CHAPTER LX—Of Confirmation
THE perfection of spiritual strength consists in a man’s daring to confess the
faith of Christ before any persons whatsoever, undeterred by any shame or intimidation.
This Sacrament then, whereby spiritual strength is conferred on the regenerate man,
constitutes him a champion of the faith of Christ. And because those who fight under
a Prince wear his badge, persons confirmed are signed with the sign of Christ, whereby
He fought and conquered. They receive this sign on their foreheads, to signify that
they do not blush publicly to confess the faith of Christ. The signing is done with
a composition of oil and balsam, called ‘chrism,’ not unreasonably. By the oil is
denoted the power of the Holy Ghost, whereby Christ is termed ‘anointed’ [Acts
x, 38] and from Christ [χριστός,
anointed] ‘Christians’ have their name, as soldiers serving under Him. In the balsam,
for its fragrance, the good name is shown, which they who live among worldly people
should have, to enable them publicly to confess the name of Christ, to which end
they are brought forth from the remote confines of the Church to the field of battle.973973As
balsam is brought into Europe from the distant East. Cf. Æschylus, Agamemnon,
96, πελάνῳ μυχόθεν βασιλείῳ.
Appropriately too is this Sacrament conferred by bishops only, who are the generals
of the Christian army: for in secular warfare it belongs to the general to enroll
soldiers:974974Under the Romans this was done by the proconsul, the military governor
of the district. thus the recipients of this Sacrament are enrolled in a
spiritual warfare, and the bishop’s hand is imposed over them to denote the derivation
of power from Christ.