they apply, as by doing it they express a desire to fulfil all righteousnss ;" and may certainly receive benefit, both from the profession and the prayers, appointed in the office; my judgment is, that they should not be rejected, but encouraged.

Only I must entreat you to observe, that when you take thus on yourselves the engagement of leading a Christian life, you are to take it once for all; and no more to think of ever being confirmed a second time, than of being baptized a second time.

After directing who are to be confirmed, the office goes on to direct, how they are to be confirmed. And here, the bishop is to begin with asking every one of those, who offer themselves, whether they do, "in the presence of God and of

the congregation, renew in their own persons the "solemn vow of their baptism; acknowledging

themselves bound to believe, and to perform all "those things, which their god-fathers and god"mothers then undertook for them." On which, they are each of them to answer, with an audible voice, I do.

Now the things promised in our name, were to renounce whatever God hath forbidden, to believe what he hath taught, and to practice what he hath commanded. No body can promise for infants, absolutely, that they shall do these things; but only, that they shall be instructed and admonished to do them; and, it is hoped, not in vain. This instruction and admonition, parents are obliged by nature to give; and if they do it effectually, god-fathers and god-mothers have no further concern, than to be heartily glad of it. But if the former fail, the latter must supply the failure, as far as they have opportunity of doing it with any reasonable prospect of success. For they were

(1) Matth. iii, 15.

intended, not to release the parents from the care of their children, which nothing can but for a double security in a case of such importance.

If nothing at all had been promised in our names, we had still been bound, as soon as we were capable of it, to believe in God, and to obey him. But we are more early and more firmly bound, as not only this hath been promised for us, but care hath been taken to make us sensible of our obligation to perform it: which obligation, therefore, persons are called upon, in the question under consideration, to ratify and confirm. And great cause have they to answer that they do. For doing it is a duty, on which their eternal felicity peculiarly depends; as a little attention to what I am about to say will clearly show you.

Our first parents, even while they were innocent, had no title to happiness, or to existence, but from God's notification of his good pleasure: which, being conditional, when they fell, they lost it; and derived to us a corrupt and mortal nature, entitled to nothing; as both the diseases and the poverty of ancestors often descend to their distant posterity. This bad condition we fail not, from our first use of reason, to make worse, in a greater or less degree, by actual transgressions; and so personally deserve the displeasure, instead of favour, of him, who made us. Yet we may hope, that, as he is good, he will, on our repen, tance, forgive us. But then, as he is always just and wise, and the ruler of the world; we could never know with certainty, of ourselves, what his justice and wisdom, and the honour of his gove nment, might require of him with respect to sinners: whether he would pardon great offences at all; and whether he would reward those, whom he might be pleased not to punish. But most happily the revelation of his holy word hath cleared up all these doubts of unassisted reason;

and offered to the worst of sinners, on the condition of faith in Christ, added to repentance, and productive of good works (for all which he is ready to enable us,) a covenant of pardon for sins past, assistance against sin for the future, and eternal life in return for a sincere, though imperfect, and totally undeserving obedience.

The method of entering into this covenant is, being baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost: that is, into the ac. knowledgment of the mysterious union and joint authority of these three; and of the distinct of fices, which they have undertaken for our salvation; together with a faithful engagement of paying suitable regard to each of them. In this appointment of Baptism, the washing with water aptly signifies, both our promise to preserve ourselves, with the best care we can, pure from the defilement of sin, and God's promise to consider us as free from the guilt of it. Baptism, then, through his mercy, secures infants from the bad consequences of Adam's transgressions, giving them a new title to the immortality which he lost. It also secures, to persons grown up, the entire forgiveness of their own transgressions, on the terms just mentioned. But then, in order to receive these benefits, we must lay our claim to the covenant which conveys them: we must ratify, as soon as we are able, what was promised in our name by others before we were able; and done for us then, only on presumption that we should make it our own deed afterwards. For if we neglect, and appear to renounce our part of the covenant, we have plainly not the least right to God's performing his: but we remain in our sins, and "Christ shall profit us nothing."2

You see then of what unspeakable importance

(2) Gal. v. 2.

it is, that we take on ourselves the vow of our Baptism. And it is very fit and useful, that we should take it in such form and manner as the office prescribes. It is fit, that when persons have been properly instructed by the care of their parents, friends, and ministers, they should, with joyful gratitude, acknowledge them to have faithfully performed that kindest duty. It is fit, that before they are admitted by the Church of Christ to the Holy Communion, they should give public assurance to the Church of their Christian belief, and Christian purposes. This may also be extremely useful to themselves. For, consider ; young persons are just entering into a world full of temptations, with no experience, and little knowledge to guard them; and much youthful rashness to expose them. The authority of others over them is beginning to lessen, the'r own passions to increase, "evil communication" to have great opportunities of "corrupting good man"ners:" and strong impressions, of one kind or another, will be made on them very soon. What can then be more necessary, or more likely to preserve their innocence, than to form the most deliberate resolutions of acting right; and to declare them in a manner, thus adapted to move them at the time, and be remembered by them afterwards; in the presence of God, of a number of his ministers, and of a large congregation of his people, assembled with more than ordinary solemnity for that very purpose


But then you, that are to be confirmed, must either do your own part, or the whole of this preparation will be utterly thrown away upon you. If you make the answer, which is directed, without sincerity, it is lying to God: if you make it without attention, it is trifling with him. Watch

(3) 1 Cor. xv. 33.

over your hearts, therefore, and let them go along with your lips. The two short words, I do, are soon said: but they comprehend much in them. Whoever uses them on this occasion, saith in effect as follows: I do heartily renounce all the temptations of the devil; all the unlawful plea'sures, profits, and honours, of the world; all the immoral gratifications of the flesh. I do sincerely believe, and will constantly profess, all the Articles of the Christian Faith. I do firmly ⚫ resolve to keep all God's commandments, all the


days of my life; to love and honour him; to pray to him and praise him daily in private; to attend conscientiously on the public worship • and instruction which he hath appointed; to approach his holy table, as soon as I can qualify myself for doing it worthily; to submit to his blessed will meekly and patiently in all things; to set him ever before my eyes, and acknowledge him in all my ways. I do further resolve, in the whole course of my behaviour amongst C my fellow-creatures, to "do justly, love mercy," speak truth, be diligent and useful in my station, dutiful to my superiors, condescending to those beneath me, friendly to my equals; care. ful through all the relations of life, to act as the nature of them requires, and conduct myself to all men, as I should think it reasonable that they • should to me in the like case. Further vet: I do




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resolve, in the government of myself, to be modest, sober, temperate, mild, humble, contented; to restrain every passion and appetite within due bounds; and to set my heart chiefly, not on the sensual enjoyments of this transitory world, but the spiritual happiness of the future endless one. Lastly, I do resolve, whenever I fail in any of these duties, as I am sensible I

(4) Mic. vi. 8.

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