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perish, but that all should come to repentance 1. "Repent and turn yourselves from all your transgressions, so that iniquity shall not prove your ruin '." Our Saviour himself declared that for sinners he came into the world. If then you have broken your part of the covenant, go to a
Seek him while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.' Ask of him pardon and peace, and grace to enable you in future to withstand the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the Devil, and to become again his children, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven. There is no no man so low, or so base, that he need fear to approach the Almighty. Christ the Son hath reconciled the Father, so that man, in his name, may approach and sue for pardon with faith in believing. The Holy Spirit likewise is verily ready to sanctify you. Oh! yes, God the Father
1 Ezek. xviii. 30.
Isa. vi. 6.
will bless the humble and contrite penitent, and shed his grace upon the hearts of all those who ask it in the name of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, our Mediator, and Advocate.
ACTS viii. 17.
"Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost."
IN preaching upon Confirmation, it will be necessary to speak in the plainest language, because our observations will be addressed chiefly to the young. But we trust that our discourse will not be without some degree of interest to those, to whom the rite of confirmation has been administered.
We will at once inquire into its origin. By some it has been considered divine: for after Christ was baptized in the river Jordan, it is said that the "Holy Ghost descended upon him," which is
thought to imply, that we also after our baptism, must receive the ministration of the Spirit'. And those who were baptized by St. John were referred to a future baptism, at which time the Holy Ghost was stated to have descended. And our Saviour charged his Apostles who had been baptized by water, not to leave Jerusalem, until they had received the baptism of the Spirit and were endued with power from on high'. Accordingly they were all confirmed on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost descended and imparted his extraordinary gifts. Hence this institution has been considered of divine origin. But if it be not divine, it is certainly Apostolic, and was maintained in every succeeding age to the present time 3.
In the chapter from which our text is
Optat. contr. Donatist. Cyril. Catech. 3. Vide et Hilar., Chrysost., et Theophylact. in Matt. iii. 16.
2 Vide Wheatly.
It is far from improbable, that the early Fathers expressed it by τελείωσις, φωτισμὸς and the like, which words they continually connected with baptism, and that the confirmed were the μεμυημένοι, φωτιζόμενοι, ἐσφραγισμένοι, &c.
taken, we read, that Philip a deacon, "went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did." And when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." "Now when the Apostles, which were at Jerusalem, heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John, who when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost; for as yet he was fallen upon none of them; only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost." A similar occurrence is to be found in the nineteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, respecting the disciples at Ephesus; upon whom, "after they had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" the Apostle Paul laid his hands, and then the Holy