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measure you want it, by earnest prayer for it, humble dependance upon it, and such honest and diligent use of the lower degrees of it, as he hath promised to reward with higher degrees: and you can have it in no other way. If ever therefore, when we exhort you to duties, moral or religious, we omit to mention the great duty of applying for strength from above to be given you, not for your own sakes, but that of your blessed Redeemer, in order to practise them: it is by no means because we think such application unnecessary; but because we hope you know it so well to be absolutely necessary, that we need not always remind you of it. But if we are, at any time, wanting to you in this respect, or any other; be not you therefore wanting to yourselves; but work out your own salvation from this motive, which alone will procure you success, that God worketh in you both to will and to do*. And I pray God to sanctify you wholly, and preserve your whole spirit, soul, and body, blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ†.

Having said thus much to you all in general, I desire you, children, to take notice of what I am going to say, in the last place, to you in particular. Your condition is of the lower kind: but your instruction hath been better than many of your superiors have had. If therefore your behaviour be bad, your condemnation will be heavy; and if it be good, you may be to the full as happy, in this world and the next, as if you were of ever so high rank. For true happiness comes only from doing our duty; and none will ever come from transgressing it: but, whatever pleasure or profit sin may promise, they will soon turn into pain and loss. Remember therefore, as long as you live, what you have been taught * Phil. ii. 12, 13. + Thess. v. 23,

here. Remember particularly the answers to those two main questions: What is thy duty towards God? and What is thy duty towards thy neighbour? And be assured, that unless you practise both, when you go hence to services and apprenticeships, all the money and labour that hath been spent on you, will be spent in vein; you will be a disgrace to the edification and teaching that you have had; you will probably be very miserable here, and certainly so for ever hereafter. But, if you practise both, you will make an honest and grateful return for the kindness that you have received from your benefactors: which I hope you will never forget, but imitate, if God enables you to do it: you will be loved of your Maker and fellow-creatures: you will live in peace of mind, you will die with comfort, and be received into everlasting bliss.

Think then, I entreat and charge you, seriously and often of these things. And to remind yourselves of them more effectually, be diligent in reading such good books as are given you at your leaving school, or otherwise put into your hands; be constant in coming to church, on the Lord's day at least: such of you as go away before you are confirmed, take the first opportunity, after you are fourteen, to apply to your Minister, wherever you are, that you may be well instructed for that holy ordinance, and then admitted to it. Within a reasonable time after this, prepare yourselves, and desire him and your friends to assist in preparing you, to receive the Lord's supper concerning which you have heard very lately, how expressly it is required of all Christians (a name that comprehends young as well as old), for the means of improving them in every thing that is good.

And may God give his grace to you and to us all, that by the help of those means with which he hath so plentifully favoured us, we may each of us improve daily in the knowledge of his truth, and the love of our duty, till at length we come unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ *. Eph. iv. 13.






Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

THE history, to which these words belong, is this. Philip the deacon, ordained at the same time with St. Stephen, had converted and baptized the people of Samaria: which the Apostles at Jerusalem hearing, sent down to them Peter and John, two of their own body; who, by prayer, accompanied with imposition of hands, obtained for them a greater degree, than they had yet received, of the sacred influences of the Divine Spirit: which undoubtedly was done on their signifying in some manner, so as to be understood, their adherence to the engagement, into which they had entered at their baptism.

From this and the like instances of the practice of the Apostles, is derived, what bishops, their succes

sors, though every way beyond comparison inferior to them, have practised ever since, and which we now call Confirmation. Preaching was common to all ranks of ministers; baptizing was performed usually by the lower rank: but, perhaps to maintain a due subordination, it was reserved to the highest, by prayer and laying on of hands, to communicate further measures of the Holy Ghost. It was indeed peculiar to the Apostles, that on their intercession, his extraordinary and miraculous gifts were bestowed: which continued in the church no longer, than the need of them did; nor can we suppose, that all were partakers of them. But unquestionably by their petitions they procured, for every sincere convert, a much more valuable, though less remarkable blessing of universal and perpetual necessity, his ordinary and saving graces.

For these therefore, after their example, trusting that God will have regard, not to our unworthiness, but the purposes of mercy which he hath appointed us to serve, we intercede now, when persons take upon themselves the vow of their baptism. For this good end being now come amongst you, though I doubt not but your ministers have given you proper instructions on the occasion: yet I am desirous of adding somewhat further, which may not only acquaint more fully those, who are especially concerned, with the nature of what they are about to do: but remind you all of the obligations, which Christianity lays upon you. And I cannot perform it better, than by explaining to you the office of confirmation, to which you may turn in your prayerbooks, where it stands immediately after the catechism.

There you will see, in the first place, a preface,

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