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therefore it should continually be preached, and without intermission: all other common and public preaching should be grounded and built thereupon.” And just similarly writes the pious Richard Baxter, as the matured conviction of his old age: “I am much more sensible than ever of the necessity of living upon the principles of religion, which we are all agreed in, and uniting these ; and how much mischief men that over-value their own opinions have done by their controversies in the Church — how some have destroyed charity, and some caused schisms by them—and most have hindered godliness in themselves and others, and used them to divert men from the serious prosecuting of a holy life..... And now, it is the fundamental doctrines of the Catechism which I highliest value, and daily think of, and find most useful to myself and others. The Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, do find me now the most acceptable and plentiful matter for all my meditations: they are to me as my daily bread and drink; and as I can speak and write of them over and over again, so I had rather read or hear of them, than of any of the school-niceties which once so much pleased me. And thus I observe it was with old Bishop Usher, and with many other men.”
May God sanctify this little work to the advancement of these several ends !
BY THE SAME AUTHOR.
CONFIRMATION: its Nature, Importance, and Benefits.
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LECTURES ON CONFIRMATION.
THE NATURE OF CONFIRMATION.
DEUTERONOMY, iv. 23. Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the
Lord your God, which he made with you.
HAVING announced to you, dear brethren, that the Bishop of the Diocese is about to hold a Confirmation in this parish, it now becomes my duty to turn your attention to this important and interesting rite.
And to this I the more readily address myself, because the subject is one which concerns, not only the young persons who will, I trust, present themselves from this congregation to receive the benediction of the church,—and not only the parents, guardians, masters, and sponsors, to whom
the spiritual welfare of youth is intrusted, — but all of us, without exception, as Christian men ; involving, as it does, the whole question of our obligations and engagements to our Divine Master. For, if it was prescribed by our Reformers, that baptism should be administered “when the most number of people come together,”—“ because in the baptism of infants every man present may be put in remembrance of his own profession made to God in his baptism,”—we see at once the importance they attached to a frequent recognition, by every Christian man, of our standing in the church, and of the duties which result therefrom.
It is my purpose, therefore, through God's assistance, to point out to you — First, the NATURE of CONFIRMATION;— Secondly, the IMPORTANCE of partaking of it ;— Thirdly, the particulars of the BAPTISMAL Vow, which is therein ratified and confirmed ; — Fourthly, the BENEFITS which are thereby conveyed to the devout recipient ;— and, Lastly, the SPIRIT in which those benefits should be sought.
Now, in order to understand the NATURE OF CONFIRMATION, we must go at once to “ The Order of Confirmation" as it stands in the Book of Common Prayer, and we must give it a frequent and meditative perusal. For, the very best prepa