|The Book of Common Prayer|
To thende that confirmacion may be ministred to the more edifying of suche as shall receive it (according to Saint Paules doctrine, who teacheth that all thynges should be doen in the churche to the edificacion of the same) it is thought good that none hereafter shall be confirmed, but suche as can say in theyr mother tong, tharticles of the faith the lordes prayer, and the tenne commaundementes; And can also aunswere to suche questions of this shorte Catechisme, as the Busshop (or suche as he shall appoynte) shall by his discrecion appose [=examine] them in. And this ordre is most convenient to be observed for divers consideracions.
¶ First because that whan children come to the yeres of discrecion and have learned what theyr Godfathers and Godmothers promised for them in Baptisme, they may then themselfes with their owne mouth, and with theyr owne consent, openly before the churche ratifie and confesse the same, and also promise that by the grace of God, they will evermore endevour themselves faithfully to observe and kepe such thinges, as they by theyre owne mouth and confession have assented unto.
¶ Secondly, for asmuch as confirmacion is ministred to them that be Baptised, that by imposicion of handes, and praier they may receive strength and defence against all temptacions to sin, and the assautes of the worlde, and the devill: it is most mete to be ministred, when children come to that age, that partly by the frayltie of theyr owne fleshe, partly by the assautes of the world and the devil, they begin to be in daungier to fall into sinne.
¶ Thirdly, for that it is agreeable with the usage of the churche in tymes past, wherby it was ordeined, that Confirmacion should bee ministred to them that were of perfecte age [i. e., an adult], that they beyng instructed in Christes religion, should openly professe theyr owne fayth, and promise to be obedient unto the will of God.
¶ And that no manne shall thynke that anye detrimente shall come to children by differryng of theyr confirmacion: he shall knowe for trueth, that it is certayn by Goddes woorde, that children beeyng Baptized (if they departe out of thys lyfe in theyr infancie) are undoubtedly saved.
THAT IS TO SAY,
INSTRUCCION TO BEE LEARNED OF EVERY CHILDE,
¶ So soone as the children can say in their mother tongue tharticles of the faith, the lordes praier, the ten commaundementes, and also can aunswere to such questions of this short Cathechisme as the Bushop (or suche as he shall appointe) shal by hys discrecion appose them in: then shall they bee brought to the Bushop by one that shalbee his godfather or godmother, that everye childe maye have a wittenesse of hys confirmacion.
¶ And the Bushop shal confirme them on this wyse.
Our helpe is in the name of the
Let us praye.
and everliving God, who hast vouchesafed to regenerate these thy
servauntes of water and the holy goste: And haste geven unto them
forgevenesse of all their sinnes: Sende downe from heaven we beseche
thee, (O lorde) upon them thy holy gost the coumforter, with the
manifold giftes of grace, the spirite of wisdom and understandyng;
the spirite of counsell and gostly strength; The spirite of knowledge
and true godlinesse, and fulfil them, (o lord) with the spirite of
thy holy feare.
|Two pages from the Confirmation service, 1549 BCP.|
Then the Bushop shal crosse them in the forehead, and lay his handes upon theyr heades,* saying
N. I signe thee with the signe of the crosse, and laye my hande upon thee. In the name of the father, and of the sonne, and of the holy gost. Amen.
And thus shall he doe to every childe one after another. And whan he hath layed hys hande upon every chylde, then shall he say.
The peace of the lorde abide with you.
¶ Let us pray.
ALMIGHTIE everliving god, which makest us both to will and to doe those thinges that bee good and acceptable unto thy majestie: we make our humble supplicacions unto thee for these children, upon whome (after thexample of thy holy apostles) we have laied our handes, to certify them (by this signe) of thy favour and gracious goodnes toward them: leat thy fatherly hand (we beseche thee) ever be over them, let thy holy spirite ever bee with them, and so leade them in the knowledge and obedience of thy woord, that in the end they may obtein the life everlasting, through our lord Jesus Christ, who with thee and the holy goste liveth and reyneth one god world without ende. Amen.
Then shall the Busshop blisse the children, thus saying.
The blissing of god almightie, the father, the sonne, and the holy goste, be upon you, and remayne with you fore ever. Amen.
The curate of every parish once in sixe wekes at the least upon warnyng by him geven, shal upon some Soonday or holy day, half an houre before evensong openly in the churche instructe and examine so many children of his parish sent unto him, as the time wil serve, and as he shal thinke conveniente, in some parte of this Cathechisme. And all fathers, mothers, maisters, and dames, shall cause theyr children, servountes, and prentises (whiche are not yet confirmed), to come to the churche at the daie appoynted, and obediently heare and be ordered by the curate, until suche time as they have learned all that is here appointed for them to learne.
¶ And whansoever the Bushop shal geve knowlage for children to be brought afore him to any convenient place, for their confirmacion: Then shal the curate of every parish either bring or send in writing, ye names of al those children of his parish which can say tharticles of theyr faith, the lordes praier, and the ten commaundementes. And also how many of them can answere to thother questions conteined in this Cathechisme.
¶ And there shal none be admitted to the holye communion: until suche time as he be confirmed.
* head in several printings
Return to the 1549 Book of Common Prayer
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