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“ CONFIRMATION" is not a Sacrament, but a part of Christian discipline, profitable for the Church of God. The Confirmation in earlier times was merely an examination of such as, in their infancy, had been baptized; and, being of age and discretion, were then able to give an account of their belief, and to testify personally what their sureties, in their name, had promised at their Baptism.
The “ Confirmation" is appointed for all those that are baptized, when they are about fourteen years of age, that they may ratify the promise made in their name, by their God-Fathers; and because they, about that age, begin to be exposed to temptation, against which they are better able to contend after this Service. u
The office begins with short and suitable ejaculations. A prayer follows, that God would strengthen the baptized, with the Holy Ghost, the Comforter. The Bishop then lays his hands upon them severally.
u John xvi. 7.-Acts i. 2.--ii. 4.
This is the most ancient and Apostolical rite of “ Confirmation ;" * and it is known by this name.'
The imposition of hands was an ancient and common ceremony in blessings and consecrations.:
After the promise given by those who are confirmed, of perseverance in the Faith, the Bishop, by grave advice and pious exhortations, confirms them in their Christian resolutions.
After an excellent prayer for their continuance in God's Love, and for the increase of his gifts and graces in their hearts and in their lives, the Bishop dismisses them with a blessing.
X Acts viji. 17. xix. 6.
y Heb. vi. 2. · Gen. xlviii. 14.-Numb. xxvii. 18, 23.-Deut. xxxiv. 9.--Acts vi. 6. xiii. 3.-1 Tim. iv. 14.—2 Tim. i. 6.--Numb. viii, 10, 11.
SOLEMNIZATION OF MATRIMONY.
AFTER an introduction of the purposes of the Institution, this Form proceeds with a solemn address to the persons about to be married, that“ if they know any just cause why they may not be lawfully joined together, that they do now declare it.” Answers are given by them to questions from the Minister, whether they intend to take each other as husband and wife; and the Minister having joined their right hands, pledges are made on either side of love and fidelity, according to God's holy ordinance.
This ceremony has undergone some variation in the progress of time. Upwards of three centuries ago, the husband on taking his wife, as now, by the right hand, thus addressed her,"IM. undersyne the N. for my wedded wyfe, for beter, for worse, for richer for porer, yn sekness, and in helthe, tyl dethe us departe, (not' do part.' The ancient meaning of departe,' even in Wickliffe's time, being separate,') as holy Church hath ordeyned, and thereto I plyght the my trowthe.” The wife replies in the same form, with an additional clause, “to be buxom to the, tyl dethe us departe.” Thus it appears in the first edition of the Missals for the use of the famous and celebrated Church of Hereford, 1502. Folio. In what is called the Salisbury Missal, the female pronounced a more general obedi
The ring has been always used as a pledge of fidelity. Aurum nulla nôrat præter uno digito, quem sponsus oppignerâsset pronubo annulo. No woman was permitted to wear gold, except upon one finger, which the husband had applied to himself with a wedding ring. It is placed upon the fourth finger of the left hand, not because, as it is said, there is a vein that goes from thence to the heart, which is contradicted by experience, though several Physicians as well as Divines were formerly of this opinion, but because, perhaps, it is the finger of the hand least used.
Whilst the man holds the ring upon the finger, he repeats, “with my body I thee worship.” The Jews anciently used the same phrase, meaning "honor."
After the Covenant between them is concluded,
a Edit. Wayland 1554. 4to. Dibdin's Bibliographical Decameron. to Godwin's Jew, Customs..
the Minister implores the blessing of God upon them; that they may always fulfil and perform the Covenant, which they have now made. The Priest now joins the right hands of the married persons, and declares that as they are now joined together by God, no human power can dissolve the Covenant. They are therefore pronounced to be man and wife, in the name of the Trinity.
This part of the Service concludes with a blessing. The 128th Psalm, or the 67th Psalm, is then read. The former was always used by the Jews at their nuptials. The Lord's Prayer, and some Versicles, then follow, with prayers for spiritual and temporal blessings upon them. Another blessing, and an exhortation, end the Service.