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which is vouchsafed, and which is still to be desired and sought, in the particular ordinance of Confirmation. This was the result at Ephesus, when Paul, finding disciples who had hitherto known only the baptism of Repentance, and had not even heard that the promised Holy Ghost had yet been given, baptized them in the name of the Lord Jesus," and when he had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them, and they spake with tongues and prophesied.” And this is the result which our Church teaches us to expect and pray

for as the blessed consequence of our personal adoption and public ratification of our baptismal vow.

The sum of the benefits therein communicated to you is the confirmed assurance of the fatherly love of God towards you in Christ Jesus, that from this assurance you may gain confirmed determination, hope, and strength to do his will. As, on the one hand, you confirm the promises that were made for you in your baptism ; so, on the other hand, does God confirm the promises which were made to you in that baptism. As you come and say, on your part, “ I do recognise my obligations as a dedicated person, given up to God's service, and 'numbered among his separated ones; I do therefore renounce sin, and believe in God, and resolve to serve him truly all the days of my life;" -- so God vouchsafes to say, on his part, “ I do recognise your privileges as a redeemed person, received into my family, and numbered among my elect; I do regard you as a member of Christ, a child of God, and therefore an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven." And therefore, as you kneel before him to do him homage and obeisance, he extends his fatherly hands upon you to confer his grace and heavenly benediction. Turn to the Confirmation Service, and consult it now on this particular of the benefits which we receive thereby. First, you will observe, after the solemn renewal, upon your part, of your baptismal vow, there comes a prayer for the communication of the corresponding blessing, upon God's part, which belongs to you as thus avowedly his children. And in the outset of this prayer, and as the ground of the petitions which it makes, that free, prevenient grace of God is commemorated which was exercised towards you when you knew it not, and through which you were received as his children, not for your own merits and deservings, but of his gratuitous mercy in Christ Jesus. “ Almighty and everlasting God,” says

6 who hast vouchsafed to regenerate these thy servants by Water and the Holy Ghost, and hast given unto them forgiveness of all their sins." There you are reminded, for your encouragement is now approaching to solicit God's blessing, of the state of privilege into which you were

this prayer,

introduced by Baptism, when you were transferred from condemnation to acceptance, washed from the sin in which you were conceived and born, and thus made new persons, with a new title and new expectancies --- comprehended in the family of God, and regarded by him with a Father's kindness. And of this you are thus reminded, because the confirmation of this fatherly kindness towards you is the first benefit which this ordinance confers. “Upon these thy servants," says the Bishop, “ after the example of the Apostles, we have now laid our hands, to certify them, by this sign, of thy favour and gracious goodness towards them. And let thy fatherly hand, we beseech thee, ever be with them !" Such is the encouraging assurance renewed to you in the name of God, and testified in the significant emblem of benediction - the laying on of hands. As when the people of Israel solemnly dedicated themselves to God, then “ Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people and blessed them, and Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out and blessed the people ; and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people :” (Levit. ix. 22, 23 :) as when Joshua renewed this covenant, and wrote upon the altar in Mount Ebal a copy of the law of Moses, then “all Israel and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark, and on that side before the priests the Levites, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel” (Joshua, viii. 33 :) and as “ the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The Lord bless thee, and keep thee; the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace; and they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them:" (Numb. vi. 22–27:) even so, dear Brethren, may the Lord bless you ! even so may you obtain, by coming to this ordinance, a new and full assurance of his gracious goodness towards you,

and find the Spirit himself witnessing with your spirit that you

are the children of God ! For then, the second benefit the result and accompaniment, rather, of that first - will be, the communication of new grace and strength to do God's will. As we become assured of God's love toward us, so shall we love him in return; and the same Spirit, therefore, which certifies to us his gracious goodness, does by that very certification, and the power therewith inspired, animate and strengthen us to glorify his name. And therefore, for this infusion of Divine strength, as the consequence and concomitant of the spirit of adoption, the Confirma

tion Service further teaches us to pray: “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.” And again :

6 Defend, O Lord, this thy child 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." And again : “ Let thy holy Spirit ever be with them, and so lead them in the knowledge and obedience of thy word, that in the end they may obtain everlasting life.” And once more: “ Vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to direct, sanctify, and govern,

both hearts and bodies, in the ways of thy laws and in. the works of thy commandments; that through thy most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul ; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Here, Brethren, is the benefit of seeking God, that we can never apply to him without obtaining an effectual (even though not always a perceptible) strengthening and refreshing of our souls. “ For whosoever asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. For if ye,


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