Bishopping, whiche the Latines calle Confirmacion, a confirming, a ratifieng, establishyng, auethorisyng, or allowyng of that went before: is the second Sacramente. As many as shalbe Confirmed, come all together with euery one a godfather.
Oh! thou best beloved among women, what hast thou to do with the inveigling appurtenances and habilement of Babylon the whore?—But among such things as have been the accursed means of the church’s desolation, which peradventure might seem to some of you to have least harm or evil in them, are the ceremonies of kneeling in the act of receiving the Lord’s supper, cross in baptism, bishopping, holidays, &c., which are pressed under the name of things indifferent; yet if you survey the sundry inconveniences and grievous consequences of the same, you will think far otherwise.
Idle and idol-like bishopping hath shut too the door of painful and profitable catechising. The keeping of some festival days is set up instead of the thankful commemoration of God’s inestimable benefits, howbeit the festivity of Christmas hath hitherto served more to bacchanalian lasciviousness than to the remembrance of the birth of Christ.
Lastly, If we call to mind that which hath been evinced before, namely, that the ceremonies are not only thought to be mystically significant for setting forth and expressing certain spiritual graces, but also operative and available to the begetting of those graces in us, if not by the work wrought, at least by the work of the worker; for example, that the sign of the cross is not only thought by our opposites to signify that at no time we should be ashamed of the ignominy of Christ, but is also esteemed to be a means to work our preservation from shame, and a most effectual teacher to avoid that which may deservedly procure shame; and that bishopping is not only thought to be a sign for certifying young children of God’s favour and good-will towards them, but also an exhibitive sign, whereby they receive strength against sin and tentation, and are assisted in all virtue.
The same kind of operative virtue is ascribed to the ceremony of confirmation or bishopping; for the English service book teacheth, that by it children receive strength against sin, and against tentation.
Having spoken of the nature of things indifferent, and showed which things be such; also of the rule whereby to try the indifferency of things: which rule we have applied to certain particular cases;—it remaineth to say somewhat of the main and general purpose, which is principally questioned in this last part of our dispute, viz., whether cross, kneeling, holidays, bishopping, and the other controverted ceremonies wherewith our church is pressed this day, be such things as we may use freely and indifferently?
Forasmuch, then, as kneeling before the consecrated bread, the sign of the cross, surplice, festival days, bishopping, bowing down to the altar, administration of the sacraments in private places, &c., are the wares of Rome, the baggage of Babylon, the trinkets of the whore, the badges of Popery, the ensigns of Christ’s enemies, and the very trophies of antichrist,—we cannot conform, communicate and symbolise with the idolatrous Papists in the use of the same, without making ourselves idolaters by participation.
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