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no thought to learn, nor feel in our hearts any desire to profess, the very principles which we must profess, and must follow likewise, if we would make the outward sign to be of any avail. St. Paul says, “ He is “ not a Jew, who is so outwardly only;" that is, who has gone no farther in his religion, than merely to have on his body the outward sign of it. In the same manner we may say, he is not in reality a Christian, who has gone no farther in Christianity than merely to have received the outward sign of baptism. Belief in the heart, and confession with the mouth, are both required by the same Apostle.* We must assent to the Gospel, and declare openly that we do assent. It is true, indeed, that every time we repeat the Apostles' creed, and join in worship with a congregation of Christians, we virtually declare ourselves to be the disciples of Christ, bound alike to believe and to do whatever he hath taught and commanded. But there is in confirmation an opportunity given of making the confession mentioned by the Apostle, in a manner more direct, individual, and personal ; and therefore it is a completion of the baptismal engagement that comes more close, more near to every single person, than any other act which is congregational. Confirmation, then, is highly proper
to be observed, where it can be had ; because, as it makes perfect the engagement of baptism, it completes the partaking of one sacrament, before we enter on another.
By the solemn act of confirmation we undertake to discharge certain duties. We engage, by the grace of God, to renounce sin, to hold the articles of Christ's religion as the rule of our faith, and to follow the commandments of God as the laws by which to direct our
* Rom. x. 10.
lives. It is on condition of our making and fulfilling this promise, that we are entitled to the benefits of baptism.
There is yet another and very substantial reason for directing persons to be confirmed before they come to the Lord's Supper. It is, that the church may have assurance that the communicants have been instructed in the catechism, before they appear at the altar for the holy solemnity of the communion. The catechism teaches the nature of a sacrament ; it tells us what benefits we may expect from worthily partaking of the Lord's Supper ; and it points out the preparation necessary for qualifying us on an occasion thus interesting, solemn, and holy. Those who from the catechism, and from the explanations of it given by their ministers, have gained instruction in these particulars, will probably attend the sacred ordinance of the Lord's Supper with degrees of serious resolution, steadfast faith, and deep thankfulness, which cannot be expected from persons altogether untaught in the elements of Christianity. This of itself is sufficient cause for directing confirmation to precede the Lord's Supper. For, if the catechism ought to be learnt, and most commonly is learnt, before confirmation, the church is assured, in general, that, when confirmed persons come to the Lord's Supper, they come with some knowledge of what they are doing.
Thus much having been said to you on the expediency of confirmation, where it can seasonably be had, it remains only that you should be reminded of what your ministers have undoubtedly and repeatedly told you ; that you should well consider what' you are going to say ; that you should behave with gravity at the altar ; that when you return to your places whilst the prayers are reading, you should kneel, and join in the
petitions ; that after the service
go every one to his own home quietly and orderly. Never forget the ceremony of this day. Follow the “ advice” which will be given to each of you. Pray daily to God that you may grow in grace as you grow in years.
We earnestly hope you will observe all this. In that persuasion, we will proceed to the service. You will hear the introduction ; make your answer deliberately and loudly ; and then be recommended with humble prayer to the spiritual grace and saving help of Almighty God!
DEARLY BELOVED IN THE LORD, Nothing will create to you so great and so lasting misery, as the guilt of sin and the curse of God pronounced on wilful and obstinate sinners. It is, however, a truth, which some of you must know by experience, and which others among you should be told by way of caution, that, in every age and condition of life, we are surrounded with many temptations to sin. A powerful preservative against the force of such temptations, is a deep, strong, and lively sense of Christian religion, in all its doctrines, all its threats, and all its promises.
From the Holy Gospels and from the Sacred Writings of our Lord's Apostles, we know, that for us men, and for our salvation, the Son of God appeared upon earth; that He commanded sinners to repent of their wickedness; that He denounced tribulation and anguish, eternal misery, eternal woe, to all who wilfully persisted in disobedience to Him, and in the practice of sin ; that He assured all who would come unto Him, and be his true disciples in heart and life, they should be for ever blessed, when they are taken from this world, and pass to the next state of their existence. They, who will frequently and habitually recollect the power of our Lord, who calls us to faith and obedience; the terrors with which our Lord alarms our consciences if we should