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PRACTICAL HELPS FOR CATECHUMENS.
I CANNOT close this Volume without subjoining, for those who may be induced by it to present themselves as Catechumens for the Rite of Confirmation, some few suggestions and helps which may assist them in their preparation for its due reception.
And, first I would say, devote some time to the consideration of that Baptismal vow which in this ordinance you confirm, as you will find it set forth both at the commencement and towards the close of the Church Catechism. Consider all the obligations it involves touching your Renunciation of the world, the flesh, and the devil-your Belief in God -and your Keeping of his commandments; and this, too, with special reference to your own particular case - your temperament, disposition, circumstances, duties, and temptations. Personal application of divine truth is the very life of all religion in the soul.
Next I would beg you to meditate upon the Catechism at large, and examine yourself to what extent you enter into its doctrinal statements—are seeking to fulfil the duties which it details and feel the value and necessity of the means of grace to which it refers. It details to you in the Creed what God has done for your redemption—in the Commandments, what he expects you to do for him in return —and in the Lord's Prayer, and the doctrine of the Sacraments, how you may be enabled to fulfil this expectation. Be not satisfied, then, with knowing the words of that compendium of Christianity-enter into its meaning - catch its spirit —act on its principles.
Add to this a devout perusal of the Office of Baptism in the Prayer-book. For it is the personal ratification of the Covenant then entered into, to which you are called in Confirmation. Observe in it the free, spontaneous mercy of God—the richness of his grace-the grandeur of the calling wherewith you were called. And put not away the book till you can realize something of the humble dignity, the elevated character of one who has been given up from infancy “ to follow the example of our Saviour Christ, and to be made like unto him; that as he died and rose again for us, so should we who are baptized die from sin, and rise again unto righteousness, continually mortifying all our evil and corrupt
affections, and daily proceeding in all virtue and godliness of living."
Then, further, study carefully the Confirmation Service itself, that you may feel familiar with it when the Rite is' administered — that you may join with intelligence and devoutness in its several parts—and that you may be prepared to expect from its administration, all that it supplicates from God. For we shall get benefit from means of grace
proportion as we exercise faith in those means. And therefore look on the occasion afforded you, not simply as an ordinance just to be partaken of, (however devoutly,) and no more— but as forming the commencement of a new era in your life; not as an insulated point in your history, but as connected most essentially with all that has gone before, and all that shall followas the first point of a line which is to be extended onward through your future being. God is ready to bless you with abundant grace ; the fountains of his Spirit are unlocked before you ;-come, full of expectation, to the living stream, and you shall find it refreshing, fertilizing, satisfying, your thirsty spirit, and becoming in you a well of water, springing up into everlasting life!
But, in order to this, come, lastly, to this ordinance with a deepened consciousness of your unworthinessyour ignorance, your weakness, your native, inbred, ever-active corruption ; and of the consequent necessity that all you seek, and all you purpose, and all you do, should be begun, and carried on, with exclusive dependence on the grace of Christ-exclusive trust in the atoning efficacy of his blood—and the regenerating, sanctifying, and strengthening influences of his Spirit. Come as penitent sinners—come as trembling pleaders for divine mercy—come as suppliants for a grace
your own and then you shall not come in vain. For, thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”
For the spirit of Self-Consecration.
O ALMIGHTY God, my heavenly Father, who hast made me for Thyself, and hast given me all my faculties and powers that they might be intelligently consecrated by me to Thyself, help me now to make this dedication and to enter into covenant with thee. I am the creature of thy power. the dependent on thy bounty. In thee I live and move and have my being. In thy hand my
breath is, and thine are all my ways. And thou hast cared for me, and blessed me, from my youth up
Thou hast preserved me from innumerable evils.
my salvation, the just for the unjust, that he might bring me unto thee. And thou hast given me the knowledge of this great Redemption. Thou hast placed me in thy Church, wherein it has been taught me. Thou hast vouchsafed me thy holy word, wherein it has been confirmed to me. And thou hast set it home by thy spirit on my heart and conscience as essential to my peace. And now then, gracious Father, I am not my own—I acknowledge, I feel, that I am not my own: for I have been bought with a price, that I should glorify thee, in my body, and my spirit, which are thine ! O do thou help me now to fulfil this obligation ! Grant me grace to enter into this privilege! And strengthen me by thy Spirit, while I hereby dedicate myself, my soul and body, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto thee—to be no longer conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of my mind, that I may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of Thee, my God- and to walk worthy of thee, who hast called me to thine eternal kingdom and glory. Thy vows are upon me, O Lord ; I will gladly renew them. I am thy baptized one; I acknowledge the sacred relation! I have been signed