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1. Whether derived from apostolic usage

Antiquities of the Christian Church
XV. Of Confirmation. 

1. Whether derived from apostolic usage

The controversy between the Catholics and Protestants relating to the rites of confirmation, has turned on the inquiry, whether they are authorized by the example of the apostles. On this subject it is worthy of remark, that the apostles generally conferred imposition of hands only upon baptized persons, as in the case of the converted Samaritans, Acts 8:12–17, and the disciples of Ephesus, Acts 19:15, 6. These instances, however, have reference to the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost, Acts 8:18, 19. Nothing is said of the laying on of hands in the baptism of the three thousand, or of Lydia, and the jailor, with their households. The doctrine of the laying on of hands is mentioned in Hebrews 6:2, immediately after that of] baptism; but there is no intimation that the two transactions were connected. This imposition of hands, on the contrary, is supposed to relate to that practised in healing the sick, or in ordination-

Neither can the unction, *, of which we read, 1 John 2:27,2 Cor. 1:21, be referred to the rite of confirmation. It might have related, either to a spiritual anointing, or to the royal and priestly dignity of Christians, 1 Pet. 2:9, or to the communication of miraculous gifts.

The sealing of Christians mentioned in Eph. 1:13, 4:30, 2 Cor. 1:22, denotes, not their confirmation, but their conscious assurance of divine favor.

No authentic reference to confirmation is recorded in the earliest ecclesiastical writers. The authority of Dionysius is unworthy of confidence, and the imparting of the seal of the Lord, as quoted by Eusebius, evidently relates to baptism.

Godofr. Wegener, De confirmatione Ca techumenorum in vet. eccl. Regiom. 1692. 4: Chr. M. Pfaff, De initiatione, expiatione, benedictione et confirmatione Cutechumenorum. Tubing. 1722. 4: Frid. Spanhemii Dissert, de ritu impositionis manuum in vet. eccl. S. Opp. tom. ii. p. 871 seq.: Luc. Holstenii Dissert, ii. De forma et ministro sacramenii Confirrnaiionis apud Graecos. Rom. 1666. 8: S. Jo. Morini Opp. posth. Paris. 1703. 4: Henr. Benzelii De sacramento Confirmationis Romanensium. S. Syntag. Dissert, t. ii. 1745. 4: Chr. M. Pfaff, Dissert, de confirmatione Catechumen, in ecclesiis Aug. Conf usitata, itemque de confirmat. Anglicana. Tubing. 1723. 4: Fr. Brenner's geschichtliche Darstellung der Verrichtung der Firmung, von Chrisius bis auf unsere Zeiten, mit bestandiger Rucksicht auf Deutschland und besonders auf Franken. Bamberg u. Wiirzb. 1820. 8.

Hist. eccl. lib. iii. c. 23.

(* denotes Greek text in Rev. Lyman Coleman's translation.)


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