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not purified from the pollution of the soul by the Spirit.*

When dioceses were enlarged, and the pastors of the church became lord bishops, a custom obtained in many places for presbyters to use the unction. This was founded upon necessity; for the people were taught that they could not be saved without confirmation; and yet, on account of the absence of the bishop, many died without receiving it, which was a most distressing circumstance to the ignorant and superstitious. The bishops, however, reserved to themselves the sole power of making the greasy composition holy, and the presbyters applied to them before Easter for the consecrated chrism, to supply the wants of their congregations.

After anointing the body with chrism, and making the sign of the cross, the bishop put his hands on the head of the candidate, and repeated this form: “I sign thee with the sign of the cross, and confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”+

Thus the bishop and the priest, between them, regenerated and filled with the Spirit their deluded votaries, and made them believe that, without this mummery, which none but the holy order could perform with due effect, they could not possibly obtain salvation. Pacianus, bishop of Barcelona, says, “ The seed of Christ, that is, the Spirit of God, brings forth a new man, by the hands of the priest, out of the womb of the church, which is the font, faith being the bridemaid to all this. And without these three sacraments, the laver, the chrism, and the priest, this new birth is not effected. For by the laver, sin is purged; by the chrism the Holy Spirit is poured down upon us; and both these we obtain by the hand and mouth of the priest; and so the whole man is regenerated and renewed in Christ. I

Constit. Apost., lib. vii., c. 44.
+ Hanmer's Exercit. upon Confirm., p. 45, 2nd. edit.

Bingham's Antiq., b. xii., cap. 1, sect. 4.


But the Spirit of God is not confined to the hands of a bishop. The eunuch was baptized by Philip, a deacon; and, without waiting upon any apostle or bishop for confirmation, he went on his way to Ethiopia rejoicing. Cornelius and his friends, before their baptism, received the Holy Ghost directly from heaven, without the use of any ceremonies. There can be no plea of necessity in this case, from the want of a bishop, because the apostle Peter was present; and it is remarkable that, though he baptized them, he omitted the laying on of hands. If churchmen believe that any grace is imparted at confirmation,.which none but a bishop can bestow, they are guilty of the most criminal neglect in not sending bishops to the East and West Indies, and to all our foreign possessions. As the diocese of London includes those places, it is humbly submitted to the bishop, whether it would not be a most apostolic action in his lordship to pass through these regions, “ confirming the churches." *

The presumption of bishops in performing the ceremony of confirmation, and its pernicious influence on young people, are represented in a strong but just light by Mr. Towgood, in his letters to Mr. White. “ I pray you, sir," says this spirited writer, “ in the name of God, inform me what warrant has the bishop to pronounce a man's sins all forgiven, and himself regenerated by the Holy Ghost, upon no other grounds than his being able to say the short catechism, and declaring that he stands by his baptismal engagements ? Will you say that this is the christian doctrine concerning the terms of acceptance and forgiveness with God? Are good vows and resolutions, declared in the church, infallible, or proper proofs of a regeneration by the Holy Ghost? Is a man's professing that he repents, and promising that he will live godly, that actual repentance and amendment of life, which alone can insure the divine pardon and favour? Are there not multitudes who call Christ their lord, and publicly profess to stand by their baptismal covenant, whom, however, he will reject with abhorrence at last ? You will inform me then, sir, how the bishops, upon this mere profession and promise, presume to declare to Almighty God, and to assure the person that he is regenerated, forgiven, and unquestionably in a state of favour with Heaven.

* Since this was written, bishops have been appointed to our foreign possessions; but the churches there fare no better than those at home, EDIT.

“ The expressions, you must acknowledge, are couched in strong and absolute terms; nor do I find that there is any intimation that their forgiveness depends upon their care to keep, and to live up to their baptismal engagements. No; but, though their whole life hath hitherto been scandalously corrupt, yet, upon their being able to say the Lord's prayer, etc., the bishop solemnly pronounces a most absolute pardon over them, appeals to Almighty God that he hath forgiven them all their sins, and, lest this should be too little to satisfy the doubting sinner, and appease his upbraiding conscience, he lays his hands upon his head, and certifies him, by that sign, of God's favour and goodness towards him.

“ This bishop, sir, the multitudes, who come to be confirmed, are taught to consider as an ambassador of Christ, a successor of the apostles, and a special minister of God. When they hear, then, this sacred person so solemnly declaring that they are fully justified, pardoned, and regenerated, by the Holy Ghost, can you blame them if they believe it, and rest satisfied that their souls are in a safe and happy state? And, as full remission of sins, and the favour of God are to be had upon such easy terms, can you wonder, should you see thousands eagerly flocking from all quarters to accept it? or, that persons of very wild and profligate characters, should often thrust themselves in to partake of this benefit, and to be seen receiving upon their knees, episcopal absolution, and solemn assurances of God's favour and grace ? *

* Towgood's Dissent., p. 38, 39.




As bishops, on account of the great extent of their dioceses, cannot perform all religious services themselves; they have acted wisely in granting a portion of the Spirit to others, to supply their lack of service. But still, everything is efficacious which is done by the priesthood. In the office for baptism, before the ceremony is performed, the person is supposed to be graceless, the water is sanctified to the mystical washing away of sin, and prayer is made for the regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit. Immediately after the sprinkling, the congregation is informed that the “person is regenerate and grafted into the body of Christ's church, and God is thanked that this new convert “is now born again, and made an heir of everlasting salvation." When an infant has been baptized in private, and it is ascertained in the church that the ceremony was duly performed, the priest says, "I certify you, that in this case all is well done, and according to due order, concerning the baptizing of this child ; who being born in original sin, and in the wrath of God, is now, by the laver of regeneration in baptism, received into the number of the children of God, and heirs of everlasting life.” In the catechism the child is taught

“ In my baptism I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.'

Cornelius and his friends received the Holy Ghost before baptism, and Simon Magus continued graceless after it; but our priests unite the divine Spirit to the water, and will allow of no regeneration before the mystical washing ; but they certify both God and man, that as soon as the sprinkling is over,

the creature is born, and an union with Christ is effected. The general belief of this sentiment, that the baptism of an infant is absolutely necessary to its regeneration

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and salvation, occasions the utmost anxiety and distress in the minds of superstitious parents, whose children die before a priest can be procured to give them the Holy Ghost and a passport to heaven. The practice formerly was to permit women, or any body, to baptize a sickly child, if a priest could not be procured in due time; and in hard labours, it was usual to baptize the head of the infant, before the whole delivery; but now the little ones must perish, should they die before the priest arrives, as no other person is permitted by the laws of the church to perform the ceremony.

Some ministers in their preaching, assure the most profligate characters that they were all born again in baptism, and that they ought not to believe what enthusiastic preachers say concerning the necessity of conversion, as applicable to them. It is certain, however, that if the spiritual birth does really take place in baptism, the new creature, in most cases, soon expires; and the corpse of departed virtue turns to moral corruption. But let a man's life be what it will, he must not be permitted to doubt the saving efficacy of clerical ministrations.




In the Lord's supper, the priest dexterously unites the body and blood of Christ to the bread and wine, which neither a deacon nor a laymen is able to do. derful efficacy is ascribed to these holy mysteries. In the rubrick for the communion of the sick, it is remarked, “For as much as all mortal men be subject to many sudden perils, diseases, and sicknesses, and ever uncertain what time they shall depart out of this life; therefore, to the intent they may be always in a readiness to die, whensoever it shall please Almighty God to call them, the curates shall diligently, from time to time, (but especially in times of pestilence, or

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