon.

The Council of Orleans affirms expresly;Habetur apud Gratian. de Consecrat. dist. 5. cap. jejun. that he who is baptiz'd cannot be a Christian (meaning according to the usual stile of the Church; a full, and perfect Christian) nisi confirmatione Episcopali fuerit Chrismatus; unless he have the Unction of Episcopal confirmation.

But when the Church had long disputed concerning the re-baptizing of Hereticks and made Canons for and against it, according as the Heresies were, and all agreed that if the first baptism had been once good, it could never be repeated; yet they thought it sit that such per­sons should be confirm'd by the Bishop, all supposing Confirmation to be the perfection and consummation of the less perfect baptism.Cap. 8. Thus the first Council of Arles decreed concerning the Arrians, that if they had been baptized in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, they should not be re-baptized. Manus tantùm eis imponatur ut accipiant Spiritum Sanctum; That is, let them be confirm'd; let there be imposition of hands that they may receive the Holy Ghost. The same is decreed by the second Council of Arles in the case of the Bonasiaci. Cap. 17. But I also find it in a greater record;Can. 7. in the General Coun­cil of Constantinople; where Hereticks are command­ed [Page 48] upon their conversion to be received, secundùm con­stitutum Officium, there was an Office appointed for it; and it is in the Greeks Euchologion, sigillatos, primò scil. Vnctos Vnguento Chrismatis, &c. & signantes eos dici­mus, Sigillum doni spiritus sancti, It is the form of Confirmation used to this day in the Greek Church.

So many Fathers testifying the practise of the Church, and teaching this Doctrine, and so many more Fathers as were assembled in six Councils, all giving witness to this holy Rite, and that in pursuance also of Scripture, are too great a Cloud of Witnesses to be despised by a­ny Man that calls himself a Christian.

The BISHOPS were alwayes, and the onely Ministers of Confirmation.

SAint Chrysostome asking the reason why the Samari­tans, Homil. 18. in Acta. who were Baptized by Philip, could not from him and by his ministry receive the Holy Ghost? an­swers, Perhaps this was done for the honour of the Apo­stles, to distinguish the supereminent dignity which they bore in the Church, from all inferiour Ministrati­ons; but this answer not satisfying, he adds, hoc do­num non habebat, erat enim ex septem illis, id quod magis videtur dicendum. Vnde meâ sententiâ hic Philippus u­nus ex septem erat secundus à Stephano, Ideo & Bapti­zans, spiritum sanctum non dabat, ne (que) enim faculta­tem [Page 49] habebat, hoc enim donum solorum Apostolorum erat. This gift they had not who Baptized the Samaritans, which thing is rather to be said than the other; for Philip was one of the seven, and in my opinion next to St. Stephen; therefore though he baptized, yet he gave not the Holy Ghost; for he had no power so to do, for this gift was proper onely to the Apostles, Nam virtu­tem quidem acceperant (Diaconi) faciendi signa, non autem dandi aliis spiritum sanctum, igitur hoc erat in A­postolis singulare, unde & praecipuos, & non alios vide­mus hoc facere, The Ministers that Baptized had a pow­er of doing Signs and working Miracles, but not of gi­ving the holy spirit; therefore this gift was peculiar to the Apostles, whence it comes to pass that we see the cheifs [...]. in the Church, and no other to do this.

St. Dionys sayes, [...], There is need of a Bishop to confirm the baptized,Cap. 5. Eccles. Hier. [...] for this was the ancient custome of the Church, and this was wont to be done by the Bishops for conservation of Unity in the Church of Christ, said St. Ambrose: In Hebr. 6. Qu. 44. in N. T. A solis Episcopis, By Bishops onely, said St. Austin; For the Bishops succeeded in the place and ordina­ry Office of the Apostles, said St. Hierom: And there­fore in his Dialogue against the Luciferians it is said [That this observation for the honour of the Priesthood did descend, that the Bishops onely might by Impositi­on of Hands confer the Holy Ghost; that it comes from Scripture, that it is written in the Acts of the Apostles, that it is done for the prevention of Schismes, that the safety of the Church depends upon it.]

But the words of P. Innocentius I. in his first Epistle and third Chapter, and published in the first Tome of the Councils, are very full to this particular, ‘De consignandis [Page 50] infantibus, manifestum est non ab alio quàm ab Episcopo fieri licere, Nam Presbyteri, licèt sint sacerdotes, pontifica­tus tamen apicem non habent, haec autem pontificibus solis deberi, ut vel consignent, vel paracletum spiritum tradant, non solùm consuetudo Ecclesiastica demonstrat, verùm & illa lectio Actuum Apostolorum, quae asserit Petrum & Jo­hannem esse directos, qui jam Baptizatis traderent spiri­tum sanctum;’ ‘Concerning Confirmation of Infants, it is manifest, it is not Lawful to be done by any other than by the Bishop; for although the Presbyters be Priests, yet they have not the Summity of Episcopa­cy: But that these things are onely due to Bishops, is not onely demonstrated by the custom of the Church, but by that of the Acts of the Apostles, where Peter and John were sent to minister the Holy Ghost to them that were Baptized.’ Contr. Par­men. lib. 7. Optatus proves Macharius to be no Bishop, because he was not conver­sant in the Episcopal Office, and imposed hands on none that were Baptized. Hoc unum à majoribus fit, id est, à summis Pontificibus, quod à minoribus perfici non potest, said P. Melchiades: Epist. ad Episc. Hispan. This (of Confirmation) is onely done by the greater Ministers; that is, by the Bishops, and cannot be done by the lesser. This was the con­stant practise and Doctrine of the Primitive Church, and derived from the practice and tra­dition of the Apostles,Voluit Deus dona illa admiranda non contingere Baptizatis, nisi per manus Apostolorum, ut Authorita­tem testibus suis conciliaret quam maximam; quod ipsum simul ad retinendam Ecclesiae unitatem p [...]r­tinebat. Grotius. and recorded in their Acts, written by St. Luke. For this is our great Rule in this case, what they did in Rituals, and consigned to Posterity is our example and our war­ranty:Videtur ergo fuisse peculiare Apo­stolorum munus dare Spiritum s [...]n­ctum. Isidor. Clarius in 8. Actuum Apostolorum. we see it done thus, and by these men, and by no others, and no other­wise, and we have no other authority, and we have no reason to [Page 51] goe another way. The [...] in St. Luke, the [...] in St. Chrysostome, the [...] in Philo, and the [...], the chief Governour in Ecclesiasticals, his Office is [...] to teach such things as are not set down in Books; their practise is a Sermon, their example in these things must be our rule, or else we must walk irregularly, and have no rule, but chance and humour, Empire and Usurpation, and therefore much rather, when it is recorded in Holy writ, must this Observation be esteemed sacred and in­violable.

But how if a Bishop be not to be had, or not ready? St. Ambrose In Ephes. 4. is pretended to have answered, Apud E­gyptum Presbyteri consignant, De offic. Ecles. Cap. 27. si praesens non sit Episcopus: A Presbyter may consign, if the Bishop be not present; and Amalarius affirms, Sylvestrum Papam praevidentem quantum periculosum iter arriperet, qui sine confirmatione maneret, quantum potuit subvenisse, & propter absentiam Episcoporum, necessitate addidisse, ut à Presbytero Vnge­rentur, That Pope Sylvester fore-seeing how danger­ous a Journey he takes, who abides without Confirmati­on, brought remedy as far as he could, and command­ed that in the absence of Bishops they should be anoint­ed by the Priest; and therefore it is by some suppo­sed, that factum valet, fieri non debuit. The thing ought not to be done but in the proper and appointed way; but when it is done, it is valid, just as in the case of Baptism by a Lay-man or Woman: Nay, though some Canons say it is actio irrita, the act is null, yet for this there is a salvo pretended; for sometimes an acti­on is said to be irrita in Law, which yet nevertheless is of secret and permanent value, and ought not to be done again. Thus if a Priest be promoted by Simony, [Page 52] it is said,1 Qu. 1. cap. qui vult 1. & 2. sacerdos non est, sed inaniter tantùm dicitur; he is but vainly called a Priest, for he is no Priest. So Sixtus II. said,Epist 2. de E­pisc. ordinan­te. That if a Bishop Ordain in anothers Diocess, the Ordination is void; and in the Law it is said,1 Qu. 2. C. in multis. Cle­ment. de elect cap. in pleris (que) that if a Bishop be consecrated without his Cler­gy and the Congregation, the Consecration is null; and yet these later and fiercer constitutions do not de­termine concerning the natural event of things, but of the legal and Canonical approbation.

To these things I answer, That St. Ambrose his say­ing that in Egypt the Presbyters consign in the Bishops absence, does not prove that they ever did confirm or impose hands on the Baptized for the ministry of the holy spirit,Qu. v. & N. T. Qu. 101. because that very passage being related by St. Austin, the more general word of consign is rendred by the plainer and more particular, consecrant, they consecrate, meaning the blessed Eucharist; which was not permitted primitively to a simple Priest to doe in the Bishops absence without leave, onely in Egypt it seems they had a general leave, and the Bishops absence was an interpretative consent: But besides this, con­signant is best interpreted by the practise of the Church, of which I shall presently give an account, they might in the absence of the Bishop consign with Oyl upon the top of the head, but not in the fore-head, much less impose hands, or confirm, or minister the holy Spirit, for the case was this.

It was very early in the Church, that to represent the grace which was ministred in Confirmation, the Unction from above, they us'd Oyl and Balsom; and so constant­ly us'd this in their Confirmations, that from the cere­mony it had the appellation; Sacramentum Chrismatis; S. Austin Lib. 2. contr. liter. Petilia­ni. c. 104. calls it; [...] so Dionysius. Now be­cause [Page 53] at the Baptism of the adult Christians, and (by imi­tation of that) of Infants, Confirmation and Baptism were usually ministred at the same time; the Unction was not only us'd to persons newly baptiz'd; but ano­ther Unction was added as a ceremony in Baptism it self; and was us'd immediately before Baptism; and the oyle was put on the top of the head, and three times was the party sign'd; so it was then, as we find in the Ec­clesiastical Hierarchy. But besides this Unction with oyl in baptismal preparations; and pouring oyl into the baptismal water; we find another Unction after the ba­ptism was finished. For they bring the baptized person again to the Bishop, Eccles. hier. cap 2. saith S. Dionys; who signing the man with hallowed Chrisme, gives him the Holy Eucha­rist. This they called [...] the perfective or con­summating Unction; this was that which was us'd when the Bishop confirmed the baptized person: For to him who is initiated by the most holy initiation of the Divine generation (that is, to him who hath been baptiz'd, saith Pachimeres the Paraphrast of Dionysius) the perfective Vnction of Chrisme, gives the gift of the Holy Ghost. This is that which the Laodicean Council calls [...] to be anointed after baptism.Can. 48. Both these Unctions were intimated by Theophilus Antiochenus, [...], Every man that is borne into the World, and every man that is a Champion is anoint­ed with oyl. That to baptism, this alluding to Con­firmation.

Now this Chrisme was frequently ministred immedi­ately after Baptism; in the Cities where the Bishop was present. But in Villages and little Towns where the Bishop was not present, it could not be. But Bishops were forc'd at their opportunities to go abroad and [Page 54] perfect what was wanting, as it was in the example of Peter and John to the Samaritans. Non quidem abnuo hanc esse Ecclesiarum consuetudinem, ut ad eos qui longè in minoribus Vrbibus per Presbyteros & Diaconos baptizati sunt, Episcopus ad invocationem Sancti Spiritus manum impositurus excurrat. C. Hieron adv. Lucifer. ante med. It is the custom of the Church that when persons are in lesser Cities baptiz'd by Priests and Deacons, the Bishops uses to travel far, that he may lay hands on them, for the invocation of the Holy Spirit. But because this could not alwayes be done, and because many baptized persons dyed before such an opportunity could be had; the Church took up a custome, that the Bishop should consecrate the Chrisme, and send it to the Villages and little Cities distant from the Metropolis, and that the Priests should anoint the baptized with it. But still they kept this part of it sacred and peculiar to the Bishop. 1. That no Chrisme should be us'd but what the Bishop consecrated. 2. That the Priests should a­noint the head of the baptized; but at no hand, the forehead, for that was still reserved for the Bishop to do when he confirmed them. And this is evident in the Epistle of P. Innocent the first, above quoted. Nam Presbyteris, seu extra Episcopum, seu praesente Episcopo baptizant, Chrismate baptizatos Vngere licet, sed quod ab Episcopo fuerit consecratum. Non tamen frontem ex eodem oleo signare, quod solis debetur Episcopis cum tradunt Spiritum Paracletum. Now this the Bishops did, not on­ly to satisfie the desire of the baptized, but by this ce­remony to excite the votum confirmationis, that they, who could not actually be confirmed, might at least have it in voto in desire, and in Ecclesiastical representa­tion. This (as some think) was first introduc'd by Pope Sylvester: and this is the consignation, which the [Page 55] Priests of Egypt us'd in the absence of the Bishop; and this became afterward, the practice in other Churches.

But this was no part of the Holy Rite of Confirmati­on; but a ceremony annexed to it ordinarily; from thence transmitted to baptism, first by imitation, after­wards by way of supply and in defect of the opportu­nities of Confirmation Episcopal. And therefore we find in the first Arausican Council in the time of Leo the first and Theodosius junior, Cap. 1. it was decreed, That in ba­ptism every one should receive Chrism: de eo autem qui in baptismate, quâ cunque necessitate faciente Chrismatus non fuerit, in confirmatione sacerdos commonebitur. If the baptized by any intervening accident or necessity was not anointed, the Bishop should be advertiz'd of it in Confirmation, meaning that then it must be done. For the Chrisme was but a ceremony annexed; no part of either rite essential to it; but yet thy thought it ne­cessary; by reason of some opinions then prevailing in the Church. But here the rites themselves are clearly distinguish'd; and this of Confirmation was never per­mitted to mere Presbyters. Innocentius III, a great Ca­nonist and of great authority, gives a full evidence in this particular. ‘Per frontis Chrismationem manus impo­sitio designatur, quia per eam Spiritus Sanctus per augmen­tum datur & robur. Vnde cum caeteras unctiones sim­plex sacerdos vel Presbyter valeat exhibere, hanc non nisi summus Sacerdos vel Presbyter valeat exhibere, id est, E­piscopus conferre.’ ‘By anointing of the forehead, the imposition of hands is design'd, because by that the Holy Ghost is given for increase and strength; there­fore when a single Priest may give the other Unctions, yet this cannot be done but by the chief Priest, that is, the Bishop:’ And therefore to the Question, what [Page 56] shall be done if a Bishop may not be had? The same In­nocentius answers‘[It is safer and without danger wholly to omit it, than to have it rashly and without authority ministred by any other, cum umbra quaedam ostendatur in opere, veritas autem non subeat in effectu; for it is a meer shadow without truth, or real effect, when any one else does it but the person whom God hath ap­pointed to this ministration;’ and no approved man of the Church did ever say the contrary, till Richard Pri­mate of Ardmagh commenced a new Opinion, from whence (Thomas of Walden sayes that) Wicl [...]f bor­rowed his Doctrine to trouble the Church in this par­ticular.

What the Doctrine of the ancient Church was in the purest times, I have already (I hope) sufficiently de­clared; what it was afterwards, when the Ceremony of Chrisme was as much remarked, as the Rite to which it ministred, De instit. Cle­ric. l. 1. c. 30. we finde fully declared by Rabanus Mau­rus. Signatur Baptizatus cum Chrismate per sacerdotem in capitis summitate, per Pontificem verò in fronte, ut priori Vnctione significetur, spiritus sancti super ipsum descensio ad habitationem Deo consecrandam, in secundâ quo (que) ut ejus spiritus sancti septiformis gratia, cum omni pleni­tudine sanctitatis & scientiae & virtutis, venire in homi­nem declaretur: Tunc enim ipse spiritus sanctus post mundata & benedicta corpora at (que) animas liberè à patre descendit, ut unà cum suâ visitatione sanctificaret & illu­straret, & nunc in hominem ad hoc venit, ut signaculum fidei, quod in fronte suscepit, faciat cum donis coelestibus repletum, & suâ gratiâ confortatum intrepidè, & au­dacter coram Regibus & Potestatibus hujus saeculi portare, ac nomen Christi liberâ voce praedicare. In Baptism the baptized was anointed on the top of the head, in Con­firmation [Page 57] on the fore-head, by that was signified that the Holy Ghost was preparing a habitation for himself; by this was declared the descent of the Holy Spirit, with his seven-fold gifts, with all fulness of knowledge and spiritual understanding. These things were signified by the appendant Ceremony, but the Rites were ever di­stinguished, and did not onely signifie and declare, but effect these Graces by the ministry of Prayer and Im­position of Hands.

The ceremony the Church instituted and us'd as she pleas'd, and gave in what circumstances they would choose; and new propositions entred, and customes chang'd, and deputations were made; and the Bishops, in whom by Christ was plac'd the fulness of Ecclesiasti­cal power, concredited to the Priests and Deacons so much as their occasions and necessities permitted; and because in those ages and places where the external cere­mony was regarded (it may be) more than the inward mystery, or the Rite of Divine appointment, they were apt to believe that the Chrism, or exteriour Unction dele­gated to the Priests Ministery after the Episcopal con­secration of it, might supply the want of Episcopal confirmation; it came to pass that new opinions were entertain'd; and the Regulars, the Fryers and the Jesuits, who were alwayes too little friends to the Episcopal power, from which they would fain have been wholly exem­pted, publickly taught (in England especially) that chrisme ministred by them with leave from the Pope did doe all that which ordinarily was to be done in Episcopal confirmation. For as Tertullian complain'd in his time, Quibus fuit propositum aliter docendi, eos necessitas coëgit aliter disponendi instrumenta Doctrinae. They who had purposes of teaching new Doctrines, were constrain'd [Page 58] otherwise to dispose of the Instruments and Rituals appertaining to their Doctrines. These men to serve ends, destroyed the article, and overthrew the Anci­ent Discipline and Unity of the Primitive Church. But they were justly censur'd by the Theological faculty at Paris; and the censure well defended by Hallier, one of the Doctors of the Sorbon; whether I refer the Reader that is curious in little things.

But for the main: It was ever call'd Confirmatio Epi­scopalis, & impositio manuum Episcoporum, which our English word well expresses, and perfectly retains the use; we know it by the common name of Bishopping of Children. I shall no farther insist upon it, onely I shall observe that there is a vain distinction brought into the Schools and Glosses of the Canon Law, of a Minister ordinary, and extraordinary; all allowing that the Bi­shop is appointed the ordinary Minister of Confirmati­on; but they would fain innovate and pretend that in some cases others may be Ministers extraordinary. This device is of infinite danger to the destruction of the whole Sacred order of the Ministry, and disparks the inclosures, and layes all in common, and makes men su­pream controulers of the Orders of God, and relies upon a false principle; for in true Divinity and by the Oeconomy of the spirit of God, there can be no Mini­ster of any Divine Ordinance, but he that is of Divine appointment, there can be none but the ordinary Mini­ster. I do not say that God is tied to this way, he can­not be tied, but by himself; and therefore Christ gave a special Commission to Ananias to baptize and to con­firm St. Paul, and he gave the Spirit to Cornelius even before he was baptized, and he ordained St. Paul to be an Apostle without the ministry of man: But this I [Page 59] say, That though God can make Ministers extraordina­ry, yet Man cannot, and they that goe about to do so, usurp the power of Christ, and snatch from his hand what he never intended to part with. The Apostles ad­mitted others into a part of their care, and of their pow­er, but when they intended to imploy them in any mi­nistry, they gave them so much of their Order as would enable them, but a person of a lower order could never be deputed Minister of actions appropriate to the higher, which is the case of Confirmation, by the practise and tradition of the Apostles, and by the Universal practise and Doctrine of the Primitive Catholick Church, by which, Bishops onely, the successors of the Apostles, were alone the Ministers of Confirmation, and there­fore if any man else usurp it, let them answer it; they do hurt indeed to themselves, but no benefit to others, to whom they minister shadows instead of substances.

The whole procedure, or Ritual of Con­firmation, is by Prayer and Impositi­on of Hands.

THE Heart and the Eye are lift up to God to bring Blessings from him, and so is the Hand too; but this also falls upon the People, and rests there, to apply the descending blessing to the [Page 60] proper and prepared suscipient. God governed the People of Israel by the hand of Moses and Aaron. Et calidae fecére silentia turbae Majestate manus, and both under Moses and under Christ, when ever the President of Religion did bless the People, he lifted up his hand over the Congregation; and when he blessed a single person he laid his hand upon him. This was the Rite used by Jacob and the Patriarchs, by Kings and Pro­phets, by all the eminently Religious in the Synagogue, and by Christ himself when he blessed the Children which were brought to him; and by the Apostles when they blessed and confirmed the baptized Converts; and whom else can the Church follow? The Apostles did so to the Christians of Samaria, to them of Ephesus; and St. Paul describes this whole mystery by the Ritual part of it,Hebr. 6. 2. calling it the foundation of imposition of hands. It is the solemnity of blessing, and the solem­nity and application of Paternal prayer. [...]; said Clement of Alexandria; Paedag. l. 3. c. 11. Upon whom shall he lay his hands? Whom shall he bless? Quid enim aliud est impositio manuum, nisi Oratio super hominem? said St. Austine. The Bishop's laying his hands on the People, what is it but the solemnity of Prayer for them? that is, a prayer made by those sa­cred persons, who by Christ are appointed to pray for them, and to bless in his Name; and so indeed are all the ministeries of the Church, Baptism, Consecration of the B. Eucharist, Absolution, Ordination, Visitation of the Sick; they are all in genere orationis; they are no­thing but solemn and appointed Prayer by an intrusted and a gracious Person, specificated by a proper order to the end of the blessing then designed; and there­fore when Saint James commanded that the sick [Page 61] Persons should send for the Elders of the Church, he adds, and let them pray over them; that is, lay their hands on the sick, and pray for them; that is, praying over them: It is adumbratio dextrae, (as Ter­tullian calls it) the right hand of him that ministers o­ver-shadows the person for whom the solemn Prayer is to be made.

This is the Office of the Rulers of the Church; for they in the Divine Eutaxy are made your Superiours; they are indeed your servants for Jesus sake; but they are over you in the Lord, and therefore are from the Lord appointed to bless the People; for with­out contradiction, Hebr. 7. 7. saith the Apostle, the less is blessed of the greater, that is, God hath appointed the Superiours in Religion to be the great Ministers of Prayer, he hath made them the gratious Persons, them he will hear, those he hath commanded to convey your needs to God, and Gods blessings to you, and to ask a blessing, is to desire them to pray for you;Hooker. Eccl. Pol. lib. 5. [...]. 66. them, I say, whom God most respecteth for their piety and zeal that way, or else re­gardeth, for that their place and calling bindeth them a­bove others to do this duty; such as are Natural and Spi­ritual Fathers.

It is easie for prophane persons to deride these things, as they do all Religion, which is not conveyed to them by sense, or natural demonstrations; but the Oeconomy of the spirit, and the things of God are spi­ritually discerned; the spirit bloweth where it listeth, and no Man knows whence it comes, and whether it goes; and the Operations are discerned by Faith, and received by Love and by Obedience, Date mihi Christianum, & in­telligit quod dico: None but true Christians understand and feel these things; but of this we are sure, that in [Page 62] all the times of Moses Law, while the Synagogue was standing, and in all the dayes of Christianity, so long as men loved Religion, and walked in the Spirit, and minded the affairs of their Souls, to have the prayers and the blessing of the Fathers of the Synagogue, and the Fathers of the Church, was esteemed no small part of their Religion, and so they went to Heaven: But that which I intend to say is this, That Prayer and Im­position of Hands was the whole procedure in the Chri­stian Rites; and because this ministery was most signally performed by this ceremony, and was also by St. Paul called and noted by the name of the Ceremony, impositi­on of hands; this name was retained in the Christian Church, and this manner of ministring Confirmation was all that was in the commandment or institution.

But because in Confirmation we receive the Unction from above, that is, then we are most signally made Kings and Priests unto God, to offer up spiritual sacrifi­ces, and to enable us to seek the Kingdom of God and the Righteousness of it, and that the giving the holy spirit is in Scripture called the Unction from above, the Church of God in early Ages made use of this Allego­ry, and passed it into an External ceremony and repre­sentation of the mystery,Prudent. in [...]. to signifie the inward Grace.

Post inscripta oleo frontis signacula, perque
Vnguentum Regale datum est, & Chrisma perenne.

We are consigned on the fore-head with Oyl,A. D. 400. and a Royal Unction, and an Eternal Chrisme is given to us; so Prudentius gives testimony of the ministry of Confir­mation in his time,Catech. My­stag. 3. [...], [Page 63] said S. Cyril. Preserve this Unction pure and spot­less, for it teaches you all things, as you have heard the blessed S. John speaking and philosophying many things of this holy Chrism. Upon this account the H. Fathers used to bless and consecrate Oyl and Balsome, that by an external signature they might signifie the inward Unction effected in Confirmation. [...]. This Chrism is not simple or common when it is blessed, but the gift of Christ, and the presence of his H. Spirit, as it were effecting the Divinity it self; the body is in­deed anointed with visible Oyntment, but is also san­ctified by the holy and quickning Spirit; so St. Cyril, I finde in him,Synodus Bitu­ricensis, apud Bochel. l. 1. de­cret. Eccl. Gal. lit. 5. and in some late Synods, other pretty sig­nifications and allusions made by this Ceremony of Chrisms, Nos autem pro igne visibili, qui die Pentecostes super Apostolos apparuit, oleum sanctum, materiam nempe ig­nis ex Apostolorum traditione ad confirmandum adhibemus, This using of Oyl was instead of the Baptism with Fire, which Christ baptized his Apostles with in Pentecost; and Oyl being the most proper matter of Fire, is there­fore used in Confirmation.

That this was the ancient Ceremony is without doubt, and that the Church had power to do so hath no question, and I add, it was not unreasonable; for if ever the Scripture expresses the mysteriousness of a Grace conferred by an exteriour ministry, (as this is, by imposition of hands) and represents it besides in the Expression and Analogy of any sensible thing, that ex­pression drawn into a ceremony will not improperly sig­nifie the Grace, since the Holy Ghost did chuse that for his own expression and representment. In baptism we [Page 64] are said to be buried with Christ. The Church does ac­cording to the Analogy of that expression, when she immerges the Catechumen in the Font; for then she re­presents the same thing which the Holy Ghost would have to be represented in that Sacrament, the Church did but the same thing when she used Chrism in this mi­nistration. This I speak in justification of that ancient practise, but because there was no command for it, [...] said St. Basil, Lib. de Spir. S. cap. 17. concerning Chrisme there is no written word, that is, of the Ceremony there is not, he said it not of the whole Rite of Con­firmation; therefore though to this we are all bound, yet as to the anointing the Church is at liberty, and hath with sufficient authority omitted it in our mini­strations.

In the Liturgy of King Edward the VI. the Bishops used the sign of the Cross upon the fore-heads of them that were to be confirmed. I do not find it since for­bidden, or revoked by any expression or intimation, sa­ving onely that it is omitted in our later Offices; and therefore it may seem to be permitted to the discretion of the Bishops, but yet not to be used, unless where it may be for Edification, and where it may be by the consent of the Church, at least by interpretation, con­cerning which, I have nothing else to interpose, but that neither this, nor any thing else, which is not of the nature and institution of the Rite, ought to be done by pri­vate Authority, nor ever at all but according to the Apo­stles Rule, [...], whatsoever is decent, and whatsoever is according to Order, that is to be done, and nothing else; for prayer and imposition of hands for the invocating and giving the holy spirit, is all that is in the foundation and institution.

Many great Graces and Blessings are conse­quent to the Worthy reception and due ministery of Confirmation.

IT is of it self enough, when it is fully understood, what is said in the Acts of the Apostles at the first mi­nistration of this Rite. They received the Holy Ghost, that is, according to the expression of our Blessed Savi­our himself to the Apostles, when he commanded them in Jerusalem to expect the verification of his glorious promise: they were endued with virtue from on high; that is, with strength to perform their duty, which although it is not to be understood exclusively to the other Rites and Ministeries of the Church of Divine appoint­ment, yet it is properly and most signally true, and as it were in some sense,Part. 3. qu. 72. art. 6. ad prim. appropriate to this. For as Aquinas well discourses; the grace of Christ is not tyed to the Sacraments; but even this Spiritual strength and vertue from on high can be had without Confirmation: as with­out Baptism remission of sins may be had: and yet we believe one Baptism for the remission of sins; and one Confirmation for the obtaining this vertue from on high, this strength of the spirit. But it is so appropriate to it by promise and peculiarity of ministration, that as with­out the desire of baptism our sins are not pardon'd, so without, at least, the desire of Confirmation, we cannot [Page 66] receive this vertue from on high, which is appointed to descend in the ministery of the spirit. It is true, the ministery of the Holy Eucharist is greatly effective to this purpose; and therefore in the ages of Martyrs the Bishops were careful to give the people the Holy Com­munion frequently,Epist. 54. ut quos tutos esse contra adversarium volebant, munimento Dominicae Saturitatis armarent; as S. Cyprian with his Collegues wrote to Cornelius; that those whom they would have to be safe against the con­tentions of their adversaries, they should arme them with the guards and defences of the Lords fulness. But it is to be remembred, that the Lords Supper is for the more perfect Christians, and it is for the increase of the graces receiv'd formerly, and therefore it is for remission of sins, and yet is no prejudice to the necessity of baptism, whose proper work is remission of sins; and therefore neither does it make Confirmation unnecessary, for it renews the work of both the precedent Rites; and re­pairs the breaches, and adds new Energy, and proceeds in the same dispensations; and is renewed often, where­as the others are but once.

Excellent therefore are the words of John Gerson the Famous Chancellor of Paris,In opusc. art. de Confirmat. to this purpose. It may be said that in one way of speaking Confirmation is necessary, and in another it is not. Confirmation is not necessary as Baptism and Repentance, for without these, Salvation can­not be had. This necessity is absolute but there is a con­ditional necessity. Thus if a Man would not become weak, it is necessary that he eat his meat well. And so Confir­mation is necessary, that the spiritual life, and the health gotten in Baptism may be preserv'd in strength against our spiritual enemies. For this is given for strength. Hence is that saying of Hugo de S. Victore. What does it pro­fit [Page 67] that thou art raised up by Baptism, if thou art not able to stand by Confirmation? Not that Baptism is not of value unto Salvation without confirmation; but because he who is not confirmed will easily fall, and too readily perish. The spirit of God comes which way he please, but we are ti­ed to use his own Oeconomy, and expect the blessings ap­pointed by his own ministeries: And because to pray­er is promised we shall receive whatever we ask, we may as well omit the receiving the holy Eucharist, pretending that prayer alone will procure the blessings expected in the other, as well I say, as omit confirmation, because we hope to be strengthned and receive virtue from on high by the use of the Supper of the Lord: Let us use all the ministeries of Grace in their season; for we know not which shall prosper, this or that, or whether they shall be both alike good; this onely we know, that the Ministeries, which God appoints, are the proper sea­sons and opportunities of Grace.

This power from on high, which is the proper blessing of Confirmation, was expressed, not onely in speaking with Tongues and doing Miracles, for much of this they had before they received the Holy Ghost, but it was ef­fected in spiritual and internal strengths; they were not onely enabled for the service of the Church, but were indued with courage and wisdom, and Christian forti­tude, and boldness, to confess the Faith of Christ cru­cified, and unity of heart and minde, singleness of heart, and joy in God, when it was for the edification of the Church, miracles were done in confirmations; and St. Bernard in the life of St. Malachias tells, that St. Malchus, Bishop of Lismore in Ireland, confirmed a Lunatick child, and at the same time cured him: but such things as these are extraregular & contingent. This which [Page 68] we speak of is a regular ministery, and must have a re­gular effect.

St. Austin said, That the holy spirit in confirmation was given ad dilatanda Ecclesiae primordia, for the pro­pogating Christianity in the beginnings of the Church. St. Hierom sayes, it was propter honorem sacerdotii; for the honour of the Priesthood; St. Ambrose sayes, it was ad confirmationem Vnitatis in Ecclesiâ Christi, for the confirmation of Unity in the Church of Christ, and they all say true: But the first was by the miraculous consignations, which did accompany this ministery, and the other two were by reason that the mysteries were [...], they were appropriated to the ministery of the Bishop, who is caput unitatis, the head, the last resort, the Firmament of Unity in the Church. These effects were regular indeed, but they were incident and accidental: There are effects yet more proper, and of greater excellency.

Now if we will understand in general what excellent fruits are consequent to this Dispensation, we may best receive the notice of them from the Fountain it self, our blessed Saviour.John 7. 38. He that believes, out of his Belly (as the Scripture saith) shall flow Rivers of Living waters. But this he spake of the spirit, which they that believe on him should receive. This is evidently spoken of the spirit, which came down in Pentecost, which was promi­sed to all that should believe in Christ, and which the Apostles ministred by imposition of hands, the Holy Ghost himself being the expositor; and it can signifie no less, but that a spring of life should be put into the heart of the confirmed, to water the Plants of God; that they should become Trees, not onely planted by the water side (for so it was in David's time, and in all [Page 69] the ministery of the Old Testament) but having a River of living water within them to make them fruitful of good works, and bringing their fruit in due season, fruits worthy of amendment of life.

1. But the principal thing is this. Confirmation is the consummation and perfection, the corroboration and strength of baptism, and baptismal Grace; for in baptism we undertake to do our duty, but in confirmati­on we receive strength to do it: In baptism others promise for us, in confirmation we undertake for our selves, we ease our God-fathers and God-mothers of their burden, and take it upon our own shoulders, together with the advantage of the Prayers of the Bishop and all the Church made then on our behalf. In baptism we give up our names to Christ, but in confirmation we put our seal to the profession, and God puts his seal to the pro­mise. It is very remarkable what St. Paul sayes of the beginnings of our being Christians, [...], the word of the beginning of Christ: Christ begins with us, he gives us his word, and admits us, and we by others hands are brought in,Rom. 6. 17. [...], it is the form of Doctrine unto which ye were delivered. Cajetan observes right, That this is a new and Emphati­cal way of speaking: we are wholly immerged in our fundamentals; other things are delivered to us, but we are delivered up unto these. This is done in Baptism and Catechism, V. 18. and what was the event of it? Being then made free from sin, ye became the Servants of Righteousness. Your baptism was for the remission of sins there, and then ye were made 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 [Page 70] righteousness, that is, then the Holy Ghost descended upon you, and enabled you to walk in the spirit; then the seed of God was first thrown into your hearts by a coelestial influence. Spiritus sanctus in Baptisterio ple­nitudinem tribuit ad innocentiam, sed in confirmatione aug­mentum praestat ad gratiam, Serm de Pen­tecoste. 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 strengthned unto bat­tle, ‘Dono sapientiae illuminamur, aedisicamur, erudimur, insiruimur, confirmamur, ut illam sancti spiritus vocem audire possimus,Habetur ap [...]d Gratian. de consecrat. dist. 5. c. spiritus S. intellectum tibi dabo, & instruam te in h [...]c vitâ, quâ gradieris,’ said P. Melchiades; ‘We are inlightned 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 under­standing heart, and teach thee in the way wherein thou shalt walk:’ For so,

Signari populos effuso pignore sancto
Mirandae virtutis opus,
Tertull ad­ [...]. [...]. l. 1. ca [...]. c. 3.

It is a work of great and wonderful powers 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 ministred by prayer and imposition of the Apostolical and Episcopal hands, and comes after the other gift of remission of sins. Vides quod non simplicitèr hoc fit, sed multâ opus est virtute, Homil. 18. in Acta. ut detur spiritus sanctus. Non enim idem est as­sequi remissionem peccatorum, & accipere virtutem illam, said St. Chrysostom. You see that this is not easily done, but there is need of much power from on high to give [Page 71] 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 continuò transituris suffi­ciant regenerationis beneficia, victuris tamen necessaria sunt confirmationis auxilia, said Melchiades; Although to them that die presently the benefits of regeneration (baptismal) are sufficient, yet to them that live the Auxiliaries of confirmation are necessary; for accord­ing to the saying of St. Leo in his Epistle to Nicetas the Bishop of Aquileja, commanding that Hereticks return­ing to the Church should be confirmed with invocation of the holy spirit and imposition of hands, they have onely received the form of baptism sine sanctificationis virtute, without the virtue of sanctification, meaning that this is the proper effect of Confirmation: For, in short, Although the newly listed Souldiers in humane war­fare are enrolled in the number of them that are to sight, 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, onely by impo­sition of the Bishops hands. They are words which I borrowed from a late Synod at Rhemes; that's 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 H. 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 [Page 72] our salvation, [...], saith Gregory Nazianzen: we therefore call it a seal or signature, as being a guard and custody to us, and a signe of the Lords dominion over us. The confirmed person is, [...], a sheep that is mark'd, which Thieves do not so easily steal and carry away. To the same purpose are those words of Theodoret, [...]. Remember that holy mystogogy, Comment. in Cantic. c. 1. 2. 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 Vnction, like a Royal signature, by that Vnction as in 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 verò dices, In adhort. ad baptis. Dei sum, si notas non produxeris, said S. Basil. How can any man say, I am Gods sheep, unless he produce the marks. Signati estis Spiritu promissionis per Sanctissi­mum Divinum Spiritum, Domini grex effecti sumus said Theophylact. When we are thus seal'd by the most Holy and Divine spirit of promise: then we are truly of the Lords Flock, and mark'd with his seal: that is, when we are ritely confirm'd, 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 fermen­tations 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 [Page 73] us'd lovingly, when we obey his motions readily, when we delight 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 waters side, does not presently bear fruit; but in its due season. By this spirit we are then seal'd; that whereas God hath laid up an inheritance 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 shall be co-heirs with Jesus in his eternal Kingdom. In baptism we are made the Sons of God, but we receive the wit­ness and testimony of it in Confirmation. This is, [...] the Holy Ghost the Comforter, this is he whom Christ promis'd and did send in Pentecost, and was afterwards ministred 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 perfevere, and Widows to sing his praises and his glories. And this is that excellency which the Church of God called the Lords seal, and teaches to be imprinted in Confirmation: [...] a perfect Phylactery or Guard, even the Lords seal, so Eusebius calls it.Apud. Euseb.

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 signatures in Stones, Plants, Fruits and Shells, of which Naturalists make many observations, and observe strange effects; and the more internal signatures in minerals [Page 74] and living bodies, of which Chymists discourse strange secrets; may easily, if they please, consider that 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) not fit for every mans consideration.

And now, if any Man shall say, we see no such things as you talk of; and find the confirm'd people the same after, as before, no better, and no wiser; not richer in gifts, not more adorned with graces, nothing more zea­lous for Christs Kingdom; not more comforted with hope, or established by faith, or built up with charity; they neither speak better, nor live better. And 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 Lords Supper? Do not we receive his body and his blood? Are we not made all one with Christ, and he with us? And 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 sensible, and with observation. The Kingdom of God cometh not with Observation: for it is within you, and is only discerned spiritually, and produces its effects by the method of Heaven, and is first apprehended by faith, and is endear'd by charity, and at last is understood by holy and kind experiences. And in this there is no more objection against Confirmation than against Ba­ptism, or the Lords Supper, or any other ministery E­vangelical.

[Page 75] The other thing is this. If we do not find the effects of the spirit in Confirmation, it is our faults. For he is re­ceiv'd by moral instruments; and is intended only as a help to our endeavours, to our labours, and our prayers, to our contentions 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 help'd. Unless we in these instan­ces do our part of the work, it will be no wonder if we loose his part of the co-operation and supervening blessing. He that comes under the Bishops hands to re­ceive the gift of the Holy Ghost, will come with holy desires, and a longing soul, with an open hand and a prepared heart: he will purifie 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 lawes 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 receiv'd either Baptisme 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:1 Cor. 12. 7. The Holy Ghost is promised to all Men to profit withall. That's plain in Scripture. Confirmation, or prayer and Imposition of the Bishops [Page 76] hand is the Solemnity and Rite us'd 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. Hea [...] what the Scriptures yet further say in this mystery. Now he which confirmeth or stablisheth us with you in Christ, 2 Cor. 1. 21. and hath anointed us is God: who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. 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 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 thorough, 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 testifie to us that he will give us of his glory. These words of S. Paul, besides that they evidently con­tain in them the spiritual part of this Ritual, are also expounded of the Rite and Sacramental it self, by S. Chry­sostom, Theodoret and Theophylact; that I may name no more. For in this mystery, Christos nos efficit, & mise­ricordiam Dei nobis annunciat per Spiritum Sanctum, said S. John Damascen; Lib. 4. de fide cap 10. 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 doe we confirm little children, whom in all reason we cannot suppose to be capable and receptive of such Graces? It will be no answer to this, if we say, that this very question is asked concerning 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 doe, they are capable of baptism; but it follows not that therefore they are ca­pable of confirmation, because this does suppose them such as to need new assistances, and is a new professi­on, and a personal undertaking, and therefore requires personal abilities, and cannot 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 Confirmation was usually administred at the same time with [Page 78] baptism, for we find many Records that when the Of­fice of baptism was finished, and the baptized person devested of the white Robe, the person was carried a­gain to the Bishop to be confirmed, as I have already shewn out of Dionysius, Cap. 4. part 3. De Eccles Hi­er. Melchiad. Epist. ad episc. Hispan. Ordo Rom. cap. de die Sabbathi. S. Pasch. Al­cuin. De divin. offic. c. 19. and divers others. The rea­sons why anciently they were ministred immediately af­ter one another, is, not onely 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 mini­stred with it, and therefore were also at the same time communicated as well as confirmed; but also because the solemn baptismes were at solemn times of the year, at Easter onely and Whitsontide, and onely in the Cathe­dral or Bishops Church in the chief City; whither when the Catechumens came, and had the opportunity of the Bishops presence, they took the advantage ut sacramen­to utro (que) 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 onely that it gave ornament and complement, or perfe­ction to the other: But this is infinitely confuted by the very first ministry of Confirmation in the World; for there was a great interval between St. Philip's bap­tizing and the Apostles confirming the Samaritans, where also the difference is made wider by the distin­ction of the Minister; a Deacon did one; none but an Apostle, and his successor a Bishop could do the other; and this being of so universal a Practise and Doctrine in [Page 79] the Primitive Church, it is a great wonder that any learned men could suffer an errour in so apparent a case. It is also clear in two other great remarks of the pra­ctise of the Primitive Church, the one is of them who were baptized in their sickness, the [...], when they recovered they were com­manded to address themselves to the Bishop, to be confirmed, which appears in the XXXVIII. Canon of the council of Eliberis, and the XLVI. Canon of the council of Laodicea, which I have before cited upon other occasions; the other is, that of Hereticks retur­ning to the Church, who were confirmed not onely long after baptism, but after their apostacy and their conversion.

For although Episcopal confirmation was the inlarge­ment of Baptismal grace, and commonly administred the same day, yet it was done by interposition of di­stinct ceremonies,Vide Cassan­drum Schol. ad Hym. Eccl. and not immediately in time. Ho­norius Augustodunensis 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 Fore-head by the Bishop. And when children were baptized irregular­ly, or besides the ordinary way, in Villages and places distant from the Bishop, confirmation was deferr'd, said Durandus. And it is certain, that this affair did not last long without variety: Sometimes they ministred both together; sometimes at greater, sometimes at les­ser distances; and it was left indifferent 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, [Page 80] or not, but which were better, To confirm Infants, or to stay to their childehood, or to their riper years? Aquinas, Bonaventure, and some others say it is best, that they be confirmed in their Infancy, quia dolus non est, nec o­bicem 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 practise, 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 con­juctna sunt haec duo sacramenta, ut ab invicem nisi morte praeveniente, non possint separari, & unum sine altero ri­tè perfici non potest. Where although he expresly af­firms the Rites to be two, yet unless it be in cases of necessity they are not to be severed, and one without the other is not perfect, 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 therefore they ought to be joyned, though not immediately, yet [...], according to reasonable oc­casions and accidental causes: But in this there must needs be a liberty in the Church, not onely for the for­mer reasons, but also because the Apostles themselves were not confirmed till after they had received the Sa­crament of the Lords 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 Christs discipline is more acceptable, and they have more need, and can make better use of their strengths then derived by the holy spirit of God upon them; and to this purpose it is commanded in the Canon Law,De consecrat. dist. 5. c. ut je­juni. that they who are confirmed should be perfectae aetatis, [Page 81] of full age; upon which the gloss sayes, Perfectam vocat forte duodecim annorum; Twelve year 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 publick 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 edi­fication, 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 prejudicial, and are not matter of edification.

But therefore there is a third way, which the Church of England and Ireland followes, and that is, that after Infancy; but yet before they under­stand too much of sin, and when they can compe­tently understand the fundamentals of Religion, 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 Edgar, A. D. 967. cap. 15. ut nullus ab E­piscopo confirmari diù nimium detrectârit; That none should too long put off his being confirmed by the Bishop, that is, as is best expounded by the perpetual practise 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 [Page 82] also; it may be taken at any age, even after they have received the Lords Supper, as I observed before in the practise 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 God-fathers, 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 aetate pueros ad­mitti videmus, vel hanc certè ob causam, ut Parentibus, susceptoribus, & Ecclesiarum praefectis occasio detur pue­ros de fide, quam in baptismo professi sunt, diligentiùs in­stituendi, & admonendi, Consultationis. cap. 9. said the excellent Cassander. In the Latine Churches they admit children of some ripeness of age,Serm. 116. in­ramis Pal­marum. that they may be more diligently taught and instructed in the Faith. And to this sense agree St. Austin, De lib. Eccle­siast. c. 26. Walafridus Strabo, Ruardus Lovanien­sis, and Mr. Calvin.

For this was ever the practise 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 onely to free the Primitive Church from the suspicion of super­stition in using Charms or Exorcismes (according to the modern sense of the word) or casting of the Devil out of innocent Children but also to remonstrate the perpetual practise of catechising children in the eldest and best [Page 83] times of the Church. Thus the Greek Scholiast upon Harmenopulus renders the word [...] by [...] the Primitive Exorcist was the Catechist: And Balsamon upon the 26th. Canon of the Council of Laodicea sayes▪ That to Exorcise is nothing but to catechize the unbelievers, [...], some un­dertook to Exorcise, that is, (sayes he) to Cate­chise the unbelievers: And St. Cyril in his Preface to his Catechisms, speaking to the Illuminati; Festinent (sayes he) pedes tui ad Catecheses audiendas, Exorcis­mos studiosè suscipe &c: Let your feet run hastily to hear the Catechismes, 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 Exorcismes (or Cate­chisms) the soul cannot goe forward, since they are Di­vine and gathered out of the Scriptures: And the rea­son why these were called Exorcismes, he addes: [Because when the Exorcists or Catechists by the spirit of God produce fear in your hearts, and do inkindle the spi­rit as in a furnace, the Devil flies away, and salvation and hope of life Eternal does succeed,] according to that of the Evangelist concerning Christ;Luke 4. 32. They were astoni­shed at his Doctrine, for his word was with power: And that of St. Luke Acts 13. 12. concerning Paul and Barnabas: The Deputy, when he saw what was done, was astonished at the Doctrine of the Lord. It is the Lords Doctrine that hath the power to cast out Devils and work miracles; Catechismes are the best Exorcismes: [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 finde in St. Gre­gory Nazianzen, Orat. de bap­tism. and St. Austin. In Psal. 68.

[Page 84] 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 meer 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 a Divine ministery; we shall weaken the Devils power, by which he too often, and too much prevails upon unin­structed and unconfirmed youth: For, [...], 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, quàm non ad­mittur hostis, 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 [Page 85] long since observed by Gerson and Gulielmus Parisiensis, De extermi­nat. Schism. Propter cessationem confirmationis tepiditas grandior est in fidelibus, & fidei defensione: There is a coldness and deadness in Religion, and it proceeds from the neglect of confirmation ritely ministred, and after due prepara­tions and dispositions. A little thing will fill a childs 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 their ministery, and by the numbers which every Curate pre­sents to his Bishop fitted for confirmation, he will in proportion render an account of his Stewardship with some visible felicity; and let it be remembred, that in the last Rubrick 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 his 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 [Page 86] Bourges, the Curates are commanded to threaten all that are not confirmed, that they shall never receive the Lords 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 ministred any more than once? St. Austin seems to be of opinion that it may be repeated.Lib. 3. de bapt. c. 16. 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 one did return from Heresie, 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 Sevil: But upon a closer intuition of the thing, I find they did so onely to such who did not allow of Confir­mation in their Sects, such as the Novatians and the Do­natists. Novatiani poenitentiam à suo conventu arcent pe­nitùs, & iis qui ab ipsis tinguntur sacrum Chrisma non praebent. Quocircà qui ex hâc Haeresi corpori Ecclesiae con­junguntur benedicti Patres ungi jusserunt: Lib. 3. haeret. Fabul. So Thedoret. For that reason onely the Novatians were to be confir­med upon their conversion, because they had it not be­fore. I finde also, they did confirm the converted Ar­rians; [Page 87] 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 Arrianis 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 Arrians 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.Cyril. Hieros. in Procatech. [...]; the gift of the Spirit is an inde­lible seal, saith St. Cyril, [...], St. Basil calls it, it is inviolable. They who did re-baptize, 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 expresly that they did the latter, but upon the fore-mentioned 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 expresly forbidden by the council of Tarracon, cap. 6.Apud Gratian. de consecrat. dist. 5. cap. and by P. Gregory the se­cond: and sanctum Chrisma collatum & altaris honor prop­ter consecrationem (quae per Episcopos tantùm exercenda & conferenda sunt) evelli non queunt, Dictum est. & cap. De homi­ne. said the Fathers, in a council at Toledo. Concil. Tole­tan. 8. can. 7. Confirmation and holy Orders (which are to be given by Bishops alone) can never be anulled, and therefore they can never be repeated; and this relies [...] those severe words of St. Paul, having spoken of [...] [...]oundation of the Doctrine of Baptisms and [Page 88] laying on of hands, Hebr. 6. he sayes, if they fall away, they can never be renewed; that is, the ministery of baptism and confirmation can never be repeated. To Christians that sin after these ministrations, there is onely left a [...], Expergiscimini, that they arise from slumber, and stir up the Graces of the Holy Ghost. Every man ought to be careful that he do not grieve the holy Spirit; but if he does, yet let him not quench him, for that is a desperate case, [...]. The holy Spirit is the great conservative of the new Life, onely keep the Kee­per, take care that the spirit of God do not depart from you; for the great ministery of the spirit is but once; for as baptism is, so is confirmation.

I end this discourse with a plain exhortation out of S. Ambrose; upon those words of S. Paul, He that confirmeth us with you in Christ is God; Repete quia accepisti signacu­lum spirituale, spiritum sapientiae & intellectus, spiritum consilii atque virtutis, spiritum cognitionis atque pietatis, Spiritum Sancti timoris & serva quod accepisti. Signavit te Deus Pater, confirmavit te Christus Dominus. Remem­ber that thou (who hast been confirmed) hast receiv'd the spiritual signature; the spirit of wisdom and under­standing, the spirit of council and strength, the spirit of knowledge and godliness, the spirit of holy fear, keep what thou hast receiv'd. The Father hath seal'd thee, and Christ thy Lord hath confirmed thee by his Divine Spirit; and he will never depart from thee,Zonar. in Can. Laodi­can. 48. [...], unless by evil works we estrange him from us. The same advice is given by Prudentius.

[Page 89]
Cultor Dei memento,
Te fontis & lavacri
Rorem subiisse Sanctum
Et Chrismate innotatum.

Remember how great things ye have received, and what God hath done for you; ye are of his flock, and his Militia; ye are now to fight his battles, and therefore to put on his armour, and to implore his auxiliaries, and to make use of his strengths, and alwayes to be on his side, against all his and all our Enemies. But he that desires grace, must not despise to make use of all the in­struments of grace. For though God communicates his invisible spirit to you, yet that he is pleas'd to do it by visible instruments is more than he needs, but not more than we do need. And therefore since God descends to our infirmities, let us carefully and lovingly address our selves to his ordinances; that as we receive remission of sins by the washing of water, and the body and blood of Christ by the ministery of consecrated Symbols, so we may receive the Holy Ghost sub Ducibus Christianae militiae, by the prayer and imposition of the Bishops hands, whom our Lord Jesus hath separated to this ministery. For if you corroborate your self by baptism (they are the words of S. Gregory Nazianzen) and then take heed for the future, Orat. in San­ctum lava­crum. by the most excellent and firmest aids consigning your mind and body with the Vnction from above (viz. in the Holy Rite of Confirmation) with the Holy Ghost, as the Children of Israel did with the aspersion on the door­posts in the night of the death of the first-born of Egypt, what (evil) shall happen to you? Meaning that no evil can invade you: and what aid shall you get? If you sit [Page 90] down, you shall be without fear, and if you rest, your sleep shall be sweet unto you. But if when ye have received the Holy spirit, you live not according to his Divine princi­ples, you will lose him again; that is, you will lose all the blessing, though the impression does still remain till ye turn quite Apostates, in pessimis hominibus manebit, Lib. 2. contr. lit. Petil. c. 104. licèt ad judicium (saith S. Austin) the Holy Ghost will remain either as a testimony of your Vnthankfulness unto condemnation, or else as a seal of grace, and an earnest of your inheritance of Eternal glory.


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