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CONFIRMATION is the rite of the Church whereby the faith of What the the baptized person is confirmed and grace given to him to rite is. remain steadfast in that faith.


The rite is founded on the apostolical practice and precedent Founded on recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (c. viii. 14—17) (a), "Now apostolical 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."

The Roman and Greek Churches use oil in the administration Use of Roman of this rite.

According to the present rule of the former church the rite can only be administered by a bishop, though the pope may delegate a priest to perform this office. The Greek Church commits the administration of it to a priest; but the chrism used on the occasion receives the previous benediction of the bishop.

The English Church holds that it is competent to the bishop only to administer this rite.

and Greek churches.

With respect to the proper age of the baptised person to be Age of perthe recipient of this rite, the Roman Church (b) requires him to sons to be

(a) The following valuable and remarkable passage is from St. Cyprian, Epist. 73, (8): "Illi enim qui in Samariâ crediderant, fide verâ crediderant et intus in ecclesiâ, quæ una est, et cui soli gratiam baptismi dare et peccata solvere permissum est, a Philippo diacono, quem iidem apostoli miserant, baptizati erant. Et idcirco quia legitimum baptismum consecuti fuerint, baptisari eos ultra non oportebat, sed tantummodo quod deerat, id a Petro et Joanne factum est, ut oratione pro eis habitâ, et manu imposita invocaretur et infunderetur super eos Spiritus sanctus. Quod nunc quoque apud nos geritur,

ut qui in ecclesià baptisantur, præ-
positis ecclesiæ offerantur, et per
nostram orationem ac manus im-
positionem Spiritum sanctum con-
sequantur et signaculo dominico
consummentur." In the first Prayer
Book of Edward VI. it was thus
ordered: "Then the bishop shall
cross them in the forehead and lay
his hand upon their head, saying,
'N., I sign thee with the sign of
the cross,' and, &c." The sign of
the cross and this direction is
omitted in the later Prayer Books.

(b) Devoti, Inst. Can. t. 1, sect.
11, p. 421, De Confirmatione;
Müller, Lexicon des Kirchenrechts,
"Firmung,” ii. 883.


be seven years of age at the least. The Greek Church allows confirmation very soon after baptism, and this appears to have been the primitive usage.

The English Church has fixed no particular age, but requires the candidate to be of "competent age," meaning, as appears from the service and the orders relating to it, that he should be confirmed as soon as he has a knowledge of and is able to repeat in English the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments, and be able to answer questions from the catechism. The churches agree that confirmation, like baptism, cannot be be repeated. repeated.

Rite cannot

Law of the
Church of

Time of con-

Canon 60.

Canon 61.

The present law of the Church of England is contained in the following canons and rubrics.

In the office of public baptism, the minister directs the godfathers and godmothers to take care "that this child be brought to the bishop to be confirmed by him, so soon as he can say the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments in the vulgar tongue, and be further instructed in the Church Catechism, set forth for that purpose.'

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And by the rubric at the end of the office of baptism of those that are of riper years:-"It is expedient that every person thus baptized, should be confirmed by the bishop, so soon after his baptism as conveniently may be, that so he may be admitted to the holy communion."

And by the rubric at the end of the catechism :-" So soon as children are come to a competent age, and can say in their mother tongue the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, and also can answer to the other questions of the catechism, they shall be brought to the bishop.

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By Can. 60 of 1603, "Forasmuch as it hath been a solemn, ancient, and laudable custom in the church of God, continued from the apostles' times, that all bishops should lay their hands upon children baptized and instructed in the catechism of Christian religion, praying over them, and blessing them, which we commonly call confirmation; and that this holy action hath been accustomed in the church in former ages, to be performed in the bishop's visitation every third year; we will and appoint, That every bishop or his suffragan, in his accustomed visitation, do in his own person carefully observe the said custom. And if in that year, by reason of some infirmity, he be not able personally to visit, then he shall not omit the execution of that duty of confirmation the next year after, as he may conveniently."

By Can. 61, "Every minister, that hath cure and charge of souls, for the better accomplishing of the orders prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer concerning confirmation, shall take especial care, that none may be presented to the bishop for him to lay his hands upon, but such as can render an account of their faith according to the Catechism in the said book contained. And when the bishop shall assign any time for the

performance of that part of his duty, every such minister shall use his best endeavour to prepare and make able, and likewise to procure as many as he can to be then brought, and by the bishop to be confirmed."

"And Rubrics.

And by the rubric at the end of the Catechism :whensoever the bishop shall give knowledge for children to be brought unto him for their Confirmation, the curate of every parish shall either bring or send in writing, with his hand subscribed thereunto, the names of all such persons within his parish as he shall think fit to be presented to the bishop to be confirmed. And if the bishop approve of them, he shall confirm them in manner following.'

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And by the previous rubric:-" And every one shall have a godfather or a godmother as a witness of their confirmation."

And by Can. 29:-" . . . neither shall any person be Canon 29. admitted godfather or godmother to any child at confirmation before the said person so undertaking hath received the holy communion" (c).

Lord Coke says, "If a man be baptized by the name of Change of Thomas, and after, at his confirmation by the bishop, he is name. named John, he may purchase by the name of his confirmation. And this was the case of Sir Francis Gawdie, chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas, whose name by baptism was Thomas, and his name of confirmation Francis; and that name of Francis, by the advice of all the judges, in anno 36 Hen. VIII., he did bear, and after used in all his purchases and grants" (d).

Dr. Burn, however, observes, "But this seemeth to be altered by the form of the present liturgy. In the offices of old, the bishop pronounced the name of the child or person confirmed by him, and if he did not approve of the name, or the person himself or his friends desired it to be altered, it might be done by the bishop's pronouncing a new name upon his ministering this rite, and the common law allowed the alteration; but upon review of the liturgy at King Charles the Second's restoration, the office of confirmation is altered as to this point, for now the bishop doth not pronounce the name of the person confirmed, and therefore cannot alter it" (e).

Under the title Baptism, Dr. Burn had made the same observation, adding, "this might be so in the time of Lord Coke, but now the case seemeth to be altered." But Lord Coke's authority cannot be set aside in this way. He had before him at the time when he thus laid down the law the confirmation services of Edward and Elizabeth, which are not, as might be inferred from the remark of Dr. Burn, different in this respect from that of Charles the Second. There seems to be no reason to impugn the authority of the precedent cited by

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Admission to the holy communion.

Lord Coke. Bishop Kennett has left on record in some MS. notes to the Prayer Book, which are now in the British Museum, an account of a case in which a bishop changed the name of a child so lately as 1707. He states the fact as follows:-"On Sunday, December 21st, 1707, the Lord Bishop of Lincoln confirmed a young lad in Henry VII.'s chapel: who upon that ceremony was to change his christian name, and, accordingly, the sponsor who presented him delivered to the Bishop a certificate, which his lordship signed, to notify that he had confirmed such a person by such a name, and did order the parish minister then present to register the person in the parish book under that name. This was done by the opinion under hand of Sir Edward Northey, and the like opinion of Lord Chief Justice Holt, founded on the authority of Sir Edward Coke, who says it was the common law of England" (f). There is also an instance of such change of name on record as having occurred in the diocese of Cork, in Ireland, as late as A.D. 1761 (g); and the practice is occasionally continued to the present day (h).

By the rubric at the end of the Office of Confirmation, "There shall none be admitted to the holy Communion, until such time as he be confirmed, or be ready and desirous to be confirmed" (i).

(f) Blunt, Annotated Book of Common Prayer, note to "Order of Confirmation."

(g) Notes and Queries, 4th Series, VI. p. 17.

(h) For a later case in the diocese

of Liverpool, on June 11, 1886, see Notes and Queries, 7th Series, II. p. 77.

(i) For the antiquity of confirmation, see De Cons. v. (or Con. v.) and Inst. Juris. Can. ii. p. 4.




THE sacrament of the Lord's Supper, intituled by our Lord The principal himself (a), constitutes the principal part, the great central act of act of Christian worship. From the very early history of Christianity it appears, that on the Sunday the faithful met together, and, after hearing portions of the Holy Scriptures read, and a sermon by the bishop, produced offerings of bread, wine and water, which being consecrated by the prayer and blessing of the bishop or priest, were distributed among those present, and portions were sent through the deacons to the absent members of the congregation. At a later period a small portion of these elements was consecrated.

The names by which this sacrament is designated in the Holy Names of this Scriptures are these:

The supper of the Lord (b).

The table of the Lord (c).

The communion of the blood and body of Christ (d).
The cup of blessing: the bread which is broken (e).

The breaking of bread (ƒ).

In the writings of the Fathers we find the following designations: eucharistia, mysterium, oblatio, collecta, sacra mensa, sacramentum pacis et charitatis, alimentum et poculum immortalitatis, äyız ovvážis, ñ Avola, sacrificium altaris, sacramentum (g).

The English divines speak of the sacrament of the altar (h),

(a) Matt. xxvi. 26-28; Mark, xiv. 22-24; Luke, xxii. 19-20; Acts, ii. 42; John, vi. 47-58; Sheppard v. Bennett, judgment in Court of Arches, L. R. 3 Adm. & Eccl. p. 167, and Special Report. (b) 1 Cor. xi. 20. (c) 1 Cor. x. 21. (d) 1 Cor. x. 16. (e) Ibid.

(f) Acts of the Apostles, ii. 42. "Distinguendum est tamen subtiliter intra tria quæ sunt in hoc sacramento discreta, videlicet formam visibilem, veritatem corporis,

et virtutem specialem: forma est
panis et vini, veritas carnis et
sanguinis, virtus unitatis et chari-
tatis. Primum est sacramentum et
non res. Secundum est sacramen-
tum et res. Tertium est res et non
sacramentum." X. iii. 41, 6.

(g) As to the canon law, cf. X. iii.
41, De celebratione missarum et
sacramento eucharistiæ et divinis
officiis. Clem. iii. 14. De cele-
bratione missarum et aliis divinis

(h) Cosin, Works, Vol. V., Notes and Collections on the Book of


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