My Great-Grandmother’s Confirmation Book–First Chapter
Was it Right for You to Make Your Confirmation Vow?
You are now confirmed, my dear child. Standing at the altar of your God, you sang: “Take Thou my hands and lead me!” And then, O sacred, O blessed hour, you publicly and solemnly renewed your baptismal vow and promised to be faithful to your Savior unto death. But, tell me, was it right for you to make that sacred vow? You wonder perhaps at my question. You evidently think and say: Why, of course I did right; who can doubt it? But know, my child, there are many people who declare it very wrong to confirm children of your tender age. They say you are too weak and too ignorant for making such a cow. They say parents ought to let their children grow up until they are men and women, and then let the children decide for themselves, whether they want to become Christians, be baptized and confirmed and join the Christian Church, or not. You will also meet such people, my child. How will you defend the making of your vow against them? Well, you have learned that the infallible Word of God is the only rule and guide of our faith and life. What reply, therefore, must we make from the Word of God to the objection of these people?
First we must answer that it is left to no man’s choice whether he wants to be a Christian, or not. For the Apostle Paul expressly preaches it, Acts 17, 30. 31: “God commands all men everywhere to repent, because He hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that Man who He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance to all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.” There you hear, my child, that it is left to no man’s own free choice whether he wants to be a Christian, or not. Whoever will not repent and believe in Christ as his Savior sins against a clear command of the almighty God and brings God’s wrath and punishment upon himself. Whoever will not believe shall be damned!
In the second place we must answer: God earnestly requires all parents to instruct their children in His blessed Word. In Deuteronomy, ch. 6, v. 6.7, He says: “And these words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children.” Those parents, therefore, who neglect to instruct their children early in the saving Word of god do so at their own great peril. How do those parents know if their children will live long enough to decide this all important matter for themselves? What if their children should die in early youth, without the Word of God and faith, through the fault of their parents, what then? What answer will such neglectful parents give tot he mighty Judge of heaven and earth when He will ask them: “Where are the children I intrusted to your care, that you might raise them for me and my kingdom? Why did you not obey my command: ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God’? Did I not shed my precious blood also for the children, and give my Word and the washing of water by the Word, my holy Baptism, unto you, that you might bring your children to me, their Savior? Why have you not done so?” Will not such parents be stricken dumb and suffer the most fearful punishment for their sinful neglect? All Baptist sects, however, who denounce the baptism of infants, must first prove that children do not belong to the human race and are therefore to be excluded from the clear command of Christ: “go ye, therefore, and make all nations my disciples by baptizing them in the name fo the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost!” And when these people declare that little children cannot believe and therefore ought not to be baptized, Christ’s clear word is against them, Matt. 18, 6: “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me!”
In the third place we answer: As regards the vow of Confirmation, it would be wrong only then to make it if it contained anything contrary to the word of God. But what is it children do when they make their Confirmation vow? Nothing else than to renew and confirm the sacred covenant which they made through their sponsors at their Baptism with the Triune God. If the vow at your Confirmation is wrong, then your vow at your Baptism was also wrong. But who dares to assert that our baptismal vow is wrong when God Himself in His holy Word demands that we confess Him as our God and Lord, and solemnly promise to be His in time and eternity? For the Lord our God declares emphatically, Is. 45, 23. 24: “Unto me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength.” Then also the knees of children must bow to Him,a nd their tongues, too, swear to be His. And Prov. 23, 26 God Himself says to the children, “My Son (my daughter), give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” Yes, in the 8th Psalm David declares: “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength, because of Thine enemies, that Thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.” hence we read Matt. 21, when our Savior entered Jerusalem to begin His passion, even the children cried their “Hosanna to the Son of David!” to Him. And when the chief priests and scribes were sore displeased and said unto Him: “Hearest Thou what these say?” jesus answered them: “yea, have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” Therefore be assured, my dear child, if the Savior was well pleased at the hosanna of those children, he was also well pleased at the hosanna you raised to Him at your Baptism and confirmation. Let who will, therefore, take offense at your vow, your blessed God and Savior, Jesus Christ, delights in this your confession and promise and will bless you for it.
There, my dear child, you have the answer from God’s holy Word to the question whether you did right, or not, to make that vow at your Confirmation. With this answer you can shut the mouth of all the enemies of your Christian faith and comfort your own conscience if it should ever trouble you about your Confirmation vow in the future.