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THE ORDER OF CONFIRMATION,
OR LAYING ON OF HANDS UPON THOSE THAT ARE BAPTIZED AND COME TO YEARS OF DISCRETION.
1. WHO are fit subjects for Confirmation?
Such as are baptized and come to years of discretion. Our Church does not appoint any particular age, but limits it to years of discretion. Our Bishops, however, generally recommend that none under fourteen be presented for Confirmation.
2. Whence is the rite of Confirmation derived?
From the custom of the apostles, recorded in Acts viii. "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 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: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost." (Acts viii. 12. 14, 15, 16, 17.)
3. Has the right of Confirmation been continued from the apostles' time to the present?
Yes; it has been observed at all times in those churches where they have bishops, to which order the Church did always reserve the dispensing this rite, because the apostles only did this.
4. Of what does the office of Confirmation consist?
It consists, first, of a serious admonition to all who come to be confirmed; a solemn promise on their part that they will keep their vow, and some acts of prayer and praise suited to the occasion.
2ndly. The ceremony of the laying on of the bishop's hands, and his benediction.
3rdly. The office is concluded with the Lord's Prayer, and Collects adapted to the service, which is closed with the blessing of the bishop.
5. Repeat the first Rubric and the Preface following.
Upon the day appointed, all that are to be then confirmed, being placed, and standing in order, before the Bishop; he (or some other Minister appointed by him) shall read this Preface following.
To the end that Confirmation may be ministered to the more edifying of such as shall receive it, the Church hath thought good to order, That none hereafter shall be Confirmed, but
such as can say the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments; and can also answer to such other Questions, as in the short Catechism are contained: which order is very convenient to be observed; to the end, that children, being now come to the years of discretion, and having learned what their Godfathers and Godmothers promised for them in Baptism, they may themselves, with their own mouth and consent, openly before the Church, ratify and confirm the same; and also promise, that by the grace of God they will evermore endeavour themselves faithfully to observe such things, as they, by their own confession, have assented unto.
6. What has the Church thought fit to order to the end that Confirmation may be ministered to the more edifying of such as shall receive it?
That none hereafter be confirmed, but such as can say the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments: and can also answer to such other questions as in the short Catechism are contained.
7. Why is this order very convenient to be observed?
To the end that children being now come to years of discretion, and having learned what their godfathers and godmothers promised for them in Baptism, they may themselves, with their own mouth and consent, openly before the Church, ratify and confirm the
8. What promise are they required to make at their Confirmation?
That by the grace of God they will evermore endeavour themselves faithfully to observe such things, as they, by their own confession, have assented unto.
9. Repeat the question which the bishop puts to those who are to be confirmed.
Then shall the Bishop say,
Do ye here, in the presence of God, and of this congregation, renew the solemn promise and vow that was made in your name at your Baptism; ratifying and confirming the same in your own persons, and acknowledging yourselves bound to believe, and to do, all those things, which your Godfathers and Godmothers then undertook for you?
10. Give a passage from Scripture shewing that it is right to make such a promise.
"And the king went up into the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, great and small: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the Lord. And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes,
with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book. And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it." (2 Chron. xxxiv. 30, 31, 32.) "They shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform it." (Isa. xix. 21.)
11. What were the solemn promises and vows made in your name at your Baptism?
1st. That I should renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh.
2ndly. That I should believe all the Articles of the Christian Faith.
And 3rdly. That I should keep God's holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of my life.
12. What question does the Bishop make concerning these promises?
He asks whether the candidates will ratify and confirm the same in their own persons, acknowledging themselves bound to believe and to do all those things which their godfathers and godmothers undertook for them.
13. What answer is every candidate to make to this question? Every one shall audibly answer—I do.
14. State briefly what Archbishop Secker says concerning the words "I do."
Whosoever uses them on this occasion, saith in effect what follows. I do heartily renounce all the temptations of the devil, the world, and the flesh. I do sincerely believe, and will constantly profess all the Articles of the Christian Faith. I do firmly resolve to keep God's commandments all the days of my life, to set Him always before me, and acknowledge Him in all my ways. I do further resolve in my intercourse with my fellow-creatures, to do justly, love mercy, and conduct myself to all men, as I would desire them in the like circumstances to act towards me. I do yet further resolve to set my heart chiefly, not on the sensual enjoyments of this transitory world, but on the spiritual happiness of heaven. And, lastly, I do resolve, whenever I have failed in my duty to God, or man, to confess my faults before God, seek his pardon in the name of his Son, and to pray for the assistance of his Holy Spirit, and in his strength to strive against my faults, and watch over my steps with redoubled care.
15. When the simple but solemn words "I do," have been pronounced, confirming the vows made at Baptism, how does the service proceed?
With three short sentences and their answers, between the bishop and congregation.
16. Why does the bishop use the first sentence, "Our help is in the name of the Lord?"
To remind the congregation that "we are not sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God." (2 Cor. iii. 5.)
17. Where do you find the words of the answer, "Who hath made heaven and earth?"
In Psalm cxxiv. 8.
18. Where is the next verse and the answer taken from? From Psalm cxiii. 2. "Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth for evermore."
19. Where are the last verse and answer used? They are used by David in Psalm cii. 1. Lord, and let my cry come unto thee."
20. Repeat the prayer now to be said by the bishop.
"Hear my prayer, O
The Bishop, Let us pray.
ALMIGHTY and everliving God, who hast vouchsafed to regenerate these thy servants by Water and the Holy Ghost, and hast given unto them forgiveness of all their sins; Strengthen them, we beseech thee, O Lord, with the Holy Ghost the Comforter, and daily increase in them thy manifold gifts of grace; the spirit of wisdom and understanding; the spirit of counsel and ghostly strength; the spirit of knowledge and true godliness; and fill them, O Lord, with the spirit of thy holy fear, now and for ever. Amen.
21. What does the bishop assert to have been already granted to the candidates for Confirmation?
That God has vouchsafed to regenerate them with water, and the Holy Ghost, and to forgive them all their sins.
22. Repeat the scriptures upon which this belief is founded? "According to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost." (Titus iii. 5.) Repent and be baptized every one of you for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost." (Acts ii. 38.) "I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name sake.” (1 John ii. 12.)
23. With what does the bishop pray God to strengthen them? With the Holy Ghost the Comforter. "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever: even the Spirit of truth." (John xiv. 16, 17.)
24. What does he pray God to increase in them? His manifold gifts of grace. gift is from above." (James i. 17.)
25. Why does he ask the spirit of wisdom for the candidates? Because "happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding." (Prov. iii. 13.)
26. Why for understanding?
Every good gift and every perfect
"That the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints." (Eph. i. 18.)
27. Why for counsel ?
"Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom. I am understanding." (Prov. viii. 14.)
28.. Why for ghostly strength?
That they may be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." (Eph. vi. 10.)
29. Why for the spirit of knowledge?
Because David prays thus, "Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I have believed thy commandments." (Ps. cxix. 66.)
30. Why for true godliness?
Because "godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come." (1 Tim. iv. 8.)
31. Why does the bishop pray that the Lord would fill them with the spirit of holy fear?
Because "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever." (Ps. cxi. 10.)
32. Repeat the next Rubric.
¶Then all of them in order kneeling before the Bishop, he shall lay his hand upon the head of every one severally, saying,
33. Is the laying on of hands an ancient custom? It is one of the most ancient ceremonies in the world. been used from the time of Jacob to the present day.
34. Give some instances of the use of this custom.
"And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head." (Gen. xlviii. 14.) "And the Lord said unto Moses, Take ye Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; and set him before Eleazer the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. And he laid his hands upon him and gave him a charge, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses." (Numb. xxvii. 18. 23.) "Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them." (Matt. xix. 14, 15.) See also Acts viii. 12. 14—17.
35. Repeat the words used by the bishop when he lays his hands upon any of those to be confirmed.
DEFEND, O Lord, this thy Child [or this thy Servant] with thy heavenly grace, that he may continue thine for ever; and daily increase in thy Holy Spirit more and more, until he come unto thy everlasting kingdom. Amen.
36. Why does he beseech God to defend the child by his grace? Because the Lord hath said, " My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. xii. 9.)
37. How long does he pray the person confirmed may continue to be a child of God?
For ever. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." (Rev. ii. 10.)
38. In what does he pray the child may daily increase?
In God's Holy Spirit. "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. iv. 18.)
39. How long does he pray the child may increase in grace?